Tour Trivandrum, Thiruvananthapuram City
Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram is still often referred to by its colonial name: Trivandrum. Most travellers merely springboard from here to the nearby beachside resorts of Kovalam and Varkala.
But the laid-back, hill-enclosed Trivandrum, with its Victorian museums and glorious neo-Kerala buildings, is deserving of more time. All you have to do is get off Trivandrum's racing-drag of a main street to find yourself immersed in old Kerala: surrounded by pagoda-shaped buildings, red-tiled roofs and narrow, winding lanes. Lets find what you cand see and do with Thiruvananthapuram tourism.
Sights and Activities
Sights and activites part of Thrivananthapuram tourism that may aourse your interest.
Zoological Gardens and Museums
Yann Martel based the animals in his Life of Pi on those he observed in Trivandrum's zoological gardens. Here are shaded paths go through woodland and lakes, where animals, such as tigers, macaques and birds frolic in massive open enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. There's a reptile house where cobras frequently flare their hoods. (9am-6pm Tue-Sun)
The park contains a gallery and two museums, housed in an 1880 wooden building designed by Robert Chisholm, a British architect whose Fair Isle-style version of the Kerala vernacular shows his enthusiasm for local craft.
The Napier Museum has an eclectic display of bronzes, Buddhist sculptures, temple carts and ivory carvings. The interior is stunning and worth a look in its own right. 9am-5pm Tue and Thu-Sun, 1-5pm wed.
The dusty Natural History Museum has hundreds of stuffed animals and birds, and a fine skeleton collection. 9am-5pm Tue and Thu-Sun, 1-5pm Wed.
The Sri Chitra Art Gallery has paintings by the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools, and works by Ravi Varma. 9am-5pm Tue and Thu-Sun, 1-5pm wed.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
This temple is Trivandrum's spiritual heart. Its main entrance is the 30m-tall, seven-tier eastern gopuram (gateway tower). In the inner sanctum, the deity Padmanabha reclines on the sacred serpent and is made from over 10,000 salagramam (sacred stones) that were transported from Nepal. The path around to the right of the gate offers good views or the gopuram.
Puthen Malika Palace and Museum
The 200-year-old palace of the Travancore Maharajas has carved wooden ceilings, marble sculptures and even imported Belgian glass. Inside you'll find Kathakali images, an armoury, portraits of Maharajas, ornate thrones and other artefacts. The annual classical music festival is held here in January. 9am-1pm and 3-4.30pm.
Ayushmanbhava Ayurvedic Centre
Tel: 0471 2556060
Offers treatments such as 60-minute massage, and daily therapeutic yoga classes and one week package of treatments. The centre is three kilometres west of the town centre.
Margi Kathakali School
Tel: 0471 2478806
Conducts courses in Kathakali and Koodiyattam for beginner and advanced students. Visitors can peek at uncostumed practice sessions held l0am to noon Monday to Friday. It is in an unmarked building behind the Fort School, located 200m west of the fort.
CVN Kalari Sangham
Tel: 0471 2474182
Offers three-month courses in Kalarippayat for serious students with some experience in martial arts. On Monday to Saturday at 6.30am to 8.30am, training sessions are open to visitors.
KTDC (Kerala Tourist Development Corporation) runs several tours, all leaving from the Tourist Reception Centre at the KTDC Hotel Chaithram on Central Station Road.
The Kanyakumari Day Tour (8am- 9pm Tue-Sun) visits Padmanabhapuram Palace , Kanyakumari in southern Tamil Nadu and the nearby Suchindram Temple.
The Nagara Darsan: Daily Half-day Tour (7.3Oam-1pm and 1.30-7pm Tue-Sun) visits Trivandrum's major sights.
Wander around Connemara Market to see vendors selling vegetables, fish, live goats, fabric, clothes, spices and bananas.
YMCA Road (9am-8pm Mon-Sat) No, it is not dedicated to the study of text messaging, but a Kerala Government-run handicraft emporium with an Aladdin's cave of well- priced goodies.
Sankers Coffee and Tea
MG Road (9am-9pm Mon-Sat)
Tel: 0471 2330469
You'll smell the fresh coffee well before you reach this dainty shop. It sells Nilgiri Export OP Leaf Tea and a variety of coffees and nuts.
KIMS (Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences)
Tel: 0471 2447676
About 3km north west of Trivandrum. For medical problems.
Main post office
Thomas Cook (10.30am-6pm Mon-Sat)
Tel: 0471 2338140-2
Changes cash and travellers cheques.
Tourist Facilitation centre
Tel: 0471 2321132
Supplies maps and brochures.
Tourist Reception centre
KTDC Hotel Chaithram
Central Station Road
Tel: 0471 2330031
Arranges KTDC-run tours.
Getting There and Away
You can fly directly to Bengaluru (Bangalore), Chennai (Madras), Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi and Calicut. There are regular flights from Trivandrum to Colombo, Maldives, Singapore and all major cities in the Middle East.
Long distance buses operating from the KSRTC bus stand, opposite the train station. For Tamil Nadu destinations, the State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) buses leave from the eastern end of the KSRTC bus stand. Buses leave for Kovalam beach (every 20 minutes) between 5.40am and 10pm from the southern end of the East Fort bus stand on MG Road.
Trains are often heavily booked, so it is worth visiting the reservation office at the train station. Within Kerala there are frequent trains to Varkala, Kollam, Alleppey, Kottayam and Ernakulam. There are also numerous daily services to Kanyakumari.
The airport is 8km from the city and 15km from Kovalam; take local bus from the East Fort and City Bus stand. Prepaid taxi is available from the airport. Auto rickshaws are the easiest way to get around.
Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary is 35km north east of Trivandrum, lies around an idyllic lake created by the 1964 Neyyar Damn. The fertile forest lining the shoreline is home to gaurs, sambar deer, elephants, lion-tailed macaques and the occasional tiger. The park is usually visited via 1.5 hour lion safaris via boat and bus. This includes a 20-minute trek. Nearby there is a Crocodile Protection Centre.
Get here from Trivandrum's KSRTC bus stand by frequent bus. The KTDC office in Trivandrum also run tours to Neyyar Dam. If you have your own transport, you can visit the park without a tour, which may enhance your chances of seeing wildlife.
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram
Just before Neyyar Damn, this superbly located ashram established in 1978, is renowned for its hatha yoga courses. Courses start on the 1st and 16th of each month, run for a minimum of two week.
There's an exacting schedule (5.30am to 10pm) of yoga practice, meditation and chanting, though with plenty of breaks between sessions. Bookings are required. Month-long yoga-teacher training and ayurvedic massage courses are also available.