Festivals & Fairs in Trivandrum

Trivandrum  celebrates a plethora  of festivals almost all through the year with color, vigor, pomp and grandeu.   Each and every community and religion celebrate festivals throughout the year and all the  festivals occur in a quick succession .  The city celebrates major  festivals like Onam,  Bakrid ,Arat,  and Attukal Pongala with enthusiasm. Similarly, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday are celebrated with much fanfare by the Christian community.

Trivandrum  has become a hub of free cultural events staged in open-air theatre including concerts by foreign musical groups.The international film festival takes place  in March and cultural festival such as  classical dances and music takes place regularly in the different venues . Apart from these, the city annually hosts several events like the Flower & Aquariam show, Air Show and  shopping fests, which are welcomed by the city dwellers with zest.

Onam

Onam  is the biggest and most important festival of the year in Kerala celebrated in the months of August-September.  It is a harvest festival that also marks the start of the  Malayalam New Year Chingam.  It is welcomed  by all Keralites  regardless of their caste and religion.
Onam is a colourful festival where human and nature joins together to celebrate the return of  the legendary King Mahabali  who once ruled the land.

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It is the festival of flowers, colors,  feasts, dances, games and moreover of togetherness and all-round merriment.  Onam  begins with stunning traditional ‘pookulams’ or floral arrangements laid out on the ground.   Onam is celebrated for 10 days starting from the Atham day to the Thiruvonam Day and is  marked by  various events such as Athapoo (flower) contests in schools and colleges.  In keeping with modern times, celebrations also include a few shopping extravaganzas for some new  clothes.

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People decorate their homes with fresh flower mats known as Pookalam to welcome King Mahabali. They wear new dresses, go to temples to worship God and perform puja.   Swings or Oonjal are put up  and the  swinging ceremony  is another important part of Onam  festivities.

Onam is also a family event- it is a time for family reunion .  Family members who live overseas or outside Kerala  join  the rest of the family  during Onam  season.  Another  tradition is  a grand lunch called Sadya on  Thiruonam day  which is a vegetarian feast or banquet. The multi course meal is served traditionally in banana leaves.   A typical Onam sadya consist of 24-28 dishes and includes 3 varieties of paysam as desert.  Traditionally, all the dishes for the sadya are made at home because the women in the family found it the best way to spend some good time together.  Nowadays many families go out to restaurants to  have onam sadya.  Most restaurants prepare onam sadya and also deliver the meals  to ones homes.

onam sadyaThe best time to visit Trivandrum  is during the Onam festival when the city is illuminated, wears a festive look and the people are in a jovial mood.  A huge week-long Onam celebration  takes  place at around 20 venues in Trivandrum. The festivities include stage shows (drama and classical dance), folk art, food stalls, and handicrafts. The main venue for cultural events are free of vehicular traffic in the evening hours so that people can walk freely and enjoy the sights, sounds and sample varieties of food.

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onam illumin

Onam  festivities  culminates in a grand parade on the last day, complete with floats and processions of decorated elephants and fireworks.

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onam procession

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Vishu Festival

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Vishu_Festival

The festival of Vishu is the astronomical New Year day that  falls on the first day of Malayalam month Medam (April). There are certain rituals associated with Vishu, which is followed religiously by devout Hindu families. The Vishukani ritual is observed  with  the belief that, as it is the beginning  of a new year, the fortunes for the year depends upon the first object one sees in the morning of Vishu Day. This first sight is called  the “Vishukani  which  is prepared the previous night of Vishu in their homes by the oldest member of the family.  The family members are supposed to view it only after midnight. The flowers of the golden shower tree konna(Cassia fistula ) are used for the kanni and the dominant color of the festival is yellow. Konna  is the state flower of Kerala and Konna tree was depicted on a 20-rupees stamp.  The konna tree blooms in the roads and many courtyards of homes around this time, which is a pretty sight. Vishukani is arranged inside the sanctum of all shrines in the Temple complex and people visit the temples on this occasion.

Bakrid

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The Festival of Id-ul-Zuha or Bakrid is celebrated with great enthusiasm among Muslims . Special prayers and exchange of greetings and gifts mark the Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid). This is a festival of sacrifice,celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety  throughout India.  In Trivandrum, there is a large gathering in the bakrid- womenJuma Masjid Mosque in the center of the city . The day normally starts with men and women dressed in the best outfits , visiting the mosque to pray. The large gathering extends to the nearby stadium  After the prayer is over, the people greet one another and visit their friends and relatives. Special dinner and delicacies are prepared and served among family and friends on this occasion.

Christmas

Christmas_Crib_(2013)_in_Christ_Nagar_NeyyattinkaraChristmas is the most important festival for the Christian community in Kerala which constitute about 23 per cent of Kerala’s population .  Christmas is the festival of universal love and  is celebrated in honour of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God which falls on the 25th of December. Christmas is a joyous season and is celebrated in Kerala, in more or less the same way as it is celebrated in other parts of the world, with Christmas stars,  cribs, carols, concerts, greeting cards and family reunions.  The Christmas tree,  the Christmas cake, presents, and  Christmas Father  is the star attraction for children.

Christmas is celebrated well in all its glory and cultural forms.  At Christmas time, Christian homes are decorated with a Christmas star in order to denote the pointer star that revealed the birth of Jesus and pointed the way to the three wise kings (Magi).  In Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, which  revealed the birth of Jesus to the Biblical Magi,  later led them to Bethlehem.  Christmas star is very symbolic and indicates peace and happiness. Stars are also  used to decorate the home, Christmas tree and crib.  star

On the day of Christmas a grand feast is prepared and the main dish is usually  meat.  Another main item is the Christmas cake. Families get together  for family  reunion.  An important symbol for Christmas is the Christmas tree.  You will find interesting  decorated Christmas tree in the houses during Christmas season, churches and  hotels. The  crib decoration  depicting the Nativity scene is very speical.  This scene  represents a miniature stable where Jesus was born.   Figures of infant Jesus, Mother Mary, Joseph, angels, sheep, shepherds and three kings  are all arranged in the crib. A holiday wreathe is another decorative item which is hung in front of the main door of the house. It  serves  as  a warm welcome to the guests and create a Christmas atmosphere.  On Christmas Eve as well as on Christmas morning, special prayers are conducted in churches across the city  Carol service  from various churches  visit  homes  during the Christmas week. Christmas pageants and concerts  are  held   in  many  churches  in the city.  xmas-lmsxmas =palayam

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nativity scene decorations

Though the Christmas tree is a comparatively new addition to Christmas celebrations in Kerala.  it is the twinkling Christmas star  and balloons put up at Christian homes or shops which sets the tone for a season of cheerfulness and joy.christmas decorations

Children in the Trivandrum  adoption center also get a chance to celebrate Christmas and receive goodies and gifts from Santa Claus.  Celebrites join in to bring Christmas cheer to the children.

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Some Church  members  visit the old age homes in the city to spread the Christmas message, sing  carols  and present gifts.  These days, Christmas lunch/dinner  including  goodies associated with Christmas are   readily  available in local hotels and restaurants. Keeping in line with the secular tradition of Kerala, many non-Christians also participate in some of  the Christmas celebrations.  Christmas festivities continues with fervor during the week and beyond  leading  to New Year.

New Years  Celebration

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The New-year eve is  always celebrated with great vigour and energy in the city .  The city gets  into  a celebratory mood with prominent hotels throwing  grand parties to make December 31st a truly memorable night. Various cultural programs  are also arranged in different parts of the city during the New year’s Eve.  Almost all churches hold midnight services and  members greet  each  other after the service.  The city together invites the New year at midnight with  sound  of fire crackers  and  the church bells herald the arrival of New Year. Police personnel takes extra precaution to ensure security and safety for the church and party goers.  Kovalam beach is the place where most  foreigners  and younger generation flock  to celebrate New Year.

World’s Largest Ginger Bread Village, Kovalam

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The   “World’s Largest Ginger Bread Village”  was created and open to the public last December 2014  by Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa located in  Kovalam.  It was  an innovative and attractive way of celebrating the last festival of the year.    Spread over an area of 504 square feet and having a weight of 2.28 tons, this spectacular  village was created to coincide with Christmas and New Year celebrations.  A complete village was  made up of Gingerbread representing  residences, forests, mountains, waterfalls, railway stations, places of worship, schools,  hospitals, commercial and government buildings.  It was  very detailed oriented  and included clock tower, hanging bridge, flora & fauna, as well as bicycles, cars, well-lit streets, banks and ATMs. This exciting project was conceived  and created by Pastry Chef Mr.Kishore with the support of Chief Chef Rhynold, and  team.  In making their very own gingerbread village their aim  was to break the world record set in the USA in 2013.  This stunning  Gingerbread village drew a large crowd and positive response from  visitors  around the globe.  A repeat of the Gingerbread village is likely in 2015.

Easter

Easter is a spring festival held sometime between March and April. Easter is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thousands of Christians congregate for prayers in churches of various denominations across the state, where priests give out the message of hope and revival as  symbolized  by the occasion. The day also marks the end of the Holy Week of prayers and penitence recalling the final phase of Christ’s life from his arrest and crucifixion, followed by resurrection. Breaking the 40-day season of Lent when believers shun worldly pleasures, sumptuous traditional feasts are arranged in most Christian homes. Eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient times and of Easter.  An egg also is a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged when he arose again. The hatching of a  chick from  the egg, symbolizes new life or re-birth.

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THE VETTA AND ARATTU

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Arattu occur twice a year and the processions are held from Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple to Shangumugam Beach. The idols from the Temple are taken to the sea for a holy dip.

The head of the Travancore royal family  leads the procession with the royal sword in hand, who is escorted by members of the Royal family, decorated elephants, armed guards, temple authorities, mounted police, police band and officers. On the Arattu day, images of three deities are taken in procession to the Arabian sea at Shanghumugham beach.  After the ceremonial bath in Shanghumugham, the images are taken back in procession which marks the conclusion of the festival. Cultural performances including the Kathakali are part of the celebrations in certain locations.

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An interesting aspect of the Arat procession is that it winds its way from the temple to the seashore by taking the most direct route, which involves passing through the city’s airport.  Even today, the Trivandrum  airport’s flight operations are paused while the Arat procession passes through the airport. The procession moves along the 3,398-metre runway under the watchful eyes of the Aviation Security Group personnel.  Flight operations from the airport resume after the idols are moved along the runway back to the temple.  On its return from the beach, the only difference is that the procession moves with the way lit by traditional torches. The runway has remained closed during the festival for decades since the reign of Sree Chitra Tirunal Balarama Varma and after Independence. This tradition continues with the full cooperation of the  authorities.

Attukal Pongala

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South-indian-festivalsThis festival is celebrated around February, every year, at Attukal Bhagavati Temple in the city. The uniqueness of this festival is that it is that only women are allowed to do the offering on that day. The long line of women absorbed in devotion and also preparing this ritual offering can be seen all the way till the East Fort and farther.  As it is a ‘Ladies Special’ festival, men are not supposed be in the proximity.

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On the 9th day of the festival , thousands of women devotees from many parts of the state gather  near  the templed beyond   to prepare pongala,  They prepare pongala by cooking jaggery, coconut and banana in certain proportions and offer to the goddess. ‘Pongala’, is considered to be the Goddess’s favourite. It is a kind of sweet porridge. The ritual starts early morning and ends by afternoon. Elaborate arrangements are made for the safety and security of the devotees. The Attukal festival has gained world wide attention and women from foreign countries are sometimes seen participating in this festival.

Kovalam Festivals
The rich culture and uniqueness of Kerala  is well reflected in the Kovalam Festivals and fairs held here.  The main festivals here start in January and ends in March. The The festivals held here echoes a lot about the tradition and also the friendliness of  people of Kerala .  The best thing about the festival is that there are several elements in a festival which pleases everyone.

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Village fair of Kovalam

It represents the rural  village.  Known as the “Gramam”- an entire village of the bygone days of  Kerala is recreated with artisans, Nalukettu (traditional house), temple, astrologer etc., so that the visitors will be able to see and visualize how people of rural Kerala  lived in those days. The festival lasts for a week from 3rd January. The village is set near Kovalam with displays of cultural performances like kathakali, koodiyattam, kalaripayattu, theyyam  an d handicrafts shops .  Events are also held at Vellar Tourist Village (the Kovalam Tourist Village), on the outskirts of Trivandrum near the Kovalam junction.

The Fandango or Food Festival is another  popular event in Kovalam. It is also a three-day festival organized in January. The festival  has  many stalls of different varieties of foods. You can taste   Kerala shrimp dishes, Ethnic Kerala, Tandoor, Seafood, Pastry, Sweets, Biryani etc. Some cultural programs  are also staged  here  which  brings additional excitement to the festival.

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The Elephant Festival

kovalam elephantVillage fair of KovalamThis is an  annual  three-day festival  starting on 9th January. The objective of the festival is to gain the blessings of elephants. Elephants look majestic with their adornment and they move around the whole area of the festival accompanied by chenda melam (traditional instrumental music of Kerala).

If you are an elephant lover,  it is a great opportunity to see these massive mammals  at close quarters.

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Picnic spots galore – Trivandrum

Trivandrum is endowed with several  picturesque  hill stations,  charming beaches, floating cottages, modern resorts, unique theme parks – a picnic spots galore.

mus waterfallAkkulam 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.

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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

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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.

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Seaside Orchid Farm

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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 Dam

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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.neyyar damneyyar wild life

Ponmudi  Hills

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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

Agasthyakoodam

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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.

Shankumugham Beach

shangumugham beachThis 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.

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Veli Tourist Village

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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.

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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

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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.

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filename-dsc02580-jpg crossVizhinjam Harbour

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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.

220px-20100105-Vizhinjam_Our_Laday_of_Good_Voyage_ChurchVizhinjam 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

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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.  leonardo-1151903-1151903cdmssabrevfm_img_pho_000_nc__199210udya_Exterior___S-image
Varkala Beach

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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.

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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.

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Beemapally

Bmosque

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.

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Administrative Capital-Thiruvanthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) , the capital  city is the administrative centre of the Government of Kerala housing important ministries and bureaucratic offices.  It is also the political nerve of Kerala nurturing budding politicians.

 

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The Government Secretariat :  This  popular, sprawling  landmark is located in heart of the Thiruvananthapuram City, in Statue junction, MG Road. The Secretariat complex was originally constructed as Durbar Hall for Travancore Kingdom. The secretariat refers to the complex of departments. Its political heads are the ministers while the administrative heads are the Secretaries to the Government.

Kerala Legislature Assembly Complex :The new Legislature Assembly Complex called as Niyamasabha (Law House in Malayalam), is a super imposing modern structure located in heart of the city. It’s famous for its classical Kerala architecture with ornate teak works, a unique Kerala styled dome, exquisitely designed interiors and a vast expanse of greenery around it. kerala asselymb

Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation is the largest city corporation in the state of Kerala by area and population.  It is spread over 214.86 km with 100 wards with a population of 9,57,730 inhabitants. The city corporation is ruled by the council of 100 members, headed by the Mayor. It has grown from 24 to 100 wards. The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Council is the second largest democratically-elected body in Kerala after the Legislative Assembly. The Corporation office  maintains records of births, deaths marriages and issues certificates for various purposes.

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State Police Headquarters

police headquartersmounted_police-ceremonyThe Kerala State Police is the law enforcement agency for the state of Kerala with headquarters in Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram. The law and order of the city is handled by the City Police Commissioner.   Some Special Cells also operate from the Police Headquarters. The various wings of the Police department  include Hi-tech Crime Enquiry Cell, Special Branch CID, Armed Police Battalions, Kerala Police Academy , Police Training College, State Crime Records Bureau,Forensic Science Laboratory, Assistance to NRIs/NRKs, Women’s cell, Motor Transport Wing, Highway Police & Highway Alert,Coastal Police, Mounted Police, Dog Squad and so on.
The  Police training college was initially  set up by Travancore  Maharaja in Thiruvananthapuram in the mid 20th century to provide training for the police force.  At present, there are approximately 42,149 strong police force for the state of Kerala.  Kerala Police has a reputation for being one of the  best- managed police forces in the country, and one of the top-ranking states in terms of law and order, in various social security rankings.
The Kerala police are also the first police department in South Asia to undertake community policing.  The Mounted Police  are an important part of the  police force and are normally  used for ceremonial purposes . However, mounted horse patrols are increasingly used  to make rounds of selected areas in the city twice or thrice a week .   Sometimes the Mounted  Police are  taken out to attract people and to establish good police – public relationship.
The Armed Reserve Police Headquarters is located in Nandavan, Trivandrum.  The Kerala Police has  eight battalions of the so-called Armed Police.  The armed police battalions serve as reserve force to be deployed  in emergency situations  particularly when the district police fall short of manpower in the maintenance of law & order.

The City Police has started a Community Care Portal to assist and resolve problems facing  senior citizens, women & children, students and other vulnerable groups.  Contact information is provided in this portal.

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Attractions in Trivandrum

Kanaka Kunnu Palace

kanakakunnu 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 256-Fkpalacewheels and  rides, another sight is the spectacle of decorated elephants standing along with chenda(drum) players welcoming visitors with a lot of fanfare.

elephants kanna

Priyadarshini Planetarium

tobservatoryOpened 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.kerala science tmuseumkerala science &tech museum

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. trivandrum observatoryTrivandrum-Observatory

Jawahar Bal Bhavan: This  is a prominent institution  in the city catering to children .

bal bhavan tvmSet in almost 3 acres of land and bal bhavan drum classlocated 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.

chacha nehru museum doll collection   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.

 

 

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Historic Landmarks in Trivandrum

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.
kerala museum park view

 

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.images band stand museum

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.

musem entrancepeacockzoo.girafe

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. sree chithra art

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.

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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.

vjt2

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 univ college

public library

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.

children_library

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.

college of fine arts

Gandhi Park Trivandrum, East Fort & Putharikkandam Maidan

putharikandam 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 .

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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_Padmanabhaswamy_temple_AP_240german tourist023Sree 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.

 

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Trivandrum : Royal connection

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.

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Trivandrum : Blending tradition and modernity

images band stand museumbrothers shopping trivandrumcarmel-towers-trivandrumculture-of-kerala_img drummersConnemara-Marketchalai bazaar east fortIn spite of the rapid changes Trivandrum has managed to retain some of the ambience characteristic of Kerala such as the red-titled roof –tops, narrow winding lanes and intimate corner coffee/tea shops. Certainly, Trivandrum has changed from a quaint, quiet town to the bustling city today. And in fact Trivandrum is filled with highly educated people and simple lifestyle. Trivandrum district is densely populated with population of 33 lakhs with 54% urban population. Today, Trivandrum has something for everyone from the child as well as the grownup ranging from cultural programs to sports and leisure activities, various educational facilities and job opportunities. Unlike most other Indian cities there are more women in Trivandrum than men, with the sex ratio being 1037 females to every 1000 males. As you travel around Trivandrum you will come across women working at cash registers in shops, petrol pumps and driving auto rickshaws. 29-kowdiar dancerskalari vivanta tajindia coffee h

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