Trivandrum city and several other places in the district loom large in ancient tradition, folklore and literature. The royal family of Travancore contributed significantly leading to the development and progress of the capital city Modern history of Trivandrum begins with Marthanda Varma, who is generally regarded as the father of modern Travancore. In those days, Trivandrum was known as a great centre of intellectual and artistic activities The accession of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal ushered in an epoch of cultural progress and economic prosperity. The period of Maharaja Chithra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma witnessed many- sided progress. Many buildings in Trivandrum including schools, colleges, hospitals ,stadium, tourist spots, temples, palaces, airport , libraries are associated with the Travancore dynasty
. The Travancore royal family had early contacts with England and a painting show the Raja Ravi Varma, The Maharaja of Travancore and his younger brother welcoming Richard Temple-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Governor-General of Madras , on his official visit to Trivandrum in 1880.
Kowdiar is famous for Kowdiar Palace, the personal residence of the members of the Travancore family. It is the starting point of the Rajapatha (Royal Path) that stretches till the East Fort. It lies between the localities of Vellayambalam and Peroorkada.
It is generally considered one of the more upmarket residential areas within the city and of late has seen numerous apartment complexes being built. The road to Vellayambalam is wide and beautifully maintained and it is one of the good stretches of straight road in the whole Kerala within city limits.
Halcyon Caste, also called Kovalam palace was built by M.R. Sri Rama Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran in the year 1932. This palace served as summer retreat of Maharani Sethu Lekshmi Bai and the members of the royal family. The palace reflects the customary traditional Kerala style architecture and the expansive lawns are maintained with utmost care. In 1964 this beautiful palace was sold by Valiya Koil Thampuran but changed several owners and now serves as a luxury hotel . The Castle which is one of the important Kovalam tourist spots is located at the international beach resort of Kovalam.. The palace is about 2 Km from Kovalam and can be reached easily by car or auto rickshaw.
The Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library (ORI & MSS), in the University of Kerala is one of the leading centres of Indological Studies in India. Situated at the Kariavattom Campus, Trivandrum, it is symbolically the converging point of Eastern and Western architecture. The building was established ,in 1982. This world recognised institute, does research in fields connected with manuscripts. It came in to existence out of royal interest. The kings of Travancore, as a rule, were lovers of art and literature. Sri Moolam Tirunal was mainly responsible for the spread of Oriental literature through out the world. It was he who instituted the department for the publication of Oriental manuscripts which in due course grew into the present institution. The library has over 70,000 works and and over 30,000 texts are written on palm leaves.