Thiruvannanthapuram (Trivandrum)

Formerly known as Trivandrum, Thiruvananthapuram is the gateway to one of the most scenic states in India - Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram opens the gates to a world of beaches, mountains, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, islands, and refined culture.

Thiruvananthapuram presides over one of the most scenic states of the country. Stretching along the southern coast of the country, with the backwaters of the Arabian Sea reaching deep into the verdant countryside, Kerala affords a fascinating experience.

Even as early as 1000 B.C., this southern tip of India was in frequent trade contact with foreign civilizations, especially from the west Asian region. Cotton fabrics, spices, ivory and hordes of other goods were exported from its ports. This contact is manifested in the co-existence of diverse religions and cultures in the state. The city once formed a part of the kingdom of Travancore, which had its capital at Padmanabhapuram (now in Tamil Nadu). The beauty of the city is still intact in the wide, open avenues, its parks and gardens, its cultural institutions and its undulating countryside. Use Thiruvananthapuram as your base also to visit Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The climate throughout the state is pleasant all the year around, though June-November could be very wet.

Sightseeing

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple: devoted to Lord Vishnu, this is the most dominating feature of the city. The deity is depicted in a reclining position resting on the holy serpent, the thousand-headed Anantha, after whom Thiruvananthapuram is named. The temple was rebuilt by Raja Marthanda Varma in 1733 A.D. The intricately carved seven-storey mandapam is a fine example of south Indian sculpture. However, like in many other temples in Kerala, entry to the temple is restricted only to the Hindus and strict dress regulations are enforced.

The Public Park: situated in the center of the city, is also the best place for interests beyond religion. Here a variety of institutions are centered, like the Napier Museum with a fine collection of Kerala bronzes, ornaments and costumes and a model of "Tharawad", a traditional Nair family home. Also located here is the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the center-piece of the gallery being the collection of the works of Raja Ravi Varma of Travancore and a number of Mughal and Rajput miniatures. There is also the Observatory hill; and the Zoo, which is the second oldest in the country, and is set in 50 acres, with an artificial island, a hanging bridge and an aquarium. The visiting hours are generally from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and it is closed on Monday.

The Science and Technology Museum, the Priyadarshini Planetarium and the Chacha Nehru Children's Museum are other places of interest.

Excursions

Aruvikkara: is situated on the banks of the Karamana river, 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram. This is a pilgrim center and a place of tourist interest. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Bhagavathi, built on a rock on the right bank of the river. There is an Inspection Bungalow here and the reservation authority is the assistant executive engineer, Kerala Water Authority.

Aruvippuram: A small Shiva temple attracts a large number of worshippers during the festival of Shivaratri. There is a small waterfall here.

Neyyar Dam: This is a popular picnic spot with a lake and a dam. Facilities for boating are provided in the reservoir. There is a crocodile farm and a lion safari park to visit along with a wildlife sanctuary. It situated 32 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Bus services are frequent. Accommodation is available in Agastya House.

Agasthyakoodam: This is a prominent peak in the Sahyadri ranges and is conspicuous by its height and isolation when seen from a distance. It can be approached on foot from Bonacadu (61 km from Thiruvananthapuram) and from Neyyar Dam, (32 km).

Padmanabhapuram Palace: A "teak edefice" of yesteryears from where Maharaja Marthanda Varma ruled Travancore state. Set in scenic surroundings along the Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumari route, the palace is well maintained. It was in use from 1550-1790, and has beautiful carvings, and 17th and 18th century murals. There is a good restaurant on the premises which serves India food. Accommodation in the area is not readily available.

Sucheendram Temple: 74 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 20 km from Padmanabhapuram Palace, on the Kanyakumari route. There is a Shiva/Brahma/Vishnu temple, the stone carvings are intricate and worth spending some time on. There is a huge Hanuman statue and a musical pillar.

Access Accomodation
Kerala