Tourism in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) district in the Indian state of Kerala promotes the area’s hill stations, back waters, beaches, lagoons, and wildlife sanctuaries. The area is a tourism destination and receives chartered flights for medical tourism, as there are more than hundred recognised Ayurveda centres in and around the city. This is primarily due to Ayurveda’s popularity in foreign countries. Medical tourism is further promoted by modern medicine hospitals in the city. Recuperation facilities are available at five star beach resorts and hill stations nearby.
Situated on the eastern side of the district at about 1,869 metres (6,132 ft) above sea level, Agasthyarkoodam is one of the highest peaks in the Western Ghats and is the second highest peak in Kerala after Anamudi which is the highest peak in the Western Ghats. Tradition says that the great sage Agasthya lived on this peak. Noted for its abundant ayurvedic herbs, the cone shaped mountain is a centre of pilgrimage for Hindus because of Agastya, who was a confirmed bachelor. Hence, the aborigines dislike the presence of women on the hill and they are forbidden from ascending the peak.. Agasthyavanam Biological Park offers trekking opportunities.
Agasthyarkoodam is 70 kilometres (43 mi) from Thiruvananthapuram and is home to the Neelakurinji, a flower which blooms only once every twelve years. A forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at the Forestry Department for trekking. Vehicles reach only till Bonacaud which is around 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram. The trek to the peak is 28 km long from Bonacaud and requires 2 days. The first part of the trek can be started from the base station Bonacaud in the early morning and is 20 km through the forest to the camp. Elephants and wild bulls are in abundance in this part especially in the evenings. The final part i.e. the 8 km long trek can be done from the camp to the top of Agathyakoodam mountain on the second day.
Situated 60 km away from Thiruvananthapuram and 4 km from Bonacaud, Bona falls in the district is accessible only by trekking and with a permission from Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala).
Situated 40 km north of Thiruvananthapuram 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 AD. 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 the 15th century by St. Francis Xavier. The airforce station is located here, as well. From here one can sail across the river to Veli by boat. A local boat club providing vessels.
Ecotourism destination under the government. Arippa forests and Kambakom located 60 km from Thiruvananthapuram is an excellent trekking destination. Bird watching, cottages and camping facilities are also provided.
Sixteen kilometers north of Thiruvananthapuram city is Aruvikkara. Thiruvananthapuram 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 Neyyattiankara.A Siva temple founded by Sree Narayana Guru attracts a large number of worshippers during the Sivarathri festival.
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.
Kalakkayam, Kurisadi and Braemore estate waterfalls
Kalakkayam/Mankayam/Idinjar waterfalls is situated 45 km away from Thiruvananthapuram near Palode. Kurisadi waterfalls which is nearby has a smaller pool compared to Kalakkayam and is a designated eco-tourism destination. Braemore estate falls is a further 3 km from Kalakkayam waterfalls and is situated on private grounds accessible with a fees.
Vazhvanthol waterfalls is located near Vithura, around 46 km from Thiruvananthapuram and is not so well known.
Situated 60 km away from Thiruvananthapuram and 4 km from Bonacaud, this waterfalls in the district is accessible only by trekking and with a permission from Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala).
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.[tone] There are two 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.
Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Centre
Situated 20 km from Thiruvanathapuram, The Kottoor forest area is an ideal site to spot wildlife, especially elephants.
Neyyattinkara is an ancient town, situated about 20 km south-east of Thiruvananthapuram city. The Sree Krishna Swami temple, founded by King Marthanda Varma (1729–1758), is of historical importance. The temple is situated beside the bank of Neyyar River. In 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.
A pleasant resort with an elevation of 912 m above sea level, Ponmudi is reached by road 60 km 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 Thiruvananthapuram 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 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.
Varkala is a pilgrim centre and a tourist attraction that lies forty one km north of Thiruvananthapuram city by rail and 51 km by road. 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 tourist attractions. The inland waterways system connecting Kollam in the north with Thiruvananthapuram in the south, passes through two tunnels in the hills. The Janardana Swami Temple here attracts many devotees.
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 lanes and its natural depth.
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, Thiruvananthapuram 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 Bungalow, College of Fine Arts Trivandrum 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, BrahMos Aerospace Tvm Ltd, the Government Engineering Workshop, the Trivandrum Rubber Works and the Travancore Titanium Products 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.
The city hosts a number of religious institutions including many which are over 500 years old. Among the most famous temples which the domestic tourists visit include : Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple and Attukal Temple, Pathiyanadu Sree Bhadrakali Temple, Palayam church and Mateer Memorial Church are two famous churches located in the city. Madre de deus church vettukad church is a pilgrim destination located 8 km from the city centre. Beemapally and Palayam Juma Masjid are located within the city.
Akkulam is one of the picnic spots, in Thiruvananthapuram city. The spot is developed on the banks of Akulam Lake, which is an extension of the Veli Lake. 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 kettuvallam (house boat) is 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 been included recently. The newly commissioned musical fountain is an added attraction.
The international convention centre, which will be the largest in Kerala is under construction in Akkulam.
Azhimala is a beach near to Kovalam. It is a very quiet beach. It is around 20 km from Thiruvananthapuram city. Azhimala is known for the Ayurvedic resorts. There is a temple in the name of Azhimala, the deity is Lord Siva. The temple is very near to the beach. Since the beach can be viwed from the hill top, the name came to be Azhimala, Azhi means ‘the sea’ and Mala ‘the hill’. One will never forget the view of setting sun from this calm shore.
Located near Kovalam, 20 km from the city centre
This international beach town, 12 km south of Thiruvananthapuram, is one of the finest beach locations in India. Kovalam has three beaches (Lighthouse beach, Hawah beach and Samudra beach) separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17 km coastline, the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach. A high rocky promontory jutting into the sea has created a bay of calm waters for 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 suites 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 Sree Chitra Art Gallery are all within the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo complex amidst a well laid-out garden and park in the city centre. 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 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. The city also hosts the Kerala Science and Technology Museum which includes the Priyadarsini Planetarium.
Kowdiar Palace and Kuthira Malika palace maybe the two most famous palaces in the city. The entry to the Kowdiar palace is restricted as the royal family resides there. Kanakakkunnu Palace is located very near to the museum in the city centre. Other palaces in the city include Pattom Palace, Poojappura Stalemond Palace which houses public departments like the public service commission and are not tourist destinations. Koyikkal Palace is located 18 km from the city near Nedumangad.Padmanabhapuram Palace is located 55 km from the city in the state of Tamil Nadu and was the centre of the old state of Travancore. Kilimanoor Palace, Thevally Palace in Kollam city are the other famous palaces of the Travancore royal family but are not frequented by travellers.
Puthenthope is a coastal village in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) district in Kerala, India, and situated 19 km northwest of City centre, 16 km from Trivandrum International Airport. The village is mostly covered with coconut palms and cashew trees. Its western side edges the Arabian sea, while the east is separated by Parvathi Puthanar, a manmade canal completed during the time of Regent Sethu Lakshmi Bhai of Travancore Kingdom. Access to National Highway (NH 47) and a railway station is as short as 2 km and the VSSC of the Indian Space Research Organisation is close by. There are two man made hills — one on the south (Thekkekkunnu)and the other on the north (Vadakkekkunnu), which are believed to have been made during the time of Portuguese.
Shanghumugham 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. 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
Thirumala, Thiruvananthapuram is a suburb of the city 6 km away from city centre is more of a residential area than a tourist destination but it includes Parakovil, one of the highest peaks nearby and an old temple.
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. Thiruvallam is also known for its natural backwater.
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 has developed as a major tourist spot by providing facilities for pedal-boating, row boating, swimming, etc. and 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.
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 TransshipmentTerminal :Vizhinjam International Seaport because of its proximity to International Shipping channel and its natural depth.Vizhinjam has a beach, lighthouse and a marine aquarium which houses a rich treasure of marine wealth. There is also a rock cut temple at Vizhinjam.
Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala)
Department of Forests and Wildlife (Kerala) : Headquarters and training centre are both located in Thiruvananthapuram city. More information on ecotourism destinations and permissions for trekking including arranging guides can be obtained through the department .
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