Trivandrum (official name Thiruvananthapuram), lying on the southwest coast of India, is the capital to the state of Kerala. The place is well connected to most of the other major cities of India through rail, road, and air network. Because of its proximity to the sea, the climate of Trivandrum is tropical. This also gives Trivandrum a very pleasant weather round the year. The average maximum temperature can go up to 35.2 degree celsius in summer months and to a minimum of 18.0 degree celsius in the winters. Monsoon comes to Trivandrum in the month of May and remains until November.
Trivandrum is the knowledge capital of the Kerala, boasting of premier R&D institutions of national and international stature such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (Space Launch Vehicle Design and Development activity), integral arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, employing over 7000 high tech professionals; the Regional Research Laboratory which is home to scientists working in cutting edge research areas of agro processing, chemical technologies, biotechnology, waste water technology, material sciences and mineral processing; the Electronics Research and Development Centre India ER & DCI, which has established itself as one of India's premier electronics design and development centers and training centres for IBM mainframes; the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (www.rgcb.org), Kerala's apex research center for Biotechnology; the Tropical and Botanical Research Institute under the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India; the Centre for Development Studies, a premier Social Science research institution engaged in interdisciplinary research in the development problems in India; the Centre for Earth Science Studies, a centre for excellence in Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research(IISER-TVM)-an instituion dedicated to scientific research and science education of international standards, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)- first in the world to offer the complete range of undergraduate, post graduate, doctoral programmes with specific focus to space science, technology and applications. The Technopark is located adjunct to the main campus of the Kerala University at Karyavattom that has graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs in 41 different departments.
Places to Visit
A must on every tourist itinerary, the Padmanabhaswami temple with its gopuram (tower) soaring majestically upwards, is believed to be one of the 108 shrines sacred to the Vaishnavites in India. Within its hallowed precincts, the main pavilion impresses with its 400 beautifully carved pillars of granite. The 100-feet-high gopuram comprises seven stories with each center. The stone basement of the tower is covered with elaborate sculptures and the masonry above is replete with ornamental works of figures from the Puranas and other ancient scriptures. Tapering towards the top, it bears the statue of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Inside the temple, the main shrine is well guarded with a number of massive doors, and darshan (audience) can be had through the three-door openings into the sanctum sanctorum.
Besides this magnificent temple, Thiruvananthapuram offers a great deal more. There is the Observatory to start with, established over a hundred years ago. Several kings have also built their palaces in and around the city, each more impressive than the other. Despite a few attempts at modernity, the city retains its discreet, old-world charm.
One can visit the Museum with its profusion of gables and turrets. A repository of fine works of art, the chief attraction here is the 250-year-old temple car made for Lord Vishnu, artistically designed and ornamented. Besides this, objects carved out of wood, models of temple, antique jewelry, etc., make the museum worth a visit.
Lying within the museum compound, Sri Chitra Art Gallery proves to be an ideal place for art lovers. The piece de resistance is the large section devoted to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, an Indian painter of distinction in the history of the country's modern art. Besides him, the Indian section also contains works of Rabindranath Tagore, Jamimi Roy, K. K. Hebar, miniatures from the Rajput and Mughal schools of painting and the famous Tanjore paintings encrusted with semi-precious stones. The gallery's collection also includes paintings from Indonesia, China, and Japan. Then, of course, a trip to Thiruvananthapuram is incomplete without a boat-ride on its enchanting backwaters. These waterways teem with life. It is not surprising, since there are more miles of waterways in the state - approximately 1,900 km to the 1,000 km of rail. The landscape is dotted with picturesque palms and thatched huts. One can be seduced by the panorama of beautiful landscapes, beaches and waterways, coconut palms and, of course, beautiful, friendly people.
Two nearby places worth visiting while in Trivandrum are Veli and Shankhumugham; the former has been converted into a superb tourist village while the latter boasts of lovely temples and a huge statue of a mermaid presently being worked upon by a famous sculptor.
An absolute must is Kovalam that lies barely 18 km away. The beach is considered one of the finest in the world and provides ingredients for an ideal holiday. Besides swimming, there are opportunities for surfing and water skiing - even an exhilarating catamaran ride into the sea.