Top 5 Things to do in Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala, and is home to the erstwhile Travancore kingdom. It is not a massive tourism magnate like the biggest city of the state Kochi, however it does boast of some truly amazing things that needs to be explored and experienced. In no particular order, here are my top 5 experiences in and around the city.

  1. 1. Padmanabhaswamy Temple
  2. 2. Kovalam:
  3. 3. Poovar Backwater Lake:
  4. 4. Padmanabhapuram Palace:
  5. 5. Banana Chips:
  6. How to Reach Thiruvananthapuram:
    1. By Air:
    2. By Train:
    3. By Road:
  7. Where to stay in Thiruvananthapuram:

1. Padmanabhaswamy Temple

How to Reach: Its in the heart of Thiruvanatapuram, and can be reached using local bus service, hired auto rickshaws, rented cab or by foot.

Is Overnight Staying Recommended: Yes. Relax in you hotel after landing in the city, and visit the Temple in the evening.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvanatapuram

The centuries old temple not only holds enormous material treasure in its underground vaults, but is also a time capsule of culture. The abode of Shri Padmanabha, an incarnation of lord Vishnu, this temple is frequented by pilgrims around the year, who come here to seek the blessings of the lord and marvel at the beautiful temple.

The five story high facade of the temple, is sprinkled generously with numerous statues, of Hindu gods, animals and celestial objects. The doors on each floors are precisely aligned in a straight line, a feat that is very hard to achieve considering it was built centuries ago, without any modern equipment.

The sanctum of the temple houses the 50 ft long idol of Shri Padmanabha, in reclined posture. It’s takes a pilgrim to walk across 3 consecutive doors, to view the lord completely.

It’s a must visit when one is in Thiruvananthapuram.

Detailed Post : Padmanabhaswamy Temple – History, Treasure and Secrets

2. Kovalam:

How to Reach: Its 11 KM from Thiruvanatapuram, and can be reached using local bus service, hired auto rickshaws, rented cab etc.

Is Overnight Staying Recommended: Yes. There are plenty of accommodation options all around the beach. Staying overnight will allow you to explore the beaches to the fullest and also other places around like Poovar

Kovalam is a beach town that has 3 beautiful beaches on offer: Lighthouse Beach, Samudra Beach & Hawah Beach, all lined together along the coastal line of 1 KM separated by rocky outcroppings. The crystal clear water of the Arabian sea, the sand, mouth-watering sea food and various adventure sport options, makes it a paradise for every beach lover.

Lighthouse beach is the most picturesque of all the three beaches, and derives its name from the huge lighthouse that stands at the very edge of it. You can admire the beauty of the beach, by simply lying down on the sand and let the sun move across the sky, or hike up to the lighthouse itself to capture more amazing views of the coast from up top.

Hawah Beach is the Water Sports destination of the state with surfing, paragliding, banana boat ride etc being a huge deal. This is also the place that has arguably the best food in town.

If an idle, lazy walk on the beach is your thing, head on to Samudra Beach. Devoid of the maddening tourists and commercial shops, this beach is the preferred destination for people looking for some solitude.

Detailed Post : Kovalam – the hippiest beach of Kerala

3. Poovar Backwater Lake:

How to Reach: Its 36 KM from Thiruvananthapuram, and can be reached using Rented Cab. Do ensure to book a return journey as well since public transport is scarce in the area. If staying in Kovalam, you can use a hired Auto Rikshaw to reach Poovar.

Is Overnight Staying Recommended: No. There are some resorts and budget lodges though, its hard to find vacancy. The prices are also too high. Recommended to stay at Kovalam or Thiruvanantapuram.

Poovar is one of the lesser known backwater destination in kerala, but it also is the most unadulterated. Narrow canals, thick mangrove, humid and dark; the poovar backwaters is both pretty and surreal.

An usual tour of the backwater ends at a beach, which is also the estuary of the Neyyar River. During your trip you can witness the real village life of the people living along the backwaters, multiple bird species and sublime nature.

Detailed Post : Poovar – the backwater paradise

4. Padmanabhapuram Palace:

How to Reach: Its 52 KM from Thiruvananthapuram, and can be reached using Rented Cab. Ideally people visit this place on the way to Kanyakumari.

Is Overnight Staying Recommended: No. Club this tour with either Poovar or Kanyakumari. That way you won’t need to stay Overnight.

Arguably the epitome of the stunning Kerala style architecture, the largest wooden palace in Asia, has aged really well. The 17th century beauty still stands tall and expresses the amazing past the area had. Fine carvings that can be seen in the form of murals, floral engravings, and immaculate artwork attracts thousands of tourists every year to this palace.

The floor of the King’s Council Chamber, which is made up of a concoction of unassuming materials is a major attraction here as it inspires awe among all who visit this palace.

The Queen Mother’s chamber, which is the oldest part of this palace is also a beauty to be adorned. While in the palace do not miss out on the amazing bed made out of 50+ varieties of Medicinal wood.

Detailed Post : Padmanabhapuram Palace – The wooden palace in Asia

5. Banana Chips:

Banana chips have become quite accessible and available across the country recently, but the authentic ones are still found in the state of Kerala. The simple reason for this being the availability of Nedran Banana and coconut oil in abundance in the state.

There are multiple varieties of banana chips available in Kerala, but the plain salt and pepper version is what most people like. The original chips are thick, hard to break and loaded with spices, but now a days you find low calorie, thin and sweet chips as well. Trivandrum is a good place to buy these chips, as it sells mostly authentic chips. Most people swear by Maha Chips (Padmavilasam Road | Pazhavangadi East, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) 695023, India), as they offer multiple varieties of chips, which you can taste and buy.

How to Reach Thiruvananthapuram:

By Air:

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is well connected to the rest of India, Middle Eastern and South East Asian cities. Most common cities from where Thiruvananthapuram gets a lot of visitors/travellers are Mumbai, Delhi, Singapore, Dubai and Maldives.

By Train:

The Trivandrum Central railway station is situated within the city and is well-linked with major Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati, Indore, Bangalore and many others. Kochuveli Railway station is new station that has recently been constructed to divert some of the traffic from Thiruvananthapuram Central.

By Road:

Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to major location in Southern India by bus. There are regular buses to nearby cities like Cochin, Bangalore, Madurai, Coimbatore and Chennai.

Where to stay in Thiruvananthapuram:

Thiruvananthapuram has a plethora of hotels and Air BnBs, ranging from economical to luxury, however it’s advisable to stay in Kovalam, rather than Thiruvananthapuram city. There are lot more options of accommodation in Kovalam and staying beside the beach saves the travel cost and time to Kovalam.

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