Being the capital city of Kerala, Trivandrum is surrounded by seven hills and endorses ancient and modern style of architecture. The area has a long shoreline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a cultural heritage, thus making it a popular tourist destination.
The city derives its name from the deity at the Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple, a major landmark. Thiruvananthapuram and its famous beaches are one of the top tourist destinations in India. The city offers all modern facilities needed by a visitor and is a center for cultural activities.
Kovalam lay in humble obscurity along the picturesque coast of Kerala.
A former fishing village, Kovalam is just 16 Kms away from Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital city. This enchanting strip of golden sands is laced with the rich greenery of coconut palms. More
Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple:
This ancient temple is the most dominating feature of Thiruvananthapuram.. Exquisite stone carvings and pavilions are worth admiring. The temple is open only to Hindus and dress regulations are strictly enforced.
The profusely carved seven-storey Mandapam is a fine example of south Indian sculpture. It was by chance that the use of gold on many vital parts of the idol was discovered. It was during the cleaning up and restoration of a part of the idol that, the sound of metal was first heard, according to temple officials.
The Napier Museum was established by the ruler of Travancore in 1855 and is named after the then Madras Governor, General John Napier The architectural splendour has a natural air conditioning system which keeps the museum pleasant in any weather.
Napier Museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot, ivory carvings and life-size Kathakali dancers. The figurines preserved here amply illustrate the varying features of South-Indian sculpture from the 8th to 18th century.
Sree Chitra Art Gallery
The Sri Chitra Art Gallery, near the Napier Museum, in Thiruvananthapuram was established in 1935. The gallery has on display a century old world famous paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. The gallery also has a good collection of miniature paintings from the Mughal and Rajasthani schools, Roerich paintings, paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali and copies of murals. The four hundred year old Tanjore miniature paintings encrusted with semi-pre cious stones are also on display at the gallery.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
This wooden architectural delight was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, the ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. Kuthiramalika, which literally means Horse Bungalow, takes its name from the roof beams that are carved to resemble the faces of horses.
This rare specimen of workmanship in traditional Travancore style of architecture has exquisite woodcarvings. Swathi Thirunal’s ivory throne, marble idols, Chinese artifacts and rare musical instruments are kept in the museum.
A magnificent wooden palace of the 16th century is situated at Thuckalay, 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram, in Kanyakumari District. This old palace of the Rajas of the erstwhile Travancore (1550 to 1750 AD) is a fine specimen of Kerala’s indigenous style of architecture.
A guided tour through the maze of 108 rooms leaves one breathless at the artistic expression and sheer opulence of this magnificent structure. Even the ceilings have intricately carved floral patterns! Each room in the palace has its own characteristic style and is unique in its outlay. The antique interiors are replete with intricate rosewood carvings and sculptured decor.
Neyyar Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated around 32 km east of Thiruvananthapuram, a popular picnic spot with a lake and a picturesque dam site. This area has some of the rarest medicinal herbs in Kerala. The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1958. The best way to explore the sanctuary is by boat. The fascinating Agastyakoodam Mountains in this area provide an opportunity for the visitors to engage in hiking, trekking and mountaineering.
Ponmudi is the nearest hill station to Thiruvananthapuram. It is located 915 metres above sea level. It is an idyllic hill resort with narrow, winding pathways and cool, green wooded environs. It serves as a good base for trekking and bird watching. The natural scenery, salubrious climate and the scope of hiking in high trails make the visit an exhilarating experience. There is a charming deer park, which is only 3 kms from Ponmudi.