Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala. This is the largest city in Kerala. Bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west, the city has a long shoreline of internationally renowned beaches and backwater stretches. This city was referred to as the “Evergreen city of India” byMahatma Gandhi and also listed as the best city in Kerala to live by Times of India in 2012 survey. This city with a rich cultural heritage is said to have been built on seven hills. The presence of palaces such as the Kowdiar Palace, the Kanakakunnu Palace, Koyikkal Palace and others silently resonates the past reign of the royal families. Like Kerala known as “God’s own country” and a must see destination for tourists who visit India, Thiruvananthapuram is must see for all tourist who visit Kerala.


Places to visit


Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple

The Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple, about 1 km from the Trivandrum Railway Station was built in honor of the deity Lord Anantha. In case of architecture it’s a fusion of Kerala style and Dravidian style almost resembling the Tamil Nadu temples. The temple was built in 16 th century with huge walls all around. It is the wealthiest institution and place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world.The temple has 100 feet seven tier Gopuram. The Sree Padmanabha recline on the serpant Ananda. The deity of Sri Padmanabha is covered with, "Katusarkara yogam", a special ayurvedic mix,which forms a plaster that keeps the deity clean.The deity can be seen through three doors. The deity Lord Vishnu is enshrined in the "Anantha Shayanam" posture in the temple. Inside the Temple,there are two other important shrines, Thekkedom and Thiruvambadi, for the Deities, Sree Yoga Narasimha and Sree Krishna Swami respectively. The Maharaja of Travancore Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma is the trustee of the temple as Sree Padmanabhadasa. Only those who follow the Hindu faith are permitted entry to the temple and devotees have to strictly follow the dress code.

Kovalam

Kovalam, at about 16 kms from the City, is an internationally renowned tourist destination due to its enormous number of beaches.Kovalam is small beach town situated at the southernmost part of Thiruvananthapuram. It lies besides the Arabian sea. Kovalam meaning groove of coconut tress is truly named so since this town has endless stretch of coconut trees along the beach side. Cruises and adventure sports at the beach are the main attraction to this tourist spot. Kovalam can be separated to three different beaches namely- Lighthouse beach, Hawah beach and Samudra beach. Lighthouse beach is the southernmost one which is frequently visited by the tourists. It got its name since old Vizhijam lighthouse of 35 m height on top of kurumkal hillock built using stones painted in red and black bands. Hawah beach or Eve’s beach is much busy with fisherman’s activities and ranks second. During the moonlight the calm blue transparent water makes the beach a unique paradise to walk through. A highland separates the Samudra beach from the southern part and is not commonly visited by tourists. The shallow water stretches makes it an ideal place for swimming. The lighthouse beach is the largest one and second largest is the Hawah beach. Asoka beach in the north is also a part of Kovalam beach.The tourist season is September to May.

Varkala Cliff and Beach

The Varkala Cliff and Beach located about 51 kms north of Trivandrum is the only beach in southern Kerala where laterite cliffs form a wall and gives a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.

Sankhumugham Beach

Sankhumugham beach is located in the western part of Thiruvananthapuram at a very close proximit from the Trivandrum International Airport. It is a stretch of white sand in calm atmosphere away from the city crowd is ideal place to spent the evenings. The prodigious structure of a Mermaid - Sagarakanyaka by Kanayi kunjiraman another the main attraction of this place. The statue is 35m long The 'Jawaharlal Nehru Park of Traffic signs for children' is situated here, which is helpful for the children to understand the traffic rules while playing in the park. The park also provides cycling facilities for small children. A star fish shaped restaurant with open end theatre is also present here.

Veli Tourist Village

Veli Tourist Village is located at about 8 kms from Thiruvananthapuram. It has a pleasant garden with a hanging bridge that connects to the Veli beach. The Veli Lake which meets with the Arabian Sea offers a quick ride by speed boats and pedal boats enabling tourist capture the picturesque location. The boating activities in the lake mainly attracts large number of tourists to this place. There are many floating restaurants which offer wide range of food items. Veli tourist village is located nearby to the Sankumugham beach.

Ponmudi

Ponmudi the word meaning ‘the Golden peak’ is a hill station located in Thiruvananthapuram. It is a part of the Western Ghats which runs parallel to the Arabian sea located at a height of 1100m above sea level. This is the right destination where one can enjoy the tranquil greenery of flora giving us the most refreshing experience. The blanket of tea plantations covering this hill station offers a mesmerizing view to the tourists. The wild flowers with the butterflies glimmering on them makes it a photographer’s paradise. Of the 332 species of butterflies in the Western Ghats, 195 are found here. Of the 37 butterfly species endemic to the Ghats, 24 are found at Ponmudi. A rich variety of wildlife inhabit the thick forest area. Ponmudi is host to 283 species of birds, many of which are endangered. This is an ideal place for trekking and hiking. Tourist can travel up to the peak and have an enriching view of the forest. The drive to the Ponmudi hill top is a thrilling experience with 22 hairpins.

Anchuthengu Fort

Anchuthengu or the Anjengo Fort has high relevance in the history of colonial rule. The fort, built in the 17 th century was the first major trading stations built by the British East India Company on the Malabar Coast. This served as the first signaling station for the ships which arrived from England. The fort is square in shape with four bastions. Each bastion is mounted with eight guns. The fort played an indispensable part in Anglo-Mysore war.

Koyikkal Palace

It is a 16th century building, built as a residential palace for Umayamma Rani, the regent of Venad who ruled from the year 1677 to 1684.It was later on converted to a museum complex by the Kerala Archeological Department. It is a two-storey Nalukettu with a watch tower at the entrance and large verandahs and corridors surrounding its four sides. The first floor of the palace is the Folklore Museum and ground floor of the palace has a Numismatics Museum. The ground floor of the museum has rare collection of coins from all over the world. First floor has occupational appliances, household things and musical instruments used in those days. Now this museum is well preserved by Archeological department of Kerala and is an important tourist attraction of Thiruvananthapuram.

Napier Museum

It is one of oldest museums in India which was established by Maharajas of Travancore during 1855.Later in 1874 it was demolished and foundation for new building was laid in the name of Lord Napier, Governor of Madras Presidency. Museum has a rare collection of historical artefacts such as a temple chariot, ivory carvings, coins, bronze idols and ancient ornaments.  The Sri Chitra Art Gallery here contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich, as well as of Mughal and Tanjore art. It is an Architectural masterpiece which was designed by Mr. Chisoln. The unique architectural style and magnificent ornamental works makes this 120-year- old structure a landmark of Thiruvananthapuram city. This structure has a natural air conditioning system with gothic roofs and minarets. The museum also has a zoo in its premises.

Attukal Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy temple is situated at about 2 kilometers from Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swami Temple. Goddess Parvathi is worshipped in the form of Kannaki in this temple. The temple is famous for Attukal Pongala festival in which more than three million women participate. A festival that has figured in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity. Attukal Pongala festival is a 10 day celebrations in the month of February -March which concludes with the Kuruthitharpanam at 10th day night. Every year millions of women gather here during Kubham and prepare Pongala as an offering to the Goddess. Only women can participate in Attukal Pongala festival.

Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary

Peppara is a wildlife sanctuary situated in the Thiruvananthapuram-Ponmudi Road.It has the catchment area of the river Karamana which originates from the tallest peak of the sanctuary Chemmunjimottai. This sanctuary is named after the Peppara dam which supplies water to the entire Thiruvananthapuram city. The sanctuary has tropical evergreen forest with elevation ranging from 100 to 1717meters.The sanctuary has several mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians,43 species of mammals, 233 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles, 13 species of amphibians and 27 species of fishes are reported from the sanctuary. The common mammals found are tiger, leopard, sloth bear, elephant, sambar (deer), bonnet macaque, Nilgiri langur, Nilgiri tahr.

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple and Marine Aquarium

It is Situated at a distance of about 17 kms from the Thiruvananthapuram city. It is an 18 th century cave temple, with rock cut sculptures of Hindu Gods. The cave is made of granite which is single celled with Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi as main deity. Outer walls of the cave also have half complete sculptures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The cave was unnoticed for several years, and is gaining tourist attraction in last few years.

CVN Kalari Sangam

The CVN Kalari Sangham was established in 1956 and provides a peep into the history of the greatest form of martial art, the Kalaripayattu and its unique training center. Kalaripayattu is one the most famous martial art of Kerala that has caught the attention worldwide. Sri. Narayanan Gurukkal is the founder of CVN Kalari Sangham established in 1956.He made it very easy and natural inspiring everyone to master it. This training center has contributed to the promotion of this martial art form of Kerala by organizing various national and international programs. This was the first school offering this martial art form in southern Kerala.

Neyyar Dam

It is a huge reservoir with rich wildlife situated 40 kms from Thiruvanathapuram at the foot of the Western Ghats. Neyyar Dam is a popular tourist spot established in 1958 with a beautiful lake. The Neyyar Dam is a Rubble masonry gravity-type dam with a height of 56 m (184 ft) and length of 295 m (968 ft). Its structural volume is 105,000 m3 (3,708,040 cu ft). The peak Agasthya Koodam lies near to this dam. The rich wildlife here includes gaur, sloth, bear, Nilgiri tahr, jungle cat sambhar deer, wild elephants etc. Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwanthari Ashram is located near to this dam where yoga and meditation classes are conducted for foreigners as well as natives. Boating is available here which mainly attracts the tourists. A Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre is set up near the administrative block, established by Kerala government and named after the late naturalist Steve Irwin as Steve Irwin National Park.

Sivagiri Mutt

Sivagiri Mutt is the tomb or samadhi of the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru. The Sivagiri Mutt, built in 1904, is situated at the top of the Sivagiri hill near Varkala Thiruvanathapuram.People from different palces visit this palce during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days.Hec was the man behind propagating the concept of  'One Caste, One Religion, One God'. Sree Narayana Guru Jayanthi , birthday of Guru is celebrated in the month of August and Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi is celebrated in the month of September. Sivagiri Sarada Mutt where Goddess Saraswathy idol is worshipped with octagonal shape was designed by Guru himself. Sarada temple and mutt attracts devotees in large numbers.

Janardhana Swamy Temple

Janardhana Swamy Temple or Varkala temple situated in Varkala, is a two millennium old temple dedicated to the Hindu deity god, Lord Vishnu. Situated in the shores of Arabian sea, it is also known as Dakshin Kashi. A ten day Arattu festival is celebrated I the temple during the month of Meenam (March- April) which starts with Kodiyettam and ends with a procession of five decorated elephants. During this festival dance performances are done in the temple in the night like Kathakali. The deity Lord Vishnu is in standing position facing towards east. Other deities worshipped here are Ganapathi, Shastha, Ananthan (Nagam) Shiva, Chandikesha, and Hanuman. Another important ritual of this temple is paying homage to the departed souls and forefathers.

Kuthiramalika Palace Museum

A beautiful two-storey palatial building near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is the Kuthiramalika Palace Museum that gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved on wooden wall brackets supporting the southern roof of the Palace. The official name of the Palace is Puthen Mallika built by  Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. The palace portrays the excellence of Kerala’s Architecture with pillared verandahs, sloping roofs and wooden carvings on wall and pillars. Teakwood, rosewood, marble and granites are used in construction of the Palace. Only few rooms in the palace is converted to museum and open to the visitors, rests of the assets are owned by Royal Travancore Family. The palace has large collection of idols and sculptures made of marble, two royal thrones, Belgian and Italian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, paintings, a giant Belgian harpoon, musical instruments, a musical tree and traditional furniture.

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