Thiruvananthapuram: Beach City with a Divine Heart
Thiruvananthapuram as Trivandrum would like to be known today is the capital of the state with a long shoreline and some of the best beaches in the world. It has historical monuments and backwater stretches too. The city is so named because it is the home of Anantha, the sacred serpent on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity reclines.
If you are on holiday, take a look at the beaches as soon as you hit Thiruvananthapuram. The first on your list should be the internationally renowned Kovalam Beach. A favourite with tourists since the 1930s, Kovalam with its three crescent beaches continues to attract attention. The Shankhumugham Beach, barely 8 km away from the city, boasts of wonderful sunsets. Right next door is the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and the Veli Tourist Village with its gigantic sculpture of a mermaid. At the Veli Tourist Village, situated at the confluence of the Veli Lake and the Arabian Sea, you can take a pedalboat to explore the Veli lagoon. There are huge sculptures which are a favourite with the children.
Also nearby is Varkala, a seaside resort and spa. In addition, Varkala is also an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Myth has it that Varkala was created at the place where sage Narada's loincloth landed after he had thrown it into the air in rage at some people who confessed to having sinned. The sinners when then ordered by Narada to offer prayers at Papanasham Beach by the seashore. On the beach is the 2000-year-old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and the Nature Care Centre.
Other than the beaches, Thiruvanathapuram has the Padmanabha Swamy Temple, located inside the East Fort. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the temple has murals, paintings and stone carvings. Near the temple is the Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum, famous for its exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum also has paintings and some priceless collections of the royal family.
The Napier Museum, built in the 19th century, has a collection of historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. Near Napier Museum is the Sree Chithra Art Gallery with its priceless collection of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings. In addition, there are works by Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich as well as paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
Reaching Thiruvanthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram is well connected by air from all major cities of India as well as Sri Lanka and the Middle East. Rail connections with most cities of the country make Thiruvanthapuram easily accessible. The roads too are good and connect Kerala's capital with cities in south India and elsewhere.
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