Kettuvallom - Riceboats - Houseboats - romance of kerala backwaters


  

    The Business Capital of Kerala
  


The former name for Kerala's capital city, Trivandrum, may be more easily pronounceable but the present official name, Thiruvanathapuram, is closer to its mythological, origins. The word 'Thri Ananthapuram', means the city of Anatha or the abode of the sacred thousand-headed serpent Anantha, who forms the couch on which reclines Lord vishnu, the preserver in the Trinity of Hindu gods. The name also reflects the city's best-known temple and a famous landmark, Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, dedicated to Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu .


The city has recently grown as a tourist and commercial centre, with the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport becoming the main gateway into Kerala for a substantial number of visitors and tourists.

 

Places to visit

Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple:
 
The temple, located near the bus stand at East Fort, is the city's most impressive landmark. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its mural paintings and stone carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Serpent. It's 7 stored gopuram built in the 16th Century is one of the finest specimens of traditional South Indian temple architecture which reflects the Kerala influence. The temple corridors are lined with 368 sculpted stone pillars. Beautiful murals and ornamentation adorn the walls. Temple was renovated by the Maharaja of Thiruvithamkur in 1733. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Dress Code Men - Dhoti; Women Saree and blouse. 

Museum Complex
The Napier Museum: Built in 19th century, the Indo - Saracenic structure boasts a "natural" air conditionings systems and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The use of plastic is banned in the museum premises. 

Sri Chithira Art Gallery:
Situated within the museum compound, the gallery has one of the best collections of the work of Raja Ravi Varma, a great force in Indian Art. Notable among the collection are several Roe rich landscapes, copies of Rajput and Mughal paintings, works from the Tanjore school of Art and copies of paintings from the Ajanta caves. The gallery also has a fine collection of miniature paintings from China, Japan, Tibet nad Bali. Timing : 10.00 am to 7.00 pm. Closed on Mondays and Wednesday mornings . 

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum: 
The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balaram Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite woodcarvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy 

The Kanakakunnu Palace: 
The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets and programmers. Science and Technology Museum Complex: The exhibits here are related to science, technology and electronics. 

Botanical and Zoological Gardens: 
The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, is one of the first and best in the country, actually forms a part of the Botanical Gardens. The sprawling Botanical garden contains many exotic trees and an excellent lake, which forms a part of the Zoo. Established in 1859 AD, the Zoo contains a large collection of animals from India and abroad. Set amidst shady trees and a forest-like landscape, the animals are provided with a natural habitat - the best that captivity can give. An aviary and reptile house are the added attractions here. The aquarium nearby, on the beach, presents an attractive selection of fish and other marine creatures and plants. Timing : 8.00 am to 6 pm . Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee: Adults : Rs. 4/- Children Rs. 2/- Camera permit Rs. 5/-

The Fort: 
Palaces and homes of the former rulers of Travancore (Thiruvithamkur) can be found inside the Fort. These are masterpieces of Kerala architecture and they exhibit the results of outstanding workmanship in wood. .The Kanakakunnu Palace in particular, is a spectacular piece of architecture.

Priyadarshini Planetarium :
Show Time 10.30, 12.00,15.00and 17.00 hrs. Entrance fees: Adults Rs. 15/-, Children (3 to 10 yrs) Rs. 10/-

Chacha Nehru Children's Museum: 
Children of all age groups will enjoy the vast collection of nearly 2000 dolls, stamps and masks displayed here.

Biotechnology Museum: 
Entrance fee Adults Rs. 5/-, Children Rs. 2/-

Observatory: 
Located at the highest point in the city, near the Museum complex 60 metres above sea level, one can have a bird's eye view of the city from here.

Secretariat: 
Built in the Roman architectuaral styl, this is the centre of government administration in Kerala and houses the offices of ministers and the bureaucracy.
 
Kerala Legislature Complex: 
Located at Palayam, this is the new building where the Legislative Assembly of Kerala meets. With is towering dome, exquisitely carved galleries, ornate teak panelling and ceiling, combined with the most modern acoustic treatment and state-of-the-art sound systems, the hall is a beautiful blend of classical grandeur and modernity.

Shankhumugham Beach:
Just 8 km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watches. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here. Chacha Nehru Traffic Training Park here provides opportunity for children to learn the traffic rules.

Veli Tourist Village: 
This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speedboats are available for hire. Children enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape. 


Kovalam: 
A beautiful, curving, palm-fringed beach of golden sands and safe bathing have made India's major beach resort. It is an internationally known holiday destination. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool free from high waves and surges - ideal for swimming, surfing and skiing. The more adventurous can ride out into the sea on a catamaran. Besides the ITDC's luxury hotel complex, several other hotels and guest houses have sprung up on the hillsides overlooking the beach, taking advantage of the Kovalam boom. Among the many other attractions here are water sports, a theatre that stages traditional Kathakali dance dramas, a yoga centre and facilities for traditional oil bathing and massages according to the ancient Kerala Ayurvedic system.

Vizhinjam:
An important fishing port near Kovalam beach. Here, one can see fishing boats return with their catch in the mornings...

Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave:
There are rock cut sculptures of the 18th century in the cave temple at Vizhinjam.The granite cave here encloses a one called shrine with a loose sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi. The outer wall of the cave depicts half complete reliefs of the Hindu God Shiva with the Goddess Parvathi.

Varkala:
Varkala is a seaside resort and spa is located 50 km north of Thiruvananthapuram. It is also an important HIndu centre of pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer Sree Narayana Guru us near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. In addition to the Papanasham Beach, the 2000 years old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the main attractions here.

Ponmudi:
Ponmudi is 61 km from Thiruvananthapuram, situated at an attitude of 915 m above sea level, ponmudi is a beautiful hill station known for its pleasant climate, tea plantations and enchanting scenery. The deep forest trails are ideal for hiking and trekking.

Padmanabhapuram Palace:
The seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, this splendid palace is situated at Thuckalai, 63 km from Thirivananthapuram on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a well preserved wooden sturcture, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. The extra ordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granaite floor have withstood the test of time.

Neyyar Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary
32 km away is the Neyyar Dam. The picturesque location of the dam and the lake has made Neyyar a popular picnic spot. The enchanting Agastyakoodam Mountains in this area is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of  1890 mts above sea level provides an opportunity for hiking, trekking and mountaineering. Other places of interest around the dam are the Crocodile Farm and the Lion Safari Park. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary established in 1958, this sanctuary covers an area of 128 sq. km., including the Neyyar reservoir. The sanctuary has a wide variety of vegetation and landscape, ranging from tropical wet evergreen forest to grasslands. The best way to explore the sanctuary is by boat. 

About Kerala
About Kettuvallom
About Houseboats 
About Backwaters


 

Kerala  Tour Operators 
 Fact Sheet
Population: 5,23,733
Area: 2192 sq km
Altitude: Sea level
Rainfall  170 cm
Climate:  Warm Tropical
Summer Max      Min
36.2C  20.6C
35C     18C 
Season Sep to May 
Clothing: Tropical cottons 

Access

Air: 
The Thiruvananthapuram Inter-national Airport has over 30 air links with the convenient connections to Colombo, Maldives and the Middle East. 

Rail: 
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is connected to most important Indian cities and towns, including the southernmost tip of the subcontinent, Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin). 
 
Road:
Motorable roads link Thiruvananthapuram to several important tourist and business centres in India. Bus services of various classes are operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) as well as corporations belonging to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. 

Local Transport:
Taxis (ordinary yellow-top cabs superior 'tourist taxis' and chauffeur-driven cars on hire from carinates), buses and auto rickshaws. For the adventurous, cycles are also easily available on hire. The KSRTC operates bus services to pointed within the city and its suburbs.
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Houseboats Backwaters Kerala