Thiruvananthapuram Trivandrum is a famous tourist destination in Kerala and has got its popularity from the beautiful monuments and a number of cultural and traditional events that take place all round the year. Apart from scenic beauty and traditional monuments, Trivandrum is also famous for its gaudy and elaborate festivals which are celebrated with great pomp and zeal, especially the large processions prepared and displayed on roads during major festivals. Aaranmula Boat Race is one such festival, during which, large boats are ornately decorated and raced. Besides, you have a number of museums, temples, and pilgrimages which make Trivandrum an interesting and noteworthy place to visit. Check out in the lines below the myriad of tourist attractions that Trivandrum has to offer its admirers. Aaranmula Boat Race Aaranmula Boat Race is held every year in the beautiful village of Aaranmula in August/September. The oldest river boat fiesta in Kerala, this river carnival is a part of the Aaranmula Temple Festival. At the end of the race, a traditional feast is organized inside the temple premises by devotees as an offering to God. The venue of the annual Snake Boat Race in Pampa River, characterized by huge boats having four helmsmen, 100 rowers, and 25 singers, who sing Vanchipattu songs throughout the race. Varkala Beach Not just that Varkala is a magnificent seaside resort, it is also an important Hindu center of pilgrimage. High cliffs with rich mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. The 2,000- year-old Janardana Swamy Temple and the Nature Center form the major attractions here. This beach has been included in the list of "Top Ten Beaches in the World" by Discovery Channel. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. Aaranmula Parthasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, is believed to date back to the days of Mahabharata. The Vaishnavite Alwar saints have sung its glory. Spectacular snake boat races are organized at the river near the temple during festival season, wherein boats from 39 Karas participate in various water sports. The temple is beautifully built and the architecture is distinctly inspired from the traditional Kerala architecture with magnificent carved Gopurams and designed in such a way that a fleet of stairs directly climbs down to Pampa River. Agastyarkoodam The second highest peak in Kerala, Agastyarkoodam is located in the Western Ghats, rising to a majestic height of about 1868 m in the form of a sharp cone. With 61 km of trekking from Bonacaud, and 32 km from Neyyar Dam, this peak is regarded as the best trekking destination in the state. The peak is popular among the native people because of the abundance of rare herbs for medicinal use. The peak is covered with thick forests, which makes trekking ideal. However, a forest pass has to be acquired from the state forest department beforehand. It is an enchanting experience as the only sounds you hear while trekking are the swish of gigantic trees, gurgling water rivulets, and warbling of aero-fauna. Akkulam Lake Akkulam Lake is situated 3 km away from Ulloor junction, in Trivandrum city. Children's park, situated here, is one of the biggest parks in Kerala. The calm atmosphere clubbed with serene natural beauty attracts a number of tourists to this place every year. The boat club, located beside the lake, offering joy riders with small peddle boats adds more excitement to the enjoyable trip. Aruvippuram Aruvippuram is a pilgrim center located in a picturesque location, 24 km from Trivandrum. A beautiful and lovely picnic spot, the place derives its name from a stream flowing nearby Neyyar. The major festival celebrated here is Sivrathri, which is marked with great pomp and show as worshippers gather in the temple and sing chants and hymns in praise of Lord Siva. In the morning, prasadam is distributed among worshippers and a great feast is organized thereafter. Beema Palli Mahotsavam Beema Palli is a mosque situated on the coast, nearly 5 km south of Trivandrum city. The shrine is dedicated to Beema Beevi, a pious Muslim lady believed to have divine powers. The mosque, apart from being a great architectural marvel, is a pilgrimage for Muslims, although it is visited by people of all religions. The mosque registers maximum visitors during the ten-day festival of Chandanakundam. During this festival, devotees bring earthen pots which are filled with coins as offerings. The pots are then covered with sandalwood paste; hence, the name of the festival is named "Chandankundam". Koyikkal Palace The ancient palace of Koyikkal is sited 18 km from Trivandrum on the way to Ponmudi hill station and the Kuttalam waterfalls. Trailing back to the 15th century, the palace has now been converted into a museum maintained by the Department of Archaeology. The museum displays an array of rare scriptures, utensils, weapons, and a number of other artifacts. It is also a treasure of a collection of rare coins from across the world which is a proof of Kerala's trade relations with rest of the world. Kulathupuzha Temple Famous for the Sastha Temple, Kulathupuzha is situated in a forest range on the Thiruvananthapuram-Shenkottai Road. Shrouded with dense forests and a river flowing nearby, is the proposition which makes this a popular pilgrimage, apart from being a hub for nature lovers. The temple witnesses hordes of visitors during the annual Vishnu Mahotsavam celebrated during summertime. The surroundings are appealing and inviting to those with a craving for trekking and safaris. Kuthiramalika Palace Museum Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, a classic specimen of Kerala architecture is situated in 'Kuthiramalika'. This palace was built by warrior-poet Swathi Thirunal Balrama Varma. The palace displays a rare specimen of Travancore style architecture, although it attracts people even with its exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays an invaluable collection of paintings of the royal family. Napier Museum The museum is a landmark of the city and displays beautiful artifacts related to art and natural history. The architecture of the museum is unparalleled, built in Indo-Saracen style architecture with its gothic style roofs and minarets, boasting of a natural air conditioning system. The museum houses various archaeological and historic artifacts. The museum shares its compound with a zoological garden. Neyyar Dam Neyyar Dam, lying against the southern low hills of the Western Ghats, 32 km away from Trivandrum city, is a popular picnic spot with a pleasing lake and picturesque dam site. The surroundings of the dam are covered with dense jungles, rich in various species of flora and fauna. Plus, a crocodile farm is located nearby that is maintained by the state wildlife department. Padmanabhapuram Palace A place of elaborate woodwork, the Padmanabhapuram was the ancient seat of the Travancore rulers. Famous for the relics of historical and artistic value, the palace is renowned for its artistic murals, a bed with medicinal qualities, Belgian mirrors, and stone carved figures on the columns holding lamps. The architecture of this place is divinely beautiful. Paripally Gajamela Paripally, 48 km north of Trivandrum, is noted for its Gajamela or elephant pageant. Over 50 elephants are taken out on a ritual procession on the tenth day of the festival in the month of February-March. Elephants hold a sacred place in the hearts of people of Kerala and hence, are included in all religious festivities and fairs. The elephants are maintained and trained by different temples in Kerala.