Thiruvananthapuram, also known as Trivandrum, popularly known as the Queen of Arabian Sea and is located on the south west coast of India. Thiruvananthapuram means "City of Lord Anantha" in Sanskrit and the local Malayalam language. Lord Anantha, the serpent god upon whom Lord Vishnu is said to reclines, is the name of the deity of the Hindu temple at the centre of the city - the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Trivandrum, built on seven hills, is a wonderful base to explore Kerala. In addition to an internationally renowned beach (Kovalam), Trivandrum is often used as the access point to Kanyakumari - the southern most tip of India.
The city of Trivandrum literally split into "Tiru", "Anantha", "puram" means "The town of Lord Anantha". The statement is quite appropriate since the temple is at the heart of the town. The city and its several other districts emerged in ancient tradition, folklore and literature. The Ays were the leading political power till the beginning of the 10th century A.D. The disappearance of the Ays as a major political power synchronized with the emergence of the rulers of Venad.
In 1684, during the regency of Umayamma Rani, the English East India Company tried to have control at Anchuthengu on the sea coast about 32 km's north of Thiruvananthapuram city, with a view to erecting a factory and fortifying it.
Modern history begins with Marthanda Varma, who is generally regarded as the Father of modern Travancore (1729-1758 AD). Thiruvananthapuram was known as a great center of intellectual and artistic activities in those days. The accession of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal (1829-1847 AD) ushered in an epoch of cultural progress and economic prosperity.
In the year 1834, started the beginning of English education by opening an English school at Thiruvananthapuram. In 1836, an observatory and a charity hospital were established at Thiruvananthapuram. During the reign of Ayilyam Thirunal (1860-1880), a fully equipped Arts College was started besides several English, Malayalam and Tamil schools. In 1904, the Shri Moolam Assembly came into being. The activities of the Indian National Congress echoed in Thiruvananthapuram and other parts of Kerala during the reign of Shri Moolam Thirunal. In 1938, a political conference of the Congress was held in the city under the presidency of Dr. Pattabi Sitaramaiah.
By Air: Trivandrum International airport is just 10 km away from the heart of the city. The airport is well linked with all major air terminals in India and many cities in abroad.
By Rail: Trivandrum railway station is a major railway junction in the south of India. Many train services originates from here. It is connected to all parts of India by direct train services, including Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Howrah and Hyderabad.
By Road: Kerala Road Transport Corporation buses operates ordinary, fast, super fast and Volvo buses from Trivandrum to all cities in Kerala and many cities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Private bus operators run deluxe tourist buses from Trivandrum to Bangalore, Chennai and Kozhikode daily.
The prime shopping district in Thiruvananthapuram is MG Road, where there are a number of shopping complexes and shopping stores selling everything from local spices to handicrafts made out of wood, horn, metal, coir and handloom. Among the must buy souvenirs for shopaholics are rosewood and sandalwood carvings, brass and bell metal lamps, coir mats, spices, coffee, tea and cashewnuts. Other Kerala specialities include gold jewellery, traditional saris, Kathakali masks, bronzes and delightfully yummy banana chips, which are so an integral part of Kerala''s cuisine.
Thiruvananthapuram offers a fairly wide variety of accommodations for travellers, ranging from luxurious five star hotels to budget accommodation for the cost conscious. the luxury segment comprises of the Muthoot Plaza and The South Park-A Fortune Hotel. Mid rung hotels are very comfortable and easier on the pockets as well. Good options in this category are Hotel Mascot and the Isola Di Cocco Beach Resort. Budget hotels include Manaltheeram Beach Resort and Hotel Abad Palmshore.
There are established a range of hotels at Trivandrum. Budget hotels are most in number and located throughout the city. Some known hotels of Trivandrum are:
5 star hotels : The Muthoot Plaza Hotel.
4 star hotels : The South Park Hotel, Hotel Saj Lucia, Hotel Residency Tower.
3 star hotels : Hotel Mascot, Hotel Pankaj.
Budget Hotels and Lodges : Hazeen, Manacaud, Prasanth Tourist Home, Jas Hotel.
Great Elephant Race
One of the most popular festivals in Kerala is the Great Elephant Race in Trivandrum held in January every year. Besides Trivandrum this unique event also takes place in a few major cities of Kerala such as Thrichur and Alappuzha.