Trivandrum , officially known as Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital city of the Indian state of Kerala. Kerala has earned the epithet god’s own country on account of many spots in the state, which are set in the picturesque background of the nature in its pristine glory, and it also applies very truly to Trivandrum. It is the city of Thiru-v-anantha-puram, a three syllable word which means the abode of the sacred snake named Anantha, a mythological snake on which Vishnu, a god of the Hindus, is often depicted as resting in a reclining position. The presiding deity of the city, Lord Padmanabha, a form of Vishnu, is enshrined in the temple named Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The beautiful temple is a center of devotion, as also the most prominent landmark of Trivandrum.
The popular perception is that Trivandrum is the intellectual capital of Kerala while Kochi is its commercial capital; and Trissur enjoys the distinction of state’s cultural capital. This position of Trivandrum is reflected in abundant measures in its handicraft, its distinctive culture, its performing arts, and the literary geniuses produced by the city.
A legend subscribed and substantiated by many historical researches indicate that a port named Ophir (now called Poovar) was the place where ships of King Solomon landed way back around 1036 BC. Poovar is very close to Trivandrum, and the city has remained at the heart of the spice trade for millennia, and the regions around Trivandrum still hold, to a large extent, its position as the spice kings of the world. Apart from many other exotic attractions, if you want to see and taste the aroma of oriental herbs and spices, including the inspiring and rejuvenating experience of herbal treatment and massage, Trivandrum is the perfect destination, one among several such ones, in the state of Kerala. The Kovalam beach alongside Trivandrum is simply the Kovalam experience, which you should find unparallel, at least in this part of the globe. Although the city of Trivandrum has a glorious history stretching back to three thousand years, the modern history of the city began with the emergence of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Thiruvithamkoor, that is, Travancore. Trivandrum was made the capital of the Travancore in 1745, and since then the city has been growing steadily in all fields. The present population of more than one million makes it the largest urban agglomeration of Kerala state. The city is located very near to Kanya Kumari (anglicized name: Cape camorin), a place where the three great water masses surrounding the Indian peninsula merge, namely, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
Hotels and lodging
Some of the most famous places in and around Trivandrum are:
- Shree Padhmanabhaswamy temple is a temple comples dedicated the Lord Vishnu.
- Kovalam Beach is one of the most famous beaches of India, and it has developed as a beach with integrated seaside complex.
- Vizhinjam is an ancient port
- Ponmudi, a pleasant resort at an elevation of 912 m and located about 61 km from Trivandrum
- Veli lagoon with a boat club offers facilities like row boating, pedal boating, and swimming.
- The Kanakakunnu Palace is located in the city and a museum is also housed in the sprawling palace comple.
- Kanyakumari, located 87 km away from Trivandrum, is like the southernmost tip of the India and here three great water mass surrounding India on its three sides meet, namely the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
- Varkala, a Hindu piligrim center devoted to Narayan Guru. He was a spiritual leader. He preached the lesson of "One God, One Religion, One Caste". The place is 51 km from Trivandrum, and there is also a nice beach nearby.
Perhaps your visit to Trivandrum would be incomplete unless you make some purchases of things, which are unique to the place. The major shopping area of Trivandrum is located in the main part of the city, on the Mahatma Gandhi Road, named after the most prominent national leader of modern India. (You will find Mahatma Gandhi Road, MG Road in short, in almost all cities of India!) It is suggested to indulge in some buying as once you go back you shall rarely find some special items.
Antiques or look-alike antiques would be a good bet, and you may have few from emporia run by the government's tourist departments though private shops are also very good. You may select from many bronze pieces, intricately build locks, metal works, and several such items. Handicrafts may also find a place in your buying list, things made from coconut shells, coir, cane, bamboo and straw. Arammula metal mirror is a mirror with highly reflective surface and is made by mixing certain herbs with the molten metal! You will also find an amazing assortment of sandalwood carvings and ivory works. In case, you feel enterprising, you may buy few decorative facemasks to hide your real face and intent! It would be a novel idea to use your newly acquired facemask and do some bargain buys from the numerous pavement sellers while going to the Kovalam Beach. Some vendors sell great things provided you are able to haggle and bargain well. Lastly but not the least, you may like to carry some exotic spices home. After all Trivandrum, Kochi and Kerala had served the spices to the world for more than two millennia.
Maps and transportation
Getting to Trivandrum
Everyone who comes to Trivandrum would surely go to the Kovalam Beach. Rarely one would have the chance to be there during the rainy seasons. In case, you are in Trivandrum during the brutal rainy seasons of Kerala, you should explore the Kovalam of a different hue and colour. The monsoon rains generally reach Kerala coasts beginning from late May, and this heralds the beginning of the monsoons hitting the Indian mainland. The summer of Kerala turns into the rainy season, which would last for next few months. The sky becomes dark with black clouds and the rains continue to pour for hours and days together. The sight at the Kovalam Beach becomes menacing and at the same time more lovely. The jets of rains fall on the seashore and the waves come splurging to the beach as if a sea of champagne foam has been spilled and released over. Before the rains hit the coast, a silent hush grips the environment; people become expectant of the expected, the brutal but lovely rains. And, suddenly with streaks of lightening and deafening thunders accompany the torrential rains.
Practical information and resources
- Currency: Indian Rupee
- Electric supply: 220 Volts
- Language: Malayalam and Hindi. One can also manage with Simple English.
Trivandrum does not have the nightlife as understood in the conventional sense. Of course, you would find many pubs and bars attached to hotels and restaurants, the festivities associated with the conventional nightlife is absent. However, there is still scope to enjoy your evenings and late evenings in a different way: you have the option to watch performing arts of Kerala like Kathakali or Mohiniaattam dances and a variety of other cultural programs.
There is another dimension of the nightlife of Trivandrum, and it unfolds in the Kovalam Beach which becomes more active and vibrant during the night than the day. Just spending few hours there with the cool breeze and the musical notes of the sea waves shall be a unique experience indeed. Many bars near the beach remain open almost round the clock.
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Add links to other sites here
- Trivandrum - an official website with many useful details.