THIRUVANANTHAPURAM TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

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					THIRUVANANTHAPURAM TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Thiruvananthapuram district is the southernmost region of Kerala.
It is flanked by Kollam district in the north, Tirunelveli district of Tamil
Nadu in the east, Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu in the south and
Arabian sea in the west. The colossal Western Ghats form the eastern
boundary and the 78km coastal region forms the western border. The
midland region forms many undulating hills and valleys. Three major
rivers viz., Vamanapuram, Karamana and Neyyar traverse the district.
Among them Vamanapuram or Attingal river is the longest, with a total
length of 81km. Edava, Nadayara, Ajengo, Kadinamkulam and Veli are
the prominent backwaters of the district. These backwaters facilitate
inland transportation from early times. Many large-scale, medium-scale
and small-scale industries thrive here alongside of umpteen traditional
industries like handloom especially the Balaramapuram-make, handicraft
industries like wood carving, furniture manufacturing rattan works, coir
and allied products, brass metal products. Besides Technopark, situated
near Kazhakuttom Junction, forms the hub of software solutions attracting
a large number of domestic and foreign investors. Vikram Sarabhai Space
Centre, the ultimate frontier of mankind, is also located here.
Thiruvananthapuram – The Gateway of Kerala Tourism
It is the capital city of Kerala. The Raj Bhavan, the Secretariat, the
Legislative Assembly, many Central and State government offices
function here. The clean and beautiful city is greatly indebted to the
Serpant God, Anantha or Adisesha to derive its name Thiru-Anantha-
Puram. The city spreads on seven hills with many elegant avenues,
massive buildings, long sea coast with the world renowned tourist
destination – Kovalam.

PLACES OF INTEREST
   Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is an imposing, seven-storeyed
edifice dedicated to Lord Vishnu, situated in the heart of the city. It is the
most impressive landmark of Trivandrum and is one of the 108 sacred
Vaishnavite shrines of the country. Lord Vishnu is represented as
Sripadmanabha Swamy or ‘lotus navel’ and is depicted reclining on the
sacred snake of Sri. Anantha. The temple displays a nice blending of the
Kerala and Dravidian architectural style.
The temple was rebuilt by Raja Marthada Varma in 1773. The holy
image of the reclining Lord is seen in three sections through three doors.
A lotus grows from the navel of Lord Vishnu upon which resides
Lord Brahma. The temple is open only to Hindus subject to strict dress
code. Men are required to wear a dhoti and women, sari and blouse in the
temple premises.
The famous processions such as “Vetta” and “Arattu” taken out
twice a year are notable features of this temple.
    Kathirmalika (Puthen Malika) Palace Museum: Noted for the
typical Travancore style of architecture and exquisite wood carvings, it is
located near the Padmanabha Swamy temple. The magnificent edifice
was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma. The museum
offers a good idea on the life style of the royal family belonged to the
erstwhile Travancore.
    Lekshmi Varaha Moorthi Temple, Sreevaraham: This ancient
temple is, perhaps, the only known temple in South India having the
particular incarnation of Lord Vishnu, known as Sree Lekshmi Varaha
Moorthi Constructed in typical Kerala style architecture the temple
consists of Sreekovil, Chuttambalam and Nalambalam. The temple is
located at the south west side of Fort.
This vast pond is the sacred pound of Sree Varaham Temple. It is
one of the largest theerthams (holy water) in the district. The stone
mandapam amidst the pond is a notable feature.
    Fort Girls High School (Sanana Mission): This aided private
school under Sanana Mission was constructed in 1914 and of high
historical significance. This was one of the first girl’s schools set up in
erstwhile Travancore to encourage women’s education. Besides, this was,
perhaps, the first non-Hindu institution came up inside the Fort premises.
It is near the Office of Agro Industries Corporation.
    Padmanabhapuram Palace: This palace was once the capital of
the erstwhile Travancore and is 54km form Trivandrum. It is situated in
the Nagarcoil district of Tamil Nadu. The palace exhibits 17th and 18th
century murals, so many belongings of the royal family and many other
enticing attractions. To reach there is worth a visit.
    Ammachi Plavu (The Jack Fruit Tree):
It attaches high historical significance of erstwhile Travancore.
Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma Maharaja (1729-1758) was once in
grave danger and was surrounded by enemies. Miraculously, it is
believed, Lord Sree Krishna appeared in disguise, as an old man before
him and advised the Maharaja to hide inside the Ammachi Plavu. The
trunk of the tree is well-protected and well-preserved. Located inside the
Sree Krishna Swami Temple at Neyyattinkara, it is under the control of
Travancore Devasom Board.
    Aruvippuram Temple: The river Neyyar flows nearby. It was at
this place where Sree Narayana Guru embraced ascetic life for spiritual
enlightment. The consecration of an idol of Siva in the temple by Sree
Narayana Guru became instrumental in facilitating social reformation in
Kerala at a time when social evils like untouchability was at its zenith.
   Vizhijam: A historic spot this place is near Kovalam. It was once
the capital of Ay veel Kings of the 8th - 9th century. There is a rock temple
assinged to the period of the Cheras, displaying Pallava and Pandiya style
of architecture. This temple is under the protective canopy of
Archeological survey of India.
Vizhinjam Mosque
    Vizhijam Bhagavathy temple: One of the oldest temples in
Trivandrum district and is situated very close to Arabian Sea. Built in
typical Chola style of architecture. It is a protected monument of the State
Government. The controlling authority is Travancore Devasom Board.
    Kovalam: It occupies an important position in the world map of
Tourism. Situated 12kms south of Trivandrum, it is the finest beach resort
of the world and is also one of the best tourist resorts in the country. The
excellent sand beach and sea bathings are the major attractions, alongside
of the venue for surfing and waterskiing. Many famous health and Yoga
centres are located here. A wide spectrum of accommodation facilities are
available offering varied packages.
    Halzione Palace/Kovalam Kottaram:
Constructed in 1932 by Valiya Koyithampuran husband of Regent
Maharani Sethulekshmi Bhai, the palace was taken over by the State
Government in 1967. The two storeyed edifice was constructed with
dressed granite blocks. The arch openings for Verandas, the arch supports
over arched windows, the location and the setting up by the beach make
the palace a truly magnificent edifice.
    Thiruvallam: Near the river at Thiruvallam is Lord Parasurama
temple. This temple is believed to be constructed around 9th century AD.
Using dressed granite blocks, the temple is constructed in Dravidian style.
The temple is famous for performing the holy ‘Balitharpana’ an offering
to the ancestors done inside the temple. The notable feature of the temple
is the presence of two flag posts one infront and the other in the eastern
side. Thila Homa, another special offering for ancestors is also done here.
The temple also houses shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma –
The three Lords becoming Trimurthis of Hindu mythology. A shrine
houses the three is rare in India.
    Attukal Bhagavathy Temple (Feb –March):
This temple is located just 2km from East fort. The temple is
dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy, attracting a perennial flow of pilgrims
from all walks of life. The ten day annual festival with Pongala offering
is celebrated here with great pomp and festivity. On the ninth day early
morning women devotees in their thousands from far and near flock to the
surroundings and assemble in a radius of about 15kms or more to partake
the Pongala ceremony.
When the Pongala is over the head priest and the authorized priests
start to sprinkle water and flowers on it. The unique feature of the festival
is that only women are let enter the temple and premises on the Pongala
day. The temple is synonomously called “the Sabarimala of Women”. It
is also recorded as the largest women gathering in the world by Guiness
Book of World Records.
    Sanghumugham Devi Temple: This ancient temple is situated
near Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. It is believed to have
been consecrated by Lord Parasurama the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
This temple and the nearby sanghumugham Beach attract people all over
the country. People in thousands assemble at Sanghumugham beach to
offer Balitharapanam (tribute to ancestors) on Karkidakavavu in the
Malayalam month of Karkidam. The temple is circular in shape having
tiled roofing and an Anakkottil. Travancore Devasom Board is the
controlling authority of the temple.
    Sankumughom Beach: An ideal beach near the Trivandrum
Airport has an indoor recreation club, Children’s traffic training park and
a star shaped restaurant. There is also an enchanting sculpture, magnum
opus of the renowned artist Kanai Kunjuraman, near the recreation club.
    Veli Tourist Village: An ideal picnic spot at the confluence of the
Veli Lake and Arabian Sea is located here. A water front park, a wide
gamut of acqua sports facilities, beautiful gardens and many elegant
sculptures including the note worthy work of the great sculptor Kanai
Kunjuraman are the highlights.
    Vettukad or Madre de Deus church: Situated near
Shanghumugham Beach at Veli, this pilgrim centre is visited by
Christians and people of all faiths. Pilgrims in their thousands from far
and near visit here during the grand annual feast. The church is believed
to have miraculous powers to cure diseases.
    Beema Palli: This important Muslim pilgrim centre is located
south of Air port near Shangumugam Beach. The pilgrim centre is
dedicated to Beema Beevi, a pious Muslim lady from Sri Lanka and
contains her tomb revered for her divine powers. Besides Muslims,
people of all faiths come over here for worship.
    Secretariat:
The majestic building is built in Roman architectural splendour. It
is the hub of the State Government administration and houses the offices
of the ministers and different bureaucrats.
    S.M.S.M Institute: Located behind Secretariat near Central
Stadium, it is an emporium of Kerala handicrafts, curios bronzes, and
myriad attractive items getting at a competitive tariff. The institution is
run by Handicrafts Development Corporation controlled by Government
of Kerala.
Malayalam Department of University College: Constructed in
1891, this was initially the Maharaja’s Women’s College. In 1923, the
Women’s College was shifted to Vahzuthacadu. The two storeyed
building was constructed in Kerala Style architecture. It is located
opposite to the University College by M.G. Road.
    Accountant General’s Office: The Office of Accountant General
Office started functioning in this building which was formerly Govt. Law
College. A new edifice was constructed in the premise in 1961. It is
located by the M.G. Road, near the Statue Junction.
    University College: Inaugurated in 1873, by Maharaja Avittam
Thirunal, University College originally known as H.H. Maharajas College
is situated in the heart of the city by M.G. Road. The College later
became a Science College. After the formation of Travancore University
in 1937. The name of the college was changed to University College.
The great service rendered by the College is praise-worthy.
Notable personalities like K.R. Narayanan the former President of India
was an old student of this esteemed institution alongside of umpteen
luminaries.
    Malayalam Department of University College: Constructed in
1891, this was initially the Maharaja’s Women’s College. In 1923, the
Women’s College was shifted to Vahzuthacadu. The two storeyed
building was constructed in Kerala Style architecture. It is located
opposite to the University College by M.G. Road.
    VJT Hall:
   Statue of Mahakavi Kumaranasan (1873-1924) : It is installed
amidst a traffic island in front of Kerala University and near MLA
Quarters. Kumaranasan is one of the trio of modern Malayalam poetry,
the other two being Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer and Vallathol Narayana
Menon, who strived hard to achieve the social emancipation of the under
privileged.
  Palayam Mosque
  St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral:
    Kerala Legislative Complex: It is major land mark of Trivandrum
city, characterised with state-of-the-art sound systems coupled with
modern amenities. The magnificent edifice is situated near Chandra
Sekharan Nair Stadium.
    CSI Christ Church, Palayam: Dedicated for divine worship by
the Bishop of Madras (Church of England) in 1859, it is under church of
South India, central Kerala Diocese and is located at Palayam, opposite to
EMS square.
    Science and Technological Museum: Located near Mascot Hotel
and KTDC Head Quarters, it offers a vivid picture of India’s giant leaps
both in science and in technology.
    LMS Church: (London Mission Society Church) This church was
built to honour Rev. Sammuel Mater a missionary who served in
Travancore (1854-1880). Pointed arches, louvered windows and exposed
random rubble masonry with dressed granite corners give the structure a
magnificent look.
Built in 1906 the present ownership of the church is the south
Kerala Diocese church of South India. The Trivandrum Corporation and
Museum are nearby.
    Public Library: This was the first state owned Library. The
present library building was constructed as Victoria Jubilee Memorial in
1900. The state Government took over the library in 1948. Segmental
arches spanning doors and windows the front porch, balconies, fish scale
tile roofing, and the wooden staircase altogether enliven the beauty of this
western style building. The library is located by M.G. Road close to
College of Fine Arts.
    Fine Arts College: This edifice has its own role to strengthen the
special character to the Statue-LMS road. Pointed Arches colour code and
columned verandas give a fine character to the building. The building is
located at Palayam, adjacent to the State Central Library.
    Zoo: The oldest zoo in India is also the best in India. Set in like a
forest ambience, diverse fauna including rare species of animals are
housed here. The zoo attracts one and all.
    Sri Chithra Art Gallery: The gallery houses a good collection of
Raja Ravi Varma Paintings, paintings from foreign countries like China,
Japan, Tibet etc. To get in the gallery is worth a visit.
    Napier Museum (Art Museum): Situated in the museum
precincts the Napier Museum edifice is a landmark of
Thiruvananthapuram. The design is a happy blending of the traditional,
the western and the North Italian styles. Dedicated to the memory of Lord
Napier, the building is notable for the colour code, the bricks used for its
super structure, fish scale tile roofing, dressed granite flooring, wooden
roof structure and similar eye-catching attractions, which altogether add
to the elegance of this magnificent building.
The museum is a repository of artefacts, antiques, bronzes
sculptures etc. it attracts a perennial stream of visitors such as inbound
and outbound tourists, historians, professors, common public etc. It has
been a must see museum in Trivandrum.
    The Kanakakunnu Palace:
This palace atop the Kanakakunnu Hill was built during the regime
of Sree Moolam Thirunal (1885-1924). The palace and the premises are
used for performing varied cultural programmes, exhibitions, seminars
etc. Most of the art forms are staged here at Nishagandhi open air
auditorium.
    The Observatory: It is the oldest in the country. A bird’s eyeview
of the city can be had from here.
    Bishop House: The elegant double storeyed edifice situated at
Vellayambalam is the Bishop House of the Latin Catholics. The building
is constructed in a typical colonial style painted in white. The Bishop
House is the property of the Trivandrum diocese.
    Akkulam Boat Club: It is near the Centre for Earth Science, and
offers boating facilities. The largest children’s park in Kerala set here is
yet another attraction.
    Ullor Lord Bala Subrahmanya Temple (Agni-kavadi a notable
feature): This famous temple is located near Ulloor junction Lord Bala
Subrahmanya is the presiding diety. Separate shrines for Lord Siva and
Lord Sastha are enshrined here. The temple draws a perennial flow of
devotees. Taipooyam is celebrated with great pomp and festivity. Kavadi
and agni-kavadi are important rituals. A large number of devotees partake
these rituals after observing strict penance. Pilgrims in the thousands
assemble here during the festival season for worship. Modern
entertainments are also staged during these days.
    Chempazhanthi: It is the home land of Sree Narayana Guru
(1855-1928) the famous social reformer and philosopher of Kerala who
upholds his philosophy “One Caste, One Religion and One God for man”
which attracted people of all faiths all over the world. Situated near
Chempazhanthy S.N. College the ancestral home is well preserved and is
a well-known pilgrim centre too.
    Madavoorpara StoneTemple: By the side of the Chemazhanthi
– Pothencode Road, near Kattayikonam is the Madavoorpara temple
having a peedom (seat) and Siva Linga carved in the rock with sufficient
inner space. The images of Lord Muruga and Lord Ganapathy are also
carved on the walls. There is an archaic script (Vattazhuth) inserption on
the temples. The temple and Sivalinga are carved in stone situated at an
altitude of about 1800ft. The temple exhibits archeological and
architectural exuberance. Kerala Government is the controlling authority
of the temple.
    Kumaranasan Smarakam:
Near northern side of Mangalapuram junction on the Trivandrum-
Attingal NH47 road is the Kumaranasan Memorial Building which
consists of two thatched huts and a beautiful memorial edifice. The huts
have walls made up of mud and thatched roofs displaying a traditional
Kerala style. A library and an administrative office too function here. The
cultural affairs Department of Kerala Government is the controlling
authority.
    Attingal Palace: The palace was famous for the residence of
Travancore Royal family. The building complex is built in typical Kerala
style architecture. Laterite blocks, stone blocks and lime mortar are used
for the construction. The palace is located in the southern part of Attingal
Kadakavoor road near Thiruvarakavu Temple. Now the palace belongs to
a private ownership. A hospital is functioning here alongwith a
Kalayanamandapam. A few houses are also seen there.
    Sharkara Devi Temple: Situated at Sharkara near Chirayinkil of
Trivandrum district, this ancient temple is the oldest Kali Temple in
South Kerala. The major festivals are: Kaliyoottu and Meenabharani.
Devotees from far and wide in their thousands assemble here to partake
the worship during the festival season.
    Anjengo: 10km North West of Attingal and near Kadkkavoor
junction is Anjengo located near the Arabian Sea and Anjengo Kayal. The
English East India Company built a factory in 1673 and a fort in 1695
with the permission of the Queen of Attingal. The beach, the wrecks of
the fort, flag staff, a few tombs of the Dutch and the British are some
attractions.
    Varkala Janardhana Swamy Temple: One of the seven
important Vaishnavite shrines known as Sree Janardhana Swami Temple
which is 2000 years old is located here. The elder brother of Sree Krishna
Lord Balaraman is believed to have visited here. It is also called as
“Southern Varanasi”. The temple and the sacred pond were mentioned in
the 67th stanza of ‘Unninuli Sandasam’ composed during 1350-1365 AD.
A grand old bell donated by the Dutch in 1757 is kept in the temple. The
temple is famous for performing rituals to the ancestors. The Thila Homa,
a special offering, is done here for ancestors. Travancore Devasom Board
is the controlling authority of the temple.
The beach of Varkala is also called Papanasam which signifies to
destroy the sins. The holy Balitharpana on Karkidaka vavu, an offering
for the ancestors is performed here. Lakhs of people assemble to perform
the rituals.
    Sivagiri Samadhi:
Sivagiri is the Samadhi place of Sree Narayana Guru. Come to
Varkala in 1904, Sree Narayana Guru built an edifice called Sarada Mutt
in 1911. Dignataries like Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore
visited Sree Narayana Guru at Sivagiri. The Guru attained Samadhi in
1928 here. This place includes Maha Samadhi, Paranasala, Vaidika
Madom and Saradamadom. The Main Samadhi building is in circular
shape with concrete roof.
    Varkala Thurappu: It is one of the most important attractions of
Varkala. A canal called Sivagiri canal was made augumenting the route to
Trivandrum. The Sivagiri Thurappu is part of this canal. It begins at
Chilakkur and ends at Nadayara having total length of 5kms. In this canal
there is a large tunnel of 92ft length and another small tunnel completed
in 1880 during the Divanship of Seshaiyyal Sastri.
The cargo from the southern Travancore were transported from
Vallakadavu to various ports of the country through Sivagiri route. The
Govt. of Kerala is the controlling authority. The canal is closed now on
safety grounds.
    Sree Sankara Narayana Temple Navayikulam:
Located at Navayikulam, this ancient temple was constructed by
Chera Udaya Marthanda Varma in 1439 in typical Kerala style
architecture. The temple is dedicated to Lord Sankara Narayana a
combination of lord Siva and Lord Vishnu. The Sreekovil is circular in
shape. A Chuttambalam, Nalambalam and the Oottupura are other
attractions. It is just 2km from Kallambalam junction near the National
Highway.
    Kilimanur: On the M.C Road to Kottayam about 35km north of
Trivandrum, lies quite a charming place beyond belief called Kilimanoor.
The region is well-known as an agriculturally pre-dominant area of
Trivandrum district. The chief crops are paddy, coconut, arecanut, pepper,
zingiber, tapioca, cashew etc.
Two famous Bhagavathi temples are located here. They are
Elluvala Bhagavati temple and Puthiyakavu Bhagavadi temple. The week
long annual festival of both come coinciding but with a marginal
difference of one day. Pongala offering is a notable feature.
Spectacular events are displayed during the festival days.
Chendamelam, Urul, Kuttiyottum, Ezhunnallathu, Thookkam,
Kettukazhcha, Effigies of Gods and Goddesses, animals like horses and
bullocks are the highlights. Varied cultural programmes are also staged –
altogether the region is pompously in a festive ambience during these
days. So many pilgrims from far and wide assemble here to partake the
worship.
    Kilimanur Palace: It is located near Choottayil Junction near the
Kilimanur Attingal road, a 10 minutes drive from Kilimanur Junction.
The palace gave birth to many eminent personalities who figured in the
field of art and literature. The world renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma,
Vidwan Koil Tampuran (1735 – 1800) the author of the Kathakali Play
‘Ravanavijayam’ which he gave a new version by presenting a demoniac
character as a hero, the Sanskrit Scholar K. Goda Varma and poet
Marthanda Varma were a few luminaries born in this palace. Besides,
Veluthampi Dalawa before he was sure to be defeated by the British,
handed over his ‘majestic sword’ to the then Koil Thampuran of this
palace who carefully preserved it with high reverence. Afterward one of
his successors presented this sword to the President of India in 1957 for
presentation in the National Museum. The same sword, after a long
period was handed over to Kerala Government.
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Kilimanoor is greatly indebted to Raja Ravi Varma whose superb
paintings became instrumental in making both him and his native land
famous world over.
    Ponmudi: It is also called mini Ootty. Located 61kms north east
of Thiruvananthapuram at an altitude of 915msl this hill resort is famous
for its congenial climatic conditions, tea plantations and scenic splendour
which is beyond belief. It is also an ideal spot for trekking. KTDC offers
excellent holiday packages.
    Agasthyakoodam: This forms a prominent peak in Sahyadri
ranges. There is a temple dedicated to Agasthya Muni. One can get there
on foot from Bonacadu which is 61km from Trivandrum. So many
tourists and pilgrims visit here every year.
    Koyikkal Palace: Situated at Nedumangad, 18km from
Trivandrum this palace was built during the 15th century enroute to
Ponmudi Hill Station. The palace is built on the traditional “Nalukettu
Style”.
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   Aruvikkara: It is located 16km from Thiruvananthapuram and
about 10 minutes drive from Keltron junction at Karakulam. A
Bhagavathi temple built on a rock is situated on the banks of Karamana
river. The stream infront of the temple contains large fishes which are fed
by the pilgrims visiting the shrine.
   Neyyar Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary: An ideal picnic spot, it is
located 32kms from Trivandrum. Boating facilities are available. There is
also a Lion Safari Park and a Crocodile Farm. The sanctuary is also an
abode of a diverse variety of birds and animals.
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