Thiruvananthapuram formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. The city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills with narrow winding lanes and busy commercial alleys.
Thiruvananthapuram literally means Ananthapuri, "the city of Ananthan", the Thiru (Great/Lord) Ananthan's Puram (City).
The name derives from the main deity of a Hindu temple at the centre of the city. Ananthan is the serpent Sesha on whom
Padmanabhan or Vishnu reclines. The temple of Anantha, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is the most recognizable icon of the city.
With a population of 889,191 (as of 2001) it is the second biggest city in Kerala. The city, being the state capital houses many government
offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve center of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and houses several premier educational institutions including the Kerala University.
Thiruvananthapuram is also home to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BC. It was a trading post for spices like the rest of ancient Kerala. However the ancient political and cultural history of the city was almost entirely independent from that of the rest of Kerala. The early rulers of the city were the Ays. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the rulers of Venad. The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Thiruvithamkoor (Travancore). Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital of Travancore in 1745. The city developed into a major intellectual and artistic center during this period of time. The golden age in the city's history was during the mid 19th century during the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal . This era saw the establishment of the first English school (1834), the Observatory (1836), the General Hospital (1839) and the University College (1873).
The early 19th century was an age of tremendous political and social changes in the city. The Sree Moolam Assembly, established in 1904 was the first democratically elected legislative council in any Indian state. Despite not being under direct control the British Empire at anytime, the city however featured prominently in India's freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress had a very active presence in the city. This era also saw the establishment of the University of Travancore in 1937 which later became the Kerala University.
After the withdrawal of the British in 1947, Travancore chose to join the Indian union. In 1949 Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Thiru-Kochi, state formed by the integration of Travancore with its northern neighbour Kochi. When the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new state.
With the establishment of TERLS (Thumba Equitorial Rocket Launching Station) in the 60s, Thiruvananthapuram became the cradle of India's ambitious space program. The first Indian space rocket was developed and launched from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) located in the outskirts of the city in 1966. Several establishments of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were later established in Thiruvananthapuram.
A major milestone in the city's recent history was the establishment in 1995 of Technopark, an IT park. This placed Thiruvananthapuram on the IT map of India and it is today one of most promising in the country in terms of competitiveness.
The city was officially known as Trivandrum till 1991. The name is still in common use and most non-Keralites prefer to use Trivandrum.
Shree Padhmanabhaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is held sacred by the Hindus from antiquity.
The temple has a large complex with a huge gopuram. It has a tank beside it for ritual bathing
Kovalam is 12kms to the south of Thiruvananthapuram and is one of the finest beaches in India.
It has been developed into an integrated seaside resort. The beach complex has many hotels, cottages, yoga centres etc.
Vizhinjam About 2kms south of Kovalam, it is believed to be an ancient port.
The Dutch and Portugese had commercial establishments here. It is being developed as a modern fishing harbour.
Ponmudi A pleasant resort at an elevation of 912m above sea level. It is 61 kms from Thiruvananthapuram and connected by road.
There are many tree and rubber estates around the hills.
Veli lagoon The boat club attracts tourists by providing facilities for pedal boating , row boating , swimming on the placid waters of the veli lake.
The Kanakakunnu Palace
The Kanakakunnu Palace This palace in the heart of Trivandrum city is one of the most beautiful buildings. The palace and its sprawling grounds are today the venue for many cultural meets. The Museum The museum building is an architectural splendour. The napier museum, the natural history museum, the reptile house and the Shri Chitra Art Gallery are in the same complex amidst a well laid out garden and park.
Other Places to visit
The Science and Technology museum, the Government Secretariat, the Kowdiar palace, the Senate house, are some of the other tourist
attractions in the city.
Places easily accessible from Trivandrum
Kanyakumari, the land's end of India is only 87kms from Trivandrum. Also known as Cape Comorin, this beautiful spot is in the neighbouring Tamilnadu state.
Varkala is a pilgrim centre for the devotees of Sree Narayana Guru, one of the patron saints of Kerala, whose motto was "One God, One Religion, One Caste".
It is only 51kms from Trivandrum by road and also boasts of one of the best beaches in the State.