Destinations - Kovalam / Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys.

Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BCE. It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram in 1036 BCE. The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory. 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 city has a climate that borders between a tropical savanna climate and a tropical monsoon climate. The mean maximum temperature 34 °C and the mean minimum temperature is 21 °C. The humidity is high and rises to about 90% during the monsoon season. The city gets heavy rainfall of around 1700 mm per year. The lowest temperature recorded during winter was 15 °C, and the highest temperature recorded in summer is 37 °C.

Kovalam

Kovalam is famous for its beaches, among the most pristine in India. It is about 17 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, the capital of the southern state of Kerala in India. Kovalam is extremely popular among westerners due to shallow waters and low tidal waves. It is also one of the oldest tourist enclave in India, which known among tourist circuit right in 1930s. Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies. That started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in all India- the Kovalam beach. It is a beautiful place in Kerala.

Kovalam beach is the star attraction here. The old lighthouse, located at Southern beach is a local landmark, for being one of the oldest lighthouse of Kerala, guiding ships to the nearby Vizhnjam port. The small rock hill that separtes Hawa beach with Northern beach is a local landmark, with the giant Haylcon Castle (now rebranded as Leela Kempiniski Hotel, a popular 5 star premium hotel) overlooking the seas. Some parts of Haylcon Castle also known as Kovalam Palace, is open to non-guests on an entry fee. The palace has played host to several leading European, US and Arab leaders and is the testimony of Anglo-Travancore architecture.

Napier Museum

The Napier Museum is an art and natural history museum situated in Thiruvananthapuram. The 150 years old museum was established by Maharaja of Travancore in 1855. Only few museums in India, like, Indian Museum Kolkata, Madras Government Museum Chennai, are contemporary to Napier Museum.

The museum has a vast collection of artifacts of artistic, cultural and antique importance, which comprises sculptures in bronze and stone, carvings of wood and ivory, lamps, textiles, Kathakali models, handicraft items, Kuftgiri works, traditional musical instruments, a treasure of numismatic collections representing Chera, Chola, Pandya dynasties of Southern India. The bronze display include fascinating images of Siva, Vishnu, Parvathi and Lakshmi in 'Silpa Sastras'. The metal images illustrate the features of South Indian sculpture style of 8th to 18th Century. The Vishnu image of 8th Century collected from Ambalapuzha temple in central Travancore which has Pallava style is the oldest metal image in the State. The stone sculptures belong to 8th to 18th century. All the wood carvings exhibited here shows high degree of excellence. Each and every exhibit has a wonderful and fascinating tale twined around it.

Open 1000 - 1645 hrs. Closed on Mondays, Wednesday forenoons, Jaunary 26th, August 15th, Thiruvonam and Mahanavami.

Thiruvananthapuram Zoo

Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, one of the oldest in the country, was established as an adjunct to the Napier Museum in 1857 by the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore in order to attract more visitors. Spread over in 55 acres of land located in the heart of the temple city of Thiruvananthapuram, the Zoo offers a rare opportunity for the visitors to experience and enjoy an unparalleled picturesque and panoramic sylvan surroundings besides vivid animal collections. The Zoo has 82 different species of animals from all over India and abroad. It has several species of animals and birds from Ethiopian and Australian Zoo geographic regions. The Lion tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur, Nilgiri Tahr, One Horned Great Indian Rhino, Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger are prominent among the indigenous endangered fauna whereas, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra, Cape Buffalo are the guests from African region. It will usher in a new era with the completion of the ongoing modernisation works in the Zoo. Thrilling encounters with the animals out in their open air landscapes are order of the day now.

Open 0900 - 1615 hrs. tickets issued upto 1515 hrs only. Monday Holiday

Shanghumugham Beach

Shanghumugham beach is one of the most pictorial beaches located in Kerala. Shanghumugham beach is a very soothing beach in Kerala which is home to idyllic sunset and sunrise in Kerala. Shanghumugham Beach 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.



Veli Akkulam Lagoon

Veli Aakulam Lagoon is at the confluence of the Veli Lake and the Arabian Sea. The lagoon can be explored at leisure with pedalboats and paddleboats.It is situated at a short distance from Thiruvananthapuram. Even speedboats are available on hire. The Veli Tourist Village nearby offers picnic facilities to tourists.Here you can enjoy all kinds of water sports and dine at the floating restaurant.The place also provides the facility of an amusement park. The east end of the lake is flanked by two scenic hillocks.


Agastyakoodam

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 noted for its abundant ayurvedic herbs. The place is in the eastern side of the district. Agasthyarkoodam, a prominent peak of the Western Ghats, is in the form of a sharp cone. It is about 1869 metres above sea level. This peak, a pilgrim centre of the Hindus, according to tradition was home to the great sage Agastya, who was a confirmed bachelor. Hence, the aborigines dislike the presence of women on the hill. Women are not allowed up the peak. Agasthyarkoodam is 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

The place is famous for its abundant ayurvedic herbs and medicinal plants. Another major attraction of this spectacular peak is the Neelakurinji, a flower which blooms only once in twelve years. A forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden at the Forest Department for trekking.

Aruvikkara

Aruvikkara is a place located 16 km from the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Aruvikkara is situated on the banks of the Karamana River and is a great spot for picnics. The Aruvikkara dam is also a good place to visit. The temple of the goddess Durga which is located quite close to the Aruvikkara dam surely merits a visit. Another highlight of Aruvikkara is the stream located very close to the dam. This stream is full of fish and people regularly feed the fish which come very close and feeding the fish is indeed a very enjoyable activity.

Neyyar Dam & Wildlife Sanctury

A charming dam site, the region is a treasure trove of some rare medicinal herbs. The adjacent Neyyar Lake is ideal for a boat ride and opens up glorious panoramic vistas of the dense wilderness and the dark silhouette of the Western Ghats in the backdrop. This dam was built in 1958 on the basins of the three main rivers namely Neyyar, Mullayar and Kallar. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses the Dam and is an abode of wild animals such as elephants, wild buffaloes, sloth bear, wild boar, porcupines, jungle cats, tigers and snakes among others. Scale up the watchtower offering a grand panoramic view of the jungle, and keep a look-out for the elusive Nilgiri Tahr, gaur and Nilgiri Langur among others. You could even chance upon a herd of wild elephants or sambhar deer as they graze with gay abandon. Keep your binoculars handy at all times, from such an elevation it is easy to spot wildlife while not alarming them.

The crocodile farm is a great pleasure for reptile lovers. Outside of that, there is a lion safari park and deer park around which you can ride a jeep and spot wildlife. Nonetheless, the Neyyar Dam remains a major draw to the sanctuary, with the Neyyar Lake adding a sense of tranquility to the sumptuous wilderness. You can enjoy boating on the crystal-clear waters of the reservoir and capture the jungle from a different perspective. The Neyyar Dam supports a large population of crocodiles and otters. You will notice that the garden at the dam site is speckled with larger than life statues to add a bit of drama to the surroundings.

Spread across 128 sq. kilometers, the sanctuary encompasses hilly terrain and forested landscape, predominated by the Agasthya Malai peak at an elevation of 1868 meters (6227 feet). The sanctuary stretches from Neyyatinkara Taluk to Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. Mean summer temperature in the region is around 35 degree centigrade, and winter temperature 16 degree centigrade. The average rainfall from the southwest monsoon that lasts from May to July, and the northeast monsoon between October and November, is around 3000 mm. The best season to visit the sanctuary is from November to March.


Ponmudi

Ponmudi hill station, Trivandrum is a beautiful hill station located at a distance of 61 kilometers from the city. An unexplored destination, Ponmudi, Kerala is a tranquil spot located atop hills and is a must visit if you to experience true bliss and feel rejuvenated once again. The place is located at a height of 600 meters above sea level and is called the Golden peak. Ponmudi hill station is a welcome break from the hustle - bustle of the city life and one can relax without being disturbed in the lap of nature.

For all you adventure seekers, Ponmudi hill station offers many adventure sports like trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, etc. One can go on long leisurely walks along the meandering roads that wind up the hill. This beautiful hill station is a scenic view and it also has natural springs that help keeping the valley lush green. The hill station also has tea gardens that make it a picture perfect location. The view from cottages and resorts up the hill is breath taking and it feels as though time has left this place untouched.

An ideal picnic spot, Ponmudi is a hill station that should be visited while on your trip to Kerala. Soak in the scenic beauty and feel refreshed in pure nature. The place is easily accessible from Trivandrum, Kerala.


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