Trivandrum is endowed with several picturesque hill stations, charming beaches, floating cottages, modern resorts, unique theme parks – a picnic spots galore.
Akkulam Tourist Village: Akkulam is one of the first picnic spots in the suburbs of Trivandrum City. It is located about 10 kms from the capital city and is developed on the banks of Aakkulam Kayal (backwaters), which is an extension of the Veli Kayal (backwaters). The village consists of Boat Club, Swimming Pool, Children’s Park, an Anthurium Project and Chithira Thirunal Public Aquarium. Another attraction in Akkulam is the musical waterfall . It is easily accessible throughout the year but it is best to avoid the rainy Season.
Happyland theme Park
Happyland is the only environment friendly, water theme, Park in Trivandrum and south Kerala’s first water theme park. The park is situated at Kuthirakulam near Vembayam, 23 km away in a small area with around 16 rides. Carefully designed to preserve the natural scenary, the features of the park include largest wave pool in Kerala, longest uphill water ride in India, Kids village, resorts, theme restaurant, kiosks etc.
Apart from the rides , Happyland has become a favorite spot to conduct birthday parties, events, corporate meets and family get- together. A restaurant with three star facilities, offers cuisines of your choice, at affordable rates.
Magic Planet, Trivandrum
Magic Planet is the first entirely magic-themed complex in the world – designed for children to experience science, technology, art and literature through magic. This unique edutainment centre at the Kinfra Film and Video Park near Kazhakkoottam has something special for both kids and grown-ups The place is amazing, there is lot to see and experience for both kids and parents. The magic shows are performed every 30 minutes or 1 hour. Each show is in different theaters performed by various magicians in their own style. During your visit you also get opportunities to learn some of the tricks.
It is well maintained, the staff members speak good English. The Magic Planet is open from 10am until 5pm. Food courts are available on the premises.You can purchase your tickets at the entrance.
Elephant rehabilitation center, Kottur/Kappukad
For those interested in having a closer interaction with the elephants you can visit the elephant rehabilitation centre at the nearby Kappukad. Here, visitors can have a close look at aged elephants leading a retired life and the young orphaned elephants being trained to welcome visitors. Elephant safari is also possible here.
Seaside Orchid Farm
Seaside orchid farm is located in Puthenthope , Trivandrum district. This tropical orchid garden stretches across 10 acres of land in close to the Arabian sea. This floriculture destination has gained the stature as an one stop destination for tropical plants, orchids as well as other varieties of decorative flowers in India. Cut flowers from this farm are sold in their shop Soonam Florists in the heart of the city.
Aruvikkara is a famous pilgrim center and tourist spot, situated at a distance of 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram city on the banks of the Karamana River. Aruvikkara Dam, a picturesque picnic spot, is a major attraction of this place. The Durga Temple on the bank of the river has a stream full of fish come close to the shore to be fed by the visitors. Aruvikkara dam supplies water to Thiruvananthapuram city.
Neyyar Dam :A popular picnic spot, Neyyar Dam has a watch tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park and deer park. Boating facilities are available at the reservoir. The sanctuary has a picturesque dam site serving as its gateway. Boating is a pleasurable experience in the reservoir lake.
Ponmudi (meaning ‘Golden Crown’ in Malayalam) is a beautiful hill top in the periphery of Trivandrum. This picturesque hill station is only 60km and less than 2hrs drive from the city with 22 hairpin bends. The road to Ponmudi from Trivandrum passes along verdant fields , farms, small villages and forests to reach green meadows of the Western Ghats. A trekker’s paradise housing tea gardens, spice plantations, gurgling brooks and wildlife, it’s the perfect getaway for a peaceful weekend. Facilities include a restaurant and accommodation . If you are planning to stay you need to book in advance. If you plan return to city same day it is better to leave before it is very dark because unexpected fogs can make driving very dangerous. You can also use Kerala state bus service to travel to and fro if you want to avoid driving
Agasthyarkoodam is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats and the highest peak in Trivandrum district. At a height of 1,890 m above sea level, it is the second highest peak in Kerala. 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 and also from Bonakkad. Trekking to Agasthyakoodam is believed to be healthy, the very air here is supposed to have healing properties. Women are not allowed up the peak and permission is required to trek. The trekking season is from December to April and prior permission should be obtained from the wildlife office in Trivandrum city.
This beach is located 8 km from the city and is adjacent to the Trivandrum International Airport . You can see and hear the planes as they land and take off. It is a favourite spot of sunset watchers. The beach located in a fishing village . Travel along the beach side from the airport to city ensures an interesting sight of fishermen having their daily catch. Facilities like an indoor recreation club, children’s traffic training park and a star shaped restaurant are provided here. A gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid called the ‘matsya kanyaka’ is the major attraction of the site.
Veli Tourist Village
An ideal picnic spot, Veli Lake is a spectacular natural attraction that flows right into the Arabian Sea. Veli Lake has been developed extensively as a major tourist spot with facilities like swimming pools, row-boats, pedal boats, paddle boats and banquet halls. In the center of the lake, locals have built an entire floating village that can only be reached by a series of floating bridges. The beautiful Veli Lake Floating Restaurant is part of this complex, connected to the rest of the floating village with its own tiny floating bridge. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speed boats are available. Veli Tourist Village also has a children’s park and a Floating Cafe. The park adjacent to the lake has huge sculptures like conch shells to attract the visitors. Children enjoy climbing the sculptures. The Youth Hostel at Veli , provides inexpensive dormitory type accommodation for budget travelers.
The famous musician and sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is expected to start an international school of music in this serene environment of Veli with the support of Kerala government.
Poovar, noted for its rural atmosphere is an isolated place with spectacular beach . It is famous for its natural charm , lagoons and lakes . It is a unique location where river, sea and lake meet. Poovar estuary connects with the Arabian sea during high tides. A trading port in its early days , it is today an important tourist destination. In the middle of the island is the statue of Jesus Christ with a cross. Poovar lies very close to Vizhinjam. Both floating cottages and land cottages are available for accommodation at the Poovar Island resort. To reach the island resort you need to take a boat from Poovar boat jetty.
Vizhinjam, about two km south of Kovalam is a natural harbor, an all-weather port. The international shipping line is just one nautical mile off Vizhinjam coast. It is a busy port flooded with fishing boats. Vizhinjam is believed to have been an ancient port and fishing harbour, with a light house. The Portuguese and the Dutch had commercial establishments here. The Portuguese built a church in Vizhinjam close to the sea shore, which is still functions and is referred as the Old Vizhinjam Church. Our Lady Of Good Voyage Church Vizhinjam, is also located here.
Vizhinjam is also famous because of a demonstration plant which converts the energy from sea waves to electricity based on the principle of Oscillating Water Column (OWC). This has benefited the local inhabitants in many ways.
Another attraction is Marine Aquarium which houses a rich treasure of marine wealth. It has perfected the Image Pearl production technique, by which a mould of any shape made of shell cement is implanted into the pearl oyster. In 2-3 months a pearl in the shape of the mould will be ready.
At present, the Vizhinjam harbour is being developed into an International Deep Water Container Transshipment Terminal because of its proximity to International Shipping channel and its natural depth. Vizhinjam has several ancient heritage monuments such as the Rock Cut Cave Temple with rock-cut sculptures of the 18th century.
Kovalam beach and resort
Kovalam is easily accessible from the city. This internationally acclaimed, seaside destination comprises of three adjacent crescent-shaped beaches. A charming village in its yesteryears, it was once the haunt of hippies and backpackers. Today, it has all the trappings of a popular beach destination attracting the rich and famous, who come to the city in private planes. As a result, the beaches are dotted with both luxury and budget resorts, as well as cafes and several government-approved Ayurveda centers. Despite the onslaughts of mass tourism, Kovalam retains an inherent charm that makes it one of India’s finest and most popular beach resorts.Over the years, Kovalam has played host to a galaxy of VIPs including the Presidents and Prime Ministers of India, high foreign officials and dignitaries. Celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Hollywood actor Richard Gere and the famous Beatles Sir Paul McCartney stayed in Kovalam hotels.
Some of the Kovalam Beach Resort hotels were designed by the famous architect Charles Correa. The buildings slants towards the sea and is marked by the array of sun decks in front of each room. This remains the most identifiable ‘Correan’ touch in the Kerala landscape.
Varkala is a coastal, suburban town of Trivandrum city. It is located approx. 32 miles north-west of the capital city. Varkala Beach, also known as Papanasam beach, is among the most popular beach resorts in Kerala , mainly because of the mineral water springs with medicinal properties that gush out of the high cliffs bordering the beach. Although a bit far from Trivandrum city it is very popular with foreign tourists. This beautiful beach has been ranked as one of the 10 top seasonal beaches in the world by Discovery channel. As a famous tourism destination, Varkala is filled with various hotels,resorts, homestays and restaurants. It is also an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage.
Valiathura is considered a fishing port, famous for its pier. The 51-year-old, 703-foot pier and the warehouses behind it are a far cry from the past, when up to 50 cargo ships used to call here at a time. Opened in 1956 it was the only port along the South Kerala coast. This was once the only port along the South Kerala coast. But when Kochi became the prominent port in Kerala, Valiyathura lost its significance as a major port. Fishing is the main livelihood for the people who live along the coast.
Beemapally is a Muslim mosque situated in a suburb of Trivndrum. This mosque houses the tombs of Syedunnisa Beema Beevi who was a Muslim lady with divine powers and her son Syed Abubacker. This mosque is famous for Beemapalli Uroos, a very colorful festival that is celebrated annually to mark the death anniversary of Beema Bheevi. Thousands of pilgrims irrespective of caste and religion visit this shrine.