Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, the God's Own Country, now known by the name “Thiruvananthapuram” literally translates into the "abode of Lord Anantha" in Sanskrit and Malayalam. The name derives from the deity of the Hindu temple at the centre of the city. Anantha is the serpent Sheshnag on whom Padmanabhan or Vishnu reclines. The temple of Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple remains the iconic landmark of the city. The Sri PadmanabhaswamyTemple is a highly venerated temple for Keralites. The city of Thiruvananthapuram is located in the South of the state and bordered by Tiruneveli in the East, Kanyakumari to the South and Kollam district located to its North.
Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BC. It was a trading port for spices like the rest of ancient Kerala. However the ancient political and cultural history of the city was almost entirely independent from that of the rest of Kerala. The early rulers of the city were the Ays. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the rulers of Venad. The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Thiruvithamkoor (Travancore). Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital of Travancore in 1745.
Today Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the Kerala University, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and Technopark.
What To See
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), holds a number of tourist spots. The entire tourism package such as hill stations, back waters, beaches, lagoons, and wild life sanctuaries are present in this district. Trivendrum also Known for Medical tourism, as there are more than hundred recognised Ayurveda centres in and around the city.
The Padmanabhaswamy temple is a famous Hindu temple of Lord Vishnu, located inside the Fort in the city of Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is one of the 108 divya desam, the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu. The main deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is a form of Vishnu in Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of yognidra). This is an ancient temple and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the name of the presiding deity enshrined in the temple. Recently it gain fame due to its huge wealth which was recovered from one of its secrete chambers.
The origin of the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is lost in antiquity. It is not possible to determine with any exactitude, from any reliable historical documents or other sources as to when and by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy was consecrated. The Temple has references in Epics and Puranas. Srimad Bhagavatha says that Balarama visited this Temple, bathed in Padmatheertham and made several offerings. Nammalwar, 9th century poet and one among the 12 Vaishnavite saints of the Alvar tradition, has composed ten hymns in praise of Lord Padmanabha. Some well known scholars, writers and historians, like the late Dr. L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, have expressed the view that this Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (which is over 5000 years ago). The legends of the Temple are handed down through the centuries. One such legend which finds a place in the old palm leaf records of the Temple, as also in the famous grantha entitled “Ananthasayana Mahatmya”, mentions that it was consecrated by a Tulu Brahmin hermit named Divakara Muni. On the 950th year of Kali Yuga a reinstallation of the idol was done. In the 960th Kali year King Kotha Marthandan built the Abhisravana Mandapam.
Aranamula Temple Boat Race
The Aaranmula Boat Race is staged each year in the scenic village of Aaranmula in August/ September. This river carnival is part of the Aaranmula Temple festival. Masses throng the shores of the River Pamba to watch an imposing cluster of snake boats called 'Palliyodams'.
Each boat, nearly 100 feet long, is a remarkable feat of craftsmanship, with the stem curved to resemble the hood of a snake and a tampering bow. Festooned with silk and gold spangled umbrellas, the boats are manned by a crew of more than 100 men.
The Aranmula Temple is located on the Thiruvananthapuram - Kottayam route. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. "Aranmula Kannadi" is a handmade mirror of polished for which Aranmula is famous.
Agastya Mala is a 1,868 metres (6,129 ft) peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala in the Western Ghats. The mountain lies on the border between the Indian states of Kerala (in Thiruvananthapuram District) and Tamil Nadu (in Tirunelveli District). The perennial Thamirabarani River originates from the eastern side of this hill and flows into the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu.
Agastya Mala is a pilgrimage centre for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. The Tamil language is considered to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agastya at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer pujas themselves. Agastyarkoodam has the largest biodiveristy in Asia. The lower elevations of this peak are also known for their abundance of rare herbs and medicinal plants. Around 2,000 medicinal plants used in Ayurvedic treatments are found here. Europeans, particularly those from England, were the first to establish tea gardens around the base stations of the mountain at Brimore, Bonacaud, and Ponmudi. Other major rivers which originate from the mountain are the Karamana River, which flows through the Thiruvananthapuram District and is the major source of drinking water to the city.
The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR) was Established here in 2001 and includes 3,500.36 Sq. Kms out of which 1828 km is in Kerala and 1672.36 km is in Tamil Nadu. It is the habitat for 2,000 varieties of medicinal plants, of which at least 50 are rare and endangered species. Rare animals include the tiger, Asian Elephant, and Nilgiri Tahr. Agastyamalai is also home to the Kanikaran, one of the oldest surviving ancient tribes in the world. Ecotourism is popular in the area.
Akkulam Lake is a tourist village in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala state, south India. It is about 10 km from Thiruvananthapuram town. It is a well known for the picnic and backwater destination Akkulam Lake, an extension of Veli Lake, where it joins with the sea. Akkulam is home to the southern air command of India.
The Boat Club, which started functioning in 1989, now operates speed, safari, pedal and row boats from Akkulam to Veli Tourist Village. A traditional style Kettuvallam(house boat) is available for overnight stay. The swimming pool at Akkulam is equipped with glider and other playing facilities. The Children's Park is a unique amusement spot and has several new rides that have ben included recently. The newly commissioned musical fountain is an added attraction.
Anchuthengu, formerly known as Anjengo, is a coastal town in the Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala. The place possesses great archaeological and historical importance. In 17th century, the English East India Company selected Anjengo to set up their first trade settlement in Kerala.
Many ancient churches, an old lighthouse, a 100 year old convent and school, tombs of Dutch and British and the Anjengo Fort are major points of interest here.
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, one of the ancient temples of south India, is dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathi, one of the forms of Parvathi. It is situated on the banks of the Killi river, in Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is beautified with carvings of the various manifestations of the goddess, as Mahishasuramardini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeswari, Sree Parvathi with Lord Paramashiva and various others.
The East Fort
The East Fort is located at the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city. East Fort got its name from the eastern entrance to the fort built by the Kings of Travancore. The old city was all inside the fort on four sides with the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple at the center. It is said that there were huge metal gates on this entrance to the Fort which was decorated with the symbol of a conch, which was the insignia of the Royal Family of Travancore.
Edava is a coastal village in Thiruvananthapuram district in the state of Kerala, India. Edava is located near the tourist spot Varkala. Edava has beaches and backwaters. There is an estuary that links Edava lake to the Arabian sea here. During the monsoon season, water gushes out of the lake and reaches the sea, people from surrounding villages come to watch the event.
Government Arts and Crafts Museum
Located in a well planned compound is a complex of museums and the city's zoo. The government Arts and Crafts museum, earlier known as the Napier museum is in a red and black brick Indo-Saracenic structure, designed by Robert Fellows Chisholm in 19th century. The museum has a vast collection of bronzes, stone sculptures, exquisite gold ornaments, ivory carvings and a temple chariot. The Shri Chitra Art Gallery is located north of the museum. Housed in a beautiful building, the gallery incorporates the best elements of the local architecture. The pride of its vast collection is the huge works of Raja Ravi Varma, who was the finest Indian artist of his period.
Janardana Swami Temple
Janardana Swami Temple is a 2000 year old temple situated in Varkala.It is also known as Varkala Temple.Janardana Swami is a form of Lord Vishnu.It is a very well known temple in Kerala. It is 25 km north of Thiruvananthapuram. It is situated near the Arabian sea shore. The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach. It is also an important Ayurveda treatment centre.
This palace is situated in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city. It is one of the most beautiful buildings of the Town. The palace and its extensive grounds have become the venue for many cultural meets in these days.
Kappil Bhagavathy Temple
Kappil Bhagavathy Temple is a famous temple located at Kappil in trivandrum. There are two temples, one for Lord Siva and the other for Devi Bhadrakali. The festival in Bhadrakali temple is very famous and it happens on the day of "Meena Bharani" which is a famous day all over the Kerala. Kappil Lord Shiva temple is believed to be about 1,000 years old. The idol of Lord Shiva faces to the west.
Kovalam is a beach town on the Arabian Sea in Kerala, a state in south India. It is located around 13 km from downtown Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees. Kovalam has three crescent shaped beaches separated by rocky outcroppings. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.
Kowdiar Palace in Trivandrum was built in 1915 by Sree Moolam Thirunal and was gifted to Sethu Parvati Bayi.It is the official residence of the Travancore Royal Family. Kowdiar Palace's architectural work is famous and has over 150 rooms. The entry to this famous palace, which has great historical importance, is restricted.
Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad Located on the way to the Ponmudi Hill Station and the Courtallam waterfalls, this ancient palace dates back to the 13th century. Here you can see a double storeyed traditional Nalukettu building with slanting gabled roofs, an inner courtyard and museums of folklore and numismatics set up by the Department of Archaeology.
Puthen Malika Palace and Museum
Puthen Malika Palace and Museum, most popularly known as Kuthira Malika (Mansion of Horses), is a palace built by Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, on the south-eastern side of Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The palace gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof. The official name of the palace is Puthen Malika (New Mansion). The palace forms part of a vast complex of royal buildings in the vicinity of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The building was left unoccupied for more than a century, following the demise of Swathi Thirunal in 1846. Built in the 1840s, Kuthira Malika is a fine example of traditional Kerala architecture, with its typical sloping roofs, overhanging eaves, pillared verandahs and enclosed courtyards. Intricate carvings adorn the wooden ceilings with each room having a distinctive pattern.
A portion of Kuthira Malika has been converted to a Palace Museum that houses some of the assets owned by the Travancore Royal Family. The collection includes Kathakali mannequins, Belgian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, paintings, armaments, musical instruments, traditional furniture and other artifacts. On the right side of the mannequins are the ivory cradles of various sizes.
Parshuram Temple Thiruvallam
Parshuram Temple Thiruvallam is about six km south of the city, on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kovalam road. There is an ancient temple here on the banks of the Karamana River, which is dedicated to the Trimurthis of the Hindu pantheon. A shrine of Parasurama, built entirely of granite is found in this temple.
This 2000 year old temple on the bank of river Karamana, is the only one in Kerala dedicated to Sree Parasurama, the mythological creator of Kerala.
Ponmudi(The Golden Peak) is a hillstation in the Thiruvananthapuram district. Its located 61 km north-east of Trivandrum city at an altitude of 1100 m. It is a part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Arabian Sea. The climate is pleasant year-round. Trivandrum serves as a base for trekking and hiking. There are also tea gardens in the area. The other attraction here is the Golden Valley it offers vistas of the hills and access to the Kallar river Flowing though a wilderness area, it has rounded pebbles, cool water, fish, and lush green trees.
Poovar is a small coastal village in the Trivandrum district of Kerala state, south India. This village is almost at the southern tip of Trivandrum. This village has a beautiful beach which attracts tourists. There are also some good tourist resorts. Its natural beauty enables it to be a quiet tourist spot. Poovar was a trading center of timber, sandlewood, ivory and spices.
Science and Technology Museum
The Science and Technology Museum was established in 1984. This is setup by the Kerala government. This was designed to inculcate scientific awareness in the minds of the youngsters. This is a place including recreation with study and is also an essential tourist attraction.
Sri Chitra Art Gallery
Sri Chitra Art Gallery is an art gallery in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It is placed towards the northern side of the Napier Museum. It was established in 1935. The Art Gallery features a unique collection of traditional and contemporary Indian art. It is one of the few art galleries in India, which boasts the finest exhibits of both ancient and modern schools of Indian art.
St. Mary's Cathedral
St. Mary's Malankara Syrian Catholic Cathedral Basilica Pattom , Trivandrum is the central place of worship of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. It is the See of the Major Archbishop Catholicos of Trivandrum. The tombs of the Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios, Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios and of Major Archbishop Catholicos Moran Cyril Mar Baselios are there. Pope John Paul II visited the Cathedral on February 8, 1986.
Varkala Water Tunnel
Varkala Tunnel is a popular tourist highlight. It was a 924 ft long tunnel built in 1867 by T.Mahadeva Rao the dewan of Travancore, and took 14 years to complete. Varkala Lighthouse is another tourist highlight in the vicinity.
Veli Beach is just within 3 Km from Shanghumukham beach. It is an attractive tourist destination in Trivandrum. Veli tourist village lies in between Arabian sea and Veli lake. Boating is available in Veli lake for tourists.
Veli tourist village is designed by Kanayi Kunhiraman, a renowned sculptor from Kerala. Veli tourist village is connected with the Veli beach by a floating wooden bridge. There is also a floating restaurant in Veli. Today Veli developed as a major tourist spot by providing facilities for pedal-boating, row boating, swimming, get together, etc. is just the right place for an exciting outing.
Vettucaud is located on the north-west coast of Thiruvananthapuram. The Madre-de-Deus church is situated here. This church is popularly known as Vettucaud Palli. The annual feast of the church called 'Feast of Christ, the King', is attended by thousands of devotees. The ten-day feast falls during the third Sunday of November.
Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple
Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Trivandrum,Kerala, about a minute walk from the southern gate of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It is also known as Srinivasar kovil, Perumal Kovil, Iyyengar Kovil or Desikar Sannidhi. The temple was built in 1898. The pooja's in kerala temples are based on the Namboodiri sambradayam, instead this is the only temple in Kerala dedicated to Vaishanavite Vadakalai Sambradayam.
How To Reach
Being the capital of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to other major cities of India and the neighbouring countries. There are direct flights to Bangalore , Mumbai, Chennai, and Delhi . Cities in the neighbouring countries such as Colombo , Malé and cities of Arabian Gulf are connected by the International Flights.
Thiruvananthapuram is connected to other important cities of India by trains. Regular trains are available for the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. For the tourists heading towards North India and Delhi , Himsagar Express, Rajdhani Train is the perfect choice.
Thiruvananthapuram is connected with in Kerla and neighbouring states via Riad, some of the nearby cities are Kollam (1½ hours), Alappuzha (3¼ hours), Ernakulam (5 hours), Trichur (7 hours), Chennai (17 hours), Madurai (10 hours), and Pondicherry (16 hours) by road.
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