The Napier Museum in Trivandrum was established in 1855 and completed in 1880. It was designed by Robert Chisholmand, and named after the then governor of Chennai, Lord Napier. It is also called the Natural History Museum.
The museum flaunts gothic style architecture and minarets with natural air conditioning. The design of the museum can be called an admixture of Kerala style mingles with English, Mughal and Chinese.
The Napier Museum displays priceless ornaments, bronze idols, temple chariots, metal carvings, ivory carvings and many historical relics pertaining to 12th and 15th century. This Natural History Museum of Trivandrum is a popular tourist destination. The rare exhibits and the state-of-art design of the museum will surely take your breath away.
The Zoological Park of Thiruvananthapuram is the first of its kind in India. It was originally laid out by the King of Travancore in 1857. It is also the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. It houses 75 varieties of birds and animals from India as well as from other countries and continents.
Whether you are an adult or a child, you will love to watch the various species of birds and animals be it the Indian rhino, lion-tailed macaque, Manipur deer, Asiatic lion, Nilgiri langoor, Royal Bengal Tiger, the Nilgiri Tahr, Cape buffalo, giraffe, zebras or hippopotamus.
You will be awe-struck to see many endangered species of birds and animals roaming in the Zoological Park. The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo covers an area of 55 acres of land including the lawns, woodland and lake. You can go for boat cruises in the lake. This park is an ideal place for picnics and outings as well as educational tours.
The Kanakakkunnu Palace is one of the most magnificent palaces with elaborate carvings and design. The palace is an illustration of the rich cultural heritage of Kerala during the days of kings and queens.
The Kanakakkunnu Palace was built during the reign of the King of Travancore. It was built to serve the purpose of carrying out extravagant feasts, rituals and other royal ceremonies. The luxuriant craftsmanship of the palace suits the purpose of its construction; and it still preserves its grandeur.
Next to this palace, stands the Napier Museum. Now the milieu of the Kanakakkunnu Palace is used to conduct cultural programmes to showcase the rich heritage of Thiruvananthapuram.
The Science and Technology Museum lies very near to the Napier Museum. Actually, Science and Technology Museum is a study-cum-recreation centre. It is a big attraction for the students. It exhibits all disciplines of science and technology.
The main aim of establishing this museum is to raise awareness of science among students and common men. It displays many interactive and animated models and several electronic components. It also shows films on bio-medicine.
You will also find India’s most modern and edge-cutting planetarium in this Science and Technology Museum. A minimal fees has to be paid to enter this place.
The Neyyar Dam was constructed in the year 1958. It was made at the confluence of the Neyyar River, Kallar River and Mullayar River. This place is popular as a picnic spot and for family outings. The area nearby houses many ingenious species of flora and fauna. A wildlife sanctuary is set up to conserve them. Go for a safari ride in the lion and deer parks and see the animals in their natural habitat. It also has a crocodile farm where you can see many of these reptiles basking under the sun. You can also visit the watchtower nearby to take delight in the scenic environment by paying a minimal entry fees. You can go for elephant rides in the elephant rehabilitation centre which is 7 km away.
You have to travel 32 km from Trivandrum by bus or car to reach this mind-blowing getaway. Make sure you have a day to come here and enjoy.
The Happyland Amusement Park is in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in a place called Vembayam. This amusement park has many fun-raising as well as heart-pumping and pulse-racing rides such as Crazy Cruise, Uphill Drive, Flying Fox, Challenger, Columbus among many more.
The park is designed according to the standard safety norms. The Water World is designed mainly for family entertainment. The Kid’s Village has rides exclusively for kids. It is set with an exotic view of a sea shore.
If you want unlimited fun and adventure, Happyland Water Theme Park has Thrills and Spills for you. You have to pay an entry fee. The timing is from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm. The park remains closed on Saturdays, Sundays and all public holidays.
Agastya Mala Peak is also called the Agastyarkoodam. It is 1,868 m tall and is the tallest peak in Thiruvananthapuram. The Thamirabarani river originates from here and so do the Karamana river and the Neyyar river. It is a pilgrimage centre for the Hindus.
On top of the peak you will see a full-sized statue of Agastya on the backdrop of the exquisite landscape. You have to trek to reach the Agastya Mala Peak. But you have to approach the forest department of Kerala to trek up to the peak. Moreover, trekking is permitted only in the months of January and February.
Pilgrims also need permission from the Kerala government to visit the shrine. The way to the peak is covered with many herbs and medicinal plants. The place is also a home to many rare species of flora and fauna.
Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple sits in the heart of the city of Trivandrum. The residing deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu. The temple is managed by the former royal family of Travancore. The temple is designed beautifully in the Dravidian style.
The idol of Padmanabha Swamy is the main attraction of the temple. The shrine presents Lord Vishnu in a reclining position on Ananthan, the cosmic serpent. It is from this shrine that the city got its name. The shrine also has Lord Vishnu’s consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi by his side.
The shrine is made up of 12,000 Saligramams and it is covered with Katusarkara Yogam. The temple has assets worth 90,000 crores that include gold idols, gold, antique silver, diamonds, emeralds and brass. This trove also includes two golden coconut shells studded with precious stones.
The temple conducts a 56-day-long Murajapam once in 6 years. A visit to this temple is a must when you are at Thiruvananthapuram.
The Akkulam Lake lies about 10 km away from the city of Thiruvananthapuram. The lake with its scenic backdrop makes it an ideal spot for get-together like picnics and outings. It is also a popular backwater destination for tourists.
You can go for an enjoyable boat ride on Akkulam Lake. The breezy air and the ripples on the water will soothe your body and soul. The Akkulam Lake is, in fact, a part of the Veli Lake, where it joins with the sea.
The Akkulam Tourist Village lies on the bank of this lake. You can sojourn in this Tourist Village and take delight in numerous activities like swimming, water sports, etc.
Karamana river flows through Trivandrum. The river origins at Agasthyarkoodam peak. This peak is situated at the southernmost tip of the Western Ghats. The river falls into the Arabian Sea after covering a distance of 68 km westward near Kovalam in the Panathura area.
The river is named after a suburb of Trivandrum city, Karamana through which it meanders. Though the course of the Karamana river is not very long compared to other rivers, it can still boast of having two dams built on it. The dams are Peppara Dam and Aruvikkara Dam, each constructed for different purposes.
The Peppara Dam is built on the upper reach of the river and is used for irrigational purposes only. The Aruvikkara Dam provides water supply to Trivandrum for consumption. Aruvikkara Dam is also meant for irrigation. The river also has several bridges across it. Walk on the banks of the Karamana river and enjoy the scenery.
Sree Chithra Art Gallery lies in close proximity to the Napier Museum. The art gallery is famous for its wide collection of paintings of the noted painter of yesterday Raja Ravi Varma. The art gallery also has paintings of various types such as Rajput style, Rajasthani style and Mughal style paintings.
The Balinese and Tanjore style of paintings that are exhibited at the Sree Chithra Art Gallery are exquisite. These are laden with very delicate stone work and rich colours. It also presents an array of Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese art forms.
There is also a section where miniature paintings are showcased. These paintings will leave you bewildered. This Art Gallery is an internationally acclaimed gallery. Hundreds of tourists come here every day. Schedule a visit to Sree Chithra Art Gallery; you need to have at least 2 hours to look at the displays.
The Chalai Bazaar is one of the shopping areas in Trivandrum. The marketplace covers the 2 km road that connects Killipalam and East Fort. Shops are lined up on both sides of the narrow road. The smell of eatables, flowers, coconut oil and paints all linger in this alley.
Most of the shops are open from 9 am to 8 pm except on Sundays. You will get whatever paraphernalia you require in these tiny shops–from gold to fruits and vegetables to furniture and hardware and what not. Buy yourself a memento or souvenirs for your family and friends. Your visit in Trivandrum will be incomplete without a visit to Chalai Bazaar.