Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) Kerala


 Kovalam Beach
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.

Varkala Beach
Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old VishnuTemple and the ashramam - Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach. At the serene Varkala beach is a quiet sea resort rich in mineral water springs. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name 'Papanasam beach'.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple:
(Open 0415 - 0515/m, 0645 - 0715 hrs, 0830 - 1115 hrs, 1145 - 1200 hrs, 1700 - 1815 hrs, 1845 - 1930 hrs) Located inside the East Fort, this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the Serpent. The idol, plated in gold and made out of a rare composition known as katu-sarkara-yogam, is acclaimed as a marvel It is also noted for its mural paintings and stone carvings. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Dress code: Men -Dhoti without any upper clothing; Women - Saree or full skirt and blouse; Handbags, mobile phones, cameras etc. not allowed. Ph: 2450233.

Meshan Mani:

On the eastern side of PadmanabhaSwarnyTemple, installed in 1833 during the reign of Swathi Thirunal, is the Mcshan Mani (clock). It has on its dial, a man's face with two goats on either side. Crafted from mahogany by an artisan called Kulathooran, every time the dock completes an hour, the man opens his mouth and the goats hit his cheeks.

Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) PalaceMuseum:

(Open 0830- 1300 hrs, 1500 - 1730 hrs. Closed on Mondays) The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional Travancore style of architecture has exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family and is located near the PadrnanabhaSwamyTemple. Entrance fee: • Adults. Rs. 10. Children. Rs.3 • Foreigners: Rs.20. Camera permit (outside). Rs. 15. Video: Rs.500 Ph: 2473952

CVN Kalari:
(Open 0630 - 2030 brs. Tourists only on Wednesdays) The most famous amongst the many Kalari centres, CVN Kalari has its own Ayurvedic clinic. Located near the PadmanabhaSwarnyTemple, this place which teaches Kerala's ancient martial art, is within walking distance from the Central Railway Station.

Napier Museum:
(Open 1000 - 1645 hrs. Closed on Mondays, Wednesday forenoons, January 26th, August 15th, Thiruonam and Mahanavami) Built in the 19th century, this Indo-Saracenic structure boasts of a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivolry carvings, The Javanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana,are very interesting. Ph: 2318294

Sree Chithra Art Gallery:

(Open 1000 - 1645 hrs; Closed on Mondays & Wednesday forenoons) Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery opened in 1935 by the then Maharaja of Travancore, Sree Chithira Thirunal, displays original paintings of RajaRaviVarma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich; exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India as well as paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The collection also includes unique copies of Indian mural paintings from pre-historic times down to the 18th century.

Entrance fee (Museum & Art Gallery): • Adults: Rs.10 • Children: Rs 4

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