Thiruvananthapuram

Located at the southewestern tip of India Thrivananthapuram district is bounded by the Arabian Sea on the west and Tamil Nadu on the east. The wooded highlands on the Western Ghats in the eastern and northeastern borders give Thiruvananthapuram some of the most enchanting picnic spots. A long shoreline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make this district a much sought after tourist destination. Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram General information

GENERAL INFORMATION
Area 2192 sq km
Population 2,938,583 (1991 Census)
Altitude Sea level
Climate Summer April-Sep 39°C 23°C
  Winter Oct-Mar 30°C 23°C
Clothing Summer Light Tropical
  Winter Light Woollen
Rain fall 170 cms May to Nov
Language Tamil, Malayalam & English

How to get there

By Air
Trivandrum Airport (International) is linked by flights to Cochin, Madras, Delhi, Goa and Bombay. International flights operate to and from Colombo, Mali, Dubai, Abudhabi and Kuwait.

By Rail
Thiruvananthapuram main railway station is the Central station located at 'Thampanoor'. It is a major railway junction of the Southern Railway. There are excellent Mail and Express train services operating to almost all major centres of the country.

By Road
Thiruvananthapuram is well connected with all major cities through four national high ways Nos. 7, 17, 45, and 47.

  • 222 km away form Cochin,
  • 293 km from Idduki
  • 16 km from Kovalam
  • 159 km from Kottyam
  • 253 km from Thekkady
  • 150 km from Alleppey.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple

( Open: 0415 - 0515 hra, 0645-0730 hrs, 0830-1030 hrs, 1130-1145 hrs, 1715-1930 hrs). The temple is located inside the east fort. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its mural paintings ad stone carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Serpent. Only Hindu is allowed inside the temple.

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum

(Open 830-1230 hrs & 1530-1730 hrs. Closed on Monday). The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma-the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite wood carving. The palace museum display paintaings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

Shanghumukhuam Beach

Just 8km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35m long sculpture of a memorial) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here.

The Zoological Park

(Open 1000-1700 hrs. Closed on Mondays.) One of the first zoos in India, it is located in a well planned botanical garden. With huge trees like frangipani andjacaranda dotting the sprawing lawns and wild fowl swimming in the lake, it is like a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different spacies of snakes is also located in the premises.

Excursions

Thiruvallam (10km)

This serene backwater stretch, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe rides.

Aruvikkara Dam (16 km)

This picturesque picnic spot is on the banks of the Karamana River. Near the Durga Temple here is a stream full of fish that fearlessly come close to the shore to be fed by the visitors.

Kovalam Beach (16 km)

This internationally renowned beach resort has been a favourite haunt of tourist since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southern most, known as lighthouse Beach, is the most popular.

Varkala (40 km)

Varkala is a seaside resort and spa. It is also an important Hindu centre of piligrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. According to a myth, sage Narda was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam (cloth made of the bark of a tree) into the air, and the palace where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narda to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption came to be known as the Papanasham beach (Papanasham means redemptiom from sins). The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions here.

Festivals

Onam

(August/September): Onam is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Kerala, especially in Thiruvananthampuram and it commemorates the legendary rule of King Mahabali, during which tune the people were so happy that it aroused the jealously of the gods.

Arattu

The 'Vetta' and 'arattu' processions are held twice a year from the Padmanabhaswamy temple to shanghumugham beach, led by the members of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore. The idols from from the temple are subjected to ritual purification in the sea. Cultural performances, including Kathakali, are staged during the occasion.

Attukal Pongala

The ten day Pongala festival held at Attukal Bhagavathy temple, 2km from Thiruvananthampuram, attracts thousands of female devotees from many parts of the country. Men are not allowed in the vicinity of the temple during the Pongala. Pongal is a kind of sweet porridge, considered to the goddess' favourite offering. I is cooked by each devotee in a clay pot on an open fire and the long line of women making the retiual offering extends up to East Fort and beyond.

Chandanakudam Maholsavam

This colorful Islamic festival is celebrated to commerorate Bee Umma, a saintly lady, whose tomb is in Beemapally near Thiruvananthapuram. Devotees bring money in pots decorated with flowers, incense sticks and sandlwood paste, as an offering during the festival.

Nishagandhi Dance Festival :( 21-27 February)

This week long festival of Indian classical dances is held at the Nishagandhi open air theatre, Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram.

Gramam

( the Kerala village fair), Kovalam (14-23 January): An entire Kerala village is recreated on the beach, during this ten day long festival. The traditional nalukettu (the quadrangular upper class house with a central open courtyard) and its premises become the venue of the fair, where the culture, arts and crafts of Kerala come alive.

Falvour Food Festival

(5-11 April): Renowned hotels from across Kerala participate in this week long international festival of the various cuisines of the world held at the Kanakakunnu Palace grounds, Thiruvananthapuram.

Shopping

Again a shopping trip for traditional saris .Woven by Hand loom weavers society. Here you get inexpensive beautiful traditional cotton saris and dhotis.traditinal keralite clothes are sandal wood coloured cotton clothes with gold boarder. The weavers for making such clothes were brought to balaramapuram from Tamil Nadu by the Travancore kings and they were given land to settle.