Thiruvananthapuram also known as Trivandrum, is the head quarters of Kerala state & the Thiruvanathapuram District. The name ‘Thiruvananthapuram’ means the seat of the sacred snake-god Ananthan, on whom Vishnu, the God of protection, is believed to be reclining. Once Mahatma Gandhi referred this city as “Ever Green City of India”, besides its legislative importance, the district was the formerly ruled by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore and it is identified among travelers for its enthralling beaches, picnic spots and sites of historic significance.
This world famous beach is a personal pride of Thiruvananthapuram district; it was in the map of beach lovers the early 1930 itself. It is located 13 kms away from Thiruvanathapuram city & it is considered as one of the best bathing bay in the world. Kovalam consists of three neighboring crescent beaches. Light house beach is located on the southernmost is more popular than other two beaches. Kovalam is also considered as the second best beach destination in India after Goa in terms of tourist traffic.
Kovalam was a small, sleepy village. It lay in humble obscurity along the picturesque coast of Kerala. Then around 1930, this little village was unexpectedly shaken out of its lethargic slumber and thrust on the international tourist map. The vendors of holiday dreams along the sea had discovered the fabulous silver sands and palm-fringed shores of Kovalam. From then onwards, there was no looking back.
Today Kovalam is reckoned the most trendy beach retreat in India. A combination of three small beaches, Kovalam, meaning "a groove of coconut trees," is just 16 km from the state capital of Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram. The sheltered natural bay, the azure blue waters and the sumptuous spread of green palm groves make it a tropical paradise of sorts.
Earlier Kovalam was an anglers' paradise, but gradually transformed into a tourist spot of great interest. From sun bathing to swimming, Ayurvedic rejuvenation to yoga and meditation, herbal body toning massages to special cultural programmes and catamaram cruising, holidays in Kovalam is a tourist delight. The Kovalam lighthouse beach is where most visitors spend their time.
Catamaram cruises on the country raft is hugely popular in Kovalam. Many marine activities are possible at Kovalam. The local fishermen provide sunrise and sun set cruises in fishing boats. Angling for deep-sea fishing is highly catching up with tourists who come for vacation in Kovalam. Surfboards and boogie boards can also be hired on the beach.
As Ayurveda of Kerala is renowned, it is surprising that Kovalam's many hotels and resorts offer Ayurvedic massage and treatment. Yoga (Indian way of meditation) centers are also plenty in Kovalam. Some theatres perform the traditional Kerala art form - Kathakali, and ethnic martial art - Kalarippayattu.
Among innumerable beach resorts in Kovalam, the Kovalam Ashok Beach Resort, Surya Samudra Beach Garden, Somatheeram, Niki's Nest, Coconut-Bay Beach Resort, Uday Samudra Beach Resort, Hotel Samudra etc own private beaches are popular for their cleanliness and secluded location. Most of these private beaches are located near Vizhinjam at least 8 km far from Kovalam
A picturesque hill station in Kerala, Ponmudi is a mere one and a half hour's road journey from the beaches of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum). And true to its meaning in Malayalam - golden crown - Ponmudi truly glitters amongst the hill resort of India.
On the way to Ponmudi, the thick tropical forest greets one at the foot of the Ponmudi hill range. The road passes under a canopy of thickly matted foliage. The forest recedes gradually giving way to neatly clipped tea bushes.
As one leaves the city behind, one enters the region of plantations - rubber, pepper, cardamom and tea. The change is abrupt. The tappers can be seen going about briskly gathering the milky fluid from rubber trees collected in coconut shells. Coconut thatch mats cover almost one half of the road, over which women spread black pepper for drying. One may come across a lone elephant ambling along carrying his mahout atop and his breakfast of coconut thatch in his trunk.
Tourists on holidays in Ponmudi can stroll through the many tea estates here, although they are not as big as those in the Munnar hills. Trekking to the north of Ponmudi Crest, one passes along a mini zoo on the edge of the forest. Entering the forest, the verdant shades of green numb the senses. As does the avian orchestra. The brilliant red southern trongon dot the trees like flowers. The air is full with the loud raucous chuckling of heavy billed Malabar hornbills. The shrill notes of the blue-black Malabar whistling thrush add to the cacophony. Even the rare long-tailed paradise flycatchers flit gracefully from tree to tree. It is like an open aviary.
Tourists planning to travel to Ponmudi can reach Ponmudi from Thiruvananthapuram, which is 61 km away. It is within easy driving distance from Kovalam.
Located only 8 km from the city, is a favorite spot of sunset lovers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here. Chacha Nehru Traffic Training Park here provides opportunity for children to learn the traffic rules.
This favorite picnic spot located on the way to Thiruvanathapuram International Airport. Veli Tourist Village is located where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea and offers boating facilities. Children will enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape.
Ponmudi is located about 63 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram city. Ponmudi is one of the significant & beautiful hill stations in Kerala. It has a height of over average 900 meters above sea level. It is a part of western Ghats mountain range that stretch parallel to the Arabian sea. The major tourist attraction of Ponmudi is “Golden Valley”, is a sneak peek and an access point to the river Kallar. Well rounded pebbles, thriving green trees, the clean & cool water, fishes & the absolute wilderness of the park will catch your eyes & senses rapidly.
The whole place will be interested to all who love to be in a place of tropical vegetation.
Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum:
The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture also has exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. Museum can be visited between 08.30 am to 12.30 hours & 15.30 to 17.30.It is closed on Monday.
The Napier Museum & Sree Chithira Art Gallery
This 19th century indo-sarsenic building boast a natural air conditioning system and rare collection archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Sree Chithra Art Gallery is located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays noted paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore style of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
This splendid and well preserved wooden palace,palace is situated at Thuckalai Located 52 kms away from the city, on the way to Kanyakumari. It was the seat of the erstwhile rulers of Travancore, This is a glorious demonstration to the traditional Kerala school of architecture. The extraordinary murals, exquisite floral carvings and the black glossy granite floor have withstood the test of time.
This serene backwater stretch is located 10 kms away from Thriuvanathapuram city, enroute to Kovalam, is famous for its canoe ride
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
This sanctuary spread over 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats, is accessible from Vithurai, which is on the way to Ponmudi. With its rich flora and fauna, Peppara, dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations, is emerging as a great attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. It is located about 50 kms from the city.
Varakala is a small beach destination located 55 kms away from Thriuvanathapuram city & it is also famous for Hindu pilgrim centre. Varkala beach is also known as the Papanasham beach, is a long serene crystal clear sandy beach with a mysterious attraction. The background of this natural beauty is surrounded by the green cliffs will offer you some sacred calming mineral springs too. Papanasam is a perfect place to watch the sunset or relax gazing at the horizon. The area is covered with coconut palms and small restaurants that mushroom during the season. The 500-metre stretch is right below a beautiful sea cliff.
Neyyar Reservoir is one of the scenic picnic spot, located only 32 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram city. The reservoir offers excellent boating facilities.The forests around the reservoir are the adobe of wild elephants, gaur , bear Nilagiri Tahr. On the upper reaches of the Neyyar Reservoir there are two magnificent waterfalls Meenmutty waterfalls and the Kombaikani waterfalls both are reachable only thorough trekking in dense forest for 2 kilometers & four kilo meters respectively. One of the famous peak Agasthya kooodam is very near to neyyar dam.