India was not new to me. I went here last year for the Chariot Beach Resort bloggers retreat. But, this year was extra special because I got chosen as one of the participants for Kerala Blog Express Season 5 which I had always wanted to participate in.
Our first stop was in Trivandrum and since there are no direct flights, I flew via Singapore with Silk Air. I had a long day of just flying but I was greeted warmly by the Kerala Tourism Welcoming Committee. .I arrived with Tasha ( Backpackers Wanderlust ) who is a travel blogger from New Zealand and who eventually became my roommate for half of the trip.
Trivandrum, or Thiruvananthapuram, is the capital city of Kerala, India. It is also the largest city in this state. For Mahatma Gandhi, it is the Evergreen city of India. Tourist Places in Trivandrum really has vast and lush green hill stations that are popular for trekking and home to different flora and fauna.
Trivandrum is also the center of tourism activities in Kerala because of the different choices it offers. I’ve already mentioned that they have hill stations where you can go trekking. They also have a wealth of beaches, heritage museums, art galleries, and temples.
In this article, I’d like to share with you the some of the best tourist places in Trivandrum.
Trivandrum Tourist Places
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple, sometimes spelled as Padmanabha Swamy, is located near the Thiruvananthapuram Central. We couldn’t enter the temple because it’s strictly for Hindu devotees only. They also follow dress code so people were changing to wear a sari and white cloth just to get through the entrance. Right outside the temple, there are dhotis available for rent. We still appreciate the exterior of the temple. And, there are food stalls and souvenir shops outside the temple.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest temple or place of worship of any religion. It has six chambers, namely vaults A to F, five of which have already been opened. The vaults are said to contain jewelry, utensils, weapons, idols, and bags of gold coins.
Vault B is the main vault. It is also considered the most mysterious and sacred. There are many articles that speak about the mystery of this chamber. But, it’s hard to tell which are true.
Kuthira Malika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum
An attraction near the Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the Kuthira Malika Palace Museum, officially called Puthen Malika Palace Museum. Puthen Malika means New Mansion while Kuthira Malika means Horse Mansion.
122 horses are carved on its wooden roof brackets. Every room has intricate carvings as well. Basically, the Palace Museum represents the traditional architecture of Kerala.
Kuthira Malika Palace Museum is open every week except on Mondays and holidays, from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM. Admission fee is INR 20 per person for foreigners and INR 15 to take pictures but does not cover taking pictures of its interiors.
Napier Museum is located right in the center of the city. It is also referred to as the Government Art Museum. It showcases the wealthy cultural heritage of Kerala through the historic and archaeological artifacts like the ancient ornaments, temple chariots, ivory statue and bronze idols.
It got its name in honor of Lord Charles Napier, the governor of Madras from 1866 until 1872. Madras, the now called Chennai, is the capital of Tamil Nadu, Southern India.
Entry fee is INR 10 per adult and INR 4 per child. An additional payment of INR 10 will be required for those with cameras.
There’s also a separate fee to the Zoo and Gallery. Entry fee for both is INR 20 per adult and INR 5 per child. We didn’t go in this section though.
The art gallery located in the northern section of Napier Museum is the Sree Chitra Art Gallery. It displays some of the works of the greatest Indian artists like Raja Ravi Varma. On the other hand, Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in India. It is a home to many species, including those coming from the other parts of the world.
Kovalam is a crescent-shaped beach which is divided into three by the outcroppings. Its three beaches are Lighthouse, Hawa, and Samudra beaches.
The Samudra Beach is the least visited beach among the three. Not ideal for swimming due to large rocks. But, there are many beachfront restaurants to dine in.
The Hawa beach is the second best beach of Kovalam. The local fishermen set out to the sea from here.
The Lighthouse beach is the largest area among the three. It is an ideal for swimming and other water sports like surfing, paragliding, and parasailing. It is also the favorite spot for photographers too because of its idyllic scenery.
Where to stay
Mascot Hotel is at least 20 minutes away from the Trivandrum International Airport and 30 minutes away from Kovalam. It is operated by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). Mascot hotel is the oldest heritage hotel of KTDC. It was first built during the World War as accommodation for British Officers.
Basic room amenities include, among others, private bathroom with shower, TV with satellite channel, aircon, coffee or tea maker, and minibar. Main hotel facilities include Ayurveda center, massage and spa treatment room, coffee shop, in-house restaurant, bar, and swimming pool.
From this hotel, you can walk 10 minutes to visit the Art Museum and the zoo.
Hotel Samudra KTDC
Hotel Samudra KTDC is a premium hotel well-situated in Kovalam. It is also controlled by KTDC.
It’s not a five-star hotel but staying in this hotel sure is worthwhile. It offers premium and deluxe suites complete with basic amenities similar to that of Mascot Hotel. Plus, the suites at Hotel Samudra KTDC have a relaxing view of the beach. In fact, it is just 2-minute walk to the Samundra beach.
You can also visit Varkala Beach which is located 2 hours away up north of the Kovalam Beach. It is believed to have waters that wash away of all the sins of an individual. Shankumugham Beach is a white sand beach that is only 24 minutes away from Kovalam Beach.
Other beaches in Kerala to look out for are Poovar, Azhimala Beach, Vizhinjam Beach and Veli Beach.
Thiruvananthapuram also boasts Agasthyarkoodam and Ponmudi, both popular areas for trekking. Other museums in Kerala are Kerala Science and Technology Museum, Kerala Soil Museum and Koyikkal Palace Museum.
Trivandrum was a good place to start our #tripofalifetime for #keralablogexpress. We had our first press conference here but more than that —- the beach expereince in Kovalam marked the beginning of getting to know all the 30 new faces that I am to spend 15 days with in this trip. It was a damn beautiful view to have a get to know you.
Stay tuned for more updates about my trip to Kerala