Trivandrum Travel, Deluxe Hotels in Trivandrum
Thiruvananthapuram travel is a unique experience as the city it is very much a village as soon as you step away from the crowded centre. Trivandrum is a pleasant city built over gently rolling coastal land. There is none of the throb, bustle and boom-time of Ernakulam (Kochi). No one could accuse it of being cosmopolitan; you'll be pushed to find a club, or bar, or even any traffic on the roads after midnight in your Thiruvananthapuram travel.
It is, however, a stone's throw from here to the white sands of Kovalam. The backpackers who first populated Kovalam have left it to the package holidaymakers and luxury resorts and head instead to Varkala. You can extend your Thriuvananthapuram travel to little-visited forests of Ponmudi and Kanyakumari just over the southern border.
Getting There - Trivandrum India
The international airport is 6 km from the city centre, a 15-minute drive outside rush hour, and half an hour from Kovalam. It has direct flights from Colombo, the Maldives, Singapore and the Middle East, as well as most Indian metros.
You can hire a pre-paid taxi or auto rickshaw into town or wait for a local bus. At the southern end of town is the central bus station, with services throughout Kerala and into neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Nearby Trivandrum central railway station from where trains run up and down the coast.
Local buses, including those bound for Kovalam, leave from the East Fort city stand opposite the fort entrance.
Thiruvananthapuram is relatively stretched out, though the centre is compact. Auto rikshaws or taxis are more convenient than the packed buses but bargain hard. Drivers may be reluctant to accept the going rate.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Padmanabhaswamy temple was built in stages to house the statue of Vishnu reclining on the sacred serpent Ananta. It was rebuilt in 1733 by Raja Marthanda Varma who dedicated the whole kingdom to the deity.
Unusually for Kerala, it is in the Dravidian style with beautiful murals, sculptures and 368 carved granite pillars which support the main pavilion or Kulashekhara Mandapa. You can see the seven-storied gopuram with its sacred pool from outside.
Puthen Malika Palace (Kuthira Mailika Palace)
The Travancore king, Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, was a musician, poet and social reformer. Puthen Malika was his palace, just next door to the Padmanabhaswamy temple.
The palace is a fine reflection of his patronage of the arts. On the upper level a window gives an angle on scores of fine wood-carved horses that look like a huge cavalry charge. Sadly, it is ill maintained, but a gem nonetheless. Tue-Sun 8.30am-12.30pm and 3.30pm-5.30pm.
Napier Museum is a spectacular landmark. The structure designed by Robert Chisholm in traditional-Kerala-meets-Indo-Saracenic style, was completed in 1872.
Today, it houses a famous collection of 8th to 18th-century South Indian bronzes, mostly from Chola, Vijayanagar and Nayaka periods, a few Jain and Buddhist sculptures and excellent woodcarvings. Tue-Sun 10am-4.45pm, Wed morning only; closed on public holidays.
Sri Chitra Art Gallery
Sri Chitra Art Gallery just north of the museum has a fine catalogue of Indian art. Works by Raja Ravi Varma sit among paintings from Java, Bali, China, Japan, Mughal and Rajput miniatures. The Tanjore paintings are studded with semi-precious stones. 10am-4.45pm, closed on Mon and Wed mornings.
The Zoological Park
The Zoological Park is a hilly woodland with a wide collection of animals and a well-labelled botanical garden. Tue-Sun 9am-6.15pm.
Entertainment, Festivals and Events
Performances of Kalarippayattu, Kerala's martial art, can be seen through:
Tel: 0471 2474182
Balachandran Nair Kalari Martial Arts Gymnasium
Tel: 0471 2232686
Chandanakudam, at Beemapalli, a Muslim shrine on Beach Road 5 km southwest of the railway station. 10-day festival, marked by sword play, singing, dancing, elephant procession and fireworks.
March-April and Oct-Nov
Arattu is the closing festival of the 10-day celebrations of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, in which the deity is paraded around the temple inside the fort and then down to the sea.
Navaratri at the special mandapa in Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Several concerts are held which draw famous musicians. Thiruvonam week comes normally in Sep.
Soorya Dance Festival.
Nishangandhi Dance Festival is held at weekends when all-important classical Indian dance forms are performed by leading artistes at Nishagandhi open-air auditorium, Kanakakunnu Palace.
Tel: 0471 2330964
Great lndia Tour Company
Tel: 0471 3011500
Offers afternoon city tours, among others. Reliable but pricey.
Tel: 0471 2476603
One-stop travel service, good coaches.
Tel: 0471 2330031
Can arrange 2- to 3-day tours to Munnar and Thekkady and also runs the following local tours:
City tour: daily 8.30am-7pm, including Padmanabhapuram, Puthenmalika Palace, Kovalam beach and Napier Museum.
Kanyakumari: daily 7.30am-9pm, including Kovalam, Padmanabhapuram and Kanyakumari, Tours can feel quite rushed with little time spent at sights.
Tel: 0471 2330437
The pioneers of backwater tourism and Periyar's Tiger Trails trekking program. Highly recommended for innovative and unusual experiences, eg tree- house holidays or sport fishing off Fort Kochi.
Transport During Thiruvananthapuram Travel
Air Travel to Trivandrum
The airport is 6 km away from the city centre. Transport to town: by local bus, pre-paid taxi or auto. Confirm international bookings and arrive in good time.
Expect inflated prices at refreshments counter, though you can get cheap tea and coffee in the final lounge after'Security' check. Banks at the airport are outside arrivals.
Domestic departures include: Indian Airlines to Bengaluru (Bangalore), Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. International departures include: Flights to Colombo (Sri Lanka), Male (Maldives), Singapore and the Gulf.
Local Buses for Thiruvananthapuram travel
City Bus Stand
Tel: 0471 2463029
Green buses have limited stops yellow/red buses continue through town up to museum. Blue/white bus to Kovalam goes from East Fort Bus Station.
Long Distance Buses
KSRTC Bus Station
Near Railway Station
Tel: 0471 2323886
There are buses to Kanyakumari via Nagercoil or direct and frequent departures to Kozhikode via Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam/Kochi and Thrissur. You can include a section of the backwaters on the way to Kochi by getting a boat from Kollam. Tamil Nadu State buses run to Chennai, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Erode, Kanyakumari and Madurai from opposite the Central Railway station.
Rickshaw for Thiruvananthapuram travel
Rickshaws to the Kovalam beach area should cost around Rs70-100.You will need to bargain. Tell auto-rickshaw drivers which beaches you want to get to in advance, otherwise they will charge much more when you get there.
Prepaid taxis are available in airport for your Thiruvananthapuram travel. You can also find taxis outside Mascot Hotel and outside railway station.
Central Station, reservations in building adjoining station, advance, upstairs, ask to see Chief Reservations Supervisor. Open 7am-1pm, 1.30pm-6.30pm, Sun 9am-5pm; surprisingly there is no 'Foreigners' quota.
Hotels in Thiruvananthapuram Travel
The city has wide range of hotels. Most of them are business hotels as travellers choose to be in Kovalam and Varkala. It is not difficult to find one from budget hotels in Trivandrum and deluxe hotels in Trivandrum.