Thiruvananthapuram city is considered as one of the loveliest cities in India. Built on seven low coastal hills, the city has an interesting mixture of tree-lined avenues. Massive buildings, ancestral homes and a long sea coast washed by the waves of the Arabian Sea. Clean, green Thiruvananthapuram, with its spacious layout and regulated life, is also an excellent base to explore the interiors of Kerala.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple:
The temple, located near the bus stand at East Fort, is the city’s most impressive landmark. Its 7 stored gopuram built in the 16th Century is one of the finest specimens of traditional South Indian temple architecture which reflects the Kerala influence. The temple corridors are lined with 368 sculpted stone pillars. Beautiful murals and ornamentation adorn the walls. Temple was renovated by the Maharaja of Thiruvithamcur in 1733. Only Hindus can enter the temple, wearing dhoti in a certain style.
This palm-fringed beach near the airport, with its indoor recreation club and children’s traffic training park is fine for an outing-though not for swimming.
A beautiful, curving, palm-fringed beach of golden sands and safe bathing have made India’s major beach resort. It is an internationally known holiday destination. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool free from high waves and surges – ideal for swimming, surfing and skiing. The more adventurous can ride out into the sea
on a catamaran. Besides the ITDC’s luxury hotel complex, several other hotels and guest houses have sprung up on the hillsides overlooking the beach, taking advantage of the Kovalam boom. Among the many other attractions here are water sports, a theatre that stages traditional Kathakali dance dramas, a yoga centre and facilities for traditional oil bathing and massages according to the ancient Kerala Ayurvedic system.
An important fishing port near Kovalam beach. Here, one can see fishing boats return with their catch in the mornings.
Akkulam Boat Club:
The lake here, with its boating facilities, is a popular retreat for the city dwellers. A Children’s park and Snack bar are the other attractions here.The Fort – Palaces and homes of the former rulers of Travancore (Thiruvithamcur) can be found inside the Fort. These are masterpieces of Kerala architecture and they exhibit the results of outstanding workmanship in wood. .The Kanakakunnu Palace in particular, is a spectacular piece of architecture.
Botanical and Zoological Gardens :
The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, supposed to be one of the best in the country, actually forms a part of the Botanical Gardens. The sprawling Botanical garden contains many exotic trees and an excellent lake which forms a part of the Zoo. Established in 1859 AD, the Zoo contains a large collection of animals from India and abroad. Set amidst shady trees and a forest-like landscape, the animals are provided with a natural habitat – the best that captivity can give. An aviary and reptile house are the added attractions here. The aquarium nearby, on the beach, presents an attractive selection of fish and other marine creatures and plants.
Timing : 8.00 am to 6 pm . Closed on Mondays.
Chithira Art Gallery:
Situated within the museum compound, the gallery has one of the best collections of the work of Raja Ravi Varma, a great force in Indian Art. Notable among the collection are several Roe rich landscapes, copies of Rajput and Mughal paintings, works from the Tanjore school of Art and copies of paintings from the Ajanta caves. The gallery also has a fine collection of miniature paintings from China, Japan, Tibet nad Bali.
Timing : 10.00 am to 7.00 pm. Closed on Mondays and Wednesday mornings .
Veli Tourist Village :
Situated near the Thiruvananthapuram airport, Veli with it’s beautiful gardens, exquisite sculptures and floating bridge, is a popular recreational centre. There is an exchanting lagoon for swimming. Facilities for boating and other water-sport activities are also provided
Situated at an attitude of 610 m above sea level, ponmudi id a beautiful hill station known for its pleasant climate, tea plantations and enchanting scenery. The deep forest trails are ideal for hiking and trekking.
Neyyar Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary :
The picturesque location of the dam and the lake has made Neyyar a popular picnic spot. The enchanting Agastyagoodam mountains in this area provide an opportunity for hiking, trekking and mountaineering. Other places of interest around the dam are the Crocodile Farm and the Lion Safari Park. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary established in 1958, this sanctuary covers an area of 128 sq. km., including the Neyyar reservoir. The sanctuary has a wide variety of vegetation and landscape, ranging from tropical wet evergreen forest to grasslands. The best way to explore the sanctuary is by boat