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Thiruvananthapuram


Thiruvananthapuram - The capital of Kerala,

Sprawling across seven hills,  crouched by the Western Ghats, is located at the southern most tip of India.  The district boasts of a long shore line with internationally renowned beaches such as Kovalam and Varkala; historic monuments, backwater stretches and a rich cultural heritage.  Besides the natural beauty, the rich history and culture of the district has made it a popular tourist destination.

Places of interest:

Akkulam Beach Club: Lake with boating facilities, Children’s Park. Botanical and Zoological Gardens’s: Zoo, aviary, reptile house,  exotic trees and lake aquarium on the beach near by.  Chithira Art Gallery: The best collection of Raja Ravi varma’s paintings, Roerich landscapes, copies of Rajput and Mughal paintings, Tanjore and Ajanta cave paintings and miniature paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.   The Fort: Palaces and homes of the former rulers Travencore, the Kanakakunnu Palace- master pieces of Kerala architecture.  Handy craft Design Centre: Ivory work, woodcrafting and shell work on display.  Napier Museum: Beautiful gardens,  fine collection of bronze and stone sculpture and modern handicrafts.  ShankumughamBeach: Palm-fringed beach near the Airport, indoor recreation club.  Science and Technology Museum:   Located near Mascot Hotel  -  a must visit for students.  Veli Tourist Village: Beautiful gardens exquisite sculptures and Floring Bridge, enhanting lagoon for swimming, boating and water sports.  Neyyar  Dam: Boating, Crocodile Farm,Lion Safari Park.  Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary:  Wild variety of vegetation and landscape- from Tropical wet evergreen forest to grasslands.    Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary: Located on the Western Ghats, a variety of birds, elephants, samba, leopard and lion tailed macaque.  Pon Mudi : Beautiful hill station, tea plantations, enchanting sceneries and deep forest trails ideal for hiking and trekking.   Varkala: -Coastal Village:   2000 year old Janardhanaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu,  sea shore- pilgrim sport,mineral water springs. Vizhinjam: Important fishing port.  The highest point in the district is the Agasthyarkoodam which rises 1869 m above sea level is pretty close to the city.   Ponmudi and Mukkunimala are hill-resorts near the city.  It offers you a bunch of places of interest. Kovalam, one of the finest beaches in the whole of India,  is only a half an hour ride from the city.   Another wonderful beach and pilgrimage centre is  Varkala  whcih is also easily accessible by road.   Just two hours ride away from Trivandrum lies Kanyakumari, a place in India where you could see both sunrise and sunset. The hillstation Ponmudi is 61 Km from the city,  offers you a day full of beautiful sights.  The Ananthapuri temple right in the heart of the city is a historic monument and is a magnificent portrait.

History -Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient region with trading traditions dating back to1000 BCE.   It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram in 1036 BCE.   The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory.   However,  the ancient political and cultural history of the city was almost entirely independent from that of the rest of Kerala. The early rulers of the city were the Ays. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the rulers of Venad.

The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore.  Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital of Travancore in 1745 after shifting the capital from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district.  The city developed into a major intellectual and artistic centre during this period. The golden age in the city's history was during the mid 19th century under the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal.  This era saw the establishment of the first English school (1834), the Observatory (1837), the General Hospital (1839), the Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library and the University College (1873). The first mental hospital in the state was also started during the same period.  Sanskrit College, Ayurveda College, Law College and a second grade college for women were started by Moolam Thirunal (1885–1924).

The early 20th century was an age of tremendous political and social changes in the city.  The Sree Moolam Assembly established in 1904 was the first democratically elected legislative council in any Indian state.  Despite not being under direct control of the British Empire at any time, the city however featured prominently in India's freedom struggle.   The Indian National Congress had a very active presence in the city.   A meeting of the Indian National Congress presided by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was held here in 1938.

With the end of the British rule in 1947, Travancore chose to join the Indian union. The first popular ministry headed by Pattom Thanu Pillai was installed in office on 24 March 1948.   In 1949, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Thiru-Kochi, the state formed by the integration of Travancore with its northern neighbour Kochi.  The king of Travancore, Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma became the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from July 1, 1949 until October 31-1956. When the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956,  Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new state.

A major milestone in the city's recent history was the establishment of Technopark—India's first IT park—in 1995 Technopark has developed into the largest IT Park in India and third largest in Asia, employing around 38,000people in 280 companies This placed Thiruvananthapuram on the IT map of India and it is today one of the most promising in the country in terms of competitiveness and capability.

Several great artists, the most famous ones being Maharaja Swathi Thirunal, IrayimmanThampi and Raja Ravi Varma, Maharaja Swathi Thirunal was a great composer and played a vital role in the development of Carnatic music.   There is a music college in his name in the city – Swathi Thirunal College of Music.  Raja Ravi Varma was a famous painter of international renown. His contributions to Indian art are substantial.  Most of his famous paintings are preserved at the Sree Chithra Art Gallery in the city.  The Padmanabha Swamy Temple and the fort surrounding it, the Napier Museum and Zoo, the VJT hall, Palayam Mosque and Church are among the prominent heritage buildings in the city.  The Veli Lake  and Shankumugham beach are home to various sculptures of the noted sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman.   Many people, including Mahatma Gandhi have admired the city's greenery.

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