Mahatma Gandhi once referred to Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, as the “evergreen city of India “, it sits close to the extreme southerly point of Kerala on low rolling hills. This city is both ancient and modern, historic temples and palaces and modern research facilities side by side, plus this is where the Indian space project began.

Sree Padmanabhaswami Temple is world famous since the discovery of treasures said to be worth 1000000 crore ($18 billion ), in the temple vaults. Visitors must adhere to the dress code before going in to the temple.

Padmanabhapuram Palace at Kanyakumari was the home of the Rajas of Travancore until the late 18th century, made entirely of wood, the architecture is typically Kerala style. Set in seven acres of buildings, courtyards and verandahs, it is wise to take a guided tour, there are a total of 108 rooms !!. The ornate wood carvings, sculptures, Keralan brass oil lamps and furnishings from as far away as China, are fascinating.

A 30 ft wall kept Tipu Sultan from taking the palace complex in the 18th century.

Napier Museum and Sree Chithra Art Gallery are in the same compound at the heart of the city. The museum design is a mix of Keralan, Moghul, Chinese and Italian architectural styles, which complement each other. The rare artifacts on display, ornaments, carvings and many other items from Kerala,s history, are beautifully displayed. Nearby in the Sree Chithra Art Gallery, you can see paintings by Kerala,s famous Raja Ravi Varma, and a magical oriental collection from Japan, Tibet, Bali and China which give a glimpse of the culture and art of these nations.

Trivandrum Zoo is 55acres of woodland and lakes which is now planned out as natural enclosures for the 80 plus animal species from around the world. Alongside the recreational aspect for visitors, the zoo is dedicated to conservation and preservation of endangered species. There are also a wide variety of species from the bird and reptile worlds all managed to promote their health and well being. Yann Martel wrote his book ( now a movie) Life of PI after studying a lion at this zoo for many months.

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