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Trivandrum

Travel Guide Asia India Kerala Trivandrum

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Introduction

Trivandrum, or Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital city of Kerala in southern India, and an important town of cultural and artistic interests. It draws hordes of tourists all the year round. This town is famous for its majestic palaces, art galleries and museums. Trivandrum is an amazing mix of past and the present as on the one hand you will come across the modern shopping complexes and business centres, and on the other hand you will find a strange aura of the past lingering in its ancient palaces and other historic buildings.

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Neighbourhoods

Areas near Trivandrum include:

  • Munnar
  • Cochin
  • Alleppey
  • Thekkady
  • Kumarakom

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Sights and Activities

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple (Telephone - 0471-2450233, opening hours 4:00am - 7:30pm), is a famous Hindu temple, located inside the Fort in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one of the Gods of the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The massive idol of the deity measures 5.5 metres in length and is covered with gold and other precious stones.
The temple is an architectural wonder and it is sure to amaze you. Situated in the heart of the city, the massive structure has a staggering 30 metre-high "Gopuram", the main temple tower. The idol is viewed through three different doors. The head and torso is visible through the first opening. The midriff and hands are visible through the second door and the feet are visible through the third door. The massive idol is seen resting gracefully on the Serpent Lord, Anantha. The temple is made beautifully with an amalgamation of Hindu and Kerala architecture. The temple is spread over a vast area and is an important worship of Hindus in Kerala. The temple is quite strict and entry to the shrine is allowed to Hindus only. The temple is famous for its Arattu festival, which is till date headed by the royal family of Travancore. The procession is worth seeing as it is a grand spectacle of beautifully decorated elephants and musicians chanting Lord's name. The whole temple is beautifully decorated and the city of Trivandrum comes alive during the temple procession. People from all over come here to take part and cheer during the festival. Grand feasts are prepared in the temple and the food never seems to go out of stock. It is a beautiful temple and should be visited if you happen to travel to Trivandrum.

Puthe Maliga Palace Museum

Located in the southern part of Thiruvananthapuram, the state capital of Kerala, the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum (Entry Cost 20 Indian Rupees, opening hours 8:30am - 1:00pm, 3:00pm - 5:00pm (Tuesday - Sunday) is sure to impress all its visitors. The Puthe Maliga Palace was the residence of the Rajas of Travancore. Apart from the collection housed within it, the palace building is itself a very admirable structure. It is the result of the hard work and perseverance of about five thousand laborers. It took the labourers five years of hard work to complete the palace building. Superlative architectural skills are displayed. One of the most striking features of the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum is the exquisitely carved wooden ceiling. Exhibits of the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum include beautiful paintings and several other unique and valuable collections of the royal family of Travancore. Many of the items displayed in the museum are indicative of the flourishing spice trade between India and China and Europe. Apart from being an architectural marvel, the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum is also renowned for being the venue of the Classical Musical Festival that is held each year in the months of January or February. On the occasion of this musical extravaganza, a large number of established artistes from all over the country come to the Puthe Maliga Palace Museum. It is an excellent platform for them to display their skills and it is also a golden opportunity for the visitors to be witnessing their riveting performances.

Zoological Gardens

One of the first in India, Thiruvananthapuram's zoo (Telephone 2115122, opening hours 9:00am - 6:00pm (Tuesday - Sunday) is located in a well-planned botanical garden. Spread over 55 acres of land, the Zoo offers an opportunity for visitors to escape the muddles of city life and experience panoramic surroundings. The zoo has 75 different species of animals from India and all over the world. It also has several species of animals and birds from Ethiopian and Australian Zoo geographic regions. The Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger are prominent among the indigenous endangered fauna. Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and Cape buffalo are the guests from African region. It will usher in a new era with the completion of the ongoing modernisation works in the zoo. Thrilling encounters with the animals out in their open air landscapes are not too far. With huge trees like frangipani and jacaranda dotting the sprawling lawns and wild fowl swimming in the lake, it is like a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different species of snakes is also located in the premises. Apart from being a conservation of endangered animals, the Zoo is a beautiful escape from the rush of daily life. Always a hit with the children, the Zoological Garden makes for an ideal tourist destination!

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Events and Festivals

January

  • Ernakulathappan Uthsavom - an 8-day series of colourful and evocative processions honours Lord Shiva at Cochin’s ancient Shiva Temple.
  • Village Fair - an entire traditional Keralan village is recreated each year near Kovalam to showcase the everyday life and ritual dances of ancient Kerala.

February

  • Nishagandhi Festival - a busy and varied weeklong schedule of classical dance forms such as Kathak, Mohiniyattam, Odissi and Bharathanatyam are performed at Trivandrum’s pleasant Nishagandhi open-air amphitheatre.
  • Food Festival - experienced chefs from every state in India converge on Trivandrum to show off their skills and the unique dishes from their part of the country.

March

  • Paripally Gajamela - this small town is famous throughout Kerala for its annual elephant pageant, in which more than 50 of these amazing creatures parade through town to the temple.

April

  • Thissur Pooram - a ‘pooram’ is a meeting and celebration of all forms of art, and the neighbouring town of Thissur is regarded as having the most impressive festival of its kind in Kerala.

June

  • Champakulam Boat Race - the first race of the Backwater’s world famous native boat racing happens in the coastal town of Alappuzha, with fun and raucous festivals to kick off the racing season.

August

  • Onam Festival - Kerala’s biggest event is its harvest festival, with long processions and amazing cultural performances all over Trivandrum and every other town in the region.
  • Nehru Trophy Boat Race - the final traditional boat race of the season is a big deal and well worth checking out if you’re able to get over to Alappuzha.

September

  • Neelemperur Padayani - this annual festival showcases padayani, an ancient form of ritual dance, where performers wear massive headdresses and dance to the rhythm of chenda drums, cymbals and passionate singing.

October

  • Vetta - to honour Lord Krishna, sacred images are carried to the Arabian Sea and ritually washed in the waters by members of the royal family. The statues are then carried back to Padmanabhaswamy Temple where an all-night Kathakali dance highlights a number of cultural performances.

November

  • Arattu Festival - this colourful festival runs for 10 days at the city’s Janardhana Swami Temple as thousands of devotees celebrate with silk-laden elephant processions and other spectacles.

December

  • Christmas - Trivandrum’s Christian roots are celebrated in this global event at the city’s many churches.
  • Cochin Carnival: Fort Cochin transforms into a festive centre of games, competitions and cultural performances over the last week of the year.

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Weather

Trivandrum's climate is tropical and so therefore the city does not have distinct seasons. The average maximum temperature 34 °C and the average minimum temperature is 21 °C. The humidity is high and rises to about 90% during the monsoon season. The city gets heavy rainfall of around 1700 mm per year.

Monsoon usually comes to Trivandrum at the end of May or early June and remains there until November. The dry season sets in by December. December, January and February are the coldest months while March, April and May are the hottest. The winter temperature can go down to about 20 °C and summer temperatures can sometimes go as high as 35 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max30.9 °C31.4 °C32.2 °C32.2 °C31.4 °C29.4 °C28.9 °C29.1 °C29.6 °C29.6 °C29.7 °C30.4 °C
Avg Min22.4 °C23 °C24.4 °C25.3 °C25.2 °C23.9 °C23.4 °C23.5 °C23.6 °C23.5 °C23.2 °C22.7 °C
Rainfall21.8 mm22.1 mm35.9 mm113.5 mm212.4 mm337.9 mm218.8 mm141.8 mm159.3 mm273.9 mm200.3 mm67.3 mm
Rain Days2.72.44.79.713.721.62016.914.315.913.36.6

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Getting There

By Plane

Trivandrum International Airport (IATA: TRV, ICAO: VOTV) has flights to/from Sharjah, Dammam, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Chennai, Doha, Dubai, Kochi, Mumbai, Muscat, Salalah, Tiruchirapalli, Bangalore, Delhi, Malé, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Vijayawada, Kuwait, Singapore, Colombo. Airlines that fly into Trivandrum include:

  • Air India
  • Indian Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • Kingfisher Airlines

By Train

There are frequent trains to Trivandrum from Varkala, Kollam, Ernakulam, Alleppey, Kottayam and Kanyakumari.

By Bus

You can get to Trivandrum from Kovalam beach on the bus. The buses run every 20 minutes from 5:30am - 10:00pm and the journey takes about 30 minutes. There are also frequent buses to Trivandrum from:

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Bus:
A cheap way to get around Trivandrum is to hop on and off any of the crowded buses around MG Road.

Autorickshaw:
Autorickshaws patrol the streets and are the easiest way to get around. Agree on a fare beforehand!

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Eat

There are restaurants in Trivandrum suiting every budget, taste and preference. Food is a very important part of traveling for everybody. When you are traveling to one of the countries famous for the cuisines all over the world, more than that the spiciest corners of that country, then you will feel like tasting and trying on a whole new range of food. The South Indian cuisine has something for everybody, whether you are on low budget or you can afford to be extravagant. The eateries in Trivandrum take a lot of care to ensure the best of everything for their visitors. You will be really pleased to see the waiters serve you with a smile every time you ask for something. Here is a list of a few restaurants in Trivandrum you can try visiting to make your travel memorable:

  • Regency Restaurant
  • Restaurant at Travancore Heritage Hotel
  • Restaurant at Isola Di Cocco Hotel
  • Zodiac Restaurant

So if you want to taste some of the best dishes in southern India then make it point to visit these restaurants. They give the best of everything that you are expecting put of the restaurants in Trivandrum.

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Drink

Trivandrum is not the place to go if you are looking for great nightlife. Of course, you can find many pubs and bars attached to hotels and restaurants, however the festivities associated with the conventional nightlife is absent.

If you are looking for buzzing nightlife, there is another dimension of the nightlife of Trivandrum, and it unfolds in the Kovalam Beach which becomes more active and vibrant during the night than the day. Just spending a few hours there with the cool breeze and the musical notes of the sea waves shall be a unique experience indeed. Many bars near the beach remain open almost round the clock.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Crystal HouseOpp.Passport OfficeHostel-
Jas HotelAristo Junction, Thycaud P.O TrivandrumHotel-
Paradise Gardens Beach ResortKarikathikuzhi Beach Mulloor, KovalamHotel-
Somatheeram Ayurvedic ResortChowara P.O.,South Kovalam Thiruvananthapuram. 695 501,KeralaHotel-
Shiva Garden Home Stay & ApartmentsShiva Garden, North Cliff; Kurakkanni; VarkalaGUESTHOUSE62
Hotel GeethHotel Geeth International Near General Post Office TrivandrumHotel-
Hotel Thamburu IntlAristo Jn, Thampanoor ThiruvanthapuramHotel76
Hotel The South ParkM. G. RoadHotel-
Hotel Residency TowerPress RoadHotel-
Thapovan Heritage HomeNellikunnu Mulloor P.O ThiruvananthapuramHostel82
Palmleaves Beach ResortPuthenthoppu PO, Thiruvanantha Kerala IndiaHotel-
The Palm Ayurvedic Beach ResortBehind Govt Nature Cure Hospital Papanasam beach, VarkalaHotel-
WINDSOR RAJADHANIToll Jn Near Kowdiar PalaceHotel-
Soma PalmshoreLight House Beach Road, Vizhijam, KovalamHOTEL-
Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach VillageChowara,South Of Kovalam,HOTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

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This is version 20. Last edited at 13:58 on Feb 5, 14 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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