Sights to See in this beautiful City:
Zoological Gardens & Museums
Yann Martel famously based the animals in ‘Life of Pi’ on those he observed in Trivandrum’s zoological gardens. Shaded paths meander through woodland and lakes, where animals, such as tigers, macaques and birds, frolic in large open enclosures. There’s a reptile house where cobras frequently flare their hoods – just don’t ask what the cute guinea pigs are for.
The surrounding park contains a gallery and two museums. Housed in an 1880 wooden building designed by Robert Chisholm, a British architect whose Fair Isle–style version of the Keralan vernacular shows his enthusiasm for local craft, the Napier Museum has an eclectic display of bronzes, buddhist sculptures, temple carts and ivory carvings. The carnivalesque interior is stunning and worth a look in its own right. The dusty Natural History Museum has hundreds of stuffed animals and birds, and a fine skeleton collection. Just inside the eastern gate, the Shri Chitra Art Gallery has paintings by the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools, and works by Ravi Varma. Next door, the aquarium contains a series of uninspiring fish tanks.
Puthe Maliga Palace Museum
The 200-year-old palace of the Travancore maharajas has carved wooden ceilings, marble sculptures and imported Belgian glass. Inside you will find images of Kathakali dancers, an armoury, portraits of maharajas, ornate thrones and other artefacts. Admission includes a 45-minute guided tour, though you can skip that and just visit the outside of the palace grounds (free of cost) where you will also find the Chitrali Museum (entry fee Rs 50), a newly opened section of the palace containing loads of historical memorabilia, photographs and portraits from the Travancore dynasty. An annual classical music festival is held here in January every year.
The modern zoological gardens are among the most impressive in India. There are shaded paths meandering through woodland and lakes, where animals, such as tigers, macaques and lots of bird-life, happily frolic in massive, open enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. There’s a separate reptile house (entrance with zoo ticket), where dozens of the slithery things do their thing and cobras frequently flare their hoods – just don’t ask what the cute guinea pigs are here for.
Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
This 260-year-old temple is Trivandrum’s spiritual heart. Its main entrance is a 30 m-tall, seven-tier eastern gopuram (gateway tower). In the inner sanctum, the deity Padmanabha reclines on the sacred serpent and is made from over 10,000 salagramam (sacred stones) that were purportedly transported from Nepal by elephant. The path around to the right of the gate offers good view of the gopuram .
Museum of History & Heritage
In a lovely heritage building within the Kerala Tourism complex, this spacious new museum traces Keralan history and culture through superb static displays and interactive audiovisual presentations. Exhibits range from Iron Age implements to bronze and terracotta sculptures, murals, dhulichitra (floor paintings), and recreations of traditional Keralan homes. Admission is steep but it is all beautifully presented.
- Reptile House
- Shri Chitra Art Gallery