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Book a flight to Thiruvananthapuram with Qatar Airways, described by Mahatma Gandhi as India’s ‘Evergreen City’, and enjoy the delights of one of southern India’s great historic cities. More than a millennium old, the ‘City of Lord Anantha’ is named after a mythological serpent and was once a major trading post for sandalwood and ivory. Fly to Thiruvananthapuram and you can explore a city that is a major hub for science and technology, besides occupying a beautiful spot on the Arabian Sea.
Begin your trip to Thiruvananthapuram with a visit to the iconic Sree Anantha Padmanabha Temple, a complex of forts, museums and palaces around which the modern city was built. This major Vishnu temple has a rich mix of Tamil and Kerala architecture and its landmark Padmatheertham Pond is a delight to stroll around in the evening.
No visit to Thiruvananthapuram is complete without seeing the magnificent Padmanabhapuram Palace, in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest wooden palace. This rosewood and glass extravaganza was home to the Travancore Royal Family and contains many relics of the Maharajas.
On your trip to Thiruvananthapuram, drop into the India Coffee House Thampanoor with its unique spiral design. Also check out the colourful dolls in the Chacha Nehru Children’s Museum. For evening relaxation, head for Shanghumukham Beach to see magnificent sunsets. There’s an amazing giant mermaid sculpture here and a restaurant shaped like a starfish.
For a spot of culture, Kerala Art College is housed in a sprawling old colonial building. As well as hosting regular exhibitions, you can take a tour of the workshops and see traditional Indian crafts created by the next generation of artisans. Don’t forget to visit the Zoological Park too – it was opened in 1843 and was India’s first zoo.
There are lots of restaurants in Thiruvananthapuram that serve authentic South Indian food. Chinese, North Indian and continental food is also easy to find. If you’re looking for something hot and spicy try the puttu and mutton curry in outlets close to the East Fort. But be warned, the chefs make generous use of some pretty robust chillies!
For quality, wholesome snacks, there are plenty of more westernised snack bars and restaurants serving seafood, burgers and fried chicken. For more upmarket traditional Arabian dishes look out for authentic local restaurants near the MLA hostel. There are also Michelin-starred dining experiences to be discovered, offering you the full range of cuisine from on-the-go street food through to fine dining.
If you’re travelling to Thiruvananthapuram for shopping, you’ll soon discover lots of good shopping plazas and department stores in the city. The best of these are located around the East Fort area, where there are also numerous handicraft shops. Here you can buy reasonably priced sandalwood, whitewood and rosewood statues of traditional subjects.
If you’re interested in textiles then the Fort area is renowned for its traditional clothing, and branded Western fashions are also available in the area. Haggling is perfectly acceptable and indeed expected, especially when dealing with market vendors.
Qatar Airways flights to Thiruvananthapuram arrive at Trivandrum International Airport, two miles from the city centre.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Thiruvananthapuram please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / D
Language: Hindi / English
International dialing code: +91
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