Beige Skin Tones and Red Cliffs
Cab in Kerala Taxi Service share to the Details with local sightseeing of Capital City, Capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram, is also called as the ‘Abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha. There is no setting than Thiruvanathapuram for a date with royalty and Romance. Majestic Historic relics that adorn its shapely countours. Rich regal elagace that swathes it like a bride. Tantalisingly perched at the tip of the country, it captures the romance as the indian Ocean and the arabian sea merge in a seemingly endless embrace. Between the past and the present... time stands stiil in this capital city.
With is embarrassment of riches Thiruvanthapuram is likely to beguile an unsuepectiin tourist with a goo case of tunnel vision. As a capital of present day Kerala, and for close to three centuries the seat of some very enlightend rulers of the erstwhile kindom of venad, the city itself has a lot to offer.
But the palaces, temples and museums are themseves only a smidgen of what lies outside. With a couple of wildlife sanctuaries, a number of exquisite saps, a relatively prisstine hill resort and two world-renowned beaches in the same district, planning one's itinerary properly is a must here.
The City has a number of quality hotels. however, if ones plan is to begin with chilling out at Kovalam, just 16 kilometer from Thiruvanthapuram international airport, then its makes sense to check into one of the resort's / hotels.
Kovalam needs no introduction. A swin at sunset alog the lighthhouse or Poovar beaches should convince anyone why die-hard sun-seekers rave about this place. the water appears to be always the right tempereture ant the surf is seldom blustery.
A post prandial paddle in these mild waters is no bubble bath for complexion conscious but , as more then one vacationer has discovere, it can do wonders for your battered body-clock.
The flea market next to the beach is a must see for souvenir hunter. Experiment with a temporary tattoo or braided hair or simly walk around taking stock of the Tibetan trinkets, Kerala coir mats and lacquered wood fashioned by master craftsmen. You Can get them for a bargain price provided you haggle hard. Your're expected to.
If Kovalam buzzes during the day it boogies at night, especially to those not so conservative in theirchoice of holiday chums. Moonlight partes around driftwood fires bring alive the magic of the tropics as few other things do.
There are a couple of Exclusive ayurved resorts in the area, situated in oxygen-rich acres, and their customized therapeutic packages range from perk-up programs and stress management to complete purification procedures. Submit to a regimen of massages using medicated oils, special diets, steam baths and yoga here and win a fresh lease of life and skin.
If too much sea and spa is beginning to get to you brief excursions to some nearby locations can be helpful. Thiruvallam, ten kilometers away, has a stretch of backwater ideal for a peaceful canoe ride. There is also an ancient temple here, the only one of its kind in the entire state, dedicated to Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and mythical founder of Kerala.
There are some eighteenthcentury rock cut sculptures near Vizhinjam and, a little bit further, is the Neyyar Dam, a popular picnic spot. A crocodile farm and lion safari park near the resevoir are added attractions, Situated by the Neyyar estuary is Poovar, made for more tranquil holidaying. with a floating resort that has added to its new found fame, this rustic, coastal suburb of Thiruvanathapuram offers a delightful cocktail of beach and backwaters.
Done with Kovalam, then whsat next? The logical step would be to drop in at the Padmanabhapuram Place on the road to Land's End at Kanyakumari, then turn back towards the city proper.
The palace was the principal residence of the former Travancore kings and is built entirely of wood. The main structure donesn't have a milligram of mortar. Architecturally, the palace is a marvel, monumental in design and perfect in its execution. There are intricate carvings all over the building -on its roofs, pillars, walls and doors.
In the city the Paadmanabhawamy temple is the main landmark. its is one of 108 elite Lord Vishnu shrines in The whole of india and has some exemplary murals and stone carvings inside. Sadly, the rules forbid non-Hindus from entering the Temple, and that is a damper for History buffs.
The majestic main idol of Anantha Padmanabha- Lord Vishnu in reclining form on the fivehooded serpent Anantha, and which gives the capital city its name - is 18 feel long and is inlaid with salagramam or a mixture of precious metals.
The demons and deities on the seven-storied gopuram the temple tower outside, have a 3-D effect and , of course, there are no rules preventing anyone from staring at them. But the demons, so life size [if demons can be life-size] sport a we are watching-you-look, scary enough to make even the most willfully sinful break into a clod swat.
The nearby Puthenmalika Palace is a far more secular place and exhibits various priceless of the former royal family. it was built by the poet king Swathi Thirunal and is an epitome of the distinct Travancore architectural style.
But it is the Museum Complex that takes the cake where the display of cultural artifacts is concerned. along with the Zoological Park, among the first of its kind in the country and situated in the lush surrounding of the botanical garden, the Complex houses the Napier Museum and the Sree Chitra Art Gallaery.
The latter has a collection of exquisite paintings from masters abroad and from the renowned Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore Schools in India. its distinction, however,is that it plays curator to one of the greatest practitioners of modern painting, Raja Ravi Varma.
He was the first Indian painter to master perspective and his style with its vigorous realism was very different from the stlized, contemplative Indian tradition. He also preferred oil paints, then new in India, to tempera, the traditional Indian medium. Whereas European artist could only transcribe the likeness of Indians, Ravi Varma's ability to evoke a variety of skin tones and fabrics enabled him to capture character as well.
Raja Ravi Varma was born in 1848 into the royal house of Kilimanoor, 40 kilometers from Thiruvanthapuram, and even before he was thirty the maharaja, recognizing his genius, awarded him the vira Sringhala [ Bobgle of Valour], Travancore's highest decoration, and the first time a painter had been so honored.
His use of human models to depict Hindu gods and goddesses made his work accessible as much to popular taste as to the connoisseur. To tell an Indian woman, as one of his biographers attest, that she resembles a Raja Ravi Varma painting remains among the best compliments.
The Pazhavangadi Ganapati Temple is in East Fort, a stone's throw from the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. A continuous stream of people from all walks of lifeline up here in the morning and evening to break coconuts so that Lord Ganapati in the guise of Vigneswara or 'remover of obstacles' will smile on them.
East Fort has a lot of buildings converted recently into heritage monuments. The Nambi Madhom and the Pushpanjali Swamiyar Madhom used to be residences of the priests of the Padmanabhasamy Temple. The Chokkitta Mandapam and Navarathri Mandapam are even now used as venues for annual navarathri festivals.
The Peshkar Bungalow in East Fort and the Utsavamadom are two other places with unique tourist interest. The Padamavilasam Palace, situated behind the Fort School, the mud fort called Kasaalakotta, extending from virakupurakotta to Pazhavangadi, and the wooden Aanakottil are there places worth a quick visit.
Despite modern apartments and offices crowding it the architectural brilliance of the Nithyachelavu Bungalow and the Rangavilasom Palace still stand out.
Quite some distance away from East Fort is the Kavadiya Place, Thiruvanthapuram's equivalent of the Buckingham Palace. It was home to the late Maharaja Sree Chithra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and his family continues to live here. Though the magnificent building can be had from outside.
The University College is another major Thiruvanathapuram landmark, its alumni, ranging from renowned scientists and sportsmen to ambassadors and a former persident of the republic, by itself can make a samll nation. The College was founded way back in 1834 by Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, the then Maharaja of Travancore. His idea was to introduce high qualit Western education to his subjects.
A stroll down the Priyadarshini Planetarium to the sprawling grounds of the Kanakakunnu Palace - skirting the grand Kerala Legislative Assembly complex with its impressive blend of the modern and traditional - can provide a good feel of the city as it unfolds at streer level. A bird's eye view from atop the nearby Observatory completes the picture.
At the northern edge of the city is the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. It was here, in a dilapidated laboratory, that newly independent India began its space reseach. Located on the magnetic equator, data from the center's equatorial elactrojet project has helped in fine-tuning the conty's immensely successful geo-stationary satellite program.
Thiruvananthapuram is home to laurie baker, one of India's best known architects. Decorated by the govermment of India with a Padmabhushan, and included in the Realm's Honors List by the British Queen, This octogenarian architect has built some of the most beautiful residential and public buildings here using low-cost material and availing of local techniques and spacious campus of the Center of Economic Development an elite research institution. His own home in Nalanchira attracts a lot of tourists .
The Trivandrum Club near Vazhuthacaud, is a discreet and refined place, a preserve of the city's traditional elites but minus the snobbery. An evening here on invitation can be both relaxing and culturally rewarding.
Situated along the cost towards the north is anjuthengu or anjengo with the remains of and old English fort. it was here that the first settlement of the East India Company was established in 1864. Anjuthengu or Five Palms was leased to the company by the then price of Travancore for trading purposes. The fort was to subsequently withstand a siege.
A few hours at the Veli Tourist village with its fine boating facilities, and then to the adjoining Shankumukham beach, in the time for the sunset, ougth to round off the city tour.
Now, Ponmudi beckons. It is a quiet hill station resort 54 kilometer from the Trivandrum City under two hours by road. As the city is left behind, Plantations- Rubber , Pepper , Cardamom , and Tea - Crowd in on either side of the winding ghat road. You can find yourself compulsively pausing at each bend to take in the spectacular sweep of hills, tea-estates and the mist covered valleys, dotted with violet, pink or blinding white.
Ponmudi, meaning golden crown, jusifies its name. There are several natural springs and beautiful trekking trails. The shades of green contrasting with the brilliant red southern trongon, that adorn the trees like flowers, make you reel. There are no swanky hotels or resorthere, but the Kerala Government Tourist complex provides decent accommodation. The complex has some tow-doze wellappointed rooms, but it is the more then ten stone cottages located a;ong the winding terraces that are a sellout with vacationers.
A day in Ponmudi and there is the option of visiting the wildlife sanctuary at Peppara which is on the way back to Trivandrum city. spread over 54 square kilometr of the western ghats. with a lot of rare flora and fauna, it is an interesting stopover not just for the wildlife enthusiast.
Those for whom eco-tourism creates a buzz Agastyamalai should not be missed. its is accessible from Thiruvananthapuram city and Neyyar Dam. From scrub to evergreen there are different forest types in this single habitat. its uniqueness is such that there are plans to turn this area into a boisphere reserve and to conserve it as a gene pool sanctuary. I n this section of the ghats is the second highest peak in Kerala, Agasthyarkoodam, which is 1890 meters above sea level. The name refers to the mythical sage Agasthya, a favorite of the god Shiva and founder of the siddha system of indigenous medicine. To enter this forest range prior permission from the Wildlife wardens office in the city is required.
The Last leg of the tour should, fittingly, be to the beaches of Varkala, forty kilometer away from Thiruvananthapuram city. Here, the main beaches are located at a cliff top, which is about ten minutes walk from the Varkala town center. The cliff top is also where most of the hotels and restaurants are located. overlooking the Arabian Sea. The meandering track that up ti the cliff is lined with little chales, eateries - serving, among other dishes, wondreful croissants and French delicacies - cyber Cafes and masseurs huts.
Varkala, with its famous Janardhana Temple, has been a Hindu pilgrimage center since 12th century. The sojourn and, subsequently, samadhi here, in the early twentieth century, of Kerala's great sage Sree Narayana Guru lends the place a peculiar aura. Golden with a stunning backdrop of red laterite cliffs. in the season the beach extends all around the cliff face for 500 meters. Varkala's sulime sunset and affable locals, the isolated fisherman's shanty breaking the monechrome of sea and surf, the rollers that are quite awesome at high tide and a lone kite wheeling against an azure sky can make for a lot of giltedged memories.
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