The capital of Kerala, Trivandrum, with a tradition that officially dates back to 1000 BC, and located on seven low-hills near the southern tip of India is famous for its pristine beaches, temples and greenery.
Mahatma Gandhi aptly called it the "Evergreen city of India". Apart from the beaches and rolling hills perfect for a relaxed outing, this place is home to various historical structures, parks, museums, tourist centers and palaces dotting the cityscape. Some of the most primary elements that the area offers to the tourism scene are its biological gardens, which managed to inspire Yann Martel about the animals in his book Life of Pi, backwaters and temples . At the core of the spiritual side of Trivandrum is the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple, a 260 year old structure.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple stands tall in the capital of Kerala in its gold plated decadent glory. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India and said to be a replica of the Adikesava Perumal temple located in Kanyakumari. Quite recently, the temple was found to be holding billions worth of valuables in five of its vaults which make it the richest temple in the world. 'Thiruvananthapuram' literally translates to the 'City of Anantha' and Anantha is the deity of this temple. Lord Vishnu is seen in the "Anantha Shayanam" posture through three mighty doors.
The temple is known for its strict rules of worship. It has specific dress codes to be followed by its devotees. Only Hindus are allowed inside. Despite all of this, devotees gather in large numbers just to get a glimpse of the deity and attain some peace of mind.
Kovalam, situated 16 kms away from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, offers excellent diversity with Kovalam beaches to suit all desires and occasions. The backdrops of Kovalam, by precipitously mounting headlands and the three carved shaped beaches, separated by the stony outcroppings, make for the highlights of this coastal resort. The clear water at the beaches with shallow bottoms up to a height of hundred meters makes Kovalam a swimmers’ heaven. The picturesque surroundings of Kovalam are renowned to be the first place in Kerala to be featured on the International tourism map in a big way. The pristine beaches of Kovalam are also popular for being lined with an array of shacks and shops offering all kinds of services like the curio shops, money changers, hawkers of Tibetan and Kashmiri products etc.
In the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city lies the great Napier Museum and the Natural History Museum in the Museum compound, close to the Zoological park. Built in the 19th century, the museum has its own natural air-conditioning system. It contains a host of historical artifacts including bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. People are especially impressed by the Japanese shadow play leather that is used to depict the Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Kerala's rich cultural heritage is in full display here. The museum was named after the former Madras Governor-General, John Napier. Its style is a mix of Indian, Chinese, Kerala and Mughal schools of architecture. It is also called the Government Art Museum.