For first hand information about Trivandrum, its landmarks and culture a visit to the Keralam Museum of History & Heritage in Trivandrum is recommended. This heritage building is located opposite the Museum complex that was once the home of the chief secretaries of erstwhile Travancore. This museum offers a glimpse into Kerala’s antiquity. An imposing pair of canons graces the courtyard of the museum, along with a horse-drawn cart used by British gentry in the city. It is a hi-tech interactive boutique museum that showcases the 3000 years of Kerala’s history.This museum is spread over 7000 square feet, and has two floors.
There are several historic landmarks which are popular with the domestic and international tourists. They are located in the city and are easily accessible.
The Band Stand This unique 19th century band stand which is in Napier museum
grounds was built in 1880. The Travancore police band used to perform here every evening to entertain the public who visited the garden at the museum compound. Robert Chisholm, architect of the Napier Museum, designed the bandstand as an ornamental focal point of the upper botanical garden surrounding the art museum. A modern audio system linked to an elaborate network of high end speakers was put in place to ensure that the regular All India Radio broadcast could be heard by the visitors from 6 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.
The Zoological Park in Trivandrum is one of the first zoos in India, and was established as early as 1857. Spread over in 55 acres of land and located in the heart of the capital city, it offers a rare opportunity for the visitors to experience and enjoy an unparalleled picturesque and panoramic sylvan surroundings besides the vivid animal collections. The Zoo has around 75 different species of animals not only from India but from abroad as well. Plastic is banned in the zoo.
The Sree Chitra Art Gallery inside the Napier museum features a rare collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Roerich and some fascinating works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of painting. The gallery has a special Ravi Varma section other than one for murals, water and oil painting The museum is also home to an exotic collection of paintings that are native to Japan, China, Bali and Tibet.
The Napier Museum: A well-known landmark and a much visited place,Napier Museum and Natural History Museum arein the Museum compound, right in the heart of the city, near the zoological park. Built in the 19th century, this Indo-Saracenic structure boasts a natural air-conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings.
Victoria Jubilee Town Hall. Popularly known as VJT Hall, was built to commemorate the golden jubilee of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1896. Even today, this colonial structure has retained all its glory and is one of the most sought-after centres for exhibitions and cultural programs.
The University College, established in 1866 was built to impart English education to the common folk of the erstwhile Travancore by H.H. Sri Ayilyam Thirunal Rama Varma Maharaja. Mr. John Ross, a scholar of repute was appointed Principal of the College. Today, after more than a century of dedicated service to the state, the College stands tall for having produced thousands of luminaries
The State Central Library or Public Library is one of the oldest Libraries in India. It was established in the year 1829 A.D during the reign of His Highness Sree Swathi Thirunal Maharaja of Travancore. The Library was then known as “Trivandrum People’s Library”. In 1898 this institution was opened to the public. Later, His Highness Sree Moolam Thirunal took a special interest in the development of this library. The present building of architectural beauty in the Gothic style was put up in Trivandrum in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. .
Children’s library. The New Heritage Model building adjacent to the State public library serves as the Children’s library. A multimedia Section is also functioning in this building.
College of Fine Arts: The present College of Fine Arts has a history of more than 100 years . It was founded in1881 by the then king of Travancore. It is affiliated to the University of Kerala. and offers courses in three disciplines – Painting, Sculpture and Applied Art. In the year 2001 the college celebrated its Silver Jubilee with exhibitions, seminars and workshops.
Gandhi Park Trivandrum, East Fort & Putharikkandam Maidan
It is hard to believe that a large open space in East Fort, call Putharikandam Maidan had once been a paddy field, as the name indicates. The paddy cultivated here had served the needs of Kaudiar palace and the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. Today, this maidan is venue for many functions and fairs .
The Methan Mani located on the eastern side of the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, East Fort was installed in 1833 during the reign of Swathi Thirunal. The Meshan Mani (clock) has on its dial, a bearded man’s face with moustache and two goats on either side. It is a unique creation crafted from mahogany by an artisan called Kulathooran. Every time the clock completes an hour, the man opens his mouth and the goats or rams hit his cheeks to sound the gong every hour. It is constructed with a highly complex pulley system.
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, located in East Fort , Trivandrum was in the international news after the discovery of unexpected treasures including gold and gems in the temple vaults. The vast treasure trove instantly turned the Temple into one of the wealthiest religious institutions in India. It is considered the richest temple in India. The temple, built by the Maharajas who ruled the then-kingdom of Travancore, was controlled by the erstwhile royal family after India’s independence in 1947. A Museum near the temple gives the complete history of the Temple and its surroundings. The Temple is under heavy security and only certain areas are open to the public for worship and visit.