TWNP Travel Desk
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala is a cultural treasure trove. Even though Kochi steals the thunder with more inbound flights and business establishments, Thiruvananthapuram has a charm of its own. If you are in a hurry and have just one day to spare here are the main attractions the city offers.
7 am: Kovalam
Go for a stroll along the beach. Beyond the touristy stretch of the beach, you will find the fisher-folk trying to make their living. Strike up a conversation with the fisherfolk and they will gladly let you help them drag in the day’s catch. Then, having worked up a sweat, walk into one of those places by the promenade and have a relaxing breakfast. Let your nose be your guide.
If you love adventure, sign up with BOND Safari for one of their under the sea expeditions.
12 p.m: Drive into town for lunch
The typical Kerala ‘sadya’ on a banana leaf is a must have when you are in the city. There are a couple of restaurants that offer you this treat. If you do not mind being vegetarian for a meal, check out the detailed lunch platter at the at Mother’s Veg Plazza near the Russian Cultural Center near Bakery Junction. You can also have a buffet lunch at SP Grand Hotel near the railway station. You can visit the Science and Technology Museum and the Napier Museum depending on the time you have in hand.
4 pm: East Fort
Take a tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) to East Fort, the heart of the town. On one side is the famous Chalai Bazaar and on the other side of the road is the Padmanabha Swami temple complex. If you love the crowd, want to bargain for curious to take home, walk into this historic bazaar, one of the oldest marketplaces in town dating back to the 1800’s. From fish to spices, camphor, and flowers – the Chalai Bazaar offers you everything money can buy. It is crowded, noisy – a far cry from the glossy pictures of Kerala that the that the tourism brochures portray.
Walk away from this melee and you find yourself in front of one of the richest temples in the whole world. But, before you head that way, there is one interesting place that you have to drop by. The CVN Kalari established in 1958 is one of the most famous centers where you can see this renowned martial art of Kerala called Kalaripattu being performed. The center also offers short-term courses in the art form. Next, head to the peaceful and serene Padmanabha Swami temple with a large temple pond on one side and ancient buildings on the other. This ancient building houses a museum which will show you the relics from the era when the land was ruled by the kings. Look out for the clock tower known as the Methan Mani and beyond is the temple. Marvel at the architecture. However, there is a catch. Entry into the temple is restricted to those who profess the Hindu religion and there is a dress code.
As the sun gets ready to set, the lamps are lit and it adds an extra charm to the temple.
8 pm: Head to Villa Maya, one of the classiest restaurants in town for dinner before you turn in for the day.