Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the State and the headquarters of the district, is well connected by air, rail and road. Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, the Kanakakkunnu Palace, the Observatory, the Science and Technology Museum, the Government Secretariat, the Kowdiar Palace, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Tagore Centenary theatre and the Museum, Trivandrum Zoo, Happyland Amusement park, etc are some of the tourist attractions in the city. Sree Chitra Art Gallery with its rich collection of exquisite paintings, is another attraction. The gallery has a special Ravi Varma section other than one for murals, water and oil painting. The S.M.S.M. Institute, Botanic Gardens at Palode and Chitranjali studios are added attractions. The Raj Bhavan, Central Library, Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, University College, Residency Banglaw, College of Fine Arts and the Wellington Water Works are but a few of the landmarks that adorn the city. There are three big stadiums, namely; the University Stadium, the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium and the Central Stadium, in the city. A velodrome at Kariavattom and the Jimmy George Indoor Stadium at Vellayambalam cater to sporting interests. The neat and clean Shanghumughom beach is an attraction. The Aerodrome, the Government Engineering Workshop, the Trivandrum Rubber Works and the Travancore Titanium Products Ltd are situated in the vicinity of Shanghumughom beach. Interesting places worth visiting in the neighbourhood of Thiruvananthapuram city are Aruvikkara Water Works, Kovalam Beach Resort and the resort of Ponmudi Hills, the Neyyardam at a distance of 29 km also offers scenic splendour as well as opportunities for hikes, boating, camping and mountaineering. Kanyakumari, the land’s end of India now in Tamil Nadu, is only 87 km from Thiruvananthapuram. On the way to Kanyakumari is Padmanabhapuram, the old capital of Travancore, where an ancient palace with antique murals is located.
About 1869 meters above sea level, Agastyakoodam is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats. Tradition says that the great sage Agasthya, had his abode in this peak. The place is also noted for its abundant ayurvedic herbs. The place is in the eastern side of the district.
Musical Fountain at Aakkulam, Trivandrum city Akkulam is one of the beautiful picnic spots, in Trivandrum city. The spot is developed on the banks of Akulam Lake, which is an extension of the Veli Lake. The calm and serene atmosphere and its unique natural beauty are a fascination for tourists. The Boat Club, which started functioning in 1989, now operates speed, safari, pedal and row boats from Akkulam to Veli Tourist Village. A traditional style Kettuvallom is also available for overnight stay. The swimming pool at Akkulam is equipped with glider and other playing facilities. The Children’s Park is a unique amusement spot and has several new rides that have ben included recently. The newly commissioned musical fountain is an added attraction.
Situated 40 km north of Trivandrum city, along the sea coast, Anchuthengu is a place of historic importance. It was here that the first settlement of the English East India Company was established in 1864 A.D. Historically, the limits of area where five coconut palms stood (Anchuthengu, corrupted as Anjengo) was given on lease to the Company by the King of Travancore for trade purposes. The remains of the old English Fort, which had withstood many a siege, can be seen here even today. There is an ancient christian church in Mampally in the name of Holy Spirit and it was built in 15th century by St. Francis Xavier.the airforce station is located here.From here on e can sail across the river to veli via boat. There exist a boat club.located at the bank of the lake it a well known tourist spot of trivandrum.
Aruvikkara Reservoir. Sixteen km north of Trivandrum city, gifted with lavish scenic beauty is the Aruvikkara. Trivandrum city gets its water supply from the Aruvikkara reservoir. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Durga, on the banks of the river.
The place is about seven km from Neyyattinkara. There is a small waterfall here. A Siva temple founded by Sree Narayana Guru attracts a large number of worshippers during the Sivarathri festival. It is a beautiful spot for holiday seekers.
Balaramapuram is famous for its hand-spun cloth. Weaving is a cottage industry here with cooperative activity. It is 13 km south of the city towards Kanyakumari on National Highway 47.
Meenmutti and Kombaikani Waterfalls
These are two magnificent waterfalls on the upper reaches of the Neyyar reservoir. A trek of two kilometers, through dense forests, would take one to Meenmutty Falls, Thiruvananthapuram and a further two km, to the Kombaikani waterfalls. The waterfalls and forests around them are worth experiencing.
Neyyar Dam is located across the Neyyar river flowing south of Thiruvananthapuram. Lying amidst the southern low hills of the Western Ghats, 29 km from the city, the catchment area offers facilities for boating and mountaineering. A three-hour climb over the hills across the reservoir affords the thrill of hiking. There are two beautiful waterfalls on the way. A Lion Safari Park and a Crocodile Rearing Centre have also been set up in the reservoir. Also on the lake is the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram. AA
Neyyattinkara is an ancient town, situated about 20 km south-east of Trivandrum city. The Sree Krishna Swami temple, founded by King Marthanda Varma (1729-1758), is of historical importance. Within the premises of the temple, there is a historic jack tree, known as Ammachi Plavu, in the hollow of which Marthanda Varma is believed to have hid himself and escaped death at the hands of his enemies.
Peppara/Peypara is 50 km from the city on the way to Ponmudi. The sanctuary there, with its rich mammalian fauna and avis is emerging as a big attraction to wild life enthusiasts and ornithologists. It was established in 1938 over an area of 53 km². on the Western Ghats. Elephants, sambars, leopards, lion-tailed macaques and cormorants are commonly seen here.
Roofs of the cottages at Ponmudi. A pleasant resort with an elevation of 912 m above sea level, Ponmudi is reached by road from Thiruvananthapuram. There are several tea and rubber estates around the hills. A hill tribe called Kani live in the surrounding areas. Ponmudi is fast developing as a hill resort with room and dormitory accommodation facilities, hill-trails for hiking, a collection of flowering trees and a deer park. Ponmudi is 61 km from Trivandrum city.
Poovar is 29 km from the city. It was a trading centre in early days and one of the ancient ports of the district. It is said that the legendary Jesuit Missionary, St. Francis Xavier, visited the place in the 16th century.
Sarkara is 35 km north of Thiruvananthapuram and six km west of Attingal. There is a famous temple which is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathi. A grand festival, Sarkara Bharani, is conducted in this temple during March-April.
Sarkaradevi Temple is one of the most important temples in South India. It is situated South of the Chirayinkil Taluk (in the North-West of Thiruvananthapuram district.) Tradition accords a remote antiquity to this temple. Its main deity is Bhadrakali. The sarkaradevi Temple assumed a significant status many reasons and rose to historical importance mainly with the introduction of the famous Kaliyoot festival by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the Travancore sovereign, in 1748.
Forty one km north of Trivandrum city by rail and 51 km by road, Varkala is a pilgrim centre. The Samadhi of Sree Narayana Guru, the great social reformer and philosopher, attracts devotees in thousands. The cliffs and mineral water springs at the Papanasam beach are worth a visit. The inland waterways system connecting Kollam in the north with Thiruvananthapuram in the south, passes through two tunnels in the hills. The Janardhana Swamy Temple here attracts many devotees.
Vizhinjam Port site. About two km south of Kovalam, Vizhinjam is believed to have been an ancient port. Now, Vizhinjam is a fishing harbour, with a light house. The Portuguese and the Dutch had commercial establishments here. The Portuguese have built a church in Vizhinjam near to the sea shore, which is still functional and is referred as the Old Vizhinjam Church. It is located in the vizhinjam fishing harbour area. This place is being developed into an International Deep Water Container Transshipment Terminal because of its proximity to International Shipping channel and its natural depth.
This international beach, 12 km south of Trivandrum city, is one of the finest beaches in India. A high rocky promontory jutting into the sea has created a beautiful bay of calm waters for sea bathing. The India Tourism Development Corporation had developed Kovalam as an integrated seaside resort which includes a string of cottages, the Halcyon castle, a shopping area, swimming pools, yoga centre, facilities for medicinal oil bath and massage and the Rajiv Gandhi Convention Centre with 1000 delegate capacity. The resort has 198 rooms with the four presidential suits in the Halcyon Castle, the Summer Retreat of the erstwhile Maharaja. The property has now been taken over by a private group, The Leela Group. Besides, there are numerous hotels managed by private agencies.
Museum and Zoo
The Museum building itself is an architectural splendour. The Napier Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Reptile House and the Shri Chitra Art Gallery are all within the Zoo complex amidst a well laid-out garden and park. There is a lake and a boat club jointly operated by the Department of Museums and Zoos and the District Tourism Promotion Council. The zoo offers a rare opportunity for the visitors to experience an unparalleled, picturesque and panoramic sylvan landscape with a wide range of animal collections. The zoo has 75 different species of animals not only from India but also from abroad. It has several species of animals and birds from Ethiopian and Australian zoological regions. The Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, Manipur deer, Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion and the Royal Bengal Tiger are prominent among the indigenous endangered fauna, while Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and Cape buffalo are guests from the African region. A new era will be ushered in with the completion of the ongoing modernisation work in the zoo which will provide for thrilling encounters with the animals out in their open air landscapes.
Giant Statue of Mermaid at the beachShanghumugham Beach is very near to the International Airport and is easily accessible from the Kovalam Beach, Veli Tourist Village and Akkulam Tourist Village. Shanghumugham beach is noted for its cleanliness. The vast stretch of white sand and the serene atmosphere, away from the crowd in the city, provide all the ingredients for relaxation and for spending an ideal evening. There is also a “Star Fish Restaurant” with eating kiosks and open air theatre with car parking facilities. The sculpture of Jalakanyaka - Mermaid by Kanayi Kunhiraman is an added attraction. St. Andrews beach is another newly developed tourist place located near Kazhakuttom
Thiruvallam is about six km south of the city, on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kovalam road. There is an ancient temple here on the banks of the Karamana River, which is dedicated to the Trimurthis of the Hindu pantheon. A shrine of Parasurama, built entirely of granite is found in this temple.
Walk way to the 'Floating restaurant' at Veli lake. On the outskirts of Kerala’s capital city, by the side of the placid waters of Veli lake, the Tourist Village and Boat Club attracts the city people and tourists. Veli, developed as a major tourist spot by providing facilities for pedal-boating, row boating, swimming, get together, etc. is just the right place for an exciting outing. The Youth Hostel at Veli which is hardly three km, from the international airport, provides inexpensive dormitory type accommodation. Veli, with its palm fringed lake is easily accessible by road.