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Thiruvananthapuram is a historic city, dotted with many historical structures, parks, museums, tourist centers and palaces. Its also famous for its distinctive greenery, present all over, a rare site in any Indian bustling city. Visit the official website of Kerala Tourism.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, the icon of the city. The entire Thiruvanathapuram city was built around this temple. Its an architectural wonder and was nominated from India into last round of 7 Wonders of World. The building style is a mixture of Kerala and Tamil architecture. The temple has many structures inside, like musical pillars, golden mandap, 500 pillared corridor famous for its sculptures and large collection of temple mural paintings. The temple has a large clear pond called Padmatheertham, which is also landmark. The deity is Vishnu in a rare reclining posture, called as Sree Padmanabha. The temple has a huge role in history of Kerala, with the presiding deity even being crowned as Emperor of Travancore in 18th century and all the rulers ruling the state in the name of the deity. The royal crown of Travancore, is preserved inside the temple, though a glimpse of it, is a rare opportunity. The sad part is that, this temple is open only Hindus and others cannot enter inside. Even Hindus have to follow rigorous dress code and customs. This temple belongs to Travancore Royal Family and guarded by Palace Guards of Travancore.
East Fort, an old fort around Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. Today most of fortifications have been dismantled, except the Eastern side, thus the fort has got its current name- East Fort. The Fort Gate directly opens before Sree Padmanabha Temple and designed in European style. The illumination of East Fort Gate in evenings, is a major attraction.
The Kerala Government Secretariat, is the one of the most recognizable icon of the city. Built as Huzur Cutchery (Secretarial Offices in Malayalam) in 1860, to serve as the Royal Durbar Hall of Travancore Kingdom, this building is a super-imposing structure. The building was designed by British Royal Engineers Corps combining Roman-Dutch-English-Kerala architectures, a testimony of Kerala's past influences with Roman, Dutch, English. The old Legislature Assembly Hall inside the complex (Asia's first native legislature assembly)is a good museum with a detailed gallery that depicts the history of Travancore Legislature Assembly. Other areas of this building are not of tourist interest, as they are government offices.
The Napier Museum Named after a former Madras governor, General John Napier, this museum is a beautiful building in the museum compound. English architect Chrisholm created this building combining English-Saxon-Travancore architectural styles. This museum displays rare archaeological and historical artifacts including bronze idols and ivory carvings.(Open 10AM-5PM, closed on Mondays and before noon Wednesday.)
Sree Chithra Art Gallery is an art gallery located in the Museum compound and displays a rare collection of mainly Indian paintings. The main attractions are paintings by world famous Kerala painter Raja Ravi Varma and other famous painters Raja raja Varma and Nicholas Roerich. Also featured are miniature paintings from around the world, Kerala mural paintings and Tanjore miniature paintings.
The Zoological Park Closed Mondays, Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. This is the first zoo in India opened in 1843, as a concept of Palace for wildlife. Situated in the Museum compound, this area is a rich botanical garden. There is a wide variety of animals, plants and birds. It has a separate reptile park and butterfly garden.
Palace museum East entrance of the the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. - Has a good collection of many antique items from the Travancore era Kings. Thrones, paintings and many belongings kept in a very good condition housed in an erstwhile royal building.
Kerala Legislature Assembly Complex The new Legislature Assembly Complex called as Niyamasabha (Law House in Malayalam), is a super imposing modern structure located in heart of the city. Its famous for its classical Kerala architecture with ornate teak works, a unique Kerala styled dome, exquisitely designed interiors and a vast expanse of greenery around it. A photo shoot before this structure is a favourite activity among tourists.
Legislature Museum adjacent to Legislature assemble, there is a good museum that depicts history of South Asian Legislature assemblies. This building was once the headquarters of Travancore Royal Nair Brigade (Travancore Army). Today its one of the best galleries, that can give you a detailed look into history of South Asian legislature activities and process.
Kanaka Kunnu Palace (Golden Hill Palace in malayalam) is a cultural hotspot of the town. The large palace and its sprawling gardens was once the banquet palace for visiting State guests of Travancore. Today its a famous for its galleries and the grand lawns serve as open air auditoriums for regular concerts and evening dance programs.
Priyadarshini Space Planetarium, is one of the largest planetariums of India rated as one of the best horizontal planetariums of the world, with a good collection of astronomical science objects from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). It has 2 major shows regarding various secrets of universe. It has a good Sky Theatre, a large conference hall and venue of regular space related programs.
Kerala Science and Technology Museum, near to Priyadarshini Planetarium, is one of the largest science museum, featuring a timeline of various technologies in area of electronics, technology etc. There are several galleries on Electrical Engineering, Biomedical, Mechanical Engineering, etc. It has a very good collection of many electronic equipments and a good 3D Theatre with regular shows.
Chachanehru Children's Museum is a good children's museum with a large collection of dolls, masks, paintings etc. A mini aquarium and water play area is set here. Located in Thycuad, in the heart of city, is a good evening spot for families.
Kuthiramalika Palace, a unique palace designed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal (a famous musical genius Maharaja of Travancore), this palace is famous for its horse shaped windows and decor. This palace, located near to Padmanabhaswamy temple has some good collections of antiques related to Maharaja Swati Thirunal's times. This palace is venue of famous Swathi Thirunal Music Festival as well as many other musical concerts patronized by Royal family.
Kowidar Palace, is a super-imposing structure, located in Kowidar. This is the current official residence of Travancore Maharajas and royal family and off-the-limits for public. However a friendly guard may let you inside to have a glimpse of this large architectural wonder built in mixture of Saxon-Travancore styles. The public however can enter into Panchavadi, the resting place of Late H.H Maharaja Chitra Thirunal- the last King of Travancore who was very popular king.
The Padmanabhapuram Palace the old headquarters of Travancore Royal family, is one of the most attractive palaces, which no tourist can't afford to miss. The palace is recorded as World's largest Wooden Palace, by Guinness Books of Records. It is entirely made of teak and rosewood and have an exquisite flooring made of granite and a rare ayurvedic mixture with secret extracts to keep the floor cool in summer season and warm during rainy season. It has a grand Dubar Hall made out of rosewood and glass. The Palace houses a numerous rare antiques, including 600 year old spice bed, a rare bed made out of a special wood treated in various spices, to rejuvenate the kings as well as sandal pillars. The clock tower is one of the oldest in South Asia, that is still working. It is 65 km from Trivandrum City and is in the Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. However the palace and fort is still maintained by Kerala Government. The royal sword of Travancore Maharajas is preserved here, which is taken to Trivandrum as a grand procession during Arattu Festivals of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Shanghumukham Beach This city beach is 8 km outside the city, adjacent to the airport. Local people flock there to watch the sunset. Its a good well maintained safe beach. There is an indoor recreation club nearby. Matsyakanyaka a gigantic sculpture of a mermaid by Kanai Kunjiraman arouses mixed reaction. A small garden and star-fish shaped restaurant operates there, attracts large crowds. There is also a peaceful temple nearby.
Veli Tourist Village. A lake blending into the beach, almost as if it were teasing the sea. Boating, Horse Riding on the beach, a floating bridge, a shallow pond where you can feed the fish, beautifully maintained gardens. Very famous among tourists, especially those interested in water adventure sports.
Kovalam Beach - 17 km from Thiruvananthapuram City, famous for its stretch of beaches
Other Important Places To Visit
Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Tips of Thiruvananthapuram
By Air: Trivandrum has an international airport. Major public and private (including a number of international airlines) operate regular flights to and from Trivandrum. Many Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kochi are well connected to Trivandrum.
By Rail: Trivandrum is a major Railway Station in India. Key destinations in Kerala and South India are linked to Trivandrum by rail.
By Road: An extensive road network connects Trivandrum with most of the cities in Kerala like Kochi, Alleppey and Kumarakom. You can also approach the city from other south Indian cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Madurai.