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In the mild sunshine caressing Kerala- ‘God’s Own Country’, the humble city of Thiruvananthapuram has a blissfully contrast ambience. The lush green landscapes and attractive beaches, the scenic beauty, the aroma of spices and the hospitality allure a tourist but the metropolitan hue and flurry life is also relatively prominent. Built across seven hills and pulsating around the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, it is a worthy capital of Kerala and is drenched in tradition, folklore and literature.

Thiruvananthapuram gets its name from the word Thiru-anantha-puram which means ‘Abode of Lord Anantha’, the serpent Shesha on whom Lord Vishnu reclines. Ancient Thiruvananthapuram was a trading centre of sandalwood, ivory and spices. The Ays were the early rulers of this exquisite city, followed by the Vaynad kings. But the most commendable rule over Thiruvananthapuram was that of King Swathi Thirunal and Ayilyam Thirunal. It was during their rule that research centers and schools were founded. Thiruvananthapuram has treaded a long path since 1036 BCE to be what it is today- a modernized metropolis bustling with techies, epitome of education in the entire state of Kerala and a prominent centre of the trading traditions dating back to 1000 BCE.

As you walk through the winding lanes of Thiruvananthapuram, houses shaped like Pagodas with typical red tiled roofs and small cafes around the corners come into picture, a telltale of original and retained Kerala lifestyle. Known as one of the most beautiful and green cities of India, Thiruvananthapuram is worth exploring.

 

The most dominant feature of Thiruvananthapuram is the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This 260 year old temple has been the erstwhile guardian of this city since a long stretch of time. Spreading along an area of over 2400 square meters, it is made up of 10,000 salagramam or sacred stones that were specially transported from Nepal loaded on elephants. The main entrance is 30 meters tall; it’s a seven tier gateway or Gopuram.  Open officially only to the Hindus, it is one the most sacred shrines all over India.

 

The Puthe Maliga Palace Museum was once the royal residence of the Maharajas of Travancore. Today, it is converted into a museum that exhibits beautiful paintings, unique and valuable collections of the Travancore royals. Exquisitely carved wooden ceiling are the specialty of this museum. Each year, in the months of January or February, a Classical Music Festival is held here, artists from all over India attend this musical extravaganza and visitors are charmed by their breath taking performances. For those who have a taste for music must make it a point to attend this Festival. A visit to this museum can be clubbed with that of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

 

Demonstrating a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments and ivory carvings is yet another museum, the Napier Museum. Established in 1855 it is a famous art and natural history museum that is thronged by tourists. The Sri Chitra Gallery (Art Gallery) is adjacent to this museum and contains renowned works by Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich. There are also works of the Mughal and Tanjore Art.

 

In the grounds of this Museum is a Zoological Park. It was established in 1857 by the Maharaja of Travancore for recreational purposes. It is home to 82 species of different animals from all around the world. Animals like Lion-tailed Macaques, Nilgiri Langurs, Indian Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tigers and Leopards can be seen here. African animals like Giraffes, Hippos, Zebras and Cape Buffaloes also occupy this park. It is a treat to watch these animals wander freely around the open enclosures in a natural habitat. A snake farm in vicinity exhibits to its visitors both poisonous and non poisonous snakes. Huge trees like Frangipani and Jacaranda dot the area.

 

Another tourist attraction in Trivandrum is the Shankumugham Beach. Proximal to the Airport, this beach is away from the chaos of the city and its serenity is contagious. A 35 meter long, giant sculpture of a Mermaid or Jalakanyaka made by Kanayi Kunhiraman adds to the attraction of this beach. Across the beach is a restaurant by the name ‘Starfish Restaurant’, shaped like a starfish. It is popular for food attributes and is always crowded. It boasts also of an open air theatre and good parking facilities. A relaxed evening at the beach side watching the sunset can be pleasant.

 

At a point where the Veli Lake merges with the Arabian Sea is a well known picnic spot, Veli Tourist Village. It is located around 12 kilometers away from the main city. Exploring this small stretch of beach in paddleboats or speed boats can be a great experience. Sculptures by famous artist Kanayi Kunhiraman can be seen here. Also, there is an open air auditorium, which is a great venue for cultural activities and art festivals.

 

Apart from being an unpretentious capital, Trivandrum has more to its name. Its fertile soils help grow rarest of rare herbs and it has a perfect blend of hills, plains, winding rivers that meet the oceans and lush green forests that have helped Ayurveda flourish. A holistic approach to healing, Ayurveda has been an added attraction of this city. Therapies and massages done at various Ayurveda clinics have been tremendously well received by the domestic and foreign crowds, thus increasing the tourist influx by manifolds. A rejuvenating retreat on your holiday, the Ayurveda clinics are like a perfect ad-on.

 

Serenity personified as it is, Thiruvananthapuram has its own benign charm.  The greenery, simplicity and particularly the typical Kerala touch that entwines its existence, makes it a unique destination. Aligning your tours so as to include this place will only add to the joy of visiting what they call the - ‘God’s Own Country’, Kerala.


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Ashram, a Sad Place in Trivandrum - by Lokesh Mehta Dated : 2011-05-28
The ashram that I visited in Trivandrum was not at all an enjoyable place. The room of the ashram, where I was living, was sad. There were bugs that used to come inside the room, as the windows did not have screens. The room was just a cement block which was always damp.

As a result of the damp room, my clothes were not drying. I also heard that the girl, who was staying in the room before me, had to throw away her clothes, as mould had grown on her clothes.

The worst part of staying in the ashram was that I had to attend the satsang every day. As a result of the satsang, I left the ashram in less than a week’s time. Satsang is nothing but a routine of chanting and worshipping. This was held twice a day and was very boring.

In the satsang, you are supposed to pray to god and participate in religious ceremonies. If you don’t wish to attend the satsang, the staffs of the ashram find you and ask you to attend it. The organisers of the satsang take everybody’s attendance before the stasang begins, thus you are trapped.

You can imagine, how boring the satsang must be, because even after paying for it, people didn’t want to attend it. I shared my thoughts about the satsang with some other people in the ashram and even they were finding it boring.
Ashram, Not a Good Option in Trivandrum - by Neha Shetty Dated : 2011-05-28
I had heard a lot about the Ashram in Trivandrum. I decided to go the alone, as I didn’t want to be disturbed by anybody. So I reached Trivandrum airport and headed towards the ashram.

I knew that the owners of the ashram also provide yoga training, so I decided to take up the yoga training along with my visit to the ashram. The time when I went to the ashram, was an off season, so the yoga was even more enjoyable.

What I mean is that, as it was an off season there were only 30 people in the yoga class. Thus, everyone got personal attention and the yoga teachers were also well trained. Therefore the yoga classes were well instructed.

The yoga classes were held twice a day and were excellent, but everything else about the ashram was sad. The food served at the ashram was sloppy. But I knew that what I was eating at the ashram was much healthier that what I eat normally. Therefore I somehow convinced myself to eat the food every day.

It was not only the food that was bad in the ashram, even my room was sad. It was dark and damp. The windows didn’t have screens and the owners of the ashram had provided a mosquito net in the room.

Thus my visit to the ashram was not enjoyable.
My Lovely Visit to Trivandrum - by Lila Pandit Dated : 2011-05-28
My father is a very religious person, so you can imagine how big an occasion it must be for him to visit the Shri Padmanabhaswami temple. I went to Trivandrum with my father to visit this temple. My mother was down with an upset stomach, so she could not accompany us, although she really wanted to visit the temple.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple can also be called a tourist attraction, due to its enchanting beauty. Only Hindus are allowed to enter this temple, so people of all other religions, come here to just look at the magnificence of this temple. But people should not compare this temple to a museum or art gallery, because the bottom line is that it is a temple.

There is a proper dress code which has to be followed in the Shri Padmanabhaswami temple. Men are supposed to wear dhotis with no shirts and women are supposed to wear sarees or long skirts.

The temple personnel are very strict about the dress code and thus these outfits are available outside the temple for a nominal price. These clothes can be rented outside the temple; you don’t have to buy them permanently.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple is a must-visit destination in Trivandrum, for the people who want to experience the cultural heritage of the place.

Trivandrum is also called Thiruananthapuram and gets its name from the god in the Shri Padmanabhaswami temple.

My Spiritual Visit to Trivandrum - by Gautam Iyer Dated : 2011-05-28
Going to the Shri Padmanabhaswami temple in Trivandrum is truly a spiritual experience. My mother always wanted to visit the temple as it is one of the most important temples for Hindus. Being a Hindu, even I was excited to go to this temple. I went to Trivandrum with my mother and when we visited the temple, she was the happiest person in the world.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple is more than 1000 years old and it has a spiritual essence, because of its serene corridors. The corridors are gorgeous, as they have exquisite stone carvings. When you visit this temple, you will be lost, observing the beauty of the place.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple reminded me of the magnificent temples in Tamil Nadu. The temple is not open, the whole day. An ideal time to visit the temple is in the early mornings and evenings. Even the Sun is not harsh at this time.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple is huge and in spite of this, it is not very commercialised, so you can imagine how peaceful this temple must be. There will be touts, who will try to sell puja and aarati tickets, but I suggest that you should not buy these tickets. As the temple is not very commercialised, you can get a good darshan even without buying these tickets.

The Shri Padmanabhaswami temple is a nice place.
My Exciting Visit to Trivandrum - by Dipty Savant Dated : 2011-05-28
The Palace of horses in Trivandrum has gorgeous wooden ceilings. The wood in the ceilings is carved to perfection and looks very good. The palace also has the bohemian crystal throne as well as the ivory throne. Both these thrones are a sight to behold.

The Palace of horses has a collection of swords, chandeliers, guns, palanquins and marble sculptures. It also has a collection of idols and paintings of the Maharaja of Travancore.
Some of the paintings of the Maharaja were a little damaged. My heart bleeds when I see beautiful things from the past, which are damaged. I found the Kerala architecture very impressive. There are areas in the palace which were once used for debates and dances. Meditation was also carried out in the past, in these areas.

The Palace of horses also offers a view of the Padmanabhaswami temple towers.
I had been to Trivandrum with my elder brother. He had decided that he wants to take me to a good destination in India. He had taken an off from work. I was also working and thus had to take leave.

The city of Trivandrum gets its name from the god in the Shri Padmanabhaswami temple. Trivandrum is also called Thiruananthapuram. The Padmanabhaswami temple is the pride of Trivandrum. This temple is more than 1000 years old and is one of the best temples in Trivandrum.
My Trip to Trivandrum - by Arnav Subramaniam Dated : 2011-05-28
I have an elder sister and after her marriage, we rarely get an opportunity to meet. Therefore, we had decided to go to Trivandrum together. She took an off from work and I had my summer vacation going on, so I was free. We reached the Trivandrum airport and proceeded to our hotel. The hotel was indeed very nice and comfortable. We had decided to be in Trivandrum for 3 nights and 4 days.

My sister and I wanted to cover most places in Trivandrum, during our visit. We reached Trivandrum in the morning and as we had travelled by air, we very relatively fresh. We set out on our exploration of the city on the first day itself.

We went to the Palace of horses and hired a registered guide. We hired a guide, because without authentic information about the monument, our visit would have been incomplete.
The palace of horses was built by Maharaja Swathi, who was the king of Travancore. He was a poet as well as a musician. He was also a social reformer. The palace has some exquisite wood carvings.

The monument is also called Kuthiramalika, which mean Palace of horses. The name, Palace of horses, is derived from the 122 horses which are carved into wooden brackets. These brackets support the southern roof of the palace.

The Palace of horses is a beautiful place.

Ayurvedic Centre in Trivandrum - by Gautami Reddy Dated : 2011-05-28
The treatments offered at Rasa ayurvedic centre are very good. Rasa ayurvedic centre is meant only for women. When you are at this centre, one of the staff members will come to your room and accompany you till you reach the masseuse. There is again someone to accompany you on your way back to the room.

The staff at Rasa ayurveda is very well trained and skilled. The staff is also caring. There is a walking path in the neighbourhood. There are also temples close to the ayurvedic centre and the chanting from the temples can also be heard every day. This has a very soothing effect on the clients of Rasa ayurveda.

I used to go for a walk everyday when I was in Rasa ayurveda. I used to go for a walk on the walking path near the centre and the walks were wonderful.

There are 2 co-owners of Rasa ayurveda. One is an American and the other is an Indian. This is an amazing combination, because western sensibilities are mixed with Indian traditions.
As Rasa ayurveda caters only to women, there is emphasis given on small details, as women really like such things.

I recommend Rasa ayurveda to all women, as it is a serene and quite place where one can relax completely. It makes you forget all your worries and gives you an opportunity for rejuvenation.

I hope this will encourage you to go to go to this aruyvedic centre.
Rasa Ayurveda in Trivandrum - by Madhu Iyengar Dated : 2011-05-28
I had planned a visit to Trivandrum because I had heard a lot about Rasa ayurveda, which is a very good ayurvedic centre there. The centre only caters to women. A friend of mine had visited it and had given me an excellent feedback about the place. I couldn’t wait to reach Trivandrum and go to Rasa ayurveda.

Rasa ayurveda provides a complete healing experience and offers many ayurvedic treatments. This place is owned by Niika nad Sanju. Niika is an American and Sanju is an Indian. This provides an excellent mix of western technology and Indian tradition and the by-product is amazing.

Since this is an ayurvedic centre for women, there is a lot of emphasis which is laid on minute details. There are several good services provided at Rasa ayurveda. They provide a pick up facility from the airport and even when you reach the centre, you are pleased by the surroundings.

They provide lovely rooms and even the food is excellent. The schedule of the treatments is also comfortable. I had never expected to have great food, while I was undergoing a healing experience. Moreover, the food was made to suit my treatment.

There is a trained aruyvedic physician appointed to treat the clients. She evaluates the clients and provides the treatment regime. The herbal regimes are carried out in the comfort of your room. The feeling is that of getting pampered.
The Ayurvedic Centre in Trivandrum - by Madhup Nair Dated : 2011-05-28
Dr. Franklin’s aryuvedic centre in Trivandrum is an exotic centre. The aryuvedic centre is reasonably priced and thus is within everybody’s reach. The aryuvedic centre experience is so wonderful that you come out feeling de-stressed and relaxed. If you want to go in for a weight loss programme then, you will lose up to 7 kilograms, after visiting the centre.

When I went in for the panchkarma treatment in Dr. Franklin’s aryuvedic centre, I didn’t go there with a particular medical aliment, so I couldn’t see the results of the treatment. In a way, I am fortunate that I don’t have a medical ailment.

This was my first experience in an aryuvedic centre, so I cannot really compare it to other aryuvedic centres. You will have to refer to reviews from other people, if you want to have a look at this comparison. But all in all Dr. Franklin’s centre is very good.

Dr. Franklin’s is an aryuvedic centre of the resort variety also, as it caters to resorts. This means that they export ayurveda to resorts. Dr. Franklin’s centre is more of a medical centre, as people with medical aliments come there for treatment.

You can see that even though Dr. Franklin’s aryuvedic centre caters to a large number of Indian clients, it also has a lot of foreign clients, as the centre offers services to wellness resorts also.
Trivandrum, a True Ayurvedic Feeling - by Disha Sampat Dated : 2011-05-28
A friend of mine had recommended Dr. Franklin’s ayurvedic centre, to me, before my visit to Trivandrum. He had told me that the experience is truly out of this world. At first, I thought that my friend must be exaggerating, but when I went to Dr. Franklin’s ayurvedic centre, I realized that what he said was true.

I went in for the panchkarma treatment. I had to go in for an initial consultation, where I paid an initial amount of money and then there were daily check-ups of the treatment, every morning. There was a team of 5 doctors, out of which 1 doctor carried out the daily check-ups.

The doctor took my pulse and blood pressure every morning. As far as I saw, Dr. Franklin didn’t carry out any of the treatment for the patients. Initially there was the ghee treatment which was very pleasant. After that I was put on a programme, where there were daily massages and medication.

The massage and medication varied, every few days and were carried out for an entire month. Everything I have mentioned above was a part of the pachkarma treatment. The panchkarma treatment also involved a day of vomiting treatment which was disgusting. Then I was given fluid injections, which were not as unpleasant as they sound.

Thus you can see that the panchkarma treatment is a truly rejuvenating experience.
Trivandrum, an Ayurvedic Experience - by Ashish Nair Dated : 2011-05-28
Trivandrum is known for its ayurvedic spas. These spas are an attraction for a lot of foreign tourists, as these spas are a truly relaxing experience.

I had visited Trivandrum alone, as I wanted to experience the ayurvedic spa. I spent my time at Dr. Franklin’s spa and I took up the panchkarma or 5 action cleansing activity. I also used Dr. Franklin’s spa, as a base from which I could explore Trivandrum.

In this review I’ll tell you all about Dr. Franklin’s spa. This spa is very relaxing and popular. It also offers very good value for money. The people of this spa are very professional, so you can be rest assured that you will have a good time there.

Dr. Franklin’s spa is in Chowara. It lies on the road which leads to the beach near the Somatheeram resort. This spa is located 8 kilometres away from Kovalam. I was staying in one of the best air-conditioned rooms in Dr. Franklin’s and the entire staffs were very welcoming and hospitable.

Dr. Franklin’s spa also provided a good yoga instructor. The first thing I used to do after getting up in the morning was to practice some yoga under the guidance of the instructor. I used to practice yoga for half an hour every morning.

Thus you can see that Dr. Franklin’s sap has reasonable prices and is very good.