Capital of Gods Country
Southern Kerala, South India
Go there for :
32°-23.8°C (Sum); 29°-20°C (Win)
When to Go:
September to May
STD Code :
+91 - 471
The Anglicized Trivandrum, for the Capital of the South
Indian greenhouse Kerala seems a respite from the mouthful Thiruvananthapuram
(its original name), meaning the home of Lord Vishnus (preserver of
Hindu Trinity) sacred Serpent Anantha. Located at the apex of southwest
India lacing the Arabian Sea, Trivandrum is just the place to be if you are
looking for some seaside Shangri-la with exotic lagoons, palm-fringed
waterways, quite Resorts and endless leisure.
Tale of the City
The city of seven hills, Thiruvananthapuram had once
been the port of call for Romans and Jews, Arabs and Christians. Legends
have it that King Solomons ships landed here at a port called Ophir.
Traders have been coming to these parts as far back as 190 AD for spices,
sandalwood, and ivory. Even today it serves as a significant maritime hub.
Undoubtedly the most beautiful of Indian
beaches and one of the best across the globe, drive south (16 km) from
Trivandrum to find the exotic Kovalam beach. Ayurvedic spas, sea-food
stalls, sun-bathers, water-sports, all make it an enticing beach front not
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple:
Some 260-year-old Dravidian temple with
a 100-ft gopuram, inside the East Fort in the heart of the city beckoning
travelers to bask in its hallowed serenity. There is however strict dress
code to be maintained. Men should be in dhoti, while women in sari and
blouse. Besides, only Hindus are allowed.
The Zoological Gardens
(Open: Tue-Sat; 9am-5:15pm): The botanical
gardens in Trivandrum cradle one of the firsts amongst the Indian zoos famed
for its huge trees and a reptile house with an interesting snake collection.
Government Art Museum
(Open on all days except Monday and Wednesday;
10am-5pm): Popular as the Napier Museum, after the erstwhile Governor
General of Madras, this building is a fine architectural landmark for the
center of the city, just near the zoo. Besides the antique ornaments and
costumes, musical instruments, intricate ivory carvings, a temple chariot,
found there would infatuate any art-lover !
Veli Tourist Village
(Open 8am-6pm): At the estuary of the Veli
Lake, is a lovely lagoon that can be explored with rented paddle and
speedboats. The sculptures that flake the landscape form a children
Puttan Malika Palace Museum
(Open: Tue-Sun; 8:30am-12:30pm &
The venue of the annual classical music festival between 27th Jan-3rd Feb,
this Palace is a classic traditional Travancore style building with
exquisite woodcarvings. The art collection and the other palatial exhibits
form interesting eye-feasting for art lovers.
Indian School of Martial Arts
(ISMA): This one is a must-visit if
you want to have a dekko at India's 'crouching tiger hidden dragons' --
martial art experts down south -- that is. This 5,000-year-old martial art
form of Kerala is called Kalarippayattu. Besides, ISMA's healing centre,
famed for the traditional kalarichikitsa - a branch of medicine endemic to
Trivandrum, and ISMA's collection of oltrivandrumnthas or palmleaf
manuscripts are must-check outs for historians and the likes.
The Great Elephant March (Jan-17-20) of decorated
elephants is a real visual feast. The 10-day Attukal Pongala (18-26th Feb),
celebrated at the Attukal Bhagavati temple is the most participated
festival. Its traditional dessert, Pongala, made of sweet porridge, cooked
in jaggery, coconut kernal, and plantain is not to be missed. Another reason
to cheer if you are timing your trip in February is the Nishangandhi Dance
Festival (21-27 Feb) conducted at Nishagandhi open air auditorium in
Kanakakunnu Palace where performers from across the nation congregate. That
means right from Bharathanatyam, Kathak, Kathkali, Kuchipudi, Manipuri,
Mohiniyattom and Oddissi the classical seduction is endless and fatal.
Hunt for carved rosewood, Kathakali masks at MG Road. Visit Khadi
Gramodyog Bhavan (opposite the Ayurvedic College, MG Road) if you are
looking for those exotic Kasava sarees. Gram Sree, the village crafts centre
around that area, is just the place for artefact admirers. Head for the
Station Road, famed for its sandalwood and brass products, and the
traditional Keralan bell-metal oil lamps. Savor the arresting fragrance of
the tea and filter-coffee of Kerala, fresh from the Nilgiris, at Sankar's
Tea and Coffee, on MG Road.
And if you happen to be in Thiruvananthapuram around Christmas time, ask
anyone about Connemara, for this is the place you will have to head to for
your mistletoe and wine!
Malyali cuisine uses coconut and rice in all states and forms. But
surprisingly, Trivandrum does not really have a lot of options when it comes
to good Restaurants serving their traditional cuisine. Coffee and banana
chips are addictive. Good spots to buy the the best chips, fresh and tasty
are near the British Library, or at a small shop in Kaithamukku (about 3km/2
miles west of the central train station), where A. Kannan has been frying
some of the best banana chips in Kerala for close to 15 years.
(40km): An enticing beach and an important Hindu
center of pilgrimage, the hilltop mineral springs, a 2000-year-old Sree
Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Center are form the main and the
must-visit attractions here.
(32km): This popular picnic spot has a high watch tower,
deer park, lion safari park, crocodile farm and water sports facilities liek
boating that make it one of Kerala Tourism's exotic favorites.
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
(30km): This plush forest boasts of a
reserve of some thousand species of flowers and plants, that includes
orchids; endangered primates like the lion-tailed macaque and the Nilgiri
langur and other fauna like barking and mouse deer, elephants, sambhar deer,
gaur, giant squirrels, and wild boar.
(63km): Find this Travancore palace enroute
Kanyakumari, famous for its floral carvings, jet black granite floor and
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Dam
(50km): Spread over some 53 sq.
km on the Western Ghats is a nature lover's sheer delight with some of the
best concoction of plants and animals amidst plush hills, eucalyptus forests
and verdant valleys.
Hop next to: Kochi