Many important cultural institutions, universities and libraries are located in the Thiruvananthapuram city itself. The museum complex consisting of the art and natural history of museum, Art Gallery, Zoological and Botanical gardens are more prominent among them. The complex is situated on a beautiful landscaped 80-acre plot in the heart of the city. More popularly known as Trivandrum, the gateway to Kerala stretches along the pristine banks of Arabian Sea with its shimmering backwaters reaching deep into the verdant countryside - a spacious layout where the old and modern are surrounded by gently swaying coconut palms and majestic, gabled, pagoda-roofed traditional buildings. Camouflaged in a small town cloak, Thiruvananthapuram has no skyscrapers aiming for the clouds or tourist wows - save the mediocre spires on temple heads - no fast cars racing down glitzy lanes, no night clubs where you can bang your head to rock. Yet this undulating terrain of seven low coastal hills has a distinctive scent of power sprayed in its clean streets. It is here you can see how political influence speeds up the wheels of time, chucking the old frame into hands of modernity. Nevertheless, the palaces of the Travancore rulers, gracious 'Theravadas' and bungalows that dot the capital, lend distinction to the city, for they haven't resigned to the onslaught of progress. Today, Thiruvananthapuram shines as a radiant jewel, nature's favored child and God's own domain.
On the drive from Thiruvananthapuram International airport to Thumba (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre) is the Veli lagoon. This is an ideal calm and quiet number one tourist place. Here good lake, we can enjoy boating with out any risk factors even for childern. Here we can ride through pedestal boats speed boats, round shape miniature pedal fibure boats are available. In this lake we can see different model of fishes, Here we can spend a one day picknic programme for whole family
Napier Museum (Art Museum)
One of the earliest Museum in India established by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1855. Only a very few Museums like the Indian Museum Calcutta, Madras Government Museum are its contemporaries. In 1874, the old Museum Building was pulled down and the foundation for the new building named after Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras presidency, was laid. The Architectural masterpiece was designed by Mr. Chisoln, the consulting Architect of the Madras Government and the construction completed in 1880. This 120 year old structure is a landmark in the city with its unique ornamentation and architectural style with gothic roof and minarets.
It offers an array of display of artistic, cultural and antique importance comprising of sculptures in bronze and stone, carvings of wood and ivory, lamps, textiles, Kathakali models, handicraft items, Kuftgiri works, traditional musical instruments, a treasure of numismatic collections representing Chera, Chola, Pandya dynasties of Southern India etc. The bronze display includes fascinating images of Siva, Vishnu, Parvathi and Lakshmi in 'Silpa Sastras'. The metal images illustrate the features of South Indian sculpture style of 8th to 18th Century. The Vishnu image of 8th Century collected from Ambalapuzha temple in central Travancore which has Pallava style is the oldest metal image in the State. The stonesculptures belong to 8th to 18th Century such as Agasthya, Vishnu etc. manifest Dravidian influence. Shiva with Sati is a unique and the rarest exhibit found in the Museum. All the wood carvings exhibited here shows high degree of excellence. Each and every exhibit has a wonderful and fascinating tale twined around it.
Kalari self defence and body fitness
After you think that you are quite fit after a massage, visit the schools that teach and practise traditional martial art of Kerala, Kalarippayattu. No doubt you will be amazed to see their agility and perfection with which they move and attack. If you are lucky, you caneven get to know the 18 hands of Buddha, an archaic art that led to the origination of today's kung-fu. One can visit the CVN Kalari, located near the Padmanabha Swamy Temple,near East Fort. Remember, tourists are only entertained on Wednesdays and that too from 6.30-8.30 am in the morning
The famous Hindu pilgrim centre, Varkala is 48 Kms. north of Thiruvananthapuram. The place is noted for its mineral springs that gush out of the towering cliffs.
Part of the Sahyadri range of mountains, Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890 metres above sea level. Teeming with wildlife, the forests of Agasthyakoodam abound in rare medicinal herbs and plants and brilliantly hued orchids. A bird watcher's paradise, this legendary mountain is accessible by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam, as also from Bonacaud. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking, for which a forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Forest Department, PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram
Situated 40 Kms, north of Thiruvananthapuram along the sea cost, Anjuthengu (Anjengo) is a place of historic importance. It was here that the first settlement of the English East India Company was established in 1864 A.D. According to the local folk, the limited area where five coconut palms stood (Anjuthengu - Anjengo) was given on lease to the company by the then ruling prince of Travancore for trade purposes. The remains of the old English Fort which had withstood many a siege can be seen here even now
The Methan Mani (Muslim bell)
The Methan Mani clock atop the Old Fort Palace, at a stone's throw from the temple, operated by a complex system of pulleys is a must see for every visitor. Spend a romantic evening watching the sunset, sitting on the small granite 'mandapa' nestling on the banks of the Karamana river.
The seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, this splendid palace is situated at Thuckalai, on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a well preserved wooden palace, a glorious testimony to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. The extraordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granite floor have withstood the test of time. Kovalam was brought to the public eye by the Maharaja of Travancore. The European guests of the then Travancore kingdom discovered the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination in the 1930s. However, Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies. That started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in all India- the Kovalam beach. It is a beautiful place in Kerala.
This is a popular city beach very near the airport. An indoor recreation club, children's traffic training park and a star shaped restaurant are some of the facilities at the beach. Kalari self defence and body fitness After you think that you are quite fit after a massage, visit the schools that teach and practise traditional martial art of Kerala, Kalarippayattu.
This beach is beautifully set with palm trees dotting the headlands to the south, which is where the lighthouse is located, and north where a 20-40 m stretch of fine gold and black sand arches around the bay. Nothing much to do except perhaps go for a stroll or a swim, it's nice as beaches go, but there are better beaches than this.
Another stretch of beach along the same axis as Lighthouse Beach, Rockholm Beach is accessible either via a track leading down from the Rockholm Hotel (and Palmshore Hotel),or alternatively by walking southwards from Lighthouse Beach over the headland on which the lighthouse stands. Swimming is possible.
This beach is just 4 kms north of Kovalam and has a number of resorts jostling with the local fishing village for space and to accommodate the regular stream of tourists. It also called Samudra Beach because it is dominated by the KTDC's excellent Hotel Samudra. This beach is not private but, just a 15 min walk or Rs 50 ride northwards from Lighthouse Beach, it is virtually free of pestering beach sellers. The first little bay is edged by small rocky promontories and not very good for swimming.
Sree Chitra Art Gallery
This Gallery established in 1935 has a century old world famous paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, the pioneering Indian genies in the art of oil painting who was born and brought up at Kilimanoor Palace in Kerala, is a star attraction in this gallery. The Artistic masterpieces of Bengal school of Arts, contemporary painters from within and outside the country constitute the bulk of the display. Famous Roerich paintings, miniatures from various parts of the world, manuscripts of great archival significance and the mural paintings unique to Kerala make the display in the gallery wholesome and complete. One gets dismayed as one goes through the profile of display watching hundreds of years old original works of world famous artists. Four hundred year old Tanjore miniature paintings, are interesting display in the gallery.
Zoological garden, Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, one of the oldest in the country, was established as an annexe to the Museum in 1857 by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore in order to attract more visitors. This Zoo was originally set up for recreational purpose only.But with more and more loss of forest and wildlife in the process of human development, the goal of the Zoo changed from recreation to conservationNapier Museum (Art Museum) One of the earliest Museum in India established by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1855. Only a very few Museums like the Indian Museum Calcutta, Madras Government Museum are its contemporaries.
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