Thursday, 13 August, 2009

Tourist spots in Thiruvananthapuram - Part 2

This is the second part of the listing of tourist spots in Thiruvananthapuram. See the first part of the listing here.

Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple

This temple is situated near the city bus station at the East Fort. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the landmark of the city. It was renovated by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1733. The temple is a fine specimen of South Indian and Dravidian architecture. Non Hindus are not permitted inside this temple.

Kuthiramalika Museum
This museum is located near Sree Padmanabhaswami temple, Eastfort. The building itself is unique in its Kerala architecture. It is closed on Mondays.

Padmanabhapuram Palace
From 16th to late 18th century Padmanabhapuram, 55 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, was the capital of Travancore. Consequent on the State’s demarcation on linguistic basis, the Palace went to Tamil Nadu. But, the Palace is administered by Department of Archaeology, Government of Kerala. 55 Km. away from Trivandrum on the way to Nagercoil, this palace was once the royal residence of the Travancore kings before they shifted the capital from Padmanabhapuram to Trivandrum. An old fort is situated here. The wooden palace contains 17th and 18th century murals. The construction of this palace is typical of the native architectural idioms and fascinating example of art and craftsmanship.

The unique Palace is created in wood. The simplicity and elegance of the structure is beyond easy description. The construction initiated by Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal in 1601 AD was completed in 1744 by Maharaja Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. He dedicated it to Lord Padmnabha (Vishnu) and christened, Padmnabha Perumal Palace. In the passing of time the name became transformed to Padmanabhapuram Palace. The opening timings Tues-Sun 9am -1pm &2-4.30 pm.

For the construction, teak and granite went into. Slopped roofs, carved ceilings, sculptured d├ęcor, exquisite murals and the gleaming floors make the Palace a breathtaker. Take a round of Poomukham (entrance hall) Uppanika Malika (4-storyed king’s quarter), the Manthrasala(council chamber) and the Mattupavu (balcony). The large Oottupura (dining hall), the Navrathri Mandapam (dancing hall for Navarathri days) and Thaikottaram (queen mother’s Palace) include in the round list.

A unique cot made of 64 types of medicinal woods in the king’s private chamber is a privilege to see. The Pooja room made of a jack tree carved, musical bows in mahagony, the large earthen urns, the sculptured horse and rider brass lamp, the ornate Chinese throne, Belgian mirrors and other heritage items occupy 108 rooms of the Palace. The oldest part of the complex is 'Ekandamandapam' dating back to 1550 it was used for rituals for the goddess Durga.

Further points of interest include a dining hall intended for the free feeding of over two thousand Brahmins and a loose ring attached to the column carved from a single piece of jackwood that bears the testimony of the timeless charm of carpentry art. If the visitor is an archaeologist, a historian, a novelist, be sure a big note book is in hand. It is mandatory to have a guide.

Science & Technological Museum
Situated at PMG, is 2kms from the city. A treasure of science and technology. Even a layman get exalted. An outsmarting Planetarium is a great draw. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Mondays.

Napier Museum
The museum is named after erstwhile British Governor of Madras, Napier. The museum structure itself is a marvelous. Tall and slander towers, stained glass windows and special type roofs make the structure different. Large collections of bronzes, historical ornaments, temple chariots and ivory items are on display.
It has a good collection of bronzes, historical ornaments, temple chariots and ivory carvings. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Wednesday mornings and Mondays.

Thiruvananthapuram Zoo
A century and half old zoo, the fifth oldest in India, was set up by Uthram Thirunal, the former ruler and king of Travancore. No rival in India for its design and layout. The beautiful Victorian-style cages, the lake, the curling pathways, the lawns, and the nearby Top Garden are the plus marks. Most of the animals are in open enclosures. Almost all types of wild species nurtured here. This zoo inspired award-winning book by Yann Martel. The book, Life of Pi, earned Man Brooker Prize of 2002. He frequented the zoo to get the stuff for his book. It is situated near the Napier Museum and it is one of the best zoos in south India. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays.

Sree Chithira Art Gallery
Situated in Napier museum grounds. Good collection of paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Roerich, copies of Rajput, Mughals and Tanjore schools of art and paintings, and that of Ajantha, Ali Bagh Caves exhibited. The collection of paintings from China, Japan, Bali and Tibet include. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Wednesday mornings and Mondays.

The Marine Aquarium
Situated at Vizhinjam, it is 18kms from the city. Though shabby, it has a treasure of marine wealth. Squirrel fish, clown fish of Nemo fame finding, moon wrasse, lion fish, butterfly fish, giant turtles, trigger fish, aggressive surgeon fish, deadly piranhas and sharks. The Aquarium has perfected image pearl production technique. A mould made of shell cement is implanted into the pearl oyster. Within 2/3 months, the moul-shape pearl is ready. The pearl images of Virgin Mary, Christ, Hindu Gods and Goddesses and other images put on display.

Folklore and Numismatics Museum
It is located at Nedumangad, 20 km away from Thiruvananthapuram city. The museum is housed in the 17th century Koyikkal Palace which is Kerala’s traditional Nalukettu (four-sided structure with inner courtyard). This Palace was originally belonged to Venad royal family.( Tues-Sun 10am -5pm)

The museum has several exclusives. It has two wings – one for Folklore and the other for Numismatics. The Folklore wing exhibits antique musical instruments and representative household utensils reflecting art, culture and lifestyle of ancient Kerala. A chilambu (anklet), a chandravalayam (a rarest percussion instrument) and maravuni (dress material made of tree barks) are rare items unnoticed anywhere else. The three ornamental palanquins for carrying the royal ladies and the musical instruments and elaborate jewellery used in temples are some of the other attractions.

The Numismatics wing displays the largest coin collections in India. It includes coins of different ages from across the world, apart from various dynasties and specifics to Kerala. Amaida, a venetian coin that is believed to have been presented to Jesus Christ, a specimen of 2500-year old Karsha and world’s most tiny coin, rasi, are also in the proud possession of the Numismatic wing of the museum.


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