Located in the southwestern tip of India, Thiruvananthapuram is bound by the Arabian Sea in the west and Tamil Nadu in the east. Named after Anantha Padmanabha or Lord Vishnu, the city is home to many ancient temples. But the landmark is the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple around which the city has been built on seven low hills. The wooded highlands of the Western Ghats in the eastern and northeastern borders give Thiruvananthapuram some of the most enchanting picnic spots. A long shoreline with internationally renowned beaches, historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage make this district a much sought-after tourist destination. Clean and green, Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala is one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the “Evergreen city of India”, the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys. A city where the beautiful shadows of the past coexist with the present. A city that is calm and yet teeming with vigour. A city where tradition and modernity coexist beautifully.
Kovalam Beach, Agastyakoodam, Shanghumugham Beach, Meenmutti and Kombaikani Waterfalls, Neyyar Dam, Peppara, Ponmudi, Poovar, Varkala, Vizhinjam, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Azhimala Beach, Museums and Zoo, Thiruvallam, Veli Lagoon are some of the must see places at Thiruvananthapuram
Kovalam Beach Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Agasthyakoodam Part of the Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) of mountains, Agasthyakoodam, at a height of 1,890 m above sea level, 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. It is believed that sage Agasthya, the mythological character lived here.
Varkala Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach. The Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’. A two thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy Temple stands on the cliffs overlooking the beach, a short distance away. The Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great Hindu reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 – 1928) is also close by. The Samadhi (the final resting place) of the Guru here attracts thousands of devotees every year during the Sivagiri Pilgrimage days – 30th December to 1st January. Sree Narayana Guru propagated the ideology: “one caste, one religion and one god”, in a society torn by the taboos of caste system. Varkala offers excellent accommodation facilities for tourists and is fast becoming a popular health resort with many Ayurvedic massage centres.
Ponmudi Located within a short driving distance of Thiruvananthapuram, Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool, green environs. Along with a beautiful array of mountain flowers, exotic butterflies and small rivulets, Ponmudi offers excellent opportunities for trekking. With its tea estates and mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a fast developing hill resort with cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities.
Poovar Located 12 km south of Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala, Poovar is an isolated but spectacular beach. It is situated close to the Neyyar River estuary. A trading port in its early days, it is today an important tourist destination.
Veli Tourist Village This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speedboats are available for hire. Children enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape. Veli Tourist Village also has a children’s park and a Floating Cafe by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).