The capital city of ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala, Trivandrum is the centre of history, culture, traditions and tourist delights. Witness marvelous architecture, cultural presentations, delightful shopping, delicious dining, authentic traditional treatments of Ayurveda and a cherished holiday in the blessed environs.
Trivandrum is a melting pot of cultures. The city gets its name from the Malayalam word thiru- anantha-puram, which means ‘City of Lord Anantha’. Anantha is the serpent on whom Lord Padmanabha (a form of Lord Vishnu) reclines. As early as the 4th century, the city had trade connections with many countries trading mostly in spices. It was the capital of Travancore kingdom during the 17th century. Apart from its native crowds, Dutch, Portuguese and British colonials have inhabited the blessed city creating the environment of multi ethnicity. After Independence, the state of Travancore was annexed within the Indian Territory.
During the British era, the name of the city was changed to Trivandrum. It was the official adopted name of the city until 1991, when the government renamed the city to Thiruvananthapuram. The city has a thousands of years of varied legacy in the field of art, culture and architecture. The historical, religious and cultural hotspots make the city one of the must visit places in India.
Places to visit in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)
- Padmananbhaswamy Temple
- Vizhinjam Rock- Cut Cave
- Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum
- Zoological Park
- Padmanabhapuram Palace
- Koyikkal Palace
- Napier Museum
- Shanmugham beach
Dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, a form of Lord Vishnu, Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams in India. The Hindu temple is run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore. A blend of architectural styles of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it is one of the main worship centers of the deity in Vaishnavism. The deity statue is in the posture of the ‘Anantha-sayanam’ (in the sleeping form of Yoga-nidra on the serpent Anantha).
Vizhinjam Rock- Cut Cave
Sculpted in the 18th century, Vizhinjam rock-cut cave temple consists of marvelous rock- cut figurines. This granite cave consists of a one-celled shrine that has a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. On the outer wall of the cave, half- complete relics of the Hindu Lord Shiva with his wife Goddess Parvathi are carved.
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum
Standing adjoining the well-known Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple at the East Fort in Trivandrum, Kuthiramalika or Puthenmalika palace was erected by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma – the King of Travancore. This palace is a great example of very few left specimens of the traditional Travancore style of architecture where exquisite wood is also used. Now transformed into a museum, it consists of paintings and various other priceless collections of the royal family.
One of the first zoological parks in India, the Trivandrum Zoo is located in the heart of the city and is counted as one of the best designed ones in Asia. Established in 1859, this zoo covers 55 acres of woodland, lakes and lawns. The zoo also houses a reptile house with various snake species and a vulture house as well. There is a lake and boat house too within the zoo’s premises. The park is home to around 75 mammal species as well as resident and migratory birds from Australia and Ethiopia. You can spot animals like niligiri langur, lion-tailed macaque, royal Bengal tiger, Indian Rhino, Zebra, Giraffe, Cape buffalo and so on.
Padamanabhapuram Palace, located at a distance of around 65 km from Trivandrum on the way to Kanyakumari is a magnificent wooden palace. Erected during the 16th century, it was the home of the Venad rulers. This traditional home of the rulers of Travancore, it is taken care of by the government of Kerala. This Palace is an excellent example of traditional Kerala wooden architecture.
It was constructed by Iravi Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal around 1601 A.D and was also known as Kalkulam Palace. Some of the enchanting features of this palace include carved ceilings, curved shuttered windows, pagoda-style tile roof, intricate beamed roof, sculpted door panels, exotic murals, and beautiful wall paintings.
Koyikkal Palace, erected during the 17th century and was the official residence of the royal family of Venad. The double –storied palace is traditional Nalukettu (typical Kerala architecture) with slanting gabled roofs and an inner courtyard. Today, the palace contains 2 museums, exhibiting precious specimens of folklore and numismatics The Folklore Museum displays the rich cultural heritage of Kerala including household utensils, occupational instruments, folk art models, musical instruments, other rare articles and more. The Numismatic museum contains a detailed collection of rare ancient coins, weights and seals, badges and much more.
Founded by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1855, Napier Museum is one of the earliest museums in India. It was designed by a popular English architect of the British India, Robert Fellows Chisholm (1840-1915). In 1874, the old building of the museum was pulled down. In its place, the foundation of a new building was laid, which was named after Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras presidency. This 120- yr building with gothic minarets, roof and unique ornamentation is now a landmark in Trivandrum.
The beaches of Trivandrum are known for their scenic appeal, The Arabian Sea’s cerulean expanse along the Kovalam Beach is a beautiful beach. It is one of the serene holiday locations in Kerala. Varkala beach is a soothing experience as the charming scene to unexploited wonders. The Shanmugham beach is a lovely setting which has a Keralite version of the mermaid, the Matasya Kanyaka. Sunbathing, relaxing, Ayurvedic massages and water-sports are some of the things one must not miss.