Nonetheless, it still retains a leisurely and laid-back ambience, helped by the great diversity of quaint colonial and traditional buildings. The visitor who allows himself to be tempted to amble along through the various bylanes that snake off the main M.G. Road can discover the city's visages - from shops, restaurants, and hotels to bus-stops, banks, and post offices. At Palayam Junction can be seen vivid proof of the religious tolerance of this state - a mosque, a temple, and a church are within yards of each other.
Places of Interest in Trivandrum :
Government Art Museum : Located in a beautifully landscaped 80-acre plot, the Government Art Museum forms part of a park-like complex which also houses the Sri Chitra Art Gallery and the Zoological Park at the heart of the city. The building is an architectural delight, combining styles of traditional Kerala architecture with Chinese and Mughal touches. Its 19th c. British architect, Chisholm, is said to have stirred in a touch of Brighton as well! The intriguing blend of colours - pink and blue, banana yellow and cherry red - merge with red and white lattice work and mock friezes to create a unique spectacle, best viewed on weekends when the entire building is the focus of several spotlights.
Inside the museum are several period collections of bronze statues, treasures, costumes, masks, ancient jewellery, musical instruments and models, including one of the Nair joint family residence, the `tharavad'.
Sri Chitra Art gallery : The Sri Chitra Art Gallery, in a traditional building, houses a rich collection of paintings of the erstwhile Travancore ruling family, including portraits of Maharajas and British Residents by Raja. Also included are representative pieces of medieval and modern arts of the Rajput, Mughal, Tanjore, and Bengal schools, and a selection of the Russian painter Svetosku Roerich.
The Zoological Gardens - Zoo : The Zoological Garden, is One of the first zoos in India, it is located in a well-planned botanical garden. With huge trees like frangipani and jacaranda dotting the sprawling lawns and wild fowl swimming in the lake, it is like a small jungle in the heart of the city. A reptile house with different species of snakes is also located in the premises.
Govt. Obervatory : Located on a hill opposite the Kanakakunnu Palace, another attraction worth a visit, is the Government Observatory which offers a lovely view of the city from its roof terrace.
Shankumugam beach : the city, this is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village. An indoor recreation club, the matsya kanyaka (a gigantic, 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid) and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are some of the attractions here.
Veli Tourist Village : About 11 km from the city is the Veli Tourist Village. This picnic spot, where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, offers boating facilities. Pedalboats and paddleboats can be hired to explore the charms of the lagoon in a leisurely manner. For a quick ride over the waters, speedboats are available for hire. Children enjoy climbing over the huge sculptures which dot the landscape
The office/KTDC restaurant can be contacted at 75385.
Akulam Lakeside Boat Club : The Akkulam Lakeside Boat Club is another popular destination for city dwellers who want to get away from it all. About 13 km from the city, it has a large children's park, a snall snack bar, and facilities for boating between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. The telephone number is 443043.
Science & Technology Museum : Located at PMG Junction, near the Mascot Hotel, the Science and Technology Museum is an interactive educational experience for students, youth, and others of inquisitive dispositions. Closed on Mondays, it is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on all other days. There is a nominal entrance fee.
Children's Museum : Situated at Thycaud in the city, the Chacha Nehru Children's Museum (named after the first Indian Prime Minister, who had a well-known soft spot for children), displays dolls, masks, and paintings, and is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Handicrafts Emporium : The SMSM Institute is the handicrafts emporium of the Handicrafts Development Corporation of Kerala. Situated behind the Government Secretariat and near the British Library, it sells a wide variety of handicrafts, curios, and carvings. It is open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.Telephone: 63358/63298.
Aruvikara / Neyar Dam : This picturesque picnic spot is on the banks of the Karamana river. Near the Durga Temple here is a stream full of fish that fearlessly come close to the shore to be fed by the visitors.The famed Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Ashram is located here.
Koyikkal Palace, Nedumangad (18 km - 1/2 hour) : Located on the way to the Ponmudi hill station and the Courtallam waterfalls, this ancient palace dates back to the 15th century. Here you can see a double storeyed traditional Nalukettu building with slanting gabled roofs, an inner courtyard and museums of folklore and numismatics set up by the Department of Archeology. The Folklore Museum set up in 1992 is a treasure house of quaint musical instruments, occupational implements, household utensils, models of folk arts etc. Displayed in the Koyikkal Palace, they focus attention on the cultural background of the State. The Numismatics Museum houses rare and historically valuable coins denoting the trade relations of the State.
Agasthyakoodam : Part of the Sahyadr range of mountains, Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890 metres above sea level. Teeming with wildlife, the forests of Agasthyakoodam abound in rare medicinal herbs and plants and brilliantly hued orchids. A bird watcher's paradise, this legendary mountain is accessible by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam, as also from Bonacaud. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking, for which a forest pass has to be obtained from the Wildlife Warden, Forest Department, PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary (50 km from Thiruvananthapuram) : This sanctuary spread over 53 sq. km on the Western Ghats, is accessible from Vithurai, which is on the way to Ponmudi. With its rich flora and fauna, Peppara, dotted with hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations, is emerging as a great attraction for wildlife enthusiasts.
Sri Narayana Guru Samadi : The samadhi of the great social reformer Sri Narayana Guru, is at Varkala , 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram. It is also the site of the Janardanaswamy (Vishnu) Temple. Another attraction is the mineral springs believed to have healing effects.
Padmanabhapuram Palace : The ancient seat of the Travancore rulers, the 16th c. Padmanabhapuram Palace with its elaborate woodwork is 55 km from Thiruvananthapuram in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, en route to Kanyakumari (/kanyaakumaari/, 74 km from the city). It contains historical relics, including ancient swords and pistols, original rosewood furnishings and murals. The floors are made from a mixture of eggshell, coconut shell, and charcoal. Beneath can be found hiding places and narrow escape tunnels used by ancient kings to flee from their enemies. The palace is open to visitors on all days except Mondays.
Suchindram Temple : Close to Kanyakumari, the Suchindram (/sucheendhram/) Temple has an impressive `gopuram' and a statue of Hanuman, apart from beautiful carvings and sculptures.