Immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of Thiruvananthapuram, adorned with historic landmarks, pristine sandy beaches, ancient temples, churches, and more. For those eager to explore this enchanting district, a well-planned 48-hour itinerary ensures you experience the very best it has to offer. Day one unfolds with visits to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kuthira Malika, Shangumugham Beach, Veli Tourist Village, Kovalam, the museum, and the zoo. Reserve the second day for sightseeing in Neyyar and Ponmudi, all while indulging in the unique flavors of Ananthapuri that add a delightful culinary dimension to your trip.
Museum And Zoo
In Thiruvananthapuram city, the museum ground has become a popular destination for locals seeking a breath of fresh air. The Napier Museum, built in 1885 and named after the British Governor Napier, offers a tranquil escape from the intense afternoon sun with its tree-shaded areas, grassy expanses, and pavilions. Designed by the renowned architect Robert Chisholm, the museum houses a diverse array of artifacts, including ancient jewelry, paintings depicting the Mughal and Thanjavur royals, and exquisite handicrafts made from ivory and metal.
Adjacent to the museum, the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo draws crowds, especially during holidays. Home to a variety of wild animals such as tigers, lions, langurs, rhinos, zebras, and bison, the zoo provides an exciting and educational experience. Near the zoo, an art gallery showcases the works of Ravi Varma, adding another layer of cultural richness to the city’s attractions.
Museum hours of operation: 10 am – 4.45 pm.
Contact: 0471 231829.
Zoo hours of operation: 9 am – 5.15 pm.
Contact: 0471 2316275.
Maharaja Swathi Thirunal constructed a two-story palace, Puthan Malika, situated across from Padmatheerthakulam. The palace’s distinctive feature is its roof, held up by 122 intricately carved wooden horses, earning it the moniker “Kuthira Malika.” Presently, it functions as a history museum. The Kuthira Malika courtyard hosts the Navaratri music festival, while the palace’s interior boasts remarkably large paintings. The thrones, prized possessions within the palace, captivate with their stunning craftsmanship.
Heading south from the Kuthira Malika courtyard leads to the Krishnapuram palace. Continuing a short distance from Kalari’s front and turning left takes you to Rangavilasam Palace, which, along with Krishnapuram, served as the official residences of the kings. The Chitralaya Art Gallery is located in this area. The operating hours for the Kuthiramalika Palace Museum are from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, with closures on Mondays.
The Ponmudi mountain range serves as a popular summer retreat for Malayalis. The journey to Ponmudi involves navigating through 22 hairpin bends, leading to the resting place known as Top Station. The ideal trekking season at Ponmudi extends from November to May, and individuals planning to undertake trekking activities must obtain prior permission from the Forest Office.
For accommodation at Ponmudi, you can contact the guest house at 0472 2890230, and for room reservations, call 0471 2327366. The route from Thiruvananthapuram to Ponmudi spans 67 km, passing through Nedumangad, Chullimanoor, Vithura, Theviyod, and Golden Valley before reaching the destination.
Hawah Beach, known as the Kovalam seashore’s moniker, earned its distinctive name from a bygone era when foreign women visiting Kovalam would sunbathe topless. This tale harks back to fifty years ago. Kovalam, having evolved into a tourist hub ahead of the local Malayali travel trend, continues to enjoy international fame. For Malayalis, Kovalam holds a unique charm, particularly for its offering of thrilling sea cruises on speedboats. The rugged coastline provides a picturesque setting for tourists to relish the tranquil evenings and mornings.
Due to the presence of a rocky coastline, the waves exhibit reduced strength at this location. This allows visitors to confidently enter the water and enjoy swimming. Lifeguards are on standby 24/7 to ensure safety and prevent accidents. The towering lighthouse illuminates the coastal area. Kovalam is renowned not only for its beach but also for its massage parlors and shopping centers. Situated 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, Kovalam Beach is best visited between September and May.
Commence your exploration of the city tour’s second day by heading to Neyyar in the morning. Aim to arrive at the Neyyar Dam by 10 o’clock, where you can purchase a pass for park entry. Begin your visit at the area dedicated to crocodiles—the renowned Neyyar Crocodile Park, globally recognized for its conservation efforts for these reptiles. The crocodiles are securely housed within an enclosure featuring waist-high cement walls and iron netting. This park serves as a sanctuary for crocodiles captured from the Neyyar Dam. Additionally, explore enclosures showcasing various snake species and a nesting area for parrots.
The Boat House stands across from the Crocodile Park and serves as the starting point for a boat service to Lions Park. The park, situated on a small island in the middle of the dam, hosts lions. Visitors can embark on a scenic boat trip through the valley of the mountain located on the slope of Neyyar Dam. This journey, known for the elephants descending from the nearby forest, leads to Lions Park.
Neyyar is located 32 km from Thiruvananthapuram, with access from Thirunelly, Malayinkeezhu, Kattakkada, and Neyyar. For inquiries, contact: Phone: 0471 2360762, 0471 2272182 (Lions Park).
Shangumugham & Veli Tourist Village
Shangumugham is a beloved destination among both locals and tourists. Veli Beach attracts large crowds during the Arattu Utsavam, linked to the festival at Padmanabhaswamy temple. The iconic mermaid statue at this site is well-known. Veli marks the confluence of Veli Lake and the Arabian Sea. Designated as a tourist village, Veli experiences a surge in visitors every evening. The Indian Air Force’s airport is situated nearby. The popularity of Veli has increased, thanks in part to the water skating training school. Additionally, a top-rated seafood restaurant offers a diverse culinary experience to tourists at Veli.
Visiting hours for Veli Tourist Village are from 9 am to 6 pm. For more information, contact: 0471 2500785. The location is approximately 8 km from Thiruvananthapuram Railway Station.
Culinary Delights of the Sea at Sagara Restaurant
Sagara is a seafood restaurant offering a diverse array of dishes. From prawn curry in coconut milk infused with mango to squid perattu, fried squid, cuttlefish, mackerel, trevally, pearl spot, pomfret, anchovy, and more – Sagara provides a comprehensive selection of fish delicacies. They prepare twenty different types of fish curry daily, ready by 10 am. The Sagara style of serving fish differs from the Central Travancore style, offering various fish curries to accompany dosa or parotta. Early in the morning, they have Tapioca and Malabar fish curry available.
Sagara Restaurant, Near SBT,CV Raman Pillai Rd, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) 695001 India
Phone : 0471 2333434
Late Afternoon Delight
The fondness of Thiruvananthapuram for evening tea comes alive amidst the vada shops of Kizhakkekotta. Indulge in a variety of snacks like uzhunnu vada, parippu vada, madura vada, sukhian, and neyyappam to complement your tea. Choose from a range of tea options including light tea, medium tea, strong tea, black tea, hot coffee, filter coffee, strong coffee with less water, or black coffee to suit your taste.
Xperience The Culinary Delights Of Narayana Bhavan, Featuring Specialties Like Bamboo Rice And Other Delectable Offerings
Narayana Bhavan, located near the Secretariat, is a hotspot for piping hot local cuisine. This eatery is renowned for its unique offerings, such as bamboo biryani and ‘cool rice’ made from the previous day’s leftover rice gruel, paired with delightful side dishes. The menu at Narayana Bhavan also features an array of dishes like touchings, special chicken varattu, chicken perattu, and beef roast.
You may explore the option of combining your travels with visits to the tourist centers in and around Thiruvananthapuram city, as outlined below. This travel itinerary prioritizes convenience and time efficiency.
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple (after which the city is named), Kuthira Malika, Shangumugham Beach, Veli Tourist Village, and the museum are among the attractions you can explore. Beginning your journey at 8 am allows you to visit all these places and return by 1 pm.
Visit the museum, zoo, Art Gallery, Kuthira Malika, Kovalam Beach, and Padmanabha Swamy Temple by starting your exploration at 1:30 pm, and you can comfortably return by 7 pm.
Explore Padmanabhapuram Palace, Suchindram Temple, Vivekanandappara, Kanyakumari Temple, and the Wax Museum in the morning. The journey starts at 7 am and concludes by 9 pm.