Thiruvananthapuram India – 8 Things to Do Not to Get Bored
As well as being a city of culture, art, fusion cuisine and incredible natural beauty Thiruvananthapuram is also a place that offers plenty of things to do. There are numerous tourist attractions and activities to keep you busy, some of the most popular among them are dotted around the city centre, in the Fort area, at the southern end of the Mahatma Gandhi Road. Around there you will come across temples, palaces, martial arts and theatre schools, craft shops, art galleries, sport-adventure activities and a zoo. Thiruvananthapuram is abundant with things to do so, therefore, we recommend you choose wisely.
1. Adventure Sports
If you’re in search of something out of the ordinary we recommend you head to Thiruvananthapuram’s Academy for Mountaineering and Adventure Sports, which offers various adrenaline-driven land, water and air activities, ranging from SCUBA diving and rafting to skydiving, paragliding, mountaineering, rock climbing, jungle camping, river crossing and trekking. It also runs a number of training programmes such as yoga, meditation, first aid, swimming, and life-saving classes. The Academy has state-of-the-art equipment, excellent staff and offers a great opportunity to do something exciting and daring! The Academy for Mountaineering and Adventure Sports is located in Neyyattinkara, about an hour away from the Mahatma Gandhi Road.
2. Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the top tourist attractions in the city and albeit it is only open to Hindus it’s certainly worth a visit. It is an architectural monument dating back to the sixteenth century, which showcases Kerala’s historical and cultural past at its best. The main road leading to the temple, where the devotees bathe in a huge tank, is lined with small and large stalls selling religious souvenirs, where you can freely have a wander. If you happen to be in Thiruvananthapuram either in March/April or October/November you may chance upon the Arratu festival, which begins at the Temple and proceeds through the city streets with fireworks, drums and brightly decorated elephants heading to the sea for the ritual immersion of the Temple’s deity, Padmanabhaswamy.
3. Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, located just over 21 miles from Thiruvananthapuram is another key tourist attraction, which we heartily recommend you visit. Home to various endangered species, it is also home to tigers, leopards, sloth bears, elephants, sambar, barking deer, Nilgiri langur and a select number of birds, reptiles and amphibians. The Sanctuary is a must-see for wildlife lovers, particularly those in search of a Lion Safari adventure, which the reserve organises. It also offers lodgings, and an option for a two day trecking adventure. Best time to visit is between October and March. The Sanctuary’s opening hours are between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm (except Mondays when it is closed), and the entrance fee is around INR250.
4. Napier Museum and Natural History Museum
If, however, you prefer to stay in the city and seek out some culture we suggest you head to the Napier Museum, which is located in the same compound as The Natural History Museum. These two extraordinary historical buildings offer visitors an insight into the cultural history of Kerala and feature a great many artifacts, including a rare collection of archaeological and historic finds, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, an ancient holy chariot and ivory carvings. The latter of the Museums also contains rich repositories of a variety of objects that have immense scientific, historical and artistic value to Kerala’s distant past. The opening hours are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, (except Mondays, when it is closed), and the entrance fee will set you back a mere INR20.
5. Connemara and Chalai Markets
There is also plenty of shopping in Thiruvananthapuram especially along the Mahatma Gandhi Road, which is lined with stores selling various trinkets, sandalwood, bell-metal oil laps, handloomed cloths and curious bagatelles that you can pick up for next to nothing. Almost at the top of the road is the Connemara Market, which sells fresh vegetables, fish, wooden toys and traditional decorations. It also contains numerous textile stores, but the best place to pick up something of quality is in the nearby Chalai Market, on the road running east from the Fort. Having a leisurely meander along the streets jammed with little stores selling bolts of cloth, flowers, incense, spices and almost everything else is a great way to spend the afternoon and get to know the locals, who will be only to happy to help direct you to the best bargains in the vicinity.
6. Shankumugham Beach
Located about 5 miles from the city centre, Shankumugham Beach is the perfect place for an evening stroll before the sunset. The seemingly endless stretch of white sand and the tranquil atmosphere, away from the noise and the bustle of the city, provide all the ingredients for a relaxing and restful romantic setting. Fried food stalls spring up along the roadside, offering colourful spicy snacks and drinks, there’s also a seafood restaurant, an open-air theatre, a branch of the Indian Coffee House with seafront views, and sufficient car parking facilities. The beach, however, is most famous for Sagarakanyaka, or a huge sculpture of a mermaid, more than 35 metres long, made by the famous sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman between 1990-1992. The beach is also the place where the biannual procession of Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple culminates. We recommend you take an evening off from exploring the city and head to this place for a romantic evening, or a fun family meal.
7. Ayushmanbhava Ayurvedic Centre
Another great thing about Thiruvananthapuram – and Kerala on the whole – is that there is no shortage of spas and holistic healing centres. One of the best and one that we highly recommend is the Ayushmanbhava Ayurvedic Centre renowned for its principles that use Ayurveda treatments to heal the soul as well as the body. The centre promotes various schools of Yoga and an Ayurvedic lifestyle to encourage and promote a salubrious way of life. The centre specialises in treating chronic arthritis, diabetes, depression as well as skin related problems but general, holistic procedures are also widely available. With modern amenities and first-class hospitality, this place ticks all the boxes for a spot of rejuvenation. The prices vary depending on treatment and length of stay, but after a day at the Ayushmanbhava Ayurvedic Centre you'll be guaranteed to leave with a new lease of life. The Centre is located on Pothujanam Road, in Kumarapuram, in a serene and quiet site, surrounded by trees and a herbal garden.
8 .Thiruvananthapuram Zoo
North of Napier Museum, via the spectacular greenery of the former botanical gardens, is the city’s famous Zoo, which is one of the largest and best facilitated in India. Its collection of animals, containing over 75 species from the Subcontinent and beyond — including Africa, Ethiopia and South America — are housed in an extraordinary compound of modern open-air enclosures as well as Raj era structures. Indigenous species at the zoo include lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Indian rhinoceros, Asiatic lion, royal Bengal tiger, white tiger and leopard, as well as nine Asian elephants. Animals from Africa include giraffes, hippos, zebras, and the Cape buffalo. This is one of several family-orientated activities in the city, and one that we highly recommend. Although the zoo was originally built with the typical iron-barred cages prevalent in the eighteenth century and was designed for recreational purposes, it is now a conservation facility to preserve and protect wild animals. We highly recommend you spend the day there, leisurely enjoying all it has to offer. The entrance fee to the zoo is INR20 but extra charges apply for carrying a camera, car parking, and vehicle entrance into the zoo itself. Opening times are 9:00 am to 5:15 pm, but we suggest you get there early on holidays and weekends as it tends to get very busy.