District
   

 
Thiruvananthapuram

The name Thiruvananthapuram' means the 'abode of Anantha' - referring to the sacred snake god on whom Lord Vishnu reclines. The British found the name too much of a mouthful and anglicised it to Trivandrum'. The capital of Kerala, this unpretentious city is clean, green and has a leisurely feel to it. The Padmanabha Swamy Temple that holds the deity of the royal family of Travancore is an important landmark.


This city was built on seven low hills, a similarity it famously shares with Rome. It has an interesting mix of commercial streets, tree-lined avenues, historical and modern buildings, ancestral homes and a long coastline washed by the Arabian Sea. There are no large industries, but Thiruvananthapuram does have its share of professionals and businessmen, and with the advent of the IT industry, a rising population of 'techies'. However, the Secretariat and the government offices still form the backbone of the town.

Essential Information

Area : 2192 Sq.km.
Population : 889,191
Location : On the Western coast at the southern extremity of Kerala, 55km north of the former capital of   Travancore and 87km short of the southern extremity of the Indian mainland at Kanyakumari.
Taluks : Chirayinkeezhu, Nedumangad,  Thiruvananthapuram, Neyyattinkara.
Villages
: Kadkompally, Petta, Muttathara, Mannakkadu, Vanjiyoor, Thykkadu, Thirumala, Vttiyoorkavu,  Peroorkkada, Kudappanakkunnu, Pattam, Nemom, Thiruvallam, Sasthamangalam, Kavadiyaar,  Venganoor, Kalliyoor, Ayiroorpara, Andoorkonam, Pallippuram, Kadinamkulam, Veyiloor,  Melthonnaykal, Ulloor, Uliyazhthura, Pangappara, Cheruvakyal, Menamkulam, Neiyaattinkara,  Athiyannoor, Thirupuram, Karumkulam, Kottukal, Pallichal, Kolayil, Perubazhuthoor,  Kanjiramkulam, Vizhinjam, Kulathur,, Chengal, Parasala, Karodu, Parasuvaykal, Kunnathukal,  Vellarada, Anavoor, Amboori, Malayinkeezhu, Maranlloor, Kulathummal, Vazhichal,  Ottasegaramangalam, Kallikkadu, Vilavoorkkal, Tholikkodu, Veeranakavu, Mannoorkkara,  Uzhamalaykkal, Aryanadu, Vithura, Vellnadu, Perungulam, Peringamala, Palodu, Kallara,  Vamanapuram, Pullampara, Thennoor, Kurupuzha, Pangodu, Nellanadu, Anadu, Vembayam,  Karkulam, Koliyakkodu, Karoppooru, Aruvikkara, Vattappara, Thekkada, Ayoor, Chirayinkeezhu,  Kizhuvillam, Kaykkavoor, Manamboor, Otoor, Vettoor, Varkkala, Idava, Ayiroor, Chemmaruthi,  Keezhattingal, Vakkam, Navayikkulam, Madavoor, Pallikkal, Vellalloor, Nagaroor,  Koduvazhanoor, Kilimanoor, Pazhakunnummal, Pulimathu, Karavaram, Alamkodu, Attingal,  Kudavoor, Ilamba Mudhakkal, Idakodu.
Blocks : Parasala, Perumkadavila, Athiyannoor, Nemam, Thiruvananthapuram Rural, Kazhakkootta,   Vellanadu, Nedumangadu, Vamanapuram, Kilimanoor, Chirayinkeeyu, Varkkala
Telephone Code : +91 471
Pincode :695 XXX
Vehicle Regn. Code : KL-01, KL–15,(Nationalized Sector/ KSRTC), KL-16, KL-19, KL-20, KL-21, KL-22
When To Go : Post-Monsoon,October-February

Sights and Attractions

Aakulam Tourist Complex

Situated on the banks of the backwaters at Aakulam, 10 km away from the city, this tourist complex offers a range of exciting activities - boating facilities similar to the Veli Tourist Complex, a swimming pool open to men, women, children and beginners • (with separate time slots for each), a musical dance fountain as well as a children's park. A snack bar offers refreshments.

Agasthayarkoodam

Since the climbing of Agasthyarkoodam was an important item in our itinerary we deviated once again to Neyyar dam in the evening after the soujourn at Udayagiri fort. We stationed at Neyyar guest house for the night and started our climbing before sunrise under the guidance of a local guide. Located 32 kms. away from Neyyar Dam, Agasthya Malai or Agasthyarkoodam, a dazzling peak in the Western Ghats of south India enjoys a magnificient height of 1,890 metres above sea level. The peak, which is majestically rising into the skies in the form of a sharp pointed baode of sage Agasthya who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (sapatarshis) of Hindu mythology. There is a full size statue of Agasthya at the top of the peak and the devotees are allowed to make offerings there themselves. Women are not allowed up the peak as it is believed that sage Agasthya was a bachelor and hence he dislikes the presence of women. The lower elevations of the peak harbour rare medicinal plants and herbs. we reached the summit by late in the evening and halted in a makeshift camp built by our guide.

Anjengo Fort

 ‘Anjengo’ is the angilicised form of Anchuthengu which means the land of five coconut palms. We reached Anjengo or Anchuthengu by evening the old fort here built by the English in 1690, which is the most important tourist attraction. It was the first settlement of English East India company in Travancore when permission was granted to tehm by the queen of Attingal in 1684. The reputed English historians Robert Orme and the poetess Mrs. Daniel Drapper were born here. We had the privilege of enjoying the gentle breeze that swept across the beautiful lake called Anchutengu Lake. The surroundings of the lake are splendid with coconut groves and green hills. We visited Kayikkara, the birth place of poet Kumaran Asan and drove towards Kollam, our halting place for the night.

Ammachiplavu


A place can be famous for many things and if it is in the name of a three, then it will be a matter of surprise. Neyyattinkara, which is on the banks of river Neyyar, can claim the credit of such a record. Here, by the river, there is a temple dedicated to lord Krishna with the famous ammachiplavu-the Mother Jack Tree - in the temple premises. This tree happens to associate itself with the history of Travancore. King Marthanda Varma, who consolidated Travancore when was at the point of death in the hands of his enemies chasing him, found refuge in the great hollow of this jack tree. though centuries have passed, it is still kept here as a monument of that historical escapade

Ananthapuri

There is ample scope for sight seeing, amusement and visit to cultural centers in and around the city.  We started our voyage in a Land Rover arranged by our travel agent and our first priority was to under take a trip in an around the city. To have an auspices beginning we visited the Sree Padmanabha Swami temple first of all.

Beemapalli

The Beemapalli Dargah Shareef, located 12 km from the city, is dedicated to Bee Umma, a pious Muslim woman with great spiritual powers, who is said to have migrated from Saudi Arabia centuries ago to preach Islam. The annual 10-day Uroos festival commemorates the saint and her son, Sayyidussaheed Maheen Aboobaker, both of whom are buried here. Religious discourses and cultural programmes are held in the evenings on these days. In a ritual known as Chandanakkudam, devotees make offerings of coins in earthen pots or kudams.



Kanyakumari

The confluence of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea or the Lakhadweep Sea and the dazzling beauty of the rising and setting sun make this place a favourite tourist destination. Here the enchanting beauty of the ocean gets unfolded in front of us with all its brilliance and charm. We explored the thrilling stories of a variety of experiences and messmerising sights that lie buried in the multi-coloured sand.

Kerala State Science and Technology Museum


First established in 1984, it opened to the public 10 years later, and today, houses more than 300 exhibits on science and technology. There are galleries on a variety of subjects including electricity, electronics, mechanics, computer science, and biomedical and solar energy. In 1997, the museum expanded to include a children's science park.

Kovalam Beach


Our last destination of the first day was Kovalam beach, a beach of international repute located 15 kms. away from the city. Out of the many beaches along the coast of Kovalam the Light house beach and the Hawwa beach are of great fame and highly entertaining. The Hawwa beach is an all time favourite spot of foreign tourists. we enjoyed the sunset to our heart fill as the sky was devoid of clouds. As our accommodation was arranged in a three star hotel not far from the beach we slept to the lullaby of the sea.



Maruthwamala

On the way to Kanyakumari we climbed to the top of a way side hill called Maruthwamala from where we could have a bird’s eye view of the trip of the peninsula as it is depicted in the map, the land flandked by the sea on all the three sides. the hill is famous otherwise as it is on this hill that sree Narayana Guru sat in meditation before the commencement of his social revolution.


Napier Museum

The Palace Art Museum was built by King Swathi Tirunal of Travancore, the great musician and poet who is renowned as the poet among kings and king among poets. The wooden sculptures and the Travancore traditional architecture make it unique. Numerous rare ornaments, weapons and priceless paintings are displayed here. This is the usual platform for art forms like dance and music. The beams of the roof are shaped like horses head, an architectural marvel indeed; hence the name ‘Kuthiramalika’. The sheer artistic excellence called ‘Kuthiramalika’ made us dumbfounded.

The Napier Museum built in the 19th century under the patronage of King wathi Tirunal is another centre of attraction of the city. the zoo logical park adjacent to it is another cenre for entertainment.


Neyyar

Through only 32 kms. from the city Neyyar is luxuriant with natural beauty. We enjoyed the boating in the blue lake created by teh dam across river Neyyar with all our senses. rare medicinal plants of various kinds are found in this area. Neyyar dam froms a part of the Neyyar wilodlife sanctuary. This santuary is the habitat of hundreds of rare wild animals and we were lucky to see a few of them, courtesy to the forest of ficials who arranged the visit to the interior of the forest. We had the feel of adventure when we came face to face with wild elephants on more than one occasion. We had the rare opportunity to see crocodiles also which are abundant in the dam.

Padmanabhapuram Palace


When stepped into the Padmanabhapuram palace complex we felt like entering to a bygone era. Though the place is in Tamil Nadu the palace complex is under the protection of Kerala state. Our historical know how was boosted by the archaeological guide in the palace. It was the residence of the Travancore Kings of the 16th centruy. The interior and the exterior of the palace radiate the ancient majesty of the sculptural perfection and beauty of carvings. the entire structure of the palace proclaims the uniquencess of the traditional architectural culture of Travancore. Beautiful wall paintings, wooden statues and the black granite floorings were a feast to the eyes, no doubt. The inner walls testify the 18th century tradition of wall painting. We amazed to the core on the vastness of the palace with 108 rooms and it took quite sometime to cover the entire place. There are magnificent wooden sculptures carved on the roof. ‘Mantrashala’ in the first floor was used as the council hall. Glittering mica brightens the entire area. We could not but wonder at the natural air conditioning methods making use of the roots of herbs dipped in water and other traditional architectural devices. The ‘ekantamandapam’ adorned with paintings on the floor is another instance of architectural excellence. There is also a discarded tunnel in the palace. The elegance of the Pandya-style pillars of the ‘Nruthamandapam’ in front of the sanctum sanctorum of goddess Saraswathi is noteworthy. The countless rare wall paintings are accompanied by fresco paintings and Greek art of paintings. This is a place where history wedded to artistic skill.

The Archaeological Museum near the palace is a must-see place and we spend some time there by augmenting our historical knowledge. Historical documents in ‘Vattezhuthu’ and ‘brahmi’ alphabet led us to a store house of ancient wisdom.


Priyadarshini Planetarium


The GM-II star field projector in the planetarium can project most of the constituents of the visible universe. It can also simulate the star-studded night sky over any location in the world, on any day up to 12,500 years in the past or the same number of years into the future.

Puthen Malika

Located in the East Fort, this charming two-storied palace with its 80 rooms and open verandas was built in the Kerala style by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal in 1844. It earned the name 'Kuthira Malika' or 'Horse Palace" on account of the wooden horses carved along the entire length of the exterior lintel on the upper floors.

Shankhumugham Beach


People converge at this beach in the evenings to watch fiery sunsets. Across the road, there is a single-storey building with a high roof that houses an indoor sports centre with teakwood flooring and wooden galleries, probably the oldest in the State. Boxing championships are regularly held here. On the spacious veranda outside, a branch of the popular India Coffee House serves up traditional filter coffee and South Indian snacks.


Sree Chithra Art Gallery


The gallery opened in 1935 and is located inside two typical brick-and-tile bungalows built in the traditional Kerala style and sporting French windows and cool verandas. Exhibits include Tibetan thankhas, Chinese and Japanese paintings of the 17th century, and paintings of the Russian artists, Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich, which depict Himalayan landscapes.

Sree Chithra Enclave


Dedicated to the memory of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma (1912-1991) the last Maharaja of the Travancore royal family, the Sree Chithra Enclave was opened in 1993. An audio-visual presentation explains the evolution of the Travancore State and its geographical and socio-cultural history. Other exhibits include personal belongings and artefacts used by the royalty

Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple

 
  
Located in the old walled fort area in the heart of the city, the Padmanabha Swamy Temple is a grand edifice that devotees believe has protected the town from all ills. Architecturally the east-facing structure is a mix of Chola, Pandya and indigenous Kerala styles. Access to the sanctum is through the distinctive ottakkal (single stone) mandapam. The idol is made of a unique composition known as katu-sarkara-yogam, lined inside with 12,008 salagrams (sacred stones).

This temple qualifies as a mahakshetram (great temple) as it satisfies 10 essential conditions, some of which are antiquity, historical importance, and forest origin, closeness to the sea, elevated location, and royal connection. The navaratri mandapam, located to the east of the temple, is the venue for the annual ten day Navaratri celebrations. Note; Entry is restricted to Hindus.

Sucheendram temple


After a ride of more than half an hour or so our Land Rover screeched to a halt in front of the gigantic gate of the sucheendram temple of international fame. It is 13kms. behind Kanyakumari. It is one of the few temples in the country where the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are represented and worshipped with equal importance. (On one side there is Lord Shiva of Sucheendram; beyond there is the virgin goddess Parvathy in the Kumari Amman temple of Kanyakumari - the legendary male - female deities) Sucheendram temple s a seven - storeyed structure with huge halls supported by pillars of Tamil artistic style. We glimpsed through the stories from the Ramayana and Bhagavata which are drawn on these pillars. the musical pillars and the 18 ft tall statue of Hanuman stand out from the rest of the sculptures. Ratholsavam, paying tribute to the trinity is the major festival at sucheendram, we came to know.

The Zoo and Museum Complex


The complex situated in the heart of the city houses the zoo, the Napier Museum, Natural History Museum, Sree Chithra Art Gallery, Sree Chithra Enclave and the KCS Panicker Gallery. Surrounded by beautiful green gardens and parks, the complex is extensive with a bandstand, park benches and a charming arched gate. The mandapam appears Southeast Asian in terms of its architecture. The curved top rafters and the granite base are reminiscent of a Hindu temple.


Thriparappu waterfalls

35 kms. off the city we came across the Thriparappu waterfalls. We soothed ourselves by taking a bath in the falls. nOt only our bodies but our inner selves also were caressed by the powerful flow of water in the clean and hygienic surroundings. We restrained our selves from enjoying a swim in the nearby pool as it is meant for the children. The Kodayar River flowing by the nearby Mahadeva (Siva) temple serves as the source of the waterfalls. After the leap and fall the river lashes against the rocks scattering water drops all around. It was a ravishing spectacle and we spend some time chatting with the river by relaxing on the stone platform nearby. We offered prayers at the Kumara Kovil, an ancient Subrhamanya temple situated at the foot of the Veli hills. The marital union of Muruka and Valli is the important festival of this kovil and it is celebrated in the Tamil month Painkuni, described the natives. The idol in the Kovil is popularly known as ‘Manavalakumaran’. There are grand celebrations in connection with Navaratri festival in which this idol together with the idols of Saraswathi and Bhagavati are carried around in procession

Varkala

We reached Varkala by noon. Towering cliffs lapped by sea - waves on the coast, the slivery beaches and the vast expanse of the emerald paddy fields fringed by coconut plantations makes varkala exceptionally fascinating. varkala is known for Papanasham Beach, the 2000 years old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple. and Sivagiri near Varkala, the ‘Samadhi’[ (the final resting place) of Sree Narayana Guru, the great social reformer. Facilities for all inds of ayurvedic treatments are aplenty in and around Varkala. We found time to undertake a massage bath in one of the ayurvedic resorts and later to have a dip inthe sea and we prayed to rid us of our sins in the pious waters of Papanasham.


Vattakkotta

We were particular about a visit to the fort of ‘Vattakkotta’ located on the brim of the shore five kms. from Kanyakumari on the way to Thirunalveli. We had a brief description about the ‘Vattakkotta’ from the guide at the Padmanabhapuram palace. The circular ‘Vattakkotta’, built in the 18th century is in circular shape and hence the name. We spent sometime on the ramparts of the fort watching the splashing of waves on the huge walls of the fort.

Our next destination was ‘Udayagirikkotta’ 34 kms. behind Kanyakumari. The fort was built by Marthanda Varma, the builder of modern Travancore. In the fort lies the tomb of De Lenoy, the Dutch captain who later became Marthanda Varma’s confidant following the defeat of the Dutch in the battle of Kulachal.



Veli

We returned to Thiruvananthapuram the next day morning and reached Veli, a small tourist village with a delightful water front park in the outskirts of the city. The inland lake separated from the ocean by a narrow sandbar is a peculiar geological structure. The eastern end of the lake is flanded byt wo scenic hillocks coming through a perfect hiking ground. We enjoyed the boat cruise on the placid waters of the Veli Lagoon to our heart’s fill.

Vivekanandappara

After breakfast we sailed to the ‘Sreepada Rock’ which is believed to bear the holy footprint of Devi Kanyakumari and the Vivekananda Rock where Swami Vivekananda sat in meditation. The serenity of Vivekananda Mandapam 500 mts. away from teh land tempted us to meditate there for a while. teh huge statue of Tiruvalluvar (133 ft) opened to the visitors on Ist January 2000 is another eye - catching thing. Later we visited the Gandhi Memorial and ‘Gandhi Mandapam’ the place where Gandhiji’s funeral ashes were displayed publicly before immersion. It is constructed as per the Indian temple architectural pattern of medieval times.

The heart warming sights at Kanyakumari stretch beyond the shore. We visited the The famous Bay Watch Water Theme Park near the sunset point where we were enthralled at the wax statutesof luminaries kept in the wax museum.


Vyloppilly Sanskrithi Bhavan

Commissioned in 2001 as homage to the great Malayalam poet, the late Vyloppilly Sreedhara Menon, the Bhavan consists of a cluster of pleasing buildings scattered over tranquil, green grounds. The padipura or gateway, and the koothambalam or traditional theatre, with its wooden flooring and distinctive lamps, are interesting. Kathakali recitals are held regularly. The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) also functions from here