Kanaka Kunnu Palace
This imposing historic palace, one of the key landmarks of the city is located in the heart of the city. It is an important tourist attraction and a cultural hot spot of the city. The palace’s location on the top of a small hill with green meadows surrounding it from all sides, with the nature-friendly atmosphere is highly alluring place to tourists and locals. The century old Palace was constructed during the reign of His Highness Sree Moolam Thirunal Maharaja, a famous Travancore king who ruled the Travancore Kingdom from 1885 to 1924. The large palace and its sprawling gardens was originally used as the guest house by the Travancore kings for hosting banquets for visiting State guests . Kanakakunnu Palace now belongs to the Kerala State Government. Today its famous grand lawns serve as open air auditoriums for regular concerts and evening dance programs. Currently these cultural events are staged at Nishagandhi open-air auditorium and the Sooryakanthy auditorium which are built in the palace compound. The Sooryakanthi auditorium is a popular venue for staging exhibitions, trade fairs and cultural programmes. Apart from this a week long international food festival is also held at the Palace grounds in which renowned hotels from across Kerala take part. It is a popular hang out place of the people of Thiruvananthapuram and a favorite haunt of early morning joggers and walkers. It is a preferred shooting location for Malayalam movies and TV serials . The illuminated palace grounds are transformed into a fairy land in the night particularly during Onam . Apart from the various attractions such as giant wheels and rides, another sight is the spectacle of decorated elephants standing along with chenda(drum) players welcoming visitors with a lot of fanfare.
Opened in 1994 to the public, the Priyadarshini auditorium is one of the most versatile planetariums in the country. The planetarium now claims the title of Asia’s finest and South India’s biggest planetarium with hybrid technology. The main GM-11 star field projector here can project almost all the constituents of the visible universe. It can also simulate the star-studded night sky over any location on the earth, on any day up to 12,500 years back or 12,500 years into the future. Students, can now take a journey through space in a very short time, with the most advanced technologies. The projection system for the planetarium was delivered by a company in Germany.
Kerala Science and Technology Museum: Established in 1984, this museum is an autonomous organisation, setup by the Government of Kerala, to serve as a dynamic medium of science communication for the general public including children. This museum is one of the largest planetarium facilities in India, with a state-of-the-art sky theatre offering breathtaking views of the cosmos . The attractions include Night Sky Observatory, Telescopes, Planetarium, 3 Dimensions Theatre, Amphitheatre, Ham Radio Station, Mobile Science Exhibition, Astrovan . It is located in PMG junction.
Trivandrum observatory: The observatory is located at the highest point in the city near the museum complex . There is a well laid out garden in front of the hill with a beautiful rose collection. From this point , one can have a bird’s eye view of the city. This Observatory is one of the oldest in the country and a sought-after destination of astro buffs in the past. It began its operations in 1837 under the aegis of erstwhile Travancore King Swathi Thirunal. who was a keen student of astronomy. It is all set to regain its glory with the induction of two advanced telescopes. The sky watching programmes for students, teachers and the public in the evenings is being conducted on all working days.
Jawahar Bal Bhavan: This is a prominent institution in the city catering to children .
Set in almost 3 acres of land and located next to Kannakannu palace grounds it offers something special for the kids all year round. It holds classes in music, dance, painting and instrumental music. The institution coaches children up to the age of 16 and is a landmark destination for quality training in arts and crafts. Another distinct and popular feature of the institute is the aero-modeling course which covers the basic theory and practical aspects of flying and building machines. The Bal Bhavan offers 26 courses, including training in different musical instruments, classical and western dances, spoken English, roller-skating and embroidery classes. In addition to these classes, the centre also supports a day-care centre. Kindergarten classes are also held here. A library and children’s park are also available.
The Chacha Nehru Children’s Museum: Located in Thycaud in the heart of the city this Museum remains a major attraction for children of all ages.
The Children’s Museum was established in the year 1980 and was named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru whom they called Chacha Nehru. The displayed objects include dolls, stamps and masks. It is also called Dolls house and there are around 2000 dolls in this Museum. A small aquarium, the first issue of children’s Malayalam literature, etc. are other major attractions at this museum. Visiting the Museum makes everyone recall their childhood. Children of all age as well as the elders will surely enjoy their visit.