Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is the capital of Kerala. The wooded highlands on the Western Ghats in the eastern and northeastern borders give Thiruvananthapuram some of the most enchanting picnic spots. A long shoreline, with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make it a much sought after tourist destination.
Padmanabha Swamy Temple:
The temple is located inside the East Fort. 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
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum:
The Palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama 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 wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple.
The Napier Museum:
Built in the 19th century, the Indo ‐ saracenic structure boasts a "natural" air conditioning system 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.
Sree Chithra Art Gallery:
Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
Just 8 km from the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) 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.
Varkala is a seaside resort and spa. It is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer, Sree Narayana Guru, is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri. High cliffs with mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. According to a myth, sage Narada was approached by a group of mendicants who confessed to having sinned. Narada threw his valkkalam (cloth made of the bark of a tree) into the air, and the place where it landed was subsequently named Varkala. The mendicants were directed by Narada to offer their prayers in the newly created place by the seashore. The place where they prayed for redemption, came to be known as the Papanasham Beach ( Papanasham means redemption from sins). The 2000 year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre are the two main attractions here.
An idyllic hill resort with narrow, winding pathways and cool, green, wooded environs, Ponmudi is located 915 metres above sea level. Along with a variety of beautiful mountain flowers, exotic butterflies, small rivulets, springs and the deer park nearby, this hill station also has excellent trekking trails.
This internationally renowned beach resort has been a favorite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The southernmost, known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all budgets.
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