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Trivandrum Overview

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Summarise the city :
Pack of delights

Best time to visit (High & peak months) :
October to March

Experiences :
Beaches, heritage and culture, Ayurveda

City calling code :
+91-471

Recommended no. of days for a tourist :
2

Best buys :
Sculptures in rosewood and sandalwood, brass and "bell-metal" lamps, souvenirs made of coconut, coir, bamboo and straw, Kathakali masks

Essentials to be carried along :
Cotton outfits, sun glasses, hat, sunblocks

All about the city :
The capital of 'God's own country' Thiruvananthapuram (earlier but stil popular name is Trivandrum) is a very apt introduction to the Keralan culture and the modern developments that the state has undergone to keep itself abreast with the rest of the world. The rich tradition of the town dates back to almost 1000 B.C. Thiruvananthapuram is popularly known as the 'City of Sacred Serpent' as it derives its name from Anantha, the five headed serpent upon which Lord Vishnu reclines. The major temple here has the image of Lord Vishnu reclining on this serpent.

Trivandrum as Thiruvananthapuram was earlier known sprawls over seven hills and is thus like Rome an undulating city - one moment you are up, the next, down. Once a pleasant sleepy town has now emerged as a major tourist destination and scores a perfect 10 for all the three A's of tourism viz. attraction, accessibility and amenities. Begin your day with a stroll down the by lanes lined with old mansions, visit the museums and palaces, get rejuvenated at an authentic Ayurveda centre, watch a Kalaripayattu performance or observe the spectacular sunset at the Shanghumugham beach. The environs of Thiruvananthapuram also have a lot to offer.
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Trivandrum Tourist attractions

Name (suggested time required to see the place)DescriptionEntrance charges (if any) for Foreigner Close Day (if any) Open / Close time
Anantha Padmanabhaswamy templeThe temple, situated in the heart of the city Fort, is the only one in the state with a lofty gopura (temple tower) - a typical feature of Dravidian style of architecture. A magnificent array of gods, goddesses, nymphs and demons adorn the seven-storied 'gopuram' that rises to over 30 m.

The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu whose 20 ft figure reclines on the sacred serpent. This 260 years old temple is still under the direct control of the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family, whose head visits the temple every morning for a special darshan, when others are not permitted inside.
none (Closed to non -Hindus) 3:30 am - 4:45 am

6:30-7am

8:30-10 am

10:30-11:10 am

11:45 am - 12 noon

5pm-6:15pm

6:45 -7:20pm
Puthen Maliga (or Kuthiramalika) Palace museumVery close to Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is a 200-year-old architectural marvel that came into existence when 5000 artisans toiled for about 5 years in a row. Once residence of Travancore maharajas, it is now a repertory of royal paraphernalia. The museum holds evidences of spice trade between India and China and Europe. If you happen to visit this place in Jan/Feb you might get a chance to soothe your self in the annual Classical Music Festival. INR 20Monday8:30 am-1 pm & 3-5 pm
Museum & zoological park complexThe treasure of Keralan art and architecture that lie preserved in its museums can be explored very quickly in the town as the three important museums are located side by side in a well laid out complex. If Napier Museum exhibits fine sculptures in wood, stone, bronze and ivory, Natural History Museum displays stuffed birds and animals and a fine replica tharawad - a typical Nair family (a warrior caste) wooden house. North of the Napier museum is Shri Chitra Gallery that houses the masterpieces of Raja Ravi Verma and his uncle Raja Raja Verma - the doyens of unique academy style of painting in India. Imitations of their paintings form the main element of decoration in most of the hotels in South India.  Monday & Wednesday mornings9 am-5pm
Veli Tourist parkSome 8 km to the west of the city center near the airport is situated a well-designed park that sports fine sculptures by a local artist Kanai Kunhiraman. The landscape and the water sport facilities there make it an interesting pastime. Shanghumugham Beach adjacent to the Veli village is a nice sunset point. A gigantic mermaid sculpture popularly known as 'Matsya Kanyaka' and its starfish shaped restaurant are added attractions.  none10 am - 6 pm
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Getting there

AirRailRoad
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (6 km from the city) has over 30 air links with convenient connections to Colombo, Maldives, Singapore and the Middle East. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways operate domestic flights to different parts of the country. There are direct daily flights for Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa.Trivandrum is connected to other important cities of India and Kerala by trains. Regular trains are available for the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. For the tourists heading towards North India and Delhi, Himsagar Express & Kerala Express is the perfect choice. The biweekly Trivandrum Rajdhani is a fast link from Delhi and Mumbai. The roads in Kerala are pretty good. Thiruvananthapuram lies 159 km SE of Alappuzha, 217 km SE of Kochi, 253 km SW of Thekkady, 302 km SW of Munnar 162 south of Kumarkom and 329 km SW of Madurai.
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Trivandrum Festivals

Name of festivalDates / MonthsFestival details with link for more information
OnamAugust - SeptemberOnam is the most famous festival of Kerala. All Malayali's irrespective of religion celebrate it. It is the harvest festival of Kerala and is celebrated as the home coming of Mahabali, the generous king who once ruled over Kerala and was ousted by Lord Vishnu. Flower carpet is prepared in the front yard of every house. Special prayers are offered in temples. Delicious dinner is the special feature of Onam celebration. Traditional food is served on plantain leaves.
The Great Elephant March17-20 JanuaryThe festival begins in Trichur and ends at Thiruvananthapuram. 101 tuskers decked in style give you a chance to feed them and ride them as well. Special cermonies like the ceremonial elephant feeding, let visitors get very close to these graceful animals.
Flavor food festival5-11 AprilThis exotic food festival provides a rare opportunity to the gourmets to taste the traditional, authentic Cuisine of Kerala and India.
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Trivandrum Excursions

Excursion (distance in kms / time taken)Write up on the excursion
Padmanabhapuram Palace (52 km southeast of Thiruvananthapuram/ 1.5 Hrs)

Timings: 9 am - 5 pm; Monday closed
Proverbially the largest wooden palace in India, this is without doubt an apotheosis of tasteful elegance and intricate craftsmanship. This former capital of Travancore rulers, now falls within the boundaries of neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu but is governed by the archaeological department of Kerala. When here, don't miss to have a glimpse of King's bed that is made out of 64 different types of medicinal woods.
Kovalam (16 km south of Thiruvananthapuram/ 20 minutes) This is India's one of the finest beach resort. Very popular with both the budget and the well-heeled traveler's, this place is hit by a record number of tourists every year but still it proudly boasts to have retained its original charm that escalated it on the popularity chart. The four beaches in Kovalam viz. the Samudra beach (northern part), Ashoka beach, Eve's beach and Light house beach (southern part) all lie at short walking distance from each other. Beaches to the north are more secluded and offer facilities for water sports, catamaran trips and safe swimming in the shallow waters. Beachside restaurants serve delectable seafood made out of fresh catches.
Varkala (40 km north of Thiruvananthapuram/ 1 hr) Varkala is an ideal escape for those who wish to avoid the crowds in Kovalam. Red laterite cliffs with groves of Coconut trees and natural springs give a special character to this beach resort. It is a pilgrim centre for the Keralites who flock here to worship at Janardhana Swamy temple, perform the final rites for the deceased and take a holy dip in the Papnasam beach, called so because according to Hindu mythology sage Narad directed the cursed holy mendicants of Lord Brahma's court to this place to perform their penance. He threw his Valkalam (bark worn as garment) to spot the place, hence the name Varkala. Sivagiri Math is the final resting place of Sri Narayan Guru, a social reformer who worked for one religion and one caste.
Kanyakumari (87 km from Thiruvananthapuram/2.5 hrs)This southernmost tip of Indian mainland is the place of confluence of Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The main attractions here are Vivekananda Rock memorial that is built around a rock in the sea on which Swami Vivekanand meditated continuously for 3 days, Gandhi Madapam where Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were kept before being immersed and Kumari amman temple that enshrines Goddess Parvati. The place is called Kanyakumari because Lord Shiva did not arrive at the auspicious time decided for his marriage with Parvati, hence the marriage could not take place and Parvati remained unmarried. Thus came the name Kanyakumari (unmarried girl).
Ponmudi (61 km north-east of Thiruvananthapuram/2 hrs)Perched at a height of 3002 ft (915 m) this is a tiny hill station surrounded by tea estates and dense forests. Cool refreshment for those who would love to try short treks after an exhilarating stint with the brisk beaches.
Agasthyakoodam (60 km NE of Thiruvananthapuram/2 hrs)This is the second highest peak in Kerala that forms a part of Agasthyavanam forest. The mountain is revered equally by Buddhists, who believe it to be the abode of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshwar, and by Hindus who consider it to be the place of sage Agastya (disciple of Lord Shiva). Trekking to the top (28 km) rewards you with fine views of large lake created by Neyyar Dam. It takes 2 days and is permitted only between December and April. For trekking Permits contact the office of the Wildlife Warden, Trivandrum at + 91 - 471 - 2368607
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Suggested Places to eat at Trivandrum

Name of the place Phone / Email Cuisine Avg. cost per person for a mealOpening & closing time
Kalavara Chinese, North Indian and Kerala thali  
Park field restaurant Keralite fare especially sea food  
Kadaleevanam Vegetarian food cooked according to principles of naturopathy  
Arya Nivas Variety of dosas and idlis amidst the art works of Raja Ravi Verma. Come here for both food and ambience  
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Suggested tour program with Trivandrum

Tour NameNo. Of days Other places covered Detail's link (if applicable)
Best of Kerala9 nights/10 daysKochi-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarkom -Alappuzha -Kovalam (Trivandrum)  
Ayurveda and Backwaters6 nights/7 daysKovalam (Trivandrum)-Alappuzha -Kochi 
A Learning Experience in Kerala 8 nights/9 daysKochi-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarkom-Kovalam (Trivandrum) 
A Different Stay Everyday9 nights/10 days
Wayanad-Kochi-Alappuzha-Kovalam (Trivandrum)-Neyyar Dam
 
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