Thiruvananthapuram which was previously called Trivandrum, is an ancient city with tradition dating back to 1000 BC. Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Raja of Travancore in 1750.
The city gets its name from the word, Thiru-anantha-puram, meaning the city of Anantha or the abode of the sacred Serpent Anantha on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity, reclines.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state of Kerala is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland spreading over a total of 2,192sq.km.
The city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills with narrow winding lanes and busy commercial alleys. The best season to visit Thiruvananthapuram is during September to May.
King Marthandavarma, the erstwhile founder of Travancore made Thiruvananthapuram his capital. After Marthandavarma, it remained the capital of Travancore and after independence, became the capital of State of Travancore-Cochin.
In 1956, when Kerala state was formed, Thiruvananthapuram was again chosen as the capital of Kerala. Being the state capital, it also throbs with political activity. Thiruvananthapuram and its famous beaches are one of the top tourist destinations in India.
Places to Visit :-
Thiruvallam ( 10 km):
This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides.
Aruvikkara Dam (16 km - 1/2 hour):
This picturesque picnic spot is on the banks of the Karamana river. Near the Durga Temple here is a stream full of fish that fearlessly come close to the shore to be fed by the visitors.
Kovalam Beach (16 km - 1/2 hour):
This internationally renowned beach resort has been a favourite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southernmost, known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all budgets.
Museum Complex :
The Napier Museum: Built in the 19th century, the Indo - saracenic structure boasts a "natural" air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The use of plastic is banned in the museum premises. Ph: 316275
Sree Chithra Art Gallery:
Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
The Zoological Park:
One of the first zoos in India, it is located in a well-planned botanical garden. With huge trees like frangipani and jacaranda dotting the sprawling lawns and wild fowl swimming in the lake, it is like a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different species of snakes is also located in the premises.
The Kanakakunnu Palace :
The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmes.
Science and Technology Museum Complex :
The exhibits here are related to science, technology and electronics.
Shankhumugham Beach :
Just 8 km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here. Chacha Nehru Traffic Training Park here provides opportunity for children to learn the traffic rules.
Chacha Nehru Children's Museum (Open 1000 - 1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays):
Children of all age groups will enjoy the vast collection of nearly 2000 dolls, stamps and masks displayed here.
Located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 metres above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here.
Built in the Roman architectural style, this is the centre of government administration in Kerala and houses the offices of ministers and the bureaucracy.
Kerala Legislature Complex :
Located at Palayam, this is the new building where the Legislative Assembly of Kerala meets. With its towering dome, exquisitely carved galleries, ornate teak panelling and ceiling, combined with the most modern acoustic treatment and state-of-the-art sound systems, the hall is a beautiful blend of classical grandeur and modernity.
Veli Tourist Village :
This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speedboats are available for hire. Children enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape.
Akkulam Tourist Village :
A picnic spot with boating facilities, Akkulam is a place children flock to. It has a well equipped children's park and a paddle pool. There is a swimming pool for adults too.
Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave (17 km - 1/2 hour):
There are rock cut sculptures of the 18th century in the cave temple at Vizhinjam. The granite cave here encloses a one-celled shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave depicts half complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with Goddess Parvathi.
Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad (18 km - 1/2 hour):
Located on the way to the Ponmudi hill station and the Courtallam waterfalls, this ancient palace dates back to the 15th century. Here you can see a double storeyed traditional Nalukettu building with slanting gabled roofs, an inner courtyard and museums of folklore and numismatics set up by the Department of archaeology.
The Folklore Museum set up in 1992 is a treasure house of quaint musical instruments, occupational implements, household utensils, models of folk arts etc. Displayed in the Koyikkal Palace, they focus attention on the cultural background of the State.
The Numismatics Museum houses rare and historically valuable coins denoting the trade relations of the State.
Sree Mahadeva Temple :
Situated in Kazhakuttom, this ancient temple is believed to date back to the 14th century. Another old temple in the district is the Mitramandapuram Temple on the outskirts of the city.
Neyyar Dam (32 km - 1 hour):
A popular picnic spot, Neyyar Dam has a watch tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park and deer park. Boating facilities are available at the reservoir.
Varkala (40 km - 1 1/2 hours):
Varkala is a seaside resort and spa. It is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam (cloth made of the bark of a tree) into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption, came to be known as the Papanasham Beach ( Papanasham means redemption from sins). The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions here.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary (50 km from Thiruvananthapuram):
This sanctuary spread over 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats, is accessible from Vithurai, which is on the way to Ponmudi. With its rich flora and fauna, Peppara, dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations, is emerging as a great attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.
Ponmudi (61 km - 2 1/2 hours):
An idyllic hill resort with narrow, winding pathways and cool, green, wooded environs, Ponmudi is located 915 metres above sea level. Along with a variety of beautiful mountain flowers, exotic butterflies, small rivulets, springs and the deer park nearby, this hill station also has excellent trekking trails. * Food: KTDC restaurant; the government guesthouse
Guesthouse: Cottages and rooms Rs. 250 - 600 Dormitory Rs. 800
For reservations contact:
The Secretary, General Administration Department (Political), Govt. Secretariat, Thiruvananthapuram.
Padmanabhapuram Palace (63 km - 2 1/2 hours. Closed on Mondays):
The seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, this splendid palace is situated at Thuckalai, on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a well preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. The extraordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granite floor have withstood the test of time.
Padmanabha Swamy Temple :
The temple is located inside the East Fort. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its mural paintings and stone carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Serpent. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Dress code: Men - Dhoti; Women - Saree and blouse
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum :
The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple.
Part of the Sahyadri range of mountains, Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890 metres above sea level. Teeming with wildlife, the forests of Agasthyakoodam abound in rare medicinal herbs and plants and brilliantly hued orchids. A bird watcher's paradise, this legendary mountain is accessible by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam, as also from Bonacaud. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking, for which a forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Forest Department, PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram.
How to Reach :
Being the capital of Kerala state, Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to other major cities of India and the neighboring countries. There are direct flights to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi. Cities in the neighboring countries such as Colombo, Malé, Singapore, and cities of Arabian Gulf are connected by the international airlines
Thiruvananthapuram is connected to other important cities of India and Kerala by trains. Regular trains are available for the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. For the tourists heading towards North India and Delhi, Himsagar Express is the perfect choice.
Thiruvananthapuram is connected with Kollam (1½ hours), Alappuzha (3¼ hours), Ernakulam (5 hours), Trichur (6¾ hours), Chennai (17 hours), Madurai (10 hours), and Pondicherry (16 hours) by road. We would provide you all India tourist permit vehicles for the local transportations and also for the intercity drives too.