Situated beside an estuary where the Veli Lake meets the Arabian Sea, boating and picnicking facilities are provided for visitors to the centre. Pedal, paddle and speed boats on hire are available here, else guests could opt to stroll through the gardens and enjoy a picnic or simply spend an idyllic day on the lake’s waters. A children’s park and a floating cafe are additional attractions.
Thiruvanthapuram city’s very own stretch of soft sand with a gentle breeze blowing inland and outward through the day, and in the evening a large sculpture of a mermaid on the beach looks out at spectacular sunsets. Fishermen heading out to sea and returning, mending their nets and tending to their boats add a certain rustic charm to the beach.
Napier Museum and Zoo
The museum’s architecture, an intriguing mixture of Gothic and Indian influences, is a predominant landmark on an arterial avenue in Trivandrum. Named after Lord Napier an erstwhile governor of Madras, the museum was built in 1855 and is set amidst spacious gardens. The museum’s collection contains bronze idols, lamps, ornaments and numerous antique artefacts that are on display. A library displays rare books and manuscripts that area accessible to researchers, scholars and teachers.The zoo within the museum’s grounds was established in 1857 and is possibly one of the oldest zoos in the country, home to animals and birds including Royal Bengal Tigers, Indian Rhinos, Nilgiri Langurs, Giraffes, Hippos, Zebras and Cape Buffaloes.
The ancient Ananthapadmanabhaswamy temple is a temple dedicated to manifestation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. In fact Thiruvananthapuram literally translates to “ Land of Lord Anantha”. The architecture of the temple displays an amalgam of Kerala’s indigenous and Dravidian style. The ornate gate entrance to the shrine is a 100 ft tower, and in the sinner sanctum an 18 ft idol of the presiding deity resides.
The beach at Varkala is set beside a red laterite cliff named the ‘Varkala Formation’ that looms over a stretch of pristine soft sand with rocks cutting it into the ‘Helipad’ and ‘Papanasam’ beaches. Most travellers descend on the ‘helipad beach’, preferring to enjoy its relative peace and calm water, ideal for swimming and water sports. Papanasam, south of the helipad, is renowned for its natural spring with curative properties and numerous spas cater to guests seeking cures. The beach can be a little crowded with pilgrims who arrive believing that a dip in the sea purges the soul of sins. Ashes of deceased people are also immersed with the belief that their souls would attain salvation. A two thousand-year-old shrine dedicated to the Hindu deity Janardhana stands on the cliff overlooks the Papanasm beach.
Varkala town is situated 40km north of Thiruvanthapuram and offers several other tourist attractions that include the Sivagiri Mutt, founded by the great religious reformer and philosopher Sree Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928)and numerous stunningly beautiful spots amidst the lush hill slopes and relatively unknown beaches.
Jatayu Earth Centre
Situated at an altitude of 350m (1200ft) msl, spread over 65 acre and an hours drive from Thiruvananthapuram, the Jatayu Earth Centre is a tourism complex built around a gigantic sculpture of a vulture that features in the epic Ramayana from Hindu mythology and is the world’s largest sculpture of a bird.
The legend narrates that a demon named Ravana was attempting to abduct a queen named Sita to Sri Lanka when Jatayu, blessed with supernatural abilities engaged the demon in combatant was mortally wounded, dropping from the sky to Chadayamangalam, the area where the Jatayu Earth Centre has been built.
Akkulam Tourist Village
Situated beside the Akkulam lake and 10km from the city, the tourist village boasts of numerous scenic picnic spots. The area is also a beautiful backwater destination. Guests visiting the Akkulam Tourist Village may avail of the numerous boating options on offer, else swim in the pool here. Children will be delighted with an exclusive park and a paddle pool. The Air Force Museum with a simulator and a cycling park are both well worth visiting.
Once part of the hippie trail, Kovalamcomprises of three crescent shaped beaches situated beside each other, fringing a cove created by a rocky premonitory. The water in the cove is calm and waves gentle, ideal to swim in. Visitors are spoilt for choice in terms of leisure options with sunbathing, swimming, herbal body massages, cultural programmes and catamaran rides into the ocean and great seafood on offer. What’s more, at the end of a day, one could lay back on the soft sands and watch a spectacular sunset.
Lulu Shopping Mall
A multi facetted experience for families, individuals and tour groups that combines an extensive range shopping, cuisines and entertainment for adults and children alike. An imposing structure that is conveniently situated in the commercial hub in Akkulam, the mall blends contemporary design and amenities to offer memorable experiences to visitors.