Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala. It is bounded on the east and north east by the mountain ranges of Western Ghats. Kanyakumari is in the South presently in the State of Tamil Nadu and on the west by the Arabian Sea. The hillocks stand majestically right on the shore (Arabian Sea) as the though beckoning to the sea and hence the rains run down the hills caressing every inch of the incline, to the sea. Thiruvananthapuram has a lot to offer to the sea. The city has a lot of offer to the voracious eyes of the tourists. The modern style of architecture seems to compliment the antique monuments.
Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to all over city in Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram central railways station and central bus station is at Thampanoor. It has rail links with Bangalore and Chennai. Fine roads branch out of the city connecting it to all southern parts of India. Trivandrum Airport (International) linked by flights to Cochin, Chennai, Delhi, Goa and Mumbai. International flights also operate to Colombo, Male, Dubai, Abudhabi, Kuwait and Singapore.
Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple is situated in the heart of the city. The temple, located near the bus stand at East Fort, is the city’s most impressive landmark. It would rather be more pertinent to say the city had been built around the temple as it is believed to have come into existence on the first day of ‘Kaliyuga’ era. The presiding deity is, as the name implies, Lord Padmanabha, one of the variations of Lord Vishnu. The deity can be seen reclining on serpent ‘Anantha’. The ‘Dharshan’(reverential sight) can be had through three doors, the face through south door, the navel through the middle and the feet through the North. This venue is one of the exquisite groups of 108 Temples dedicated to “Maha Vishnu’. Two festivals are held annually. Its 7-storey gopuram built in the 16th Century is one of the finest specimens of traditional South Indian temple architecture, which reflects the Kerala influence. The temple corridors are lined with 368 sculpted stone pillars. Beautiful murals and ornamentation adorn the walls. The temple was renovated by the Maharajah of Travancore in 1733. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Wearing of shirt or any attire to cover the upper part of the body by MEN inside the temple premises is strictly prohibited. Thus men are restricted to ‘Dothi’ and women to sarees and blouse.
Sri Subramaniyaswamy Temple
Sri Subramaniyaswamy Temple is situated 7km from Thiruvananthapuram. This temple dedicated to Lord Subramaniya (Murugan).
Bhagawathy Temple is situated on the 2 km from the State capital is this temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagawathy. The famous ‘Pongala Utsavam’ popularly known as ‘Attukkal Pongal’ lasts for 10 days.
Sarkaradevi temple is situated 18km from Thiruvananthapuram. This temple is again dedicated to Goddess Bhagawathy. Bharani Utsavam a 10day festival Kalliyoothu Mahotsavam a folk ritual are celebrated annually.
Siva Temple Aruvippuram
Aruvippuram temple is dedicated to Sri Narayana Guru. ‘Sivarathri’ festival, during which devotees observe fast and forgo the night’s sleep and perform puja and adore Lord Siva, is famous here.
Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple Varkala
Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple is located at Manthra near Varkala. Sri Krishna, one of the 10 ‘Avathars’ (Divine incarnation) of Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity. A festival to mark the birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated here, in a grand manner.
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum this marvellous specimen was built by Maharja SwathiThirunal Balarama Varma. The workmanship, traditional style typical of Travancore Architecture captivating wood carvings and the importance given to every minute detail of the construction all reflect the grandeur of the construction; all reflect the grandeur of the construction techniques of the olden times. The ‘Maharaja’ (King) was himself a great poet, musician, social reformer, and statesman. In the palace to be seen are breathtaking paintings and invaluable collections of the royal family.
Botanical and Zoological Gardens
Botanical and Zoological Gardens is established in 1859 AD. The Zoo contains a large collection of animals from India and abroad. Set amidst shady trees and a forest like landscape, the animals are provided with a natural habitat the best that captivity can give. Aviary and reptile houses are the added attractions here. The aquarium nearby, on the beach, presents an attractive selection of fish and other marine creatures and plants. The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, supposed to be one of the best in the country, actually forms a part of the Botanical gardens. The sprawling Botanical garden contains many exotic trees and an excellent lake, which forms a part of the zoo.
Chithira Art Gallery
Chithira Art Gallery is situated within the museum compound. The gallery has one of the best collections of the works of Raja Ravi Varma, a great force in Indian Art. Notable among the collection are several Roerich landscapes, copies of Rajput and Mughal paintings, work from the Tanjore school of Art and copies of paintings from the Ajanta caves. The gallery also has a fine collection of miniature paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
Handicrafts Design Centre
Thiruvananthapuram is famous for its handicrafts, a visit to the handicraft Design Centre is a must. The display of ivory work, woodcarving and shell work here is outstanding. Nearby is a fine swimming pool.
Napier Museum is surrounded by lavishly wooded beautiful gardens. The Napier Museum has a striking building with a unique architectural design. Within are a wealth of bronze and stone sculpture and an exhibition of modern handicrafts from the State Design Centre.
Located within the museum compound in a modern annexe, is one of the country’s finest Natural History expositions. This collection consists of stuffed animals and birds, skeletons and fossil remains.
The Observatory established in 1837. This observatory is one of the oldest in India. Its buildings atop Observatory Hill are among the beautiful architectural landmarks of Thiruvananthapuam. One can get a good view of the city from here.
This palm fringed beach near the airport, with its indoor recreation club and children’s traffic training park is fine for an outing, thought not for swimming.
Science and Technology Museum
Science and Technology Museum is located near Mascot Hotel, the museum offers an insight into the impressive growth achieved by India in the scientific and technological fields. The museum is a must for students of science and technology.
The Thiruvananthapuram University’s beautiful campus at Kariavattom also contains the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscript Library. The 70,000 palm leaf manuscripts owned by the library constitute one of the world’s largest collections. Besides these, the library has a wealth of other literary treasures.
Veli Tourist Village
Veli Tourist Village is situated near the Thiruvananthapuram airport. Veli Tourist Village with its beautiful gardens, exquisite sculptures and floating bridge, is a popular recreational centre. There is an enchanting lagoon for swimming. Facilities for boating and other water-sport activities are also provided.
16km Thiruvananthapuram, 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 beach. Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all budgets.
Situated 40km north of Thiruvananthapuram, along the sea the sea cost, Anjuthengu (Anjengo) is a place of historic importance. It was here that the first settlement of the English East India Company was established in 1864 AD. According to the local folk, the limited area were five coconut palms stood (Anjuthengu - Anjengo) was given on lease to the company by the then ruling prince of Travancore for trade purposes. The remains of the old English Fort, which had withstood many a siege, can be seen here even now.