Thiruvananthapuram | India
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Located near the southern tip of mainland India, Thiruvananthapuram (Malayalam: തിരുവനന്തപുരം Tiruvanantapuraṁ), formerly and often still known as Trivandrum, is the capital city of Kerala in Southern India. It is the headquarters of the district with the same name, which is one of the 14 districts of Kerala. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen City of India", the city is characterised by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys. Thiruvananthapuram is built on hills by the seashore and sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Thiruvananthapuram is ranked first in the number of foreign tourists visiting Kerala and is a fascinating destination for holidaymakers.


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Contents 1 Understand 1.1 History 1.2 Climate 1.3 When to go Kuthira Mallika Palace Thiruvananthapuram (thih-roo-vuh-nuhn-thuh-poo-ruhm), with a tradition dating back to 1000 BC, lies on a small strip of land covered with coconut and palm trees. Thiruvananthapuram means "City of Lord Ananta" (the serpent on which Lord Padmanabha/Vishnu reclines) in Sanskrit and Malayalam. Historically, it was a trading post for spices, sandalwood and ivory. Thiruvananthapuram is the largest city in Kerala. The city is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organisations and companies. Besides being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and home to several educational institutions, including the University of Kerala, and many science and technology institutions. Some prominent institutions being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Technopark, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER). History[edit] Thiruvananthapuram is one of the oldest cities in India, with periodic references in many Greek and Roman literatures. This city came to the forefront when the Venad Dynasty rose to power in the southern regions, after the Great Partition of the Kerala Empire of Cheras in the 14th century. Though Venad rulers had their capital at Kollam (70 km north of Thiruvananthapuram), Thiruvananthapuram was considered the major trading centre. The formation of Travancore Kingdom in late 17th century proved a turning point for the city. In this time, the Raja dedicated the entire kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the presiding deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, meaning that the royal family was ruling in the name of the lord. The capital was moved to Thiruvananthapuram, and the city expanded around the temple. In the 19th century, the entire administration was brought to Thiruvananthapuram city from the royal headquarters of Sree Padmanabhapuram Fort (50 km from Thiruvananthapuram), which marked completion of first phase of the city. Travancore was one of the most powerful Indian princely states during the British Raj, with the kingdom becoming the 3rd-richest state among native states. Thiruvananthapuram city, under the royal patronage, grew into a major academic and cultural hub of India with many firsts to its credit. As the power and wealth of the Travancore Kingdom reached its peak during early 20th century, Thiruvananthapuram became a prosperous city. When India attained independence, the Travancore chose to accede to the India Union. After formation of Kerala state in 1957, Trivandrum was retained as the capital city. Being a capital and administrative city, it remains the hottest political centres in Kerala. A third phase of development came in early 1990s, when the Kerala Government established Technopark, a large information-technology park. The success of Technopark as the largest IT park in South Asia has been a major impetus for growth in city. Today the city is focused on maintaining its status as a major IT/Bio-Technology hub. Climate[edit] The city has a tropical climate with little temperature difference between seasons. The mean maximum temperature is 34°C and the mean minimum temperature is 21°C. Humidity is high, and rises to about 90% during the monsoon season. Thiruvananthapuram is the first city along the path of the south-west monsoon and gets its first showers in early June. However, pre-monsoon showers are common in April and May, accounting for about 350 mm (14 in) on average. The second rainy season, the north-east monsoon, is equally strong and occurs during the months of October and November. Annual rainfall is not high compared to other districts of Kerala, but it is still a substantial 1,800 mm (71 in). The rainiest months are May, June, July, August, and October, but there are frequent showers in other months too between April and November. February to May is summer, which is very hot and humid, while June to September is the monsoon season. The winter temperature comes down to about 18°C at some places at high altitudes and summer temperatures can sometimes go as high as 35°C. When to go[edit] Ponmudi Hills For travellers who wish to avoid the rain, the best period to visit is from December to March. The best time to visit Trivandrum is between October and February, the perfect time for beach vacations. The festival of Onam which occurs towards the end of August or early September is a good time to soak up the carnival atmosphere. There are usually many cultural programs during the official Onam celebrations lasting 10 days. The Monsoon season starts from June every year and is a time of heavy rains in the area. The Monsoon has become an attraction for tourists seeking to experience it.


Planning a Trip

Contents 1 Get in 1.1 By plane 1.2 By train 1.3 By bus 1.4 By car Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station By plane[edit] 8.48222276.921 Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (Trivandrum Airport, TRV  IATA). One of the few privately-owned airports in India. It has direct flights from the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, as well as seasonal charter flights to Russia, the UK and less frequently to other parts of Europe. It is linked with most major cities in India (Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Goa) by domestic flights.   (updated Oct 2023) By train[edit] 8.48667976.951212 Thiruvananthapuram Central  SR . One of the largest railway stations in South India. Almost all trains on west coast and bound to Kerala start & end their journey here as the station is a terminus. It is connected and serviced to all major cities in India. The station is a heritage site built by Travancore Maharaja as part of Travancore Railways. It is the only railway station to be built completely in stone without any concrete or steel structure. Facilities here include several good retiring rooms, a large air-conditioned waiting room, first class lounge, bookstores, shopping arcade and medical center.   (updated Nov 2019) 8.50925476.89613 Kochuveli railway station. Several trains operate from Kochuveli to avoid congestion at Thiruv Central. Kochuveli is nearest to the airport. Check at the Railway Enquiry, before you travel by train to ensure a smooth experience.   (updated Nov 2019) By bus[edit] A long-distance bus station is located diagonally opposite the railway station. Buses ply to all major towns and villages in the state in addition to big cities like Kochi, Bangalore, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Chennai. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates 6 class of services, connecting to southern Tamil-Nadu cities, town and all manner of country side in Kerala. KSRTC operates premium luxury Garuda services to Bangalore and Coimbatore. Karnataka STC also operates two class of premium services; Rajahamsa (non A/C Executive class) and Airavat (A/C Sleeper Class) from Bangalore and Mysore. Likewise, Tamil Nadu SETC also operates 3 classes of services from numerous Tamil Nadu cities, particularly to the southern side. In addition, private national corporations like Sharma, Kallada, GTC, Raj National Express also operate premium services to other South Indian cities and Mumbai. If you are having trouble obtaining a bus ticket in Thiruvananthapuram to a destination in Tamil Nadu, it may be worthwhile travelling to Nagercoil and then taking a bus to your destination from there. By car[edit] Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to other cities like Kochi (230 km), Kozhikode (420 km), Chennai (780 km), Bangalore (791 km) and Coimbatore (400 km) by road. Traffic congestion can be horrific during certain times as you get closer to the city. It is advised to either be or hire a driver who is comfortable navigating Indian traffic.


Getting Around

Contents 1 Get around 1.1 By bus 1.2 By auto-rickshaw 1.3 By taxi 1.4 By car 1.5 By two-wheelers 1.6 By bicycle 1.7 On foot 8°29′30″N 76°57′2″EMap of Thiruvananthapuram By bus[edit] Local bus services are the cheapest way to get around Thiruvananthapuram. There are city buses run by government (KSRTC) and private companies. Most of these are very crowded during peak hours. Route descriptions on the buses are mainly in Malayalam. Route numbers are displayed. Pick pocketing is not very common. The government city buses are painted red with a yellow patch, and the private city buses are blue. Fast passenger buses run by KSRTC are also painted blue and are named Ananthapuri Fast. The city services of KSRTC operate from six depots, namely the City depot, Vikas Bhavan, Peroorkada, Pappanamcode, Kaniyapuram and Vellanad. The central city bus terminal is located at East Fort (Kizhakkekotta), near Padmanabha Swamy temple. The Central and Inter State bus station is located 1 km away at Thampanoor. KSRTC operates AC Volvo services connecting various important places. If you have a little time to spend you can try the new mode of transportaion. KSRTC operates AC buses also for local transportation. You can take these buses for a city tour in AC comfort at about ₹40. minimum fare is ₹10. These buses are orange. By auto-rickshaw[edit] Auto-rickshaws, or simply "autos", are a cheap way of travelling between attractions. It is always possible to hire an auto from a bus stand, railway station, or special auto stand. All the legal, licensed autos should possess fare meters, and the fare is calculated by the taximeter. Ensure the driver turns the meter on before the start of the journey. Most auto drivers tend to charge more for foreigners; this is illegal. The driver may quote a price first, but simply insist that he use the meter. The minimum charge for the autorickshaw is ₹25 and the running charge per km is ₹12 (as of Dec 2021). This rate is likely to be revised soon due to increase in fuel prices. The charge for waiting for over 10 min is ₹5 for every 15 min, subject to a maximum of ₹200 per day. There are pre-paid autorickshaw counters available near the airport and the railway station. Complaints related to auto-rickshaws in Thiruvananthapuram can be made to RTO Trivandrum, ☏ +91 471 2469223. Online complaints are also accepted in the traffic police website. By taxi[edit] Taxis are convenient and cheap, especially if you are travelling in a group. Taxis can be hired for short distances and also for a few days at a stretch. Unlike other metropolitan cities, Thiruvanathapuram has all types of cars as taxi cabs, to be found in taxi stands. If you wish for a luxurious car, you can normally hire one from your hotel by request. When you hire the taxi with a driver over a few days, a minimum charge is usually paid that covers the hiring charge for the car, the driver's fees, and a certain distance. If the car covers more than that distance, additional charges are levied according to the extra distance covered as per kilometre. Most of the drivers expect to be paid for their meals during the day. If staying overnight, this will include the hotel charges as well. The present taxi charges in the city are as follows : minimum charge – ₹65; running charge per km – ₹7.50; and charge for waiting – ₹25 per hour, subject to a maximum of ₹300 per day. By car[edit] Kowdiar road is the Rajpath or Royal road in Thiruvananthapuram The arterial road of Thiruvananthapuram is the 'MG Road' or the Mahatma Gandhi Road, which lies in the north-south direction and connects almost all important attractions in the city. Thiruvananthapuram, being the state capital, has very good roads compared to other parts of Kerala, especially Kochi. Many roads in Thiruvananthapuram are 4- or 6-laned. Thiruvananthapuram has many car rental companies that offer cars with drivers. There are very few places that sell "self drive" vehicles and these are difficult to find. Those you may find are often unreasonably expensive by local standards. Ask someone with local know-how before you rent a car. By two-wheelers[edit] Motorcycles and scooters (light motorcycles) are the favoured means of personal transport on the roads. Renting or buying a motorcycle is not for the faint hearted. Traffic in and around the city is a mix of fast and slow, necessitating constant attentiveness to remain safe. Road sense and traffic discipline has improved drastically with a strong administration from the Traffic police department, and helmets and seatbelts are becoming a norm. Lane rules are followed better than in other Indian cities, however you need to be more than just careful if you choose to drive a vehicle. Traffic congestion presents another danger and inconvenience; adjust your expected arrival times depending on traffic. There are companies arranging tours on Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles out of Thiruvananthapuram. By bicycle[edit] Bicycles used to be a major mode of transport for residents. However, their usage has declined over time. Thiruvananthapuram is a hilly city. If you plan on bicycle being your main mode of transport, ensure you are fit and well hydrated. There is an absence of cycling lanes and hot weather often makes the day exhausting. Cycles are available on rent with some companies. On foot[edit] Many places of attractions within the city are near each other, so it is possible to walk between them. Crossing roads often involves wading across heavy traffic during peak hours. The zebra lanes are used by the locals for road crossing only in major junctions. Other than the major junctions, do not expect vehicles to stop for you in the zebra lines. Try your best to move in a predictable straight line, so vehicles can weave around you. (Better yet, latch onto a group of locals and cross in their shadow.) The recommended walk areas in the city are as follows: Walk from the overbridge towards East Fort. Visit the Padmanabhaswamy Temple premises. End up your walk in the Gandhi Park in East Fort. Walk from Secratariate towards Palayam. Walk and see the Connemera market and do window shopping. Walk from Museum Junction towards Vellayambalam. Alternatively, you can also walk inside the Museum compounds. Walk from Vellayambalam Junction up to Kowdiar palace. This road is called the Royal Road, as it leads to the palace. There are good coffee shops and snack bars in this area.


Top Attractions

Contents 1 See 1.1 Monuments and museums 1.2 Government buildings 1.3 Places of worship 1.4 Beaches and nature 1.5 Other attractions 1.6 Itinerary Thiruvananthapuram is a historical city, dotted with many historical structures, parks, museums, tourist centers and palaces. Its also famous for its distinctive greenery, present all over, a rare site in any bustling Indian city. Most ticketed museums are closed on Mondays, so do check online/by phone before visiting. Visit the official website of Kerala Tourism for more details. Monuments and museums[edit] Gandhi Park in East Fort Kowdiar Palace, built in 1934 and seat of the Travancore royal family Napier Museum or "Art Gallery" Chacha Nehru Children's Museum. A good children's museum with a large collection of dolls, masks, and paintings. A mini aquarium and water play area is set here. Located in Thycuad, in the heart of city, it is a good evening spot for families.  8.48277876.9472221 East Fort. An old fort around Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. Today most of fortifications have been dismantled, except the Eastern side. The fort will sometimes be referred to as the East Fort because of this. The Fort Gate opens directly before Sree Padmanabha Temple and is designed in a European style. The illumination of the East Fort Gate in the evenings is a major attraction.    8.4811976.9458292 HH Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma Chithralayam (Royal art gallery) (same entrance as Kuthiramalika and one ticket counter for both (but separate tickets)). 9:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:45. Has an exhibition of portrais and pictures of memorable scenes from the life of the last Maharaja of Travancore. Adults ₹30, foreigners ₹75. (updated Feb 2023) 8.51066376.9581233 Kanaka Kunnu Palace (Golden Hill Palace in Malayalam). The cultural hotspot of ancient Thiruvananthapuram. The large palace and its sprawling gardens was once the banquet palace for visiting State guests of Travancore. Today, it has engaging galleries and the grand lawns serve as open-air auditoriums for regular concerts and evening dance programs.    Kerala Science and Technology Museum (near Priyadarshini Planetarium). This large science museum features a timeline of various technologies. On display are galleries on Electrical Engineering, Biomedical, and Mechanical Engineering. It has a collection of electronic equipments and a 3D theatre with regular shows.  8.508176.953784 Keralan Museum (Opposite of Napier Museum's garden-complex, south of Museum Rd). Housed in a beautiful colonial building, this newly developed museum (circa 2008 vintage) presents a periodised history of Kerala. It's the first 'interactive' museum in the country, featuring touchscreen terminals. Like so many museums and historical texts in India, there are no maps inside to provide visual aid to the topics. Regardless, the museum is very pleasant, clean, modern and well presented when compared to others. Displays begin in the stone age and advance through rock art and stone tools to pottery, bronze sculptures, folk art and architecture, with a few latter-day items to boot. A small canteen behind the museum for staff of the adjacent tourist department offers good value fish or vegetable curry. Entry is ₹200 for foreigners, extra for a camera.  8.52397976.9634345 Kowdiar Palace. In Kowdiar, this is the current, official residence of the Travancore Maharajas and royal family. It is off-the-limits for public. However, a friendly guard may let you inside to have a glimpse of this large architectural wonder built in mixture of Saxon-Travancore styles. The public however can enter into Panchavadi, the resting place of Late HH Maharaja Chitra Thirunal, the last and popular king of Travancore.    8.4825276.94556 Kuthiramalika Palace (Puthen Maliga Palace) (close to Padmanabhaswamy temple). 9:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:45. A unique palace designed by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal (a famous musical genius Maharaja of Travancore), this palace is famous for its horse shaped windows and decor. Has a good collection of many antique items from the Travancore era kings. Thrones, paintings and many belongings are kept in a very good condition, housed in an erstwhile royal building. This palace is the location of the Swathi Thirunal Music Festival and other musical concerts patronized by the Royal family. Adults ₹50, foreigners ₹150.   (updated Feb 2023) 8.50724276.9467247 Legislature Museum (Adjacent to Legislature). This museum depicts the history of South Asian Legislature assemblies. The building was once the headquarters of Travancore Royal Nair Brigade (Travancore Army). Today its galleries can give a detailed look into history of South Asian legislature activities and process.  8.50892476.9551638 Napier Museum (Art Gallery). Tu Th-Su 10AM-5PM, W noon-5PM. Named after former Madras governor, Lord Napier (Francis Napier, 10th Lord Napier and 1st Baron Ettrick), this museum is a beautiful building in the museum (read: park) compound. This masterpiece was designed by Madras Government architect Robert Chisholm in Indo-Saracenic style. The museum displays rare archaeological and historical artifacts including bronze idols, ceramics, an impressive carved wooden cart, Buddhist statues from various parts of the country and neighbouring places, ivory carvings, chests, Balinese shadow puppets, various old coins, Hindu puja items, and more. Quite a few objects are foreign, and of those quite a few are Chinese. Unfortunately most are lacking labels, have labels only in Malayalam, or are very vague. Look up at the impressive roof when you enter! No photography is allowed. There is no sign saying "Napier Museum", just "Art Gallery" and it's the big building in the park to the north of Museum Road. ₹5 for tickets.  8.5097276.946489 Priyadarshini Space Planetarium. One of the largest planetaria in India and rated as one of the best horizontal planetaria of the world. It has a collection of astronomical science objects from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Two major shows regarding various secrets of universe are done daily. It has a good Sky Theatre, a large conference hall and is the location of regular space-related programs.  8.5109976.955410 Sree Chithra Art Gallery. closed M. An art gallery in the Museum compound and displays a rare collection of mainly Indian paintings. The main attractions are paintings by Kerala painter Raja Ravi Varma and other famous painters Raja raja Varma and Nicholas Roerich. Also featured are miniature paintings from around the world, Kerala mural paintings, and Tanjore miniature paintings.    Government buildings[edit] Kerala Government Secretariat 8.497276.949511 Kerala Government Secretariat (കേരള സംസ്ഥാന ഭരണ സിരാ കേന്ദ്രം Saṁsthāna Sarkkār Sirākēndraṁ). Built as Huzur Kacheri (Secretarial Offices in Malayalam) in 1860 to serve as the Royal Durbar Hall of Travancore Kingdom, this building has an imposing structure. The building was designed by the British Royal Engineers Corps combining international architectural styles and is a testimony to past influences from Roman, Dutch and English styles on Kerala. The old Legislature Assembly Hall inside the complex (Asia's first native legislative assembly) has a good museum with a detailed gallery that depicts the history of the Travancore Legislative Assembly. Other areas in this building are not of tourist interest as they are government offices.    8.506776.948712 Niyamasabha Mandiram. The new legislature assembly complex, called Niyamasabha (Law House in Malayalam), is a modern structure located in heart of the city. It's famous for the classical Kerala architecture with ornate teak works, a unique Kerala styled dome, exquisitely designed interiors and a vast expanse of greenery around it. A photo shoot before this structure is an excellent addition to your travelogue.    Places of worship[edit] The gopuram, a monumantal tower, at the entrance of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Palayam Juma Mosque (Masjid-i Jahān-Numā). The principal mosque of Thiruvananthapuram and one of the largest in Kerala. It is famous for its regular sermons. The mosque was established with patronage of the kings of Travancore.   (updated Nov 2019) 8.48277876.94361113 Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The icon of the city: the world's richest temple. The temple came to prominence after the details of the temple's massive wealth were released by an order from the Supreme Court of India. The temple itself has thousands of stories to tell with immaculate sculptures and mandaps. The entire Thiruvananthapuram was built around this temple. It was nominated into the last round of 7 Wonders of World. The building style is a mixture of Kerala and Tamil architecture. It has many structures inside, like musical pillars, golden mandap, 500 pillared corridor famous for its sculptures and large collection of temple mural paintings. The temple has a large clear pond called Padmatheertham, which is also landmark. The deity is Maha Vishnu in a rare reclining posture, called as "ananthasayanam" or the lord's sleep. The temple has a huge role in history of Kerala, with the presiding deity even being crowned as Emperor of Travancore in 18th century and all the rulers ruling the state in the name of the deity. The royal crown of Travancore, is preserved inside the temple, though only lucky ones can see it. The temple does not use any lighting generated by an electrical source and has no light bulbs or tube-lights. The only lighting is either natural or from oil lamps, which is quite minimal. The use of electronic items, including mobile phones and cameras, is prohibited inside the temple. This temple is open only for Hindus, and even the Hindus admitted inside have to follow rigorous dress code and customs. Dress code for men is just Kerala Mundu (White Dhoti) with the body uncovered waist-up. Dhotis are available for one-time rental or for sale from nearby shops. Women are required to wear an Indian Sari or Kerala Mundu (The idea is that your legs must not be visible separately). Entrants would also be asked to store their bags, umbrellas, etc., at a nearby counter. This temple belongs to the Travancore Royal Family and is guarded by the Palace Guards of Travancore. Beware of presence of large number of professional touts at the entrance of temple, who attempt to forcibly sell puja plates with flowers, incense, oil lamps to first timers and tourists. Likewise at exit gates, touts try to hard sell pictures, lamps, and shells by claiming it is holy and sacred. Do not be carried away by claims and politely avoid them. Inside the main arena of the temple, you can view the deity in 3 stages: Hand, Navel (with the Lotus carrying Brahma) and Feet.    St Anne's Church, Pettah. This is the first Christian church of Trivandrum set up in 1796 during the reign of King Rama Varma, commonly called "Dharma Raja". It was built on the orders of the King for the benefit of Thachil Matthoo Tharakan, one of his ministers, who was also the first ever native Christian to be appointed as a minister in a Princely State in India. The old church was renovated several times. It is on the road leading to the airport. (updated Feb 2019) Beaches and nature[edit] 8.48112976.9123714 Shanghumukham Beach (Shangumukham Beach). This city beach is 8 km outside the city centre, adjacent to the airport. Local people flock here to watch the sunset. It's a well maintained, safe beach. There is an indoor recreation club nearby. Matsyakanyaka a gigantic sculpture of a mermaid by sculptor Kanai Kunjiraman draws a fair crowd. A small garden and star-fish shaped restaurant operates here and attracts large crowds. There is also a temple nearby.    8.5080276.8886515 Veli Tourist Village (Veli Lake and Tourist Village). A lake blending into the beach, almost as if it were teasing the sea. This area features boating, horse riding on the beach, a floating bridge, a shallow pond where you can feed the fish, and beautifully maintained gardens. It's an excellent destination if you are interested in water adventure sports.  Other attractions[edit] Neyyar Dam Attingal Palace. The headquarters of Travancore Queens who ruled the small province of Attingal. The large palace also houses one of the royal family temples. Much of the palace is off-limits to public, however its durbar hall and public areas are open to the public.  Kerala Art College. Affiliated with Kerala University and easy to find, it is directly opposite the unmissable Chandrasekharan Nair (Football) Stadium. It is housed in an old colonial building with sprawling grounds behind. There are occasional art shows (e.g. after graduation, circa early June) held upstairs, and the downstairs offers a large library with world art books. The grounds have many impressive sculptures from students who are friendly and may be keen to show you around the workshops.  8.6087677.003216 Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad. This palace was built in the 16th century and showcases the traditional palace architectural style of Kerala. It features a folklore museum and a numismatics (Coins and currency) museum.    8.53472277.14583317 Neyyar Dam. A surprising scenic local, the Neyyar Dam is an excellent picnic spot. There is also a yoga center and several temples near this dam, if you are interested in making a day-trip of it.    8.7599477.1168818 Ponmudi. A hill station nestled within a tropical forest. It offers hiking and trekking opportunities.  8.5117376.95519 Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. 10AM–5PM (closed M). This is the first zoo India opened in 1843, as a concept of Palace for wildlife. Situated in the Museum compound, this area has a rich botanical garden. There are a wide variety of animals, plants and birds. It has a separate reptile park and butterfly garden.    8.5376.87166720 Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thumba. One of the main space research and development establishments in India. It is home to Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), which is used to launch sounding rockets for meteorological and upper atmospheric research. It has a space museum.   (updated Oct 2023) Itinerary[edit] See Thiruvananthapuram on foot. Take public transport to Kanaka Kunnu Palace. Visit this public building that adorns the on top of a hill. It is often used for cultural programs which might be a nice addition to your visit. Check local listings to see what is offered and when. Once finished, walk down to the Napier Museum and Zoo. Walk around the park, admire the architecture, and visit the zoo. Also of interest in this area are the Sree Chitra Art Gallery, Natural History museum and the Reptile House. Then walk towards Palayam along the MG road absorbing the roadside buzz of activities and shopping at the roadside shops. Usually there are cultural programs at VJT Hall which may be open to the public. Continue along MG road towards the Secretariat. The area around the secretariat is known locally as Statue, due to a few neglected statues of important figures. There are sometimes political protests or demonstrations along this place. You should sample the food from the local restaurants here. SMS Institute on a side road, near the Secretariat, sells authentic Kerala handicrafts and gifts. Prices start from ₹25 to a few thousands. Continue along the MG road and you will find many local book shops including Modern Book House and Prabhat book store. The Ayurveda college , which teaches traditional ayurvedic medicine, will be on the right side of the street. Opposite this, there is another handicraft store. Walk along the MG road and you will reach the junction with traffic signals known as the Over bridge locally. There are a few movie theatres nearby. The railway station and bus station are towards the left, about half a mile. If you continue straight, you will eventually reach Pazhavangadi. You will see the remains of a fort (well hidden) on the right side (known as Kottakakam/East fort). The famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is nearby, complete with a temple lake (Padmatheertham). The architecture of the temple is more in line with Tamil temples as compared to other Kerala temples. On the left is Chaalai Bazaar. This is a busy congested road teeming with all kinds of shops.