Places to Visit in Trivandrum: A True Specimen of Diversity in Tourism
Trivandrum is the city that simultaneously develops an effective infrastructure and nurtures a bio-diverse environmental habitat to a wide species of flora and fauna. Additionally, the Places to visit in Trivandrum are ornamented with a rich culture and heritage with potent and amazing historical references from ancient, through medieval to modern times. Trivandrum is where development meets historical preservation under the patronage of nature’s abundance.
Trivandrum, colloquially known as Thiruvananthapuram with a rather local spin on the pronunciation, is the capital of Kerala, and the largest city in the state. With a population of 1.68 million, Trivandrum holds the highest population count in the state and whilst being a major Information Technology hub integrated with the most developed infrastructure, Trivandrum is the fifth most populous urban agglomeration in Kerala. Trivandrum alongside its urbanization success is also one of the most excelling cities in terms of academic flourish, space science, research and technology, religious practices, Malayalam cinema, pleasant climatic conditions and defence headquarters.
Trivandrum built on the seven hills and along the seashore on the west coast is a true specimen of biodiversity in the Western Ghats, where the charm of romantic beaches meets the thrill of adventurous hills. Mesmerized by the natural beauty of Trivandrum, Mahatma Gandhi referred to this city as the Evergreen City of India. Trivandrum not only seduces the visitors with its flora and fauna glamour but also with its rich possession of historical significance. The religious and heritage monuments of this city are a striking reflection of architectural brilliance of ancient Dravidian empires.
The Most Attractive Places to visit in Trivandrum
This city will never fail to render you speechless with its immense authenticity and diversity of natural beauty, and a very good instance of this is Thiruvananthapuram. Trivandrum is a prominent tourism benefactor of the nation with its fine ornamentation of major tourist spots, including Hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries, sea beaches, museums, dams and historical sites. Both the state government and the local City authorities recognize the tourism significance of Trivandrum and hence furnish special attention to the needs and benefits of tourists. The city, with both private and public assistance, is well provided with both cost-efficient and luxurious accommodation, transportation, tourism guidance and several other tourist-friendly facilities along with many interesting places to visit in Trivandrum.
Places to visit in Trivandrum
The Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, Aranmula boat race
Kovalam and Poovar Island
Lighthouse Beach, Karamana River
Manjolai Hills, Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve,
Neyyar Dam & Wildlife Sanctuary
The Neyyar wildlife sanctuary, Neyyar Elephant Rehabilitation Centre
Vizhinjam wave energy plant, Marine aquarium, 18th-century rock-cut temples
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The sleeping idol of Lord Vishnu
As dusk dawns on these thick lush green parts of the Western Ghats, the Varayadumotta peak of the Ponmudi range is enlightened with a golden aura, which paints the entire valley in its vibrancy. Hence, the alias of the peak is the “Golden Peak.” Ponmudi is an absolute local favourite and often the spot for a weekend gateway to the residents of Trivandrum. Located 55.2 Km North-East of the city, in Nedumangad taluk of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi stands at an altitude of 1100 meters and runs parallel to the Arabian Sea.
Ponmudi in itself is diversely characterized with several tourist attractions like green landscapes, coffee plantations, trekking and hiking routes, camping sites, long drive opportunities, elevated peaks, calm valleys, a variety of flora and fauna exhibits and exhilarating waterfalls.
The drive to Ponmudi is in itself an enriching experience. Typically the driving route passes through Vellayambalam – Peeroorkada – Nedumangad – Vithura – Kallar – Ponmudi. Although, the most revered part of this route is the stretch of final 18 Km that winds through mountains and tea gardens. Going through 22 hairpin turns, the driving experience will prove thoroughly thrilling as you make crisp turns while being smothered within the embrace of mist.
The Golden Valley of Ponmudi among the Places to visit in Trivandrum will open the gates to the Kallar River, which is surrounded by a sincere essence of wilderness that draws its potency from various surrounding components like wildlife inhabits, rapid rivulets, plush tropical vegetation, rounded pebbles and refreshingly cool water with its distinct aquatic life. Further, through the misty valleys of the Ponmudi range, the visitors will relish the excitement of trekking and hiking.
Highlight of Ponmudi:
The Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary: Shelters a wide range of fauna such as Asian elephants, sambar, leopards, lion-tailed macaques and Malabar grey hornbills, within an area of 53 square Kilometres
Deer park with wood and stone cottages
Ponmudi, Kallar and Menmutty Falls
Aranmula boat race
2. Kovalam and Poovar Island
A beach village (more like a town) by the Arabian Sea, located 18 Km south of the main city, is widespread of coconut trees and hence the name Kovalam, a meaning grove of coconut trees. Kovalam first gained prominence when the Maharani of Travancore Sethu Lakshmi Bayi built her beach resort, Halcyon Castle, in this village. Later along with emergences of hippies along these parts, Kovalam gained a distinct importance as a tourist spot.
The Kovalam Beach stretch (a crescent stretch) is popular for its three separate beaches, the lighthouse beach, the hawah beach and the Samudra beach. All three beaches are typically lined with shallow waters that make the beaches very desirable for swimming. Further, the palm tree alignment along the coast of these beaches adds a scenic element to them. Kovalam beaches never fail to satiate the needs of the diverse tourist inflow with the effective assortment of shops and stalls that provide a variety of goods and services.
The Kovalam beach is alluringly characterized with several luxurious facilities like five-star accommodations, posh cafeterias, premium shopping zones, sunbathing services, cultural programmes, herbal body toning massages, Ayurvedic health resorts and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Near Kovalam is another miracle of God’s own country, Poovar Island. Poovar Island, among the Places to visit in Trivandrum, is a humble yet beautiful local town based on an estuary, 27 Kms from Trivandrum. Poovar is a virgin destination in this area which is relatively untouched by the tourist population. The island brilliantly retains its exotic elements like, its virgin beaches, breathtaking backwaters, sweet gentle ambience breezes, clean glittering sand, priceless flora and fauna, uninterrupted roars of wave, the local fishing communities, the sweet melody of chirping birds, farmlands of spice and an eye-pleasing greenery of coconut trees and banana groves.
Agasthyamala, designated by the UN as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world, is a true trekker’s delight in the Trivandrum region. Located in close proximity to Neyyar wildlife sanctuary, Agasthyamala is a major jewel in the Western Ghats region. Also known as Agasthyarkoodam, Agasthyamala is rich with biodiverse flora and a plenty of medicinal plants.
Agasthyamala from a tourism perspective holds to major significance. One, religious importance and second are its trekking routes. Agasthyamala gets its name from one of the most popular sages in the south, Sage Agasthya, who supposedly resided in these parts (one of the Saptarishis.) Hence, Agasthyamala is a major place of religious offering for the devotees of Sage Agasthya. Reaching a peak elevation of 1868m, Agasthyarkoodam is one of the tallest peaks in the entire Western Ghats region. Considering the peak height and vegetation density, the trek happens to be one of the most difficult treks in the region as well.
The trek begins from Bonacaud after seeking the permission of the Kerala Forest Department, and will indefinitely prove to be an enthralling and adventurous experience. Agasthyamala is where the crude force of nature is unleashed. Standing apart from rest of the scenic and luxurious charms of Trivandrum, this hill range imbibes the true intimidating essence of nature to pose the visitors with naturally veracious trekking challenges.
Neyyar Dam in our list Places to visit in Trivandrum boasts the nationwide popular backwaters of Kerala. Neyyar Dam and wildlife sanctuary are located approximately 35 Kms from Trivandrum. The Neyyar Dam, in form of a vast lake surrounded by thick luscious green vegetation, holds within it the serene waters of the Kerala backwaters and the wildlife is scattered in the surrounding vegetation that spreads over a mammoth land mass of 12,000 hectares.
The Neyyar region, characterized with meadows and sloping contours, is one of the most sought after picnic destination around Trivandrum with several key spots such as the watchtower, deer park, lion safari park and crocodile rehabilitation and research centre. Neyyar wildlife sanctuary proudly preserves a diverse species of fauna including the Asian Elephant, tiger, leopard, Sloth bear, sambar, barking deer, bonnet macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, Slender Loris, King Cobra, Travancore Tortoise and many more. Boating services around the sanctuary and dam area are a major mode of sightseeing for the tourists. The Neyyar region is also the gateway to yet another tourist attraction of Trivandrum, the Agasthyamala range.
Highlights of Neyyar
The Neyyar Dam
The Neyyar wildlife sanctuary
Steve Irwin Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre
Vizhinjam, although located in extremely close proximity to Kovalam and Poovar, yet manages to remain distinct with its shipping ports and rock cave temples. Vizhinjam holds a major historical importance (exhibited through the prominence of its rock cave temples) as it used to be the capital of the Ay Dynasty. Further, this region continuously stood as the major conflict ground between the Cheras and Cholas, two of the most popular south Indian Dynasties.
Much later, after the establishment of sea trade routes, Vizhinjam saw significant influence from Chinese, Thai, Dutch and Portuguese culture. The Portuguese churches and commercial Dutch establishments along the seashore are among many attractions of this city.
Another important location in our list of places to visit in Trivandrum, the rock boulder cave temples built around the shrine of a lingam is one of the characterizing tourist spots of Vizhinjam. The one located near the seaport marks the battleground of the conflict between the Pandyas and Ay kings. This is strikingly crude in its finish, which precisely generates the authentic vibe of the temple, with unfinished carvings of Shiva dancing with Parvati poses.
Alongside the ancient cave temples, Vizhinjam draws a sincere tourist attraction through its 18th century rock-cut temples, Vizhinjam fishing harbour, and the popular marine aquarium that houses aquatic species like lionfish, surgeonfish, clownfish, squirrelfish, piranhas, giant turtles, moon wrasse, butterfly fish, triggerfish, and sharks.
Highlights of Vizhinjam:
Ancient archaeological excavations – including rock boulder cave temples
Vizhinjam International Seaport
Vizhinjam fishing harbour
Vizhinjam wave energy plant
18th-century rock-cut temples
6. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple marks the pinnacle of historical-religious celebration in Kerala. The Temple is located in the proper city centre featuring 16th-century gopuram architecture, blending styles of both Kerala and Tamil making. The establishing deity of this temple his Vishnu posed in “Anantha Shayanam” posture, the posture of eternal sleep, on his typical serpent seat. The Thiruvananthapuram city itself derives its name from the meaning, “The city of Lord Ananta,” the titular deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
The temple with time has amassed an increasing number of visitors, owing to its mastery of the vault B. The mystery of vault B have long troubled and intrigued the people of Kerala. As the five other mysterious vaults revealed behemoth amount of treasure in form of ornaments, idols, vessels, and coins of gold, silver, diamond and other precious stones, the much-awaited vault B is only expected to reveal something of higher value and importance.
Following many theories and rumours, many believe that vault B holds something far priceless and something beyond materialistic reaches. Something revealing a more divine and supernatural presence. This mystery itself has made this temple a spot of national importance and a major tourist attraction. In an unofficial estimation the intrinsic value of the temple worth up around INR 1, 00,000 crore, making the temple a visual treat and a showcase of south Indian grandiose. All these facts and stories surrounding the Padmanaswamy temple make it one of the top places to visit in Trivandrum.
Kerala is a major tourism hotspot in the nation and Trivandrum in Kerala. Although the aforementioned Places to visit in Trivandrum are widely appreciated and aptly exhibits the diversity in its attraction, one must not neglect the other wonders the city has to offer such as,
A day dreamer by nature and writer by choice, Ratna is a movie buff and has an undying penchant for food. She is an avid reader and a dog lover. Her ultimate dream is to travel places and own a house in a secluded country like Bhutan.