Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has a Rich Cultural Canvas one can’t miss
It has a stunning shoreline, backwaters that are shimmering emerald, hill stations, and wildlife that is exotic to the heart, the waterfalls and plantations that take you back to nature’s lap, the monuments, temples, festivals, and art that are traditional hallmarks of the state’s culture, medical tourism that provides the best age-old and scientific healing practices. If there is anything that can hold your breath every minute of it and yet emerge as a fiesta to your eyes beyond limits and imagination, it is Thiruvananthapuram. Read more to know the places to visit in Thiruvananthapuram.
- Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
- Shri Chitra Art Gallery
- Padmanabhapuram Palace
- Napier Museum
- Kanakakkunnu Palace
- St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral
- Tagore Centenary Hall
- Happy Land Water Theme Park
- Priyadarshini Planetarium
- Victoria Jubilee Town Hall
- Attukal Temple
- Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium
- Santhigiri Ashram
- Sree Pazhanchira Devi Temple
- Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
- Kowdiar Palace
- Natural History Museum
Also known as Trivandrum, the state capital of Kerala is the academic hub of science and technology. One of the ten greenest cities in India, Trivandrum offers an unchallenged mix of tradition, nature, entertainment, and leisure that keeps drawing Indian and International tourists time and again. Here is how any leisure or business traveler visiting the land of coconut trees and spices would come back again to taste the undisputed magic of Trivandrum.
1. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
As one of the 108 Great Vishnu temples belonging to the pre-Christian era, the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple is where peace and grandeur coincide. Renovated to the present state of magnificence by the Maharaja Sri Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma in the 18th century, the customs and traditions that are followed here at present resemble every bit of royalty practiced in the past.
2. Shri Chitra Art Gallery
Established in 1935, Shri Chitra Art Gallery has an exclusive and rare collection of over 1100 paintings, both traditional and contemporary, belonging to the Mughal, Rajput, Rajasthani, Bengal, and Tanjore schools of art. A connoisseurs’ delight it is with timeless works of Raja Ravi Varma, Jamini Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, and Nicholas Roerich to name a few. Interestingly, the art gallery has an oriental collection of Japanese, Chinese, and Balinese paintings and most of all 400-year-old Tanjore miniature paintings.
3. Padmanabhapuram Palace
A wooden palace belonging to the 16th century, Padmanabhapuram Palace situated in Kanyakumari is a royal splendor in art and architecture. One of the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, the old Palace belonging to the Rajas of Travancore has to its credit antique interiors with intricate rosewood carvings, 17th, and 18th-century murals, windows that have colored mica, royal chairs with Chinese carvings, Queen Mother’s palace with painted ceilings linguistically known as ‘Thaikkottaram’, teak carved and rosewood ceilings with over 90 different floral designs.
4. Napier Museum
Established in 1855, the Napier Museum is a true hallmark in ornamentation and architectural style. Besides stocking a vintage collection of bronze idols, archaeological and historic artifacts, ancient ornaments of the yesteryears, ivory carvings, and more, it is a museum of art and natural history that was designed by the consulting architect of the Madras Government, Robert Chisholm. The precincts of the Museum also have one of the oldest Zoological Gardens that is spread over 55 acres.
5. Kanakakkunnu Palace
One of the last architectural remnants of the colonial era is Kanakakkunnu Palace. Situated close to the Napier Museum, the Palace was built during the reign of Travancore king Sree Moolam Thirunal during 1885-1924. The palace was a popular venue for royal banquets and bespoke with huge crystal chandeliers and exquisite pieces of royal furniture. Much later, one of Travancore’s well-known rulers decided to refurbish the palace and construct tennis courts in the palace complex. Now functional under the Kerala Government, the Palace has an open-air auditorium where various cultural programs such as classical dances are held from time to time. The Kanakakkunnu Palace has been listed by INTACH as a heritage monument too.
6. St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral
Located at Palayam, this Roman Catholic Cathedral was the first church built in 1873 in the Trivandrum district. The Gothic-style facade and the bell tower were completed later in the year 1927. Interestingly, the three bells that were sourced from Belgium were named Joseph, in remembrance of the Patron of the Church, St. Joseph; Xavier, in ode of St. Francis Xavier who was the Apostle of India and Aloysius after Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger, the pioneer Missionary-Bishop of Quilon respectively.
7. Tagore Centenary Hall
The hub of cultural life in Trivandrum, Tagore Centenary Hall also called Tagore Theatre, was founded in 1965. Spread over six acres, it has the privilege to host several cultural events such as film shows, plays, dance, and music performances. It has an impressive seating capacity of around 1200 people.
8. Happy Land Water Theme Park
Situated a few kilometers away from Trivandrum is Happy Land Water Theme Park, a splash of nature and architecture which makes it the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate tired souls. The Theme Park spread over a larger area on the hillside is where you can explore yourself amidst unending palm trees and endless shores. Happy Land Amusement Park offers a plethora of amusement options, some of them are exclusive such as Mini “Kuttalam”, Colombus, and Uphill Drive. All in all, the Happy Land Water Theme Park is family entertainment at its best.
9. Priyadarshini Planetarium
One of the most versatile planetariums situated in Trivandrum, the Priyadarshini Planetarium is rated as one of the best horizontal domed planetariums. With a solid rating going by global standards, the Planetarium boasts of adequate seating capacity of 184 people. The Planetarium is known to organize umpteen science-related shows to attract the scientific eye. One of the best examples has been “Man and the Universe”, which impressively deals with the subject starting from its origin of the Universe to various stages of astronomy development, and the structure that makes different planets.
10. Victoria Jubilee Town Hall
Popularly known as VJT Hall, this town hall in Trivandrum was set up to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria’s coronation that took place in Years down the line, VJT has retained its historical glory in letter and spirit. Today, it happens to be one of the most sought after venues for hosting exhibitions and cultural meets.
11. Attukal Temple
A perfect pilgrimage site, Attukal Temple is famous for the Attukal Pongala festival that’s held annually. It is during this yearly festival that over a million women come and participate to worship Goddess Kannaki (Parvathi) who happens to be the main deity in this temple. Pongala which is rice cooked with coconut, jaggery, ghee, and other ingredients is offered religiously to the deity.
12. Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium
A popular football stadium situated in Trivandrum; the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium was constructed in the year 1956 in commemoration of the first Inspector General of Police of Kerala Shri N. Chandrasekharan Nair. Also known as ‘Police Stadium’, it happens to host matches at national and international levels. It has a 6-lane synthetic track with a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators.
Height matters and how when one looks at the 1,868-metre (6,129 ft) tall Agasthyarkoodam peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Trivandrum. It happens to be a pilgrimage center for devouts of the Hindu sage Agastya who according to history was one of the seven rishis belonging to Hindi Puranas. The mammoth Agasthyarkoodam peak can be reached by pilgrims only through trekking from January to mid-March.
14. Santhigiri Ashram
Blooming lotus in white Makrana marble brings in a lot of tourist value to Santhigiri Ashram which was inaugurated by the then President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil in the year 2010. Set up to promote spirituality, the Ashram was the visionary fruit of Navajyothi Sree Karunakara Guru whose teachings revolved around global spirituality.
15. Sree Pazhanchira Devi Temple
This 700-year-old temple was set up by a ‘Siddha yogi’ in the 13th century who was an astute worshipper of Pazhanchira Devi. There is an Abode of Snakes, the ‘Sarpa Kavu’ outside the temple premises where Naga Pooja is performed amidst shady trees. Myth has it that those who do the pooja here would be cured of health problems, particularly diseases that affect the eyes and skin.
16. Kuthiramalika Palace Museum
Also known as Puthen Malika Palace or the Mansion of Horses, this museum gets its name from none other than 122 horses that have been carved in the wooden wall brackets. Constructed in the 1840s, Kuthiramalika is a testimony of the traditional Kerala architecture that makes it a viewer’s delight. With sloping roofs, pillared verandahs, and intricate carvings done on the wooden ceilings, the palace construction was completed by 5000 workers in four years. A guided tour is available to check out 14 life-size Kathakali mannequins, paintings, Belgian and Italian mirrors, crystal chandeliers, a musical tree that produces 8 sounds on tapping, traditional furniture, and artifacts.
17. Kowdiar Palace
This legendary palace was constructed in the year 1934 by Maharajah Sree Chithira Thirunal to celebrate the wedding of his sister. It had over 150 rooms to enthrall visitors. However, at present, entry to this palace is restricted since it happens to be the private residence of the royal family settled in Trivandrum.
18. Natural History Museum
Built in the year 1885, the Natural History Museum has an extensive collection of animal skeletons, stuffed birds and animals, and ethnographic items. There are individual galleries set up here for various species such as mammals, birds, vertebrates, and invertebrates. A library and a laboratory are very much a part of this Museum.
Trivandrum is on a jet neck speed to becoming a strategically important tourist city in Southern India. Include it in your must-visit itinerary this year.
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