Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram, however you might want to call it, is a place that defines the story of God’s own country through its rich art, history, culture, and religion.
The city of Trivandrum is regarded as the cultural capital of the state. From Carnatic music to paintings, murals, sculpture, and classic literature, Trivandrum’s contribution to Kerala’s identity and even the country’s is monumental. Since the days it was the capital of the Travancore kingdom in 1745, the town has remained the hub of intellectual and artistic communities, and paved the way for what we know as Kerala’s cultural heritage.
Art, Religion, and Traditions
To find where and how it all began, you may want to spend some time at the Trivandrum Public Library or the British Library, established in the mid-1800s. In the same period, the Travancore ruler commissioned the Thiruvananthapuram Museum, which now holds the city’s, state’s, and the erstwhile kingdoms’ relics, memorabilia, and everything that proves the rich legacy of the region.
Trivandrum has been home to some of the most notable writers, poets, novelists, and artists of the 20th century. If you notice in the sculptures, artwork, music, dance forms, and even writing, there is a subtle touch of the myriad civilizations like Jain, Buddhist, Greco-Roman, Christian, and Islamic to everything; yet, neither is too heavily imposed. Therefore, everything you see in the city is distinct to the region. Book a trusted car on rent in Trivandrum along with an experienced driver and travel around to see the beautiful stone sculptures of temples, monuments, and statues of political leaders, kings of the Travancore kingdom, freedom fighters, and literary legends, spread around the town.
To experience this first hand, visit the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, Napier Museum, Puthe Maliga Palace Museum, and the Natural History Museum. Each of these sites has preserved the relics of the finest artworks, historical evidence, and legends that made the state as we know it.
On the religious side, Trivandrum also has a strong divine connection. The town’s etymology is a religious reference in itself. The name Thiruvananthapuram comes from Thiru-Anantha-Puram, or translated to ‘City of Lord Anantha’. Anantha is another name of god Padmanabhaswamy, one of the presiding deities of Trivandrum. The Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple is a piece of art on its known and a destination for both patrons of architecture, art, and religion. Similarly, many such temples in the city date back as far as 300 years or perhaps more.
The blend of the magnificence of the ancient Dravidian architecture and religious traditions of centuries, these sacred sites stand as cultural landmarks of Trivandrum.
To experience the town’s festive spirits, join the 75-day annual Soorya Festival – the longest-running cultural festival in the country exploring literature, movies, dance, music, theater, and folk arts. You could also visit Trivandrum during any of its major festivals like the Annual Flower Show, the Attukal Pongala, the Aaraat of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Swathi Music Festival, the Navaratri Music fete, Nishagandhi Dance and Music show, or the International Film Festival of Kerala.
How to Travel
The best way to reach Trivandrum is via flights from anywhere in the country. Alternatively, if you are already in Kerala, you can avail an affordable and reliable car on rent in Kochi with a local driver to make a scenic road trip to Trivandrum.