Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Thiruvananthapuram

From Wikitravel
Southern India : Kerala : Southern Travancore : Thiruvananthapuram
Revision as of 13:57, 30 August 2010 by Ted (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Trivandrum Central Railway station at the heart of the city
Located near the southern tip of mainland India, Thiruvananthapuram (Malayalam: തിരുവനന്തപുരം Tiruvanantapuraṁ), [1] (formerly and often still known as Trivandrum) is the capital city of Kerala in Southern India. The city is shares the same name with its district, Thiruvananthapuram, which is one of the 14 districts of Kerala. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys.

Thiruvananthapuram is built on hills by the sea shore and sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Thiruvananthapuram is ranked first in the number of foreign tourists visiting Kerala and is a fascinating destination for holidaymakers.

Understand

Thiruvananthapuram, with a tradition dating back to 1000BC, lies on a small strip of land with plenty of coconut & palm trees, and it name means "City of Lord Anantha" (the serpent on which Lord Padmanabha/Vishnu reclines) in Sanskrit and Malayalam. It was a trading post for spices, sandalwood and ivory. The city is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the University of Kerala, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Technopark, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER).

History

Thiruvananthapuram is one of the oldest cities in India, with periodic references in many Greek and Roman literatures. However the city's position came forefront when the Venad Dynasty came into power of Southern regions, after the Great Partition of Kerala Empire of Cheras in 14th century. Though Venad rulers had their capital at Kollam (70kms north of Thiruvananthapuram), the town was well considered as a major trading center. The rise of new Venad King, Maharaja Marthanada Varma and subsequently formation of Travancore Kingdom in late 17th century proved a turning point for the city. The Raja, after formation of the kingdom by annexing many small states and feudal principalites, dedicated the entire kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the presiding deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and crowned as Emperor, making the royal family to rule in the name of the lord. This resulted in making Thiruvananthapuram as the capital of new kingdom and the city started growing around the temple. In 19th century, the entire administration was brought to Thiruvananthapuram city from the Royal headquarters of Sree Padmanabhapuram Fort (50kms from Thiruvananthapuram city), which marked completion of first phase of Thiruvananthapuram city.

Travancore was one of the most powerful Indian Princely state during British Raj, with the kingdom becoming 3rd most richest state among native states. Thiruvananthapuram city, under the royal patronage grew into a major academic, cultural hub of India, with many firsts to its credit. The Maharajas always cared to keep their capital, one of the most greenest cities in India, which resulted in many praises for the capital. As the power and wealth of Travancore Kingdom reached its peak during early 20th century, Thiruvananthapuram became a major prosperous city. With independence of India, the Travancore chose to ascend into India Union. After formation of Kerala state in 1957, it was decided to retain Thiruvananthapuram as the capital city.

Being a capital and administrative city, it remains to be one of the hottest political center in Kerala. The 3rd phase of the development came in early 1990s, when Kerala Government decided to establish Technopark- a large IT Park. The growth of Technopark as the largest Information Technology park in South Asia, made a major impetus for the growth of city. Today the city is on focus of making it as major IT/Bio-Technology hub.

The arterial road of Thiruvananthapuram is the MG Road or the Mahatma Gandhi Road which lies in the north-south direction and connects almost all important attractions in the city.

Climate

The city has a tropical climate and therefore does not experience distinct seasons. The mean maximum temperature is 34 °C and the mean minimum temperature is 21 °C. Humidity is high, and rises to about 90% during the monsoon season.

Thiruvananthapuram is the first city along the path of the south-west monsoon and gets its first showers in early June. However, pre-monsoon showers are common in April and May, accounting to about 35 cm on average. Annual rainfall is not very high compared to other districts of Kerala, but it is still a substantial 180 cm. The rainiest months are May, June, July, August, and October, but there are frequent showers in other months too between April and November. For travelers who wish to avoid the rain, the best period to visit is from December to March.

The winter temperature comes down to about 18 °C at some places at high altitudes and summer temperatures can sometimes go as high as 35 °C.

When to go

  • The best time to visit Trivandrum is between October and February, the perfect time for beach vacations. February to May is summer, which is very hot and humid while June to September is the monsoon season. The second rainy season, the North-East monsoon, is equally strong and occurs during the months of October and November.
  • The festival of Onam which occurs towards the end of August or early September is a good time to soak up the carnival atmosphere. There are usually many cultural programs during the official Onam celebrations lasting 10 days.
  • The Monsoon season starts from June every year and is a time of heavy rains in the area. Recently as a result of the campaigning by State Tourism Board, tourists have started coming in to enjoy the Monsoon.

Talk

The native language of kerala is Malayalam, which is a Dravidian language like Tamil and Kannada. Most locals can communicate in Hindi and English owing to a high literacy rate. The people are generally very helpful and friendly but do keep an eye out for people trying to take you for a ride (not common, but it pays to be careful). South Indian languages like Tamil are generally understood, though people may not be too fluent in the language.

Get in

By plane

  • Kochi International Airport, [2], is one of the largest airport in South India, with almost all major airlines operating, which is around 220 km from Thiruvananthapuram, and travel to Thiruvananthapuram by road/rail. It is 4-5 hour journey.

By train

Trivandrum Central railway station, located at Thampanoor, is a major Indian railway station, second largest in South India after Chennai. The station being a terminus, almost all trains on west coast and bound to Kerala start & end their journey here. It is very well connected and serviced by rail to all major cities in India. Thiruvananthapuram is the first major city along the second longest train route in the world, Kanyakumari to Jammu. Recently several trains have shifted its service point to Kochuveli Railway Station, to avoid congestion at Central Railway station. Kochuveli Railway Station is nearest to International Airport. Check at Railway Enquiry, before you proceed.

The Central station is itself is a heritage complex built by Travancore Maharaja as part of Travancore Railways. The railway station is the only such to be built completely in stone without any concrete or steel structure. The station is highly modernized with all premium facilities. There are several good retiring rooms, a large air-conditioned waiting room, first class lounge, bookstores, shopping arcade and medical center in it.

By bus

The long distance bus station is located next door to the railway station. Buses ply to all major towns and villages in the state as well as to big cities like Cochin, Bangalore, Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Chennai. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates 6 class of services, connecting to southern Tamil-Nadu cities/town as well as all other parts of Kerala. KSRTC operates premium luxury Garuda services to Bangalore and Coimbatore. Karnataka STC also operates two class of premium services; Rajahamsa (non A/c Executive class) and Airavat (A/C Sleeper Class) from Bangalore and Mysore to the city. Likewise Tamil Nadu SETC also operates 3 class of services from numerous Tamil Nadu cities, particularly southern side. In addition, private national players like Sharma, Kallada, GTC, Raj National Express also operates premium services to other South Indian cities and Mumbai.

By car

Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to other cities like Kochi (230 km), Kozhikode (420 km), Chennai (780 km), Bangalore(791 km), Coimbatore(400 km) by road.

Get around

By bus

The local bus service system is the cheapest way to get around Thiruvananthapuram. There are city buses run by government(KSRTC) and private companies. Most of these are very crowded especially during peak hours. Route descriptions on the buses are mainly in Malayalam. Route numbers are displayed. Pick pocketing is not very common. Women of foreign origin can some times be the subject of verbal harassment or the occasional groping. The government city buses are painted red with an yellow patch , and the private city buses are blue in colour. Fast passenger buses run by KSRTC are also painted blue and is named "Ananthapuri Fast". The city services of KSRTC operate from six depots namely, the City depot, Vikas Bhavan, Peroorkada, Pappanamcode, Kaniyapuram and Vellanad. The central city bus terminal is located at East Fort(Kizhakkekotta), near the Padmanabha Swamy temple. The Central and Inter State bus station is located 1 km away at Thampanoor.KSRTC operates AC Volvo services connecting various important places. If you have a little time to spent you can try the new mode of transportaion. Recently KSRTC has launched AC buses also for local transportation. you can take these buses for a city tour in AC comfort at about Rs 40. minimum fare is Rs 10/-.Buses are painted in an orange colour.

By auto rickshaw

Autorickshaws (or simply Autos) is a cheap way of transport between attractions. It is always possible to get an auto rickshaw from a bus stand, railway station or special auto rickshaw stand. All the city auto-rikshaws are possessing fare meters, and fare is calculated by the taximeter affixed to every licensed rickshaw. So, make sure that the driver turns on the meter before the start of the journey. Most auto drivers unlawfully tend to charge more from foreigners. The driver may quote a price first, but just insist him to use the meter. The minimum charge for the autorickshaw is Rs.10. Running charge per km is Rs.6; and charge for waiting for over ten minutes is Rs.5 for every 15 minutes, subject to a maximum of Rs.200 per day. There are pre-paid autorickshaw counters available near the airport and the railway station. Complaints related to the autorickshaws in Trivandrum can be made to the phone number : 0471-2469223 (RTO Trivandrum). Online complaints are accepted in the traffic police website also [3].

By taxi

Taxis are convenient and cheap, especially if you travel in groups. Taxis can be hired not only for short distances, but also for a few days at a stretch. Unlike other metros, Thiruvanathapuram still has only Indian Ambassadors as taxi cabs. Being administrative city, almost all public cabs are Ambassadors, which is a heritage car to take a ride. However if you wish for modern cars, you can get from your hotel on request.

When you hire the taxi with a driver over a few days, a minimum charge is usually paid which covers the hiring charge for the car, the driver's fees and a certain distance. If the car covers more than that distance, additional charges are levied according to the extra distance covered as per kilometre. Most of the drivers expect to be paid for their meals during the day. If staying overnight, this will include the hotel charges as well.

The present taxi charges in the city are as follows : minimum charge – Rs.65; running charge per km – Rs.7.50; and charge for waiting – Rs.25 per hour, subject to a maximum of Rs.300 per day.

By car

There are many car rental companies offering cars with drivers and very few, hard to find "self drive". Many of them are unreasonably expensive by local standards. Ask someone with the local know how before you rent a car.

Kowdiar road

You can easily visit Thiruvananthapuram through Car. There are many car rental companies available which Provide good services.

By two wheelers

Scooters and motorcycles are the favoured means of personal transport on the roads. Renting or buying the motorcycle is not for the faint hearted. The mix of fast and slow traffic makes it especially dangerous. Like all the Indian cities, lane discipline is not well followed.

There are companies arranging tours on Enfield Bullet motorcycles out of Thiruvananthapuram . Most of the locals zip around in modern motorcycles like the Hero Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki or Kawasaki Bajaj.

Bicycle

Before 10 years, cycles were a major mode of transportation used by the residents. Now, the use of cycles are relatively very low. The tourists also prefer little cycling because of the hilly shape of the city. Moreover, the absence of cycling lanes and hot weather will make the day exhausting.

However, for hard-hearters cycles are available on rent with some companies.

  • Vacation India Ph: 2312028 Fax: 2314561

On foot

Gandhi Park in East Fort

Many places of attractions within the city are nearby, so you could walk between them. Crossing roads often involves wading across heavy traffic during peak hours. The zebra lanes are used by the locals for road crossing only in major junctions. Other than the major junctions, do not expect the vehicles to stop for you in the zebra lines. Try your best to move in a predictable straight line, so vehicles can weave around you. (Better yet, latch onto a group of locals and cross in their shadow.) The recommended walk areas in the city are as follows:

  • Walk from Over bridge towards East Fort. Visit the Padmanabhaswami Temple premises. End up your walk in the Gandhi Park in East Fort.
  • Walk from Secratariate towards Palayam. Walk and see the Connemera market and do window shopping.
  • Walk from Museum Junction towards Vellayambalam. Alternatively, you can also walk inside the Museum compounds.
  • Walk from Vellayambalam Junction up to Kowdiar palace. This road is called the Royal Road, as it leads to the palace. There are good coffee shops and snack bars in this area.

See

Thiruvananthapuram is a historic city, dotted with many historical structures, parks, museums, tourist centers and palaces. Its also famous for its distinctive greenery, present all over, a rare site in any Indian bustling city. Visit the official website of Kerala Tourism [4].

Monuments and Museums

  • Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple , the icon of the city. The entire Thiruvanathapuram city was built around this temple. Its an architectural wonder and was nominated from India into last round of 7 Wonders of World. The building style is a mixture of Kerala and Tamil architecture. The temple has many structures inside, like musical pillars, golden mandap, 500 pillared corridor famous for its sculptures and large collection of temple mural paintings. The temple has a large clear pond called Padmatheertham, which is also landmark. The deity is Vishnu in a rare reclining posture, called as Sree Padmanabha. The temple has a huge role in history of Kerala, with the presiding deity even being crowned as Emperor of Travancore in 18th century and all the rulers ruling the state in the name of the deity. The royal crown of Travancore, is preserved inside the temple, though a glimpse of it, is a rare opportunity. The sad part is that, this temple is open only Hindus and others cannot enter inside. Even Hindus have to follow rigorous dress code and customs. This temple belongs to Travancore Royal Family and guarded by Palace Guards of Travancore.
  • East Fort, an old fort around Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. Today most of fortifications have been dismantled, except the Eastern side, thus the fort has got its current name- East Fort. The Fort Gate directly opens before Sree Padmanabha Temple and designed in European style. The illumination of East Fort Gate in evenings, is a major attraction.
  • The Kerala Government Secretariat, is the one of the most recognizable icon of the city. Built as Huzur Cutchery (Secretarial Offices in Malayalam) in 1860, to serve as the Royal Durbar Hall of Travancore Kingdom, this building is a super-imposing structure. The building was designed by British Royal Engineers Corps combining Roman-Dutch-English-Kerala architectures, a testimony of Kerala's past influences with Roman, Dutch, English. The old Legislature Assembly Hall inside the complex (Asia's first native legislature assembly)is a good museum with a detailed gallery that depicts the history of Travancore Legislature Assembly. Other areas of this building are not of tourist interest, as they are government offices.
  • The Napier Museum Named after a former Madras governor, General John Napier, this museum is a beautiful building in the museum compound. English architect Chrisholm created this building combining English-Saxon-Travancore architectural styles. This museum displays rare archaeological and historical artifacts including bronze idols and ivory carvings.(Open 10AM-5PM, closed on Mondays and before noon Wednesday.)
  • Sree Chithra Art Gallery is an art gallery located in the Museum compound and displays a rare collection of mainly Indian paintings. The main attractions are paintings by world famous Kerala painter Raja Ravi Varma and other famous painters Raja raja Varma and Nicholas Roerich. Also featured are miniature paintings from around the world, Kerala mural paintings and Tanjore miniature paintings.
  • The Zoological Park Closed Mondays, Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. This is the first zoo in India opened in 1843, as a concept of Palace for wildlife. Situated in the Museum compound, this area is a rich botanical garden. There is a wide variety of animals, plants and birds. It has a separate reptile park and butterfly garden.
  • Palace museum East entrance of the the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. - Has a good collection of many antique items from the Travancore era Kings. Thrones, paintings and many belongings kept in a very good condition housed in an erstwhile royal building.
  • Kerala Legislature Assembly Complex The new Legislature Assembly Complex called as Niyamasabha (Law House in Malayalam), is a super imposing modern structure located in heart of the city. Its famous for its classical Kerala architecture with ornate teak works, a unique Kerala styled dome, exquisitely designed interiors and a vast expanse of greenery around it. A photo shoot before this structure is a favourite activity among tourists.
  • Legislature Museum adjacent to Legislature assemble, there is a good museum that depicts history of South Asian Legislature assemblies. This building was once the headquarters of Travancore Royal Nair Brigade (Travancore Army). Today its one of the best galleries, that can give you a detailed look into history of South Asian legislature activities and process.
  • Kanaka Kunnu Palace (Golden Hill Palace in malayalam) is a cultural hotspot of the town. The large palace and its sprawling gardens was once the banquet palace for visiting State guests of Travancore. Today its a famous for its galleries and the grand lawns serve as open air auditoriums for regular concerts and evening dance programs.
  • Priyadarshini Space Planetarium, is one of the largest planetariums of India rated as one of the best horizontal planetariums of the world, with a good collection of astronomical science objects from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). It has 2 major shows regarding various secrets of universe. It has a good Sky Theatre, a large conference hall and venue of regular space related programs.
  • Kerala Science and Technology Museum, near to Priyadarshini Planetarium, is one of the largest science museum, featuring a timeline of various technologies in area of electronics, technology etc. There are several galleries on Electrical Engineering, Biomedical, Mechanical Engineering, etc. It has a very good collection of many electronic equipments and a good 3D Theatre with regular shows.
  • Chachanehru Children's Museum is a good children's museum with a large collection of dolls, masks, paintings etc. A mini aquarium and water play area is set here. Located in Thycuad, in the heart of city, is a good evening spot for families.
  • Kuthiramalika Palace, a unique palace designed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal (a famous musical genius Maharaja of Travancore), this palace is famous for its horse shaped windows and decor. This palace, located near to Padmanabhaswamy temple has some good collections of antiques related to Maharaja Swati Thirunal's times. This palace is venue of famous Swathi Thirunal Music Festival as well as many other musical concerts patronized by Royal family.
  • Kowidar Palace, is a super-imposing structure, located in Kowidar. This is the current official residence of Travancore Maharajas and royal family and off-the-limits for public. However a friendly guard may let you inside to have a glimpse of this large architectural wonder built in mixture of Saxon-Travancore styles. The public however can enter into Panchavadi, the resting place of Late H.H Maharaja Chitra Thirunal- the last King of Travancore who was very popular king.

Beaches and Nature

  • Shanghumukham Beach This city beach is 8 km outside the city, adjacent to the airport. Local people flock there to watch the sunset. Its a good well maintained safe beach. There is an indoor recreation club nearby. Matsyakanyaka a gigantic sculpture of a mermaid by Kanai Kunjiraman arouses mixed reaction. A small garden and star-fish shaped restaurant operates there, attracts large crowds. There is also a peaceful temple nearby.
  • Veli Tourist Village. A lake blending into the beach, almost as if it were teasing the sea. Boating, Horse Riding on the beach, a floating bridge, a shallow pond where you can feed the fish, beautifully maintained gardens. Very famous among tourists, especially those interested in water adventure sports.
  • Kovalam Beach - 17 km from Thiruvananthapuram City, is a world famous beach, noted being one of the finest. There are 2 large beaches and highly safe for swimming. A visit to Kovalam is must for Trivandrum. However the beach becomes too crowded during November-December time, when foreign tourists flock in mass. Beware of local touts and beach-side restaurants/shops which sells items nearly 3 to 4 times more than its normal price. Several massage palours located near to the beach are fake and are illicit sex palours.

Other attractions

There are several attractions, located outside the city limits, popular among tourists. Some of them are,

  • The Padmanabhapuram Palace the old headquarters of Travancore Royal family, is one of the most attractive palaces, which no tourist can't afford to miss. The palace is recorded as World's largest Wooden Palace, by Guinness Books of Records. It is entirely made of teak and rosewood and have an exquisite flooring made of granite and a rare ayurvedic mixture with secret extracts to keep the floor cool in summer season and warm during rainy season. It has a grand Dubar Hall made out of rosewood and glass. The Palace houses a numerous rare antiques, including 600 year old spice bed, a rare bed made out of a special wood treated in various spices, to rejuvenate the kings as well as sandal pillars. The clock tower is one of the oldest in South Asia, that is still working. It is 65 km from Trivandrum City and is in the Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. However the palace and fort is still maintained by Kerala Government. The royal sword of Travancore Maharajas is preserved here, which is taken to Trivandrum as a grand procession during Arattu Festivals of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
  • Attingal Palace the erstwhile head-quarters of Travancore Queens who ruled a small province of Attingal within Travancore. The large palace, also houses one of the family temples of Travancore Royal Family. Much of the palace is off-limits to public, however its durbar hall and public areas are open to public.
  • Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad
  • Aruvikkara Dam
  • Neyyar Dam
  • Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ponmudi
  • SreeMahadeva Temple
  • Vizhinjam

Itinerary

  • See Trivandrum on foot. Get public transport to Kanaka Kunnu Palace. See this public building on top of a hill, used for cultural programs. Walk down to Napier Museum and Zoo. See the building, walk around the park and visit the zoo if you are interested. Also pay a visit to the Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Natural History museum and the Reptile House. Then walk towards Palayam along the MG road absorbing the roadside buzz of activities and shopping at the roadside shops. Usually there are cultural programs at VJT Hall which may be open to the public. Continue along MG road towards the Secretariat. The area around the secretariat is known locally as Statue, due to a few neglected statues of important figures. There are sometimes political protests or demonstrations along this place. Sample the food from some of the local restaurants. SMS Institute on a side road near Secretariat sells authentic Kerala handicrafts and gift items. Prices start from Rs.25 to a few thousands. Continue along the MG road. There are many local book shops including Paico[5], Modern Book House and Prabhat book store. The Ayurveda college , which teaches the traditional ayurvedic medicine will be on the right side. Opposite this, there is another handicraft store.Walk along the MG road and you will reach the junction with traffic signals known as the Over bridge locally. There are a few movie theatres nearby. The railway station and Bus station are towards the left, about half a mile. If you continue straight, you will eventually reach Pazhavangadi. You will see the remains of a fort (well hidden) on the right side (known as Kottakakam/East fort). The famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is nearby, complete with a temple lake (Padmatheertham). The architecture of the temple is more in line with Tamil temples as compared to other Kerala temples. On the left is Chaalai Bazaar. This is a busy congested road teeming with all kinds of shops.

Do

  • Stroll around the town during the dusk time when the city comes to life.It is advised not to venture out alone late into the night
  • Find local bargains and shop for souvenirs.
  • Watch the magical sunset from the Shankumukham or Veli beach
  • Get pampered with a traditional Ayurvedic massage
  • Visit the local museum and art gallery.
  • Visit a martial arts centre (Kalaripayattu)
  • Watch traditional performers perform a Kathakali dance.
  • Watch a temple procession at the end of a local festival when the deity is taken out on the top of an elephant.
  • Watch a Malayalam / Bollywood movie (no subtitles) in a local cinema.
  • Check the newspapers for daily events, especially theatre/film/dance performances. Try to find out if anything is on at the Tagore theatre when you're there, especially during the film festivals which screen art house classics from around the world.
  • Take a rain walk - if you're there during the monsoons, buy an umbrella and walk from place to place in the magical monsoon.
  • Laze around on any of the pristine beaches.
  • Visit the public library for its stunning architecture and colonial charm.
  • If you're there during the Onam season, be sure to pass by the secretariat building and the kanakakunnu palace for the brilliant illuminations. If it's Christmastime, walk down a little further to the L.M.S compound to see the awesome collection of Christmas stars.
  • Stop by a thattukada (roadside stall) at dusk for parottas or thattu dosas (a pancake of southindian origin).
  • A long breezy stroll on Veli beach with its kilometres of the orange beach is precious. Take note, as you move past the 'Tourist Village' zone you'll come into areas where the locals live by the beach, they may question you. They're trying to be friendly to the 'new face', so feel free to chat up or move on giving them a friendly wave! Here you can witness the fishermen sail back in the evening and mend their nets. Perhaps join the local kids in a game of beach ball or cricket. There is a strip on the left of the boating club where you can find sea eagles circling in the air, it is a majestic sight to see them swoop in for their prey, and then devour it mid-flight.

Learn

  • Yoga Classes
  • Kathakali dance and associated arts including the percussion instruments and make-up
  • Kalaripayattu
  • Malayalam and its rich literature
  • Cheap advanced computing/software training!

Work

Opportunities for foreigners to work in Kerala used to be very limited. The dramatic advances in the information technology sector have probably changed this. But the companies still prefer to use the locally available and hence more economically viable manpower.

To work in India, you need employment visa. The prospective employer has to send a letter providing information about your qualification to the home ministry in India.

Buy

Haggling is quite acceptable and very much needed if you buy anything from the vendors who will pester you during your stay at any of the nearby beaches.

Shopping Plazas

  • Style Plus Nanthencode
  • Saphalyam Shopping Complex Palayam
  • Spencer's Palayam & Vellayambalam
  • Big Bazaar East Fort & Perrorkada & Kesavadasapuram
  • Narmada Shopping Complex Kowdiar
  • Kedaram Shopping Complex Kesavadasapuram
  • Arcade Shopping Complex Killipalam
  • Karimpanal Arcade East Fort
  • De Options Nanthencode
  • Anna's Arcade Spencer Junction
  • Attukal Shopping Complex East Fort

Department Stores

  • Premier Office equipments Opposite Aurveda College, M G Road

Books and Music

  • Modern Book Centre , Gandhari Amman Kovil Road , Near: M.G Road , Trivandrum - 695001, Ph:- 0471-2478826
  • Paico , Statue
  • Prabhat Book House , Statue
  • Galaxy
  • Bookport, Silence, Capitol Centre, Statue. www.bookport.in. Phone: +91 471-3998399, +91 9349732933
  • Music world, Overbridge, Near SMV school

Handicrafts

  • Handicrafts and gift items from “SMSM Institute” near secretariat in the heart of Trivandrum city or other genuine craft shops (Natesan’s opposite the Ayurvedic college). Do not buy them from the roadside shops at tourist places like Kovalam. You will be ripped off.

Textiles

When you come to cities like this in India, do not pack too many clothes. You can buy them cheap at the local shops. There are many shops around the east fort and over-bridge areas.

  • Karalkada in the Fort area is the most famous for traditional clothes.
  • Parthas on the Powerhouse road is a major retailer. The collection of Indian traditional wear for women is excellent. The western style collection leaves much to be desired. When it comes to men’s wear, you will find all you need in this shop.

For western clothes check out

  • Aiyappas
  • Naaz
  • Last Option

For branded clothes at the showrooms of

  • ReebokPlamoodu
  • Addidas Nanthankode
  • Levi Strauss Signature
  • Benetton and the like.
  • Pepe Jeans

Jewellery

  • Bhima Jewellery Elankath Complex, Phone: 0471- 2461631, 2463645
  • Prince Jewellers East Fort Phone: 0471-2470667,2476519
  • Saravana Jewellers East Fort Phone: 0471-2470667,2477694
  • Alappat Fashion Jewellery Attukal Shopping Complex, East Fort, Phone: 0471-2478716
  • Alukkas Jewellery East Fort Phone: 0471-2570481
  • Chemmannur Jewellers East Fort Phone: 0471-2463128
  • Josco Jewellers East Fort & Pattom
  • Lekshmi jewellery East fort Phone: 0471-2470609,2470949

and many others

Eat

There are plenty of restaurants in Thiruvananthapuram serving South Indian food. There are also quite a few eating places serving other cuisines, such as North Indian, Chinese and American food. Please note that the word 'hotel' is used for restaurants.

Budget

Non vegetarian Kerala cuisine is served in -

  • Azad Restaurant/Hotel which has branches in a few places in Thiruvananthapuram including Statue Junction, Near overbridge and Vazhuthacaud.
  • Mubarak restaurant Ruby nagar, Chalai
  • Kaithal Restaurant Chalai
  • Buhari Hotel Atakulangara, Near East Fort
  • Balan's Tattukada Kaithamukku
  • Open House Ayurveda College jn
  • Cafe Coffee Day by the main road at Kowdiar is a branch of the popular national chain and ideal for a cappuccino / sandwich.
  • Varnam Seafood Family Restaurant Nandavanam Road, Near RBI.
  • Maveli Cafe a branch of Indian Coffee House near the KSRTC bus stand in a unique spiral tower. There are other branches of Indian Coffee House in the city which also serve cheap traditional food.

Vegetarian options include:

  • Arul Jyothi (M.G. Road, tel: 2470240) serves delicious South Indian 'meals' (Veg).
  • Anand Bhavan (Statue Junction)
  • Ariya Bhavan (Opp: Bus Stand, Thampanoor)
  • Arya Nivas
  • Arulakam,Palayam junction & Bakery junction
  • Hotel venkateshwara,airport road, Fort -a small hotel which offers food favoured by tamil brahmins & famous for its kara vadai


Most of the budget restaurants tend to be crowded and noisy as the aim is a rapid turnover and not relaxed dining. It might be better to use the take away facilities and eat at a local park.

Mid-range

  • Ambrosia - a bakery with an eating outlet. Serves burgers, hotdogs and pizzas. Bakery junction and near Medical College.
  • Zinc n Rock - a multicuisine restaurant that serves burgers, sandwiches, omelettes, variety mocktail smoothies, their own recepie of crispy and crunchy Fricassee Fried Chicken, Indian, Chinese & Italian dishes. Located at Vanross Junction, Behind Secreteriate, Statue.[6]
  • Casa Bianca - a Pizzeria and Restaurant at Vazhuthacaud - owned and run by a lovely expatriate. Serves great, fresh tasting pastas, pizzas and all things Italian in a casual intimate setting. Definitely worth the trip from Kovalam if you're missing a good quality thin crust pizza.
  • Eastern Bakery- at Vazhuthacaud
  • Kalavara - at Kowdiar, behind the Trivandrum Tennis Club, and near Pulimoodu junction.
  • Swagat - at Statue, good Vegetarian food. Very good lunch thalis for Rs 60. Serves Sadhya (Traditional Kerala food on Sundays) [7]
  • Buddha's Delight - Unauthentic Chinese vegetarian food, (lots of Tofu based delights!) [8]
  • KTDC floating restaurant - at Veli. Amazing scenery across the lake.
  • Pizza Corner - at the Spencer junction.
  • Hotel Geeth - at Statue, good Kerala food. Lunch Buffet at Rs. 190 [9]
  • Maurya rajadhani,statue road
  • indraprastha,near bakery junction
  • Sindhoor - near the Cotton Hill Girls High School, Vazhuthacaud. Serves Chinese and Indian cuisine. The interior is designed to mimic a cave and results in a dark environment. Not very cosy or stylish. Tasty food, and good value for money.
  • Take Home - a popular roadside take-away joint in Kowdiar.
  • The Seven Hills - a new multi cuisine restaurant featuring mouth watering dishes from across to globe including authentic Kerala meals.The Seven Hills

Splurge

  • Muthoot Plaza [10]
  • South Park [11]
  • Park Field
  • Ruby Arena,
  • Taj Green Cove Resort Kovalam.
  • Leela Kempinski Resort Kovalam.
  • Taj Residency Vazhuthacaud
  • KTDC Mascot Hotel PMG Junction

Drink

Traditional drinks include Karikku(tender coconut water) and Sambharam (buttermilk with salt, ginger and green chilly). Karikku can be bought mostly from the streetside vendors while Sambharam can be bought from the ubiquitous Milma outlets. The Bakery Junction area has several fresh juice vendors, serving inspirted mocktails like Sharjah and Tsunami. "Sharjah" is very popular and available in various juice shops all over trivandrum.

Alcoholic drinks are more difficult to obtain. Government run beverages corporation shops are there as the one near overbridge. A Pub is there near overbridge junction opposite to SMV school. Hotels/restaurants with "bar attached" signs sell alcoholic beverages. Public consumption of these drinks including beer is not socially accepted. The local "toddy shops" and "arrack shops" sell strong local spirit.

Sleep

Unless you are in Trivandrum on a business trip, it may be better to base yourself in Kovalam and go to the city as a day trip. But, the accommodation in Kovalam tends to be more expensive.

Budget

  • Hotel Regency, [12]is 1 star hotel close to the railway station and the bus stand. The hotel has good aircon restaurant and rooftop restaurant which is open only in the evenings. In that same area - Manjalikulam Road - are plenty of other hotels offering similar standards.
  • Hotel Navaratna YMCA Road
  • Jas Hotel Thycaud

Mid-range

  • Best Western Classic Avenue, [13] provides 4 star accommodations for your stay. Address: T.C 25/1744 (1), Manjalikulam Road, Thampanoor, Trivandrum, India 695001. Phone: +91-471-233555.
  • Hotel Geeth at Pulimoodu Junction, Statue.One of the oldest hotels in trivandrum, very recently renovated and classed up. Phone: +91 471 2471987, 3012301 [14]
  • Hotel Chaitram, [15] is also owned by KTDC and is very close to the railway station and bus stand. Claims 2 star deluxe facilities. AC Rooms start at 2000 Rs + tax. Non-AC rooms are not available.
  • Hotel Saj Lucia is situated in East Fort near Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple.
  • The Residency Tower, [16] is a 4 star hotel near the south gate of the secretariat.
  • Hotel Horizon is a 3 star hotel located on Aristo road with a roof top restaurant.
  • Ruby Arena Hotel, [17] - 3 star Business Hotel. Hotel Ruby Arena with ample parking facility provides luxurious accommodation. Elegantly appointed rooms which are set up in international standards provide a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Hotel Pankaj is a 3 star hotel located in a convenient location in Statue, near the secretariat.
  • Hostel Lailja Pappanamcode, near Regional Research Laboratory(CSIR)
  • Hotel Venus International On the Ayyappan Kovil Road (near BTC Tower). Fairly good. A single AC room costs around Rs. 1300 + taxes. Non-AC rooms are NOT available.
  • Second Home, [18]. If you plan to stay at Trivandrum for a considerably longer time, this would be your best option as it is very homely and cost effective at the same time.

Splurge

  • Paradise Gardens Beach Resort & Ayurveda Centre, [19]. Karikatikuzhi Beach - The most beautiful beach. - South of Kovalam.
  • Muthoot Plaza, [20]. A 5 star hotel in Trivandrum at the centre of the city.
  • South Park, [21]. A 4 star hotel located on the MG road,near the secretariat, 3 km from the Railway station.
  • Mascot Hotel, [22]. A KTDC [23] owned 5 star hotel in the heart of the Trivandrum city.
  • The Leela Kovalam is a 5 star hotel in Kovalam, overlooking the Arabian sea, about 15 km away from the city.
  • Sankars Homestay Trivandrum, Diamond House, 2444444, 2448888, 9447100000., [24]. Your home away from home. Diamond House. Kerala Govt. Approved Homestay. Grade A Homestay Approved by Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala.
  • Taj Green Cove Resort is a 5 star hotel in Kovalam, overlooking the Arabian sea
  • Taj Residency, [25]. A 5 star hotel in the heart of the Trivandrum city.

Stay safe

Female tourists should be wary of hooligans, especially in New Year parties. Only eat hot food and drink only boiled or good bottled water. Take water purification tablets with you. Water from corporation supplied lines are generally safe, but to be on the safer side go for purified forms.

If you are visiting during the summers(april-may) temperarures might soar a bit and you might want to take some preparations against it. Evenings are best time to stroll. City sleeps early so you can roam about until maximum 10'o'clock inside the city(really the limit), Most shops close by the time, if you are staying somewhere outside transport options get lesser and costlier ( in case of autorikshaws) as you become more late.

If you need injections or blood tests, try to provide your own needle, bringing a few with your first aid kit.

Contact

Telephone and mobile

The dialling code for Trivandrm is 471. When calling from overseas, dial +91 471 XXXX XXX. If you have a non-working phone number with only 6 digits try to add a "2" in front of it.

If you don’t have an Indian phone number I strongly recommend that you get a pre-paid calling card if you planning on using your phone frequently. By government regulation you need a photocopy of your passport (visa and the id-page) and a color photo to be able to buy a pre-paid card. Pre-paid card are sold in most shops that sell mobile equipment.

'Telephone Booths' or public telephones are widely available usually painted with the letters PCO (Public Call office,local calls), STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialing) and ISD (International Subscriber Dialing). All booths have electronic metering and you pay what's displayed on the meter.

Internet

There are many internet cafes around Trivandrum. They offer cheap, tolerably fast internet access to the public.

Cope

Hospitals

Trivandrum has world class medical facilities with very competitive rates. This attracts "health tourists" from other states and even other countries. If you are in need of medical care, try to go to one of the reputed private hospitals listed below.

State run

  • Medical College Hospital, Medical College, Trivandrum
  • Sree Avittam Thirunal Hospital Medical College, Phone: 0471-2444270.
  • Regional Cancer Centre Medical College Campus, Medical College Phone: 0471-2442541.
  • Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology Medical College, Phone: 0471-2443152
  • General hospital general hospital junction, Vanchiyoor
  • Women and Children Hospital, Thycaud, Trivandrum

Private

  • Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS)Kumarapuram Poonthi Road, Anamukham, Anayara

Phone: 0471-2447575.

  • Sree Uthradam Thirunal Hospital Pattom Phone: 0471-2446220.
  • Chaithanya Eye Hospital and Research Center Kesavadasapuram, Phone: 0471-2447183.
  • Cosmopolitan Hospital Murinjapalam, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, Phone: 0471-2448182.
  • P R S Hospital Killippalam, Phone: 0471-2344443.
  • SP Fort hospital, near fort high school, Fort
  • Arumana hospital, airport road, west fort
  • Ananthapuri hospitals , chacka bye pass , near chacka junction
  • Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital Kudappanakunnu, Thiruvananthapuram, Phone: 0471-2731352.

Dental Clinics

Dr.Jacob's Omega Dental Clinic, preferred by tourists for inexpensive, quality dental care, offers the services of US & UK trained specialists.

  • Dr.Jacob's Omega Dental Clinic, Centre for Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry Near QRS, Main Road, Plamood, Pattom, Trivandrum, www.omegadentalclinic.com, Phone: 91-9447366770, 91-9846053333, 0471-2726252.
  • Dr.Jacob's Omega International Dental Clinic, Centre for Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry , Suseela Gardens, Beach Road, Kovalam, Trivandrum, Phone: 91-9447366770, 91-9846053333.

ATMs

ATMs are widely available in Trivandrum, mainly along with branches of banks. A number of them are present along the MG road.

Money exchange

  • Thomas Cook Soundarya Buildings, MG Road, Thiruvananthapuram, 0471-2338140, 2338141
  • Trivandrum International Airport 0471-2502470
  • T. T. Travels Ltd Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, 0471-2332127, 2333208
  • Air Travel Enterprises Ltd Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram 0471-2327212
  • U.A.E Exchange Centre Pattom & Vazhuthacadu Branches,Tvm.

Car Rental

  • Romantic Cabs Ph: 9349998887 , 9388127646 mail@romanticcabs.com www.romanticcabs.com
  • TaxiTel Ph +919847019282,+919947019492,+919447810100.taxitel@gmail.com www.taxitel.in
  • Cellcabs phone 04712453553

Banks

Most of the major Banks in India have a branch in Trivandrum and most of these are around the MG road.

Opticians

Sunshades and prescription glasses in stylish frames are much cheaper in India as compared to the western world.

  • Eye Designs 9-10, Kedaram Shopping Complex, Kesavadasapuram Phone: 0471-2440985
  • Solar Opticals Statue Convent Lane, General Hospital Junction Phone: 0471-2477596
  • Rose opticalspulimoodu junction

Photography

  • Baba Studio East Fort Phone: 0471-2473399
  • Paramount Colour Lab MG Road, Ayurveda College Junction Phone: 0471-2331643
  • Sivans Studio Statue
  • Minerva Studio Station Road, Thampanoor Phone: 0471-2331575
  • Achas studio MG road, Near pulimoodu
  • Harisons studio Vazhapalli juction, sreevaraham

Libraries & Cultural Centers

  • State Central Library widely known as "Public Library". At Palayam. Has books in English, Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and Sanskrit. Housed in an attractive Victorian Style building.
  • Alliance Francaise[26]"Sudharshana", Forest Office Lane, Vazhuthacaud - 695008 Tel : 0471-2320666 / 5578808.
  • Eloor Lending Library [27] ABN Home, I Floor, Vellayambalam Jawahar Lane, Sasthamangalam P.O., Tel: 2318235.
  • University Library, Palayam.
  • Goethe-Zentrum [28] "Casa Julia", University-Kunnukuzhy Road, Palayam, Trivandrum - 695034 Tel: 0471-3013018/3013019 Fax:0471-3013024 Mobile: 097451 60067
  • Russian Cultural Centre Gorky Bhavanam, Vanross Junction, Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram - 695034 Tel: +(91)-(471)-2338399

Get out

  • Ponmudi - A pleasant hill resort 61 km away from city, elevation 912m above sea level.
  • Kovalam - famous for its beaches, among the finest in India. 17 km from the city.
  • Varkala - a pilgrimage centre for the devotees of janardhana samy and Sree Narayana Guru. 51 km away from Thiruvananthapuram city.
  • Thiruvananthapuram district has many more attractions which are a day trip away.
  • Kanyakumari - 87 km away in Tamilnadu state.

Other places in Tamil Nadu state like Kuttalam water falls, Madurai, Palani and Thanjavoor



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages

other sites