Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is the capital of God’s own country Kerala and is the main gateway to Kerala for a good number of visitors from distant places in India and abroad. With its lush greenery, beautiful beaches, hill resorts and Ayurveda centers, this laidback city offers the entire range of specialties that attract tourists to the southern state.
Trivandrum is said to have derived its name from ‘thiru anantha puram’ meaning city of the divine serpent meaning Anantha, the thousand headed serpent who makes Vishnu’s couch. This in turn refers to the famous landmark and must visit of the city Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The city has a trading history dating back to 1000BC. It was the capital of the princely state of Travancore from 1745 to 1949. The great king Marthanda Varma of the royal family dedicated the entire state to the ruling deity of this temple and assumed the title “Padmanabha Dasa’ meaning servant of Padmanabha.
In 1949 it became the capital of the then Thiru-Kochi state, and later moved on to become the capital of the united Kerala state, formed in 1950. This capital city is busy with all the political activity going on in the state. However this has not affected the general tranquil of the atmosphere.
Places of interest
The famous Padmanabha Swamy temple is a must visit for spiritually inclined. Besides being a spiritual center this temple offers an elegant sample of the blend of Kerala and Pandya temple architecture.
The Kovalam beach is an internationally famous beach destination, offering a 20km stretch of beach formed in the form of coves. There are also the Varkala and Sangumukham beaches. For those who want to explore the hills, there is the Ponmudi hill resort. Other places of interest are the Meenmutty water falls, Sree Chitra Art Gallery and the Kanakakunnu Palace. There are a number of establishments offering Ayurveda treatments like massage, but you would do well to check out their credentials before trying out the treatment. The Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Thaikad Moos Pharmacy are some of the respected names that have had a long presence in the state.
Best time to visit
Kerala being close to the sea the temperatures are fairly moderate, but the humidity in the air can be quite unpleasant to those unfamiliar to the climate. Summer peaks in March, April and May. Kerala has an early onset of monsoon in the first week of June, and from then on it rains incessantly till August.
The best recommended times are from September to October, when the rain clouds have faded away but the greenery is still fresh. Winter months of November, December and January are also pleasant.
How to reach
Thiruvananthapuram has an international airport with direct flights from the Middle East, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is also connected by rail and road to other Indian cities.
Where to stay
There are a number of star, semi luxury and economy hotels in Thiruvananthapuram and vicinities. The star chains like Taj and Le Meridien are close to the Kovalam beach. There are also other hotels like Uday Samudra and Muthoot Plaza that belong to the semi-luxury/economy class