Trivandrum Hotels, Thiruvananthapuram District
Trivandrum Tours comes as a surprise to those who have visited other state capitals of India.
As Indian state capitals go, Thiruvananthapuram comes as a breath of fresh air. Its tropical atmosphere gives it a lushness that is different from much of hot and dry India. The tropical humidity has also fostered a more relaxed pace of life, with little in the way of urban franticness.
Another boon is its small size, making the town easily navigable and not as overwhelming as many of the larger cities. The main attractions are all in close proximity, with the obvious exception of the beach. But sun seekers in Kerala would usually be heading north or south, to Varkala or Kovalam respectively, to satisfy their sand lust anyway.
Thiruvananthapuram was once the capital of the princely state of Travancore. The city is often referred to by its British-era name of Trivandrum, especially by foreigners.
Compared with the beach resorts close by, the Kerala capital is particularly rich in cultural attractions, a legacy of its illustrious past. Grand temples, palaces and the remains of the fort are offset by lower-key winding back alleys, still filled with old-school businesses. There is also a complex that is home to two museums, an art gallery and a zoological garden.
Thiruvananthapuram is 220 km from Kochi and 382 km from Kozhikode with good rail connections from all other parts of India. Thiruvananthapuram also has an international airport. The tourist office is at Park View near the museum.
Trivandrum Tours in the City
Art and Craft Museum
Formerly the Napier Museum, this government museum opened in 1856. The colourful building has European, Indo-Saracenic, Kerala and Chinese pagoda features. Inside is an excellent collection of 12th-century bronzes, 15th-century wood carvings, temples chariots, gold jewellery, Javanese objects, Kathakali figures and a model of the Guruvayoor Temple.
To the east is the Natural History Museum, which houses a model of a Nair Tharavad and explains each part of a Nalukettu, a traditional courtyard house of Kerala. The museum is a must-include for any Trivandrum Tours.
Botanical and Zoological Park
Established in 1859, this park is worth visiting for its zoo which is one of the largest in India. The botanical garden has many interesting tree and plants.
This market has a granite entrance and overhanging roofs supported by brackets.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Raja Marthanda Varma rebuilt this temple in 1733, and it is said to house an idol found in hills around Thiruvananthapuram. Unusually for Kerala, the architecture is predominantly Dravidian, with seven-storied gopuram (towering gatehouse) behind a temple tank.
The interior of the temple is usually open only to Hindus, but foreign visitors can request permission to visit in order to see the murals, sculptures and the column supporting the main pavilions.
Puthen Malika Palace
Puthen Malika Palace also called Kuthira Malika Palace; this building was built in the 19th century by Maharaja Swathi Tirunal. The name is derived from the frieze of wooden horses and literally means the 'palace of horses'.
Palace is made from teak and rosewood with granite columns and marble interiors. The palace houses music halls, reading rooms and an excellent library. You can see European mirrors and chandeliers, weapons, crystals, ivory thrones, Kathakali idols and other princely memorabilia. The palace is also renowned for hosting a classical music festival in January or February each year. The temple comples is something that should not be missed in a Trivandrum Tours.
Sri Chitra Art Gallery
This gallery exhibits a collection of Raja Ravi Varm's portraiture, as well as variety of works of Rajasthani, Tanjore, Balinese, Mughal, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan Buddhist and South Indian art.
St. Joesph's Cathedral
This 19th-century cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Trivandrum, with a tall tower and a red-brick facade showing Gothic influences. The church has some interesting British tombstones to the rear and makes an interesting stopby for your Trivandrum Tours.
Tours in Thiruvananthapuram District
Situated along the coast where the Western Ghats come fairly close to the sea, Trivandrum is the starting point for trips to lesser-known beaches and minor hill stations. These Trivandrum tours to outskirts of the city are good options for those who want to get away from the crowds of the state capital and the travellers' scene at nearby Kovalam. Trivandrum is also a good base for trips to the south of Tamil Nadu.
North of Trivandrum, Kariavattam is home to Kerala University and the Technopark, one of India's largest IT Park. The University Library (usually open from 10 am to 4 pm Mon-Fri) has a superb collection of palm-leaf manuscripts in numerous languages, beside copper inscriptions and paper manuscripts, initiated by the Travancore Princely State.
The renovated Koyikkal Palace at Nedumangad has a folklore museum containing musical instruments and folk arts and a fine coin collection. Nedumanagad is about 18 km north of Trivandrum.
Neyyar Lake is the focal point of the 128 sq km Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. There are elephants, tigers, bears, gaur, deer and wild boar in the sanctuary. But they are very hard to spot. The higher ranges are covered by grassland. There is a lion safari park, where some lions can be seen in an enclosure and a crocodile park.
The Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantri Ashram over looks Neyyar Lake and conducts yoga classes for beginners, advanced students and teachers. The Agasthya Hills, some of the highest in southern Kerala at 1869 m, can be seen from the lake on a clear day. Neyyar is about 32 km east of Trivandrum.
This seat of power of Travancore State is now officially in Tamil Nadu. The name refers to the lotus Vishnu to whom this palace was dedicated by Raja Marthanda Varma.
The residence and administrative headquarters of the Venadu dynasty before they moved to Trivandrum in 1750, the oldest parts probably date from the 1550's.
Built from teak and supported by granite, it is an excellent example of Kerala architecture. The palace displays the woodcarving characteristic of Kerala's art, as well as some fine murals and well-sculpted stone figures.
The palace comprises the royal dwelling quarters, the administrative areas, public spaces and a shrine. The interior is exquisite, especially the entrance hallway with its carved rosewood ceilings, and the Durbar hall that has floors finished with crushed shells, egg whites, coconuts and juices.
The palace is about 63 km south east of Trivandrum on the road to Kanyakumari.
Ponmudi, Trivandrum Tours
At an altitude of over 1000 m, Ponmudi is a lightly wooded hill resort. Banana, rubber, spice and tea plantations can be seen on the road up from Trivandrum. The area is well known for its pleasant walks. Ponmudi is located 65 km north east of Trivandrum.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
53 square kilometres of forest, the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, protects elephants, sambar, lion-tailed macaques, leopards and other wildlife. Although Peppara is open all year, the main season is from January until May. The park can get hectic on weekends; things quieten down considerably in the week.