India >> Kerala >> Thiruvananthapuram Travel Guide

Thiruvananthapuram Hotels and Travel Guide

Get to Thiruvananthapuram before a city you might fall in love falls prey to irresistible modernisation. Thiruvananthapuram, the city of the sacred serpent, with its winding cobbled lanes, traditional red tiled wooden houses with pagoda tops and languid pace receives a modest nimber of tourists. But not for long. Kerala is the hottest item on the tourist map of India and Thiruvanthapuram is its gracious capital city.The capital city from where the world's first elected Communist government governed is tucked into the lower part of southern Kerala, part of what was  Travancore.

Simple and lovely, Thiruvananthapuram (earlier Trivandrum) was the seat of the princely state of Travancore. It flourished as the capital of a kingdom that grew rich from trade in spices, ivory and sandalwood. In fact, the earliest records of trade date back to 190 AD. Thiruvanthapuram gets its name from the reigning deity of the Travancore family, Lord Vishnu who resides in the magnificent Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswami Temple. The rulers of Travancore believed themselves to be trustees of the Lord and ruled on his behalf.

The best Climate is in the cooler months between October and March. Humidity is low and it isn't too hot. The rains hit the Kerala coast in the beginning of June and then on it's terrifically humid and slushy. The upside is that the trees, of which there are plenty in the city, wear a fresh and bright look.

Artefacts and handicraft are to be had in bell metal, bronze, sandalwood and textiles. MG Road has many shops if you're in the hunt for exquisite handicrafts. Kerala first came to the attention of foreigners thousands of years back for her spices; quality tea and coffee are also popular souvenirs. Try Connemara Market, which has British architecture and brilliant ambience.


Kovalam Beach (16km) 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.

Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad (18 km) Located on the way to the Ponmudi hill station and the Courtallam waterfalls, this ancient palace dates back to tkc 1 StK century. Here you can sec 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 Archeology.

Neyyar Dam (32 km) 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.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary (50 km) 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 ) 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 Accommodation: Guesthouse: Cottages and rooms Rs. 250 - 600 Dormitory Rs. 800

Sri Padmanabham Swamy Temple
Sri Padmanabham Swamy Temple - Thiruvananthapuram

Napier Museum
Napier Museum - Thiruvananthapuram

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach - Thiruvananthapuram

Varkala (40 km ) 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 2000year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions here.

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave (17km) There are rock cutsculptures 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.

Attractions and Places to Visit in Thiruvananthapuram

The Sri Padmanabham Swamy Temple encloses a 6 metre high statue of reclining Vishnu. Doors have been strategically placed to allow the faithful views of His head, torso and feet. Not far from the temple is the CVN Kalari Sangam, an academy of martial arts where you can watch the trainees practice their exquisite art. The gymnasium also has an ayurvedic centre with doctors who will be able to prescribe just which treatment it is that you need. You can get a massage here.

The Trivandrum public park has on its grounds the Natural History Museum, the Napier Museum, The Sri Chitra and the K.C. Panicker Art Galleries and the local zoo. One of the most interesting exhibits at the first is a model of a traditional upper class bungalow, a Nayar taravad or manor.

The Napier Museum is such a curiosity you can’t miss it. Robert Fellowes Chisholm, obviously a bold spirit, was the architect of this Indo-Saracenic adventure. A combination of Keralan and colonial styles, the Napier Museum has elaborately gabled tiled roofs, tall pillars, Islamic arches, bright red brickwork and on the inside, stained glass, bold stripes of yellow, red, pink and turquoise, and a wooden ceiling. Its exhibits though are good. You’ll see 15th century carvings, ethnic ornaments, Balinese art and a wooden temple cart with carvings.

The K.C. Panicker Gallery has the beautiful works of K.C. Panicker. The Sri Chitra Gallery has a rather good collection of south Asian art including Tibetan thankas, Balinese, Chinese, Japanese and Raja Ravi Varma paintings, Rajasthani miniatures and works by contemporary Indian artists.

The Puttan Mallaga Palace has only recently been partially thrown open to public. The architecture and the interiors are a treat. The Museum exhibits family heirlooms of the Travancore royalty. Among old portraits, jewellery and arms are a solid crystal throne and exquisite murals.

How to Reach Thiruvananthapuram

By Air Thiruvananthapuram has an international airport that gets traffic from the Gulf countries, Sri Lanka and Maldives. It is well connected by several domestic services from various parts of the country. 6km from the main city, the airport is connected by local bus and pre paid taxi service.

By Rail The Himsagar Express plies once a week from Jammu Tawi in the north of India, via Delhi to Trivandrum. Railway connectivity within south India is far better and there are many trains from Thiruvananthapuram to other places in the state. It is usually a good idea to book in advance but there is a thirty days limit on that.

By Road Connectivity by road is very good. There are daily buses run by the state Transport Corporation to any place of note in Kerala. Buses to neighbouring Tamil Nadu are run mainly by the Tamil Nadu Corporation and again, it is possible to leave or arrive any day in the week. The booking offices are at the bus stand.

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