THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Thiruvananthapuram, or Trivandrum, is the southernmost district in Kerala, and is the state capital. Trivandrum is about 74 square kilometers, and has a population of about 523,733. Trivandrum is home to the only international airport in Kerala, as well as very large train and bus stations. There is also a port of entry for large ships at the southern tip. Thiruvananthapuram was named after Anantha the thousand-headed serpent of Hindu mythology. Trivandrum was a major port, and a major player in the spice trade, which kept it in contact with the rest of the world. Many spices, mainly pepper, are still grown here as well as paddy, tapioca, and cashew nuts.

See some pictures of the city here

Trivandrum center is tightly packed with old colonial and traditional Kerala style buildings, as well as large government buildings, and temples. The Secretariat is the largest of the government buildings in Trivandrum, built in 1938; it is a beautiful example of colonial architecture.

While we visited here ther was a nine day festival known as Navratri, in praise of the Goddess Saraswati. During this time many classical performances were performed such as classical music, and the world-renowned art of Kathakali.

We also had a chance to see the many kalaris, training centres for the Kerala martial art tradition known as Kalariyapattu. Trivandrum has some of the only kalaris in the world.

The most highly touristed area of Thiruvananthapuram, however, is the beach paradise of Kovalam. Kovalam is comprised of the beautiful blue waters of the Arabian Sea, along with tourist shops selling curios from all over India and southeast Asia. The beaches are lined with resteraunts serving fresh seafood, and less traditional South Indian foods, as well as tourist food. There are also many hotels set back into the coconut groves, approachable only by footpath.