About Thiruvanathapuram

History of Thiruvananthapuram

Ancient Thiruvananthapuram was part of the Travancore kingdom.  The early rulers of Travancore were the Aye and the Chera dynasties. The rulers of Venad then took over the kingdom. The erstwhile ruling family succeeded the rulers of Venad. The modern kingdom of Travancore came into existence with the ascension of King Marthanda Varma in 1729. The kings of Travancore, taking on the name of Padmanabhadasas (servant of the Lord), dedicated themselves totally to his service.

In 1745, Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital city of the state of Travancore. Under the rule of the Varmas, Thiruvananthapuram thrived as a centre of arts and education, establishing many schools, libraries, and hospitals. This period produced several great artists, the most famous ones being Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, Irayimman Thampi and Raja Ravi Varma.

In 1947, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new Indian state of Thiru-Kochi formed by the union of Travancore and Kochi. On 1st November 1956, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new Indian state of Kerala.

Attractions of Thiruvananthapuram

The western coastline of Thiruvananthapuram is a long expanse of sun kissed beaches. The eastern part of the city lies on the foothills of the Western Ghats mountain range. The beautiful mix of beaches and lush hills attract hordes of tourists. It has numerous tourist attractions within and around the city.

  • Kovalam, one of the popular beaches resorts of the world is 16km from the city.
  • Varkala, 50km from the city, is another major beach resort. It is also a major Hindu pilgrim center.
  • Shanghumugham Beach is close to the city center and is an ideal location to relax.
  • Veli Tourist Village, 8km from the city center, is picturesque lagoon, separated from the Arabian Sea by a narrow sandbar. A wide variety of water sports facilities like kayaks, paddleboats, hovercraft, etc. are available here.
  • Ponmudi is a popular hill station which is around 60km from Thiruvananthapuram. It is a perfect place for trekking and hiking.
  • Agastyarkoodam, near Thiruvananthapuram is the second highest peak in Kerala and is regarded as the best trekking destination in the state.
  • Neyyar Dam, Lion Safari Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a very popular picnic destination located about 30km from the city.
  • Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the city’s most famous historical landmark. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Other attractions are the zoo, the Napier Museum and the Sri Chitra Art Gallery. Many palaces in and around the city, like Kanakakunnu Palace, Kuthiramalika Palace (Mansion of Horses), Padmanabhapuram Palace, Koyikkal palace, etc. which were once used by the royals, are now preserved as heritage monuments or museums.

Many festivals are celebrated in Thiruvananthapuram, highlighting its religious and cultural diversity. Some of the important festivals are listed below:

  • Nishagandhi Dance Festival organized by the Tourism Development Corporation with performances by leading exponents of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Odissi, modern ballet and other folk forms.
  • Vetta and Arattu festivals representing respectively Lord Vishnu hunting down an evil demon in the forest and holy bath of the idols of Lord Padmanabha, Lord Krishna and Lord Narasimha.
  • Attukal Pongala, the women-only annual festival of the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple where Pongala (rice with coconut and jaggery) is cooked by devotees at the temple premises and offered to the goddess.
  • Beemapalli Uroos, the Annual festival at Beemapalli in memory of Beema Umma, a Muslim woman who is said to have mystical powers.
  • Vettukad Perunnal, celebrated at the Vettukad Church where a feast is given to at least fifty thousand people on the last day of the ten-day festival.

Reaching Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram is well connected by air, rail and road.

  • The international airport, just 6km away from the city center, has flights connecting it to destinations worldwide.
  • The railways connect Thiruvananthapuram to all other parts of the country.
  • The National Highway (NH) 47 passes through the city. The other important road in the state – the Main Central (M.C.) Road – originates from the city.
  • Numerous city buses, taxis and auto rickshaws make commuting within the city comfortable.

Tourist facilities in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram has multitude of accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels to budget inns. Hotels like the South Park, Saj Lucia, Travancore Heritage, etc are ideally located and have all amenities required for a comfortable stay. The many restaurants in the city serve local as well as cuisines from other parts of India and the world.

Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala is the official host of the state. Their offices in Thiruvananthapuram can be contacted for further information on this world-renowned tourist destination.