The capital city of the state is also headquarters to a lot of important activities and institutions. Apart from the museums observatories and galleries, the district also has many temples, monuments and palaces that are illustrations of the brilliance of Kerala architecture. The many beaches in Thiruvananthapuram, mantled by rocky ledges and palms adds much charm to tourists' experience and memory. Kappil and Vettaka, with its long sandy sea front that are linked to the backwaters also qualify as perfect getaways. At Vizhingim one can find numerous rock-cut temples and the first Indian project on generating electricity from sea waves. The control center for the state's television and radio broadcast, and the location for India's first space research organization, Thiruvananthapuram has lots to offer even to visitors with an inclination towards science and technology.
::::::::::: Places to see in and around :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Anchuthengu Fort - 36 kms from Trivandum
This colossal monument was once the trading station of the mighty British. The monument built in the 1800s stands as an excellent example of sturdy and lasting forts constructed in the English style.
Koyikkal Palace - 18 km from Trivandrum
This is one of the many famous palaces in Kerala. The beautiful structure dates back to the 15 th century. It speaks volumes about the luxury and sensibility that are concurrent in royal architecture. The building is a tribute to the skilful architecture and craftsmanship of that period.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
The museum has several brilliant sculptures, carvings and various collections that give visitors an idea of ancient Thiruvithamcore and its history. Apart from the amazing displays, the palace building itself is a lovely example of ancient Kerala architecture.
This museum is also a collector's heaven. Many wonderful and amazing metal objects including ornaments, lamps, mirrors etc. different varieties of traditional costumes including the attires that form part of traditional art performances etc are on display here. One section of the museum houses objects and models, which are representative of ancient Kerala architecture.
Science & Technology Museum
This museum is a little different from the rest found in the district. The self-explanatory exhibitions and props all are highly educative and helps visitors understand the evolution and greatness of science. There are also several amusing working models and interactive exhibits in the museum.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The temple is probably the most important attraction in the district. The temple and more specifically the magnificent sculpture of 'Ananthasayanan Lord Vishnu' is where the district earns its name from. The seven story 'gopuram' or head stone at the temple sports brilliant carvings and sculptures that speak volumes of the Dravidian influence on Kerala architecture. The marvelous temple and also sacred tank in the compound dates back to the 1700s. However the norms at the temple are quite strict. Only Hindus can enter the temple and only traditional wears like 'sari' and 'dhoti' are allowed inside.
This breathtaking location earns a special place in the tourists' must see agenda as it lies just very little away from the international airport at the capital city. The smooth golden sand and the clear inviting water at the beach paint a tantalizing picture. A magnificent structure of a mermaid, at the nearby park are also very popular. Another splendid sight at the beach is the elaborate ritual of bathing the temple idols during the various temple festivals.
Veli Tourist Village
This renowned recreational center is in the outskirts of the city. The bottle green river in the location offers many water sports facilities. The adjacent sheltered lagoon, the floating bridge, the fishing activities, the park and gardens, etc in the surroundings are all quite famous.
The vast area within the park walls not only accommodates neat array of plants and serene space, but also the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and the Observatory. The displays at these institutions would be of great interest to all categories of the visitors.
Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple and Marine Aquarium
The place is famous for the Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave. The beautifully carved stone structure has within it a dexterously constructed temple. Many stunning sculptures adorn the temple complex and also the outer walls of the rock cave. Vizhinjam has been chosen as the location for the pioneer project to generate electricity from wave energy. The fishing port here is also an interesting site to visit.
The mountain peak of Agasthyakoodam with its scenic beauty and rare herbs, the Vettukad Church that is well known for the 'Feast of Christ', and Beema Palli built in honour of a pious Muslim lady are the other chief attractions here.
Kovalam is perhaps the most sought after beaches of Kerala, attracting travelers from all over the globe since the 1930s. Enjoying a lazy afternoon on the beach as the sun works an exotic tan on your skin, is an experience in itself. The few ayurvedic spas around the clear blue water offers many exotic massages and naturopathy treatment. Many resorts here have several known artists performing during the early evenings.
Padmanabhapuram Palace 40 km Enroute to Kanyakumari
Until recently, the palace had been the abode of the ruling family of Thirivithamcore. The imperial structure was built as per popular architecture that prevailed in Kerala during the 1600s and 1700s. The palace still has several of the articles and collections that were owned by the royal family- including the medicinal bed, dance and 'durbar' halls etc. The structure itself sports exquisite carvings, stone work, wood crafts and mica window works.
This beautiful temple also has many sculptures, figurines and artifacts that are of historical and archaeological importance. Apart from being a monument that stands as an instance of ancient temple architecture, the temple has also earned the place of a popular spot among the pilgrim centres in south India.
CVN Kalari Sangam
The building that represents the centre is one of its kind in Kerala. One of those is a dedicated training centre that imparts training in 'Kalaripayattu', the traditional martial artform of Kerala. Another division is a hospital that offers traditional ayurvedic treatment. There is also a temple in the complex.
Neyyar Dam - 32 kms away from the Thiruvananthapuram
Neyyar dam and reservoir are famous especially for the magnificent scenery around it. There are also excellent opportunities to go boating along the reservoir. There is also a lake garden and a swimming pool in the area. The lion safari is a fascinating feature at this famous picnic spot. Other chief attractions of the place are the nearby crocodile farm and the miniature wild life sanctuary .
Ponmudi - 61 kms from Thiruvananthapuram
The beautiful hill resort that lies 915 kms above sea level, offers an enchanting destination for tourists. Challenging treks along the long woody path, trips to the nearby deer park and zoo etc are other interesting offers on the palate. The many rare varieties of birds at the mini- bird sanctuary like the heavy billed Malabar hornbills, blue-black Malabar whistling thrush and long-tailed paradise flycatchers enliven the atmosphere with their cries and bright colours.
Many spots in this lovely high range are a feast for camera lenses. The beautiful, though dilapidated dam site amidst lush green plantations of rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea and arrays of gorgeous orchids that are plentiful in and around the tropical forests in the area are just some of the many pretty sights.
This prim sea side resort is a perfect place to plan a leisurely trip.The long sandy stretch of beach that runs a couple of kilometers presents an irresistible view. Varkala is also known for its natural therapy centre. Home for Janardana Swamy Temple that is a few thousands of years old, Varkala is also noted as a pilgrim spot.
This famous pilgrim centre is located on the banks of a canal in Varkala. The place earns its importance as it houses the memorial of Sri Narayana Guru, a spiritual leader and social reformer of Kerala.
Janardana Swamy Temple
This is another famous spot at Varkala. Even more famous is the grand festival at the temple. The celebrated "Arattu" is usually held in March and April every year. Grand processions, elaborately decorated elephants, bright silk umbrellas, exquisite fans made from peacock feathers etc. present a gorgeous picture that transports visitors to another world.
The district also has an excellent zoo and also a Zoological Garden. The latter is considered one of the best designed in Asia. There is also a very well designed Planetarium (about 100m west of the Mascot Hotel) in the city.
The Natural History Museum has many interesting collections on display. There is even one model of Nayar wooden house that is known for the typical Kerala style. Another splendid place to visit is the Puthen Maliga Palace Museum.
For those enthusiastic about painting and related art exhibits, Sri Chitra Art Gallery is a must see. The gallery has numerous exhibits including paintings belonging to the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools. Apart from works of well known artist like Ravi Varma, Svetoslav and Nicholas Roerich, one can also chance upon works from foreign nations like China, Tibet, Japan and Bali.
The magnificent Ganapathy temple at East fort, and the Akkulam Boat Club are other famous attractions.
Air : Trivandrum has its own international airport that is well connected to other major cities of India and the neighboring countries.
Rail : The district has a railway station too. Regular trains are available for the states of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and even to North India.
Road : Trivandrum is connected with Kollam (1 hours), Alappuzha (3 hours), Ernakulam (5 hours), Trichur (6 hours), Chennai (17 hours), Madurai (10 hours), and Pondicherry (16 hours) by road.