Thiruvananthapuram: Cornucopia of Cultures
Thiruvananthapuram: Cornucopia of Cultures

Thiruvananthapuram: Cornucopia of Cultures

Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is the capital of the South Indian state Kerala. It’s the most populous city in Kerala, an amalgamation of people from different cultures. This city is located on the west coast of India near the extreme end of the subcontinent. Mahatma Gandhi used to call Trivandrum ‘the evergreen city of India’ because of the lush green low coastal hills and undulating terrain.

Brief History

  • Trivandrum history dating back to the 10th century AD was an important portion of ancient tradition and folklores.
  • The Ays were ruling the region at the beginning of the 10th century but the chela Chola wars marked their end.
  • In the modern history of 1791, the East India Company made a deal to protect Trivandrum from Mysore in exchange for a few privileges. They included the permissions to install residents and troops in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Later in 1795, Travancore became a princely state with this city as its capital.
  • Following the demise of British rule in India, Travancore chose to join India during partition.
  • The first government was elected and Pattom Thanu Pillai became the leader on 24th March 1948.
  • As a result of the States reorganization in 1956, Kerala was formed and Thiruvananthapuram became its capital.
  • This city is also known for the development and launch of the first Indian Space Rocket from VSSC in 1963.
  • The establishment of India’s first IT park Technopark was also a significant milestone in the history of Trivandrum.

State/District/Capital

  • Thiruvananthapuram city is the capital of Kerala.
  • It’s a part of Thiruvananthapuram city is a part of Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • Some of the other sub-districts are Trivandrum, Varkala, Neyyattinkara, Nedumanganu, Chirayinkeezhu, and Kattakada.

How to reach Thiruvananthapuram?

By Air

  • The city has an international airport that is connect to National Highway 66.
  • The incoming and outgoing fights connect Thiruvanthapuram to different cities in the country as well as other places internationally.
  • It was the first airport in the state of Kerala which started making the place accessible to a larger number of tourists.
  • Also in 1991, V.P Singh declared it to be the fifth international airport in the country.
  • Besides, the airport is located 6km from the heart of the city, making it very convenient for tourists.

By Train

  • Thiruvananthapuram Central is the main and the largest railway station in the city and it’s also claimed to be the second busiest station in India.
  • It is famous for heavy passenger movement and revenue with people coming from different parts of the country and the world.
  • ‘The Silver Line’ officially called as The Thiruvananthapuram–Kasargode Semi High-Speed Rail Corridor proposed to form a real fast connection with Kasargode.
  • Under the special COVID 19 circumstances, SF special railway was introduced to ensure efficient transport and communications.
  • The tickets booking system of the railways is available online on several, a to-be tourist in Kerala can book tickets very quickly at reasonable rates.

By Road

  • Well-developed roads connected to National Highways and the airport are a characteristic of Thiruvananthapuram.
  • They ensure good car, cab and bus journeys.
  • A great project is in progress, aiming to connect the ports with National Highways.
  • Linking different means of transportation with the basic means like road will ensure smooth connectivity for the locals as well as tourists in Kerala.

When to visit Thiruvananthapuram?

  • Thiruvananthapuram does not experience very extreme temperatures, the overall climate is fairly stable.
  • However, the best time to visit the city would be between November to January.
  • It’s the winter season but with a pleasant climate instead of cold shivering temperatures.
  • The summers in this city can make a tourist a little uncomfortable because they are humid and hot.

Official Language

Malayalam is the official language of the state and also the most dominant one. English is also widely spoken by the younger generation and professionals. Apart from these, people also speak Tulu, Kannada, Konkani, Dhivehi, Telugu and Hindi.

Weather

  • Summer season- March to May
  • Average temperature- 29 °C 
  • Monsoon season- June to October
  • Average temperature- 25°C
  • Winter season- November to February
  • Average temperature- 24 °C

Fairs and Festivals in Thiruvananthapuram

Many cultural events, fairs and festivals are celebrated with great zeal in the winter or the harvest season.

Onam

It celebrates the beginning of the Malayalam new year sometime in August or September. It’s also called the harvest festival and the most exciting part of it is the nine-course meal. This special feast called Onasadya includes around 13 dishes. People enjoy making wonderful and pretty floral decorations and women wear fresh white sarees.

Nishigandha

It’s a music and dance festival celebrated in January every year. Nishigandha highlights the cultural spirit of Kerala and is known for mesmerizing and colourful Kathakali performances.

Vetta and Arattu

It’s a biannual festivals and occurs in March-April or October-November. There are processions that take idols to the Sangumughan beach accompanied by members of the royal family. The idols are bathed in the sea at sunset and are carried back to the temple where Kathakali performers welcome them.

Attukal Pongala

A ten-day festival between 18th and 26th February at the great Attukal Bhagavati Temple. The main ritual is offering the ‘Pongal’ to the Goddess on the ninth day of the fest. Only women are allowed to the ritual, making it unique.

The Village Fair

The fair takes place in January every year and it is perfect for tourists in Kerala. It preserves the culture and tradition of the place and portrays the early local life of Kerala, before it was urbanized.

Transportation/ Stay to prefer

Transportation

The roads in the city and Thiruvananthapuram district are very well developed. The National Highway NH47, an 80km long patch passes right through this district. Several state highways also pass through the region, making it highly accessible as a result.

Taxi- People travelling in groups might prefer the taxis. Maximum taxis are usually Ambassadors but if you wish to travel in a different car, you may place a request. However, the cab fare would vary according to your requests and the distances travelled.

Buses- It’s the most reasonable mode of transportation in Trivandrum. The bus circuits operate regularly with some major bus depots like Vikas Bhavan and Peroorkada.

Auto rickshaws- they can be spotted anywhere and everywhere in the city. To keep up with the technical advancements pre-paid auto counters have been installed at the railway stations and airports for tourists.

Cycles/ Motorbikes- Cycling or two-wheeler enthusiasts can rent these vehicles for a day or two to roam around in the city.

On foot- Many sight-seeing places are located closely, so walking can also be convenient for tourists to wish to explore the city at their own pace. Roads are properly marked with sidelines and zebra crossings, it is easy and effortless for pedestrians.

Stay to prefer

Thiruvananthapuram is a cultured land. To not only see and visit but also understand the true atmosphere of the city, a two to three days stay sounds perfect. There are around six to seven major destinations in the city a first-time tourist must visit. In order to have fun while exploring the city, spending a nice weekend in Trivandrum would be an excellent plan. There are several hotels in and around the city which would cater to all the needs of tourists.

Places to visit in Thiruvananthapuram

Heritage

Vizhinjam International Seaport

It’s an international, deep water and multipurpose sea port. As of 2021, its construction is in progress but it’s a very ambitious project in making and totally worth a visited.

Napier Museum

One of the best tourist attractions for family as well as other groups interested in understanding the culture and legacy of Thiruvananthapuram.

Kanakakkunnu Palace

It is the first digital garden in India located near the Napier museum. Several cultural meetings and programs are held in and around the palace.

Thiruvananthapuram Zoo

Apart from being home to some interesting species of animals, woodlands, small lakes and lawns occupy this land.

Natural

Neyyar Wildlife Santuary

It’s a beautiful place to enjoy the natural beauty away from the hustle-bustle of the city. The sanctuary is huge and spread over the southeastern part of western ghats. A first timer tourist can spend at least 3-4 hours here.

Neyyar Dam

This popular picnic spot was established long back in 1958. Neyyar Dam is a wonderful and nature-friendly piece of architecture. One can walk on the wall of the dam and view its beauty from the watch tower. There is also a lake where people can enjoy boating and visit the crocodile park.

Spiritual

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Thiruvananthapuram is a city named after Lord Ananta who resides in this particular temple. This masterpiece was build based on Chera and Dravidian styles of architecture with high walls and gopura.

Karikkakom Devi Temple

It is a Hindu temple of a deity named Goddess Chamundi. The temple used to be a place where justice was imparted during the old king’s rule.

Cuisines to taste in Thiruvananthapuram

The locals of Thiruvananthapuram are fond of regular Keralite cuisine. Besides posh hotels and restaurants, the city is also famous for its street food. The overall cuisine includes some items like. Some of these dishes are served on a banana leaf, so the flavour of the leaf mixes with the dish.

Puttu

It is a rice-based meal with coconut and chickpea curry usually eaten as breakfast. It tastes even better with a cup of black coffee or fish delicacies and chicken curries.

Appam

Appam is a pancake style type of dosa usually served with rich coconut chutney. They can be prepared quickly and easily, usually eaten as a breakfast dish. The thick and fluffy appam go well with fish curry or beef fry.

Idiyappam

It is a local dish which is a type of noodle but made out of rice and flour dough. Idiyappam is a typical breakfast cuisine served with coconut chutney but also tastes well with other Kerala gravies.

Idli

Idli Sambar

Thiruvananthapuram being a part of south India, Idli is a significant food item. It is a fermented and steamed form rice cake served with hot sambar and chutney.

Ghee Roast Dosa

Another typical south Indian dish where dosa is made with a lot of ghee, which is also called clarified butter. One can also get this dish on streets and local bazaar and is served with sambar and chutney.

Kerala Prawn Fry

Coming to the non-veg food items, this dish is basically prawns cooked in spicy and tangy curries. The taste of the curry may vary from place to place in the city itself. But it is a warm comfort food that is served with red rice or appams.

Fish Molee

Molee is a seasonal fish cooked in bright yellow curry with green chilli. Rice or appam are served as ‘sides’ to balance the taste and make it more delicious.

Varutha Kozhi

Thiruvananthpuram cuisine uses a lot of coconut. Varutha Kozhi is chicken cooked in thick and coconut-based curry, its Kerala’s speciality. Besides, Kozhi tastes even better with Malabar Parottas or appams.

Nadaan beef and Malabar Parotta

It is a spicy dish where tender beef is put on hot tava with curry leaves and hot spices. These Parottas are a little crispy and might be heavy for the stomach.

Paal Paayasam

A sweet dish or a dessert made after boiling rice in milk. The boiled rice is then flavoured with cardamom, but and dry fruits. This dish is mostly made during festivals and even the local stalls start selling it as a festive treat.

Things to do in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram is a very diverse place, hence all types for tourists can enjoy their stay here. Apart from visiting the places mentioned above, tourists can pick some of these activities to make their stay better.

  • Sipping filter coffee at the Indian coffee house.
  • Praying at the holy spiritual places.
  • Exploring the wonders of nature at the wild life sanctuary.
  • Shopping at the local Chalai market.
  • Seeing the art at the famous Margi theatre.
  • Boating and fishing at the Neyyar Dam.
  • Embracing the scenic beauty of Meenmutty Waterfalls.
  • Watching the city lights from the Vizhinjam lighthouse.
  • AMAS skydiving.
  • Skimming through chapters of history at the museums.
  • Spending the last lazy evening at Valiyathura Pier.
  • Visiting the first green mall- The Mall of Travancore

Souvenirs to buy in Thiruvananthapuram

Souvenirs are tangible memories of a nice trip which the tourists take home.

Metal work items

Metal artifacts are available at the best possible deals at the famous Thomson home depot in Trivandrum.

Coir products

The coir fabric products are shopped at a place called Coir Pith in Thiruvananthapuram.

Coconut shell craft

Thiruvananthapuram is famous for craft made using coconut shells. The craftsmen have also made a 12 feet long crocodile. However, tourists naturally purchase smaller pieces of art of souvenirs.

Wood or horn carving items

The SMSM Institute is a renowned place where tourists can purchase beautifully crafted wood and horn carved artifacts.

Brass lamps

Shops selling pooja items in Thiruvananthapuram also sell well-crafted brass lamps of different sizes.

Traditional handicrafts

Tourists purchase these typical south Indian handicrafts as a reminder of their exotic tour.

Bamboo and cane craft items

This craft was introduced by the hillside forest people and gradually found its way into the town markets. Thiruvananthapuram is popular when it comes to cane craft, so tourists buy these items without fail.

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About Pranoti Abhyankar

A creative writer turned blogger, always open to new learning opportunities. Loves to pen down every event experienced.

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