This was a planned train journey to Trivandrum. Yes with increasing road trips and flights, the child at home had literally forgotten the joys of a long journey on a train. Of course going by train was also a convenient option as it was an overnight journey from Bangalore and a few hours more.
So we set out in peak season of being the tourist season on train journeys and scorching heat too. It was also the time for the state to celebrate one of its favourite festivals, Vishu.
So our primary agenda was to visit the temple as the city is famed for Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple. As per the custom we were dressed in traditional attires like sarees and dhotis (even kids have to wear dhotis and skirts). But we did find a huge rush thanks to the festive season. There are two important points which I do feel it’s important to mention out here.
One not all public spaces can be crowd free, luxurious or comfortable and neither is it required for travel journeys to be luxurious. This was something kids travelling with us learnt and in a way, we were glad that they were embracing all experiences as travel and life cannot be comfortable, secluded or luxurious all the time. This was particularly re-iterated in this trip by travelling in a train (despite being a III tier AC coach ) and visiting a temple that can attract huge crowds.
Once the temple visit was done, it was time to chalk out the next day’s itinerary and we had intended to go to two beaches. Trivandrum has the huge advantage of having two pristine, clean and stunning beaches to boast. Kovalam beach which also has the light house is stunning and offers ample opportunity for you and the kids if travelling to completely soak in exotic views. The waters are clean and you can go for a long walk, indulge in sand play with kids or just lie idle watching the stunning sunset.
(Clean waters at Kovalam beach, Trivandrum/Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala). (Photograph by Mums and Stories)
A pro tip would be not to miss climbing the light house. There is an elevator in case you want to use and you need to climb a few more steps. Be careful if travelling with elders or small kids as the stairs are structured in a circular fashion in the light house. This beach is close to the city and you can opt to travel by auto or cab or take in a self-drive rental car as we did.
( The imposing Light house at Kovalam beach, Thiruvananthapuram, Pic by Mums and Stories).
Another stunning beach is the Varkala beach, approximately one and half hours from the city is again clean, beautiful and stunning but all of us liked Kovalam better, perhaps because we visited the beach in the evening and the weather was cool, breezy and the skies were magical. Of course the light house was an added attraction.
(Varkala Beach, Kerala).
Varkala also has Janardhan swamy temple and is less crowded and it was a divine experience to visit the space. Do note, both the temples allow only Hindus and Ananth Padmanabhaswamy temple has strict dress code and even timings.
(Janardhanswamy temple, Varkala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala)
Thiruvananthapuram also has a zoo, well within the city limits and the zoo has perhaps become more popular after Life of Pie author Yann Martel mentioned he spent considerable time at the zoo to study tiger behavior.
(Picture taken at Trivandrum Zoo.) (Photography by Mums and Stories)
The Trivandrum zoo was founded by the Maharajah of Travancore in 1857 and like the Mysore zoo it is in the city limits with even residences overlooking parts of the boundary. Apparently the Maharajah wanted to attract more people to his newly-built museum (Yes there’s a spectacular museum adjoining the zoo). So he constructed a city zoo nearby and had animals from nearby jungles. Despite the wildlife and jungle cover being taken over by the city structures, the zoo has managed to retain its identity of being a popular destination in the city. Thankfully the tigers and few other animals do look healthy, considering it is a zoo and closed enclosure.
As mentioned earlier, the zoo has the museum adjoining its space and is worth a visit. It is rich in tradition, has a history of being built again in 1857 by the then Maharajah. Apparently it is named after Lord Napier, the Governor General of Madras back in 1850’s. It has wooden, bonze, ivory, silver artifacts and textiles to represent the legacy. There are many stone sculptures and the entire space looks magnificent.
(The magnificent Napier Museum, Trivandrum,).
Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala and we definitely feel it’s one of the most under rated destinations in the country. It is one of those few cities that has the combination of being a city and a coastline that makes you forget all the city dilemmas.
Trivandrum as the capital city of Kerala has its own airport, well connected by roads and access through an efficient railways.
( Picture by Mums and Stories. All photographs and videos are subject to copyright).
The city has moderate to upscale hotels and resorts catering to every traveller. There are budget stay options too available. We stayed at Central Residency, which was indeed in the central part of the city, close to the temple, museum and a property that caters to upscale travellers. The rooms are clean, well maintained and spacious.