As the capital of the India’s southern state of Kerala, Trivandrum has so much to offer visitors. Alongside awe-inspiring scenes of natural beauty and subdued beach settings, the city, which is also known as Thiruvananthapuram, features distinctive British colonial architecture. Scattered with cultural hotspots, such as museums and galleries, alongside temples of great religious importance, this is a holiday destination that delivers vibrancy and relaxation in equal doses.
To help you really get the most out of your visit, we’ve compiled everything you need to know into this helpful travel guide. From the most popular attractions to the best hotels and dining destinations, along with practical travel advice, we’ll help you plan that once in a lifetime escape.
- It’s widely known by two different names: There’s a touch of confusion when it comes to the name of the capital. Officially, it is now known as Thiruvananthapuram. However, before that, it was known as Trivandrum and is still widely known by that name to this day.
- The origin of its name: It’s official name Thiruvananthapuram comes from the Hindu god Anantha, and it literally means “City of Lord Anatha”.
- An important part of India’s development: Being the capital of the most liberal and arguably most socially advanced state Kerala, it’s no surprise that Trivandrum is an important part of India. However, it’s also strategically important militarily due to its location.
- The royal crown: Vishnu became the emperor of Travencore in the 18th century and was “crowned” in the 18th century, with the royal family being rulers on his behalf. The crown of Vishnu is kept within the capital and can be found in Padmanabhaswamy temple.
- Abide by clothing etiquette:
- As you’re probably well aware, you’ll want to be respectful of dress codes when entering religious temples and shrines. But it’s also worth noting that Trivandrum is generally quite a modest capital, so there’s no need to dress too extravagantly
- Respect the local language:
- Despite being a capital city, Trivandrum isn’t quite as international when it comes to language. Generally, people will speak to you in their local tongue, so make sure to learn a few phrases to help you get by.
- A different kind of capital:
- As has been hinted at, one of the things that makes Trivandrum unique is its down to earth approach to being a capital city. So, you’re unlikely to find large shopping centres that may be in other similar cities for example. Instead, Trivandrum is a mesh of big and small. Embrace these quirks and we think you’ll find them quite charming.
- Grab a coffee:
- One thing you might not know about Trivandrum is its terrific reputation as an excellent place to grab a world class cup of coffee. It boasts over a dozen Indian coffee house districts across the city, so if you’re a fan of the beverage, make sure you don’t miss out.
Getting Around Trivandrum
Due to the relatively small size of Mahabaleshwar and the fact that it’s built on a plateau, getting around is fairly easy. Main destinations are known as points and can be found at the edges of the plateau, making them an excellent way to navigate your way around.
By far, the cheapest way to get around Trivandrum is by bus. However, they might not be the most convenient, due to them being incredibly crowded. They are run by both the government and by private companies. The former are in red and yellow, while the latter is in blue.
Another transport option that’s a relatively cheap way of getting around short distances is auto-rickshaw. These can be found at travel points, such as railway stations and bus stands. They also have their own unique stands across the city. All legal auto-rickshaws have fare metres, so make sure this is on before your journey begins. If you need to, insist the driver turns it on before setting off. The minimum charge is Rs12, with a running charge of Rs8 per km.
Taxi and Auto-Taxi
The latter is not very common in Trivandrum. However, regular taxis are a convenient and easy way of getting around the city. Only Indian Ambassadors operate in this capital, unlike other similar locations. Taxis can be hired for short distances or for a few days. Charges start at Rs65, with a maximum charge of Rs300.
Image Source: Satish Somasundaram
Renting a Car, Two Wheeler or Bicycle
Renting cars can be very expensive, so is not recommend for the budget traveller. It also may be easier to hire a taxi. Alternatively, you can rent two wheelers and bikes. However, due to the hectic road traffic and because of steep climbs in the city, neither of these come particularly recommended unless you are particularly confident in your abilities.
Flights to Trivandrum
Image Source: Vishal Mohandas
When flying into Trivandrum, you will arrive at Trivandrum International Airport. Located just 3.7km west from the city centre, it serves Trivandrum and nearby Kollam, with taxi services making it easy to travel onto your destination.
Trivandrum is well connected to most of India’s major international airports. There are around 33 flights per week between New Delhi and Trivandrum, with the journey taking an average of 3 hours and 10 minutes to complete. Similarly, there are 22 direct flights here form Mumbai per week, with an average flight time of just 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Visit the Expedia India website to find the best prices for flights to Trivandrum.