Thiruvananthapuram (known as Trivandrum) the capital of Kerala. Located at the South Western tip of India, is bounded by the Arabian sea on the West and Tamil Nadu on the East. The wooded highlands on the Western Ghats in the Eastern and North Eastern borders give some of the most enchanting picnic spots, a long shorline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make this district a much sought after tourist destination.
Telephone Access Code: +91 471
Altitude: Sea level
Area: 2192 sq. km
Population: 3,234,356 (2011 census)
Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is veritably the heart of Thiruvananthapuram, an oasis of peace and quiet ensconsced in high walls with elaborate gateways opening out on all four sides. Regarded as one of the 108 Great Vishnu temples, It is supposed to be of pre-Chrisitian era origin and was renovated to the present state of grandeur by the Maharaja Sri Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma in the eighteenth century. Since his time, the kingdom of Travancore was ceded to Lord Padmanabha and the rulers became “Padmanabha daasas”, servants of Lord Padmanabha and ruled the kingdom in lord’s name. Ever since that, the Lord acquired the title “Perumal” meaning Emperor and was the national deity of Travancore Therefore, when you go to the temple, you are also visiting the King of Travancore and hence many customs inside the temple resembles to royal rites and traditions!
This international beach, 12 km south of Trivandrum city, is one of the finest beaches in India. A high rocky promontory jutting into the sea has created a beautiful bay of calm waters for sea bathing. Kovalam was just a sleepy fishing village with narrow lanes and thatched dwellings with wide countryards for drying fish. However, once its spectacular beach and Shallow, crystal-clear waters were discovered, it became a favorite with hippies and backpackers, and over the years acquired the reputation of being a shabby, downmarket resort. Today, however, it also attracts the rich and famous, who come here in private planes. As a result, the beaches are dotted with both luxury and budget resorts, as well as cafes and several government-approved Ayurveda centres that Offer anything from a simple massage to three-week treatments. hawkers, too have set up stalls selling handicrafts and inexpensive beachwear. Despite the onslaughts of mass tourism, Kovalam retains an inherent charm that makes it one of india’s finest and most popular beach resorts.
It is situated about 8kms from the city and is a popular city beach adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram airport. An indoor recreation club, the children’s traffic training park, the matsya kanyaka, a gigantic 35mt long sculpture of a mermaid and a restaurant shaped like a star fish are some of the attractions here.
This beautiful little beach town is better known among locals as a major pilgrimage centre. According to legend, the sage Narada flung a cloth made from the bark of a tree into the air, and it landed at the spot where the small town of varkala now stands. Narada then directed his disciples to pray for salvation at the newly created beach, which came to be known as papanasham beach or the “Beach of Redemption“. Since then, this beach has been associated with ancestor worship, as Hindus immerse the ashes of their dead here.
It is situated north of the city, at Museum road and 400m east of Indian airlines. It displays an eclectic assortment of historical and contemporary ornaments, temple carts, ivory carvings and life-size figures of kathakali dances in full costume. It has a famous collection of 8th-18th century south Indian bronze. The visiting time is from 10am to 5pm, closed on Monday and forenoon of Wednesday.
Natural History Museum
It is situated to the east of Napier museum. Ticket covers entry to all museum and galleries in the complex. It has a rudimentary ethnographic collection as well as an interesting replica of a Nayar wooden house built in the Keralian style.
Sri Chittira Art Gallery
It is situated to the North of Napier museum and has an excellent collection of Indian art with examples from early to modern schools. Paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and works from Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings and Tanjore paintings embellished with semi- precious stones are displayed. There is a Zoo and Aquarium nearby. It will be open from 10am to 5pm and closed on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
Museum of Science and Technology
It is situated near the mascot hotel. It highlights science, technology and electronics. Opens from 10am to 5pm, closed on Monday. There is a small entry fee.
Chacha Nehru Children’s Musuem
This museum was established in 1980 and was named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for his great love towards children. The museum displays a vast range of objects like traditional and proclaim dolls from all over the world, a mini aquarium and the first issue of children’s literature in Malayalam. It will be open from 10am-5pm.
Kuthiramalika (Puthemalika) Palace Musuem
The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Tirunal Balarama Varma, the King of Travancore who was also a great poet, musician, social reformer and state man. This palace has wood carvings in the traditional Travancore style. The palace museum displays various painting collections of the royal family. It is situated on the South East side of Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple. It will be open from 8:30-12:30hrs and 3:30-5:30hrs. It will be closed on Monday.