A legendary port which is said to have traded with the ships of King Solomon, Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum as it is known is the capital of Kerala. It is a modern city that retains its old world charms in the quaint by lanes adorned by houses in Kerala styled architecture. It houses one possibly one of the richest temples in India, one of the better zoos in India and some brilliant museums celebrating the art, history and culture of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore. However, for something totally different, we recommend walking the lanes of the Chalai Bazaar, which still retains the old world charms of the orient. Most of the tourist today, throng to the beaches of Kovalam where you can surf up the waves or lie along the beach doing nothing. Some of the best things to do in Trivandrum are not found on the guide books and can only be experienced by sauntering around this old world city. Mind the crazy traffic though. We recommend at least a day in Trivandrum apart from your time in Kovalam.


Culture, history along with the beaches provides plenty of things to do in Trivandrum and Kovalam.

  • Visit the Chitra Art Gallery: This art gallery housed in the zoo, has an impressive display of Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings. It also contains some mural paintings, a collection of Chinese, Japanese, Tangka and Roerich paintings. If art is something that interests you, this is a must visit.
    • Chitra Art Gallery is open on all days except Mondays from 10:00 hrs (IST) to 16:45 hrs (IST).
      On Wednesdays it is open from 13:00 hrs (IST) to 17:00 hrs (IST).
      Tickets for entry is priced at INR 10.
  • Visit the Napier Museum: This museum built in the 19th century, is an architectural beauty itself. Housed inside are a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. It also has an interesting Japanese play leather dolls, which depict the great Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
    • Napier Museum is open on all days of the week except Mondays from 10:00 hrs (IST) to 17:00 hrs (IST).
      On Wednesdays it is open from 13:00 hrs (IST) to 17:00 hrs (IST).
      Tickets for entry is priced at INR 10.
  • The Trivandrum Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in India. Established by the local rulers in the mid 19th century for recreation, this has now become a center for conservation. You can get a lesson on Indian wildlife here along with spotting some wild cats, primates and elephants to name few.
    • The Trivandrum Zoo is open on all days of the week except Mondays from 9:00 hrs (IST) to 17:15 hrs (IST).
      Tickets for entry is priced at INR 20.
  • Keralam - Museum of History and Heritage houses artifacts from all over the country. Some of them date back to the 1st century AD and it makes an interesting stop if you are curious about history and heritage.
    • Keralam - Museum of History and Heritage is open on all days of the week from 10:00 hrs (IST) to 17:30 hrs except Mondays.
      Tickets for entry for adults is priced at INR 20 (INR 10 for children) for an Indian and INR 200 (INR 50 for children) for a Foreign National.
  • Visit the Padmanabha Temple: Sri Padmanabha Temple is the richest Hindu temple in the world. The temple is built in Dravidian style of architecture featuring high walls and a 16th century Gopuram. Non Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. There exists a dress code for Hindus to enter the temple. However, you can walk around the temple and appreciate the architecture.
  • Visit the Kuthira Mallika Palace: This palace is located just outside the Padmanabha Temple. Built by the kings of Kerala in 1840s this palace depicts typical Kerala architecture. This palace hosts a lot of artifacts from the 19th century and a guide is always present inside the palace to show you around.
    • The Palace is open on all days from 08:30 hrs (IST) to 13:00 hrs (IST) and from 15:00 hrs (IST) to 17:30 hrs (IST) except Mondays.
      Tickets for entry are priced at INR 15 for an Indian and INR 30 for a foreign national.
  • Explore the Chalai Market: This local market was built by the Kerala kings in the late 19th century. This is a go to place for the local people for everyday shopping. Just about anything can be found here, from clothes, spices, flowers to useless trinkets. Perfect way to while away a beautiful evening doing nothing.
  • Surf the waves of the Arabian Ocean with the Kovalam Surf Club. This surf club conducts surf lessons for interested travellers, but more importantly, supports the local economy by teaching the local kids to surf. You can be sure to spot some emerging local talent when you go surfing.


  • Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala and the southernmost city of the state. It is recommended to start or end your India journey here. The city is well connected by rail and road with most major cities. It also boasts of an airport which serves as a potential gateway to the state of Kerala. Public transport buses are frequently available and are quite economical.
  • The best time to visit Trivandrum is from October to March
  • Kovalam, a beach town is located 18 Km from the capital city. It is recommended you base your stay here to get away from the chaos of a typical big Indian city, at Trivandrum. You can do a day trip to Trivandrum from here. Vedanta Wakeup Hostel operates a pretty good hostel here.

Want to know more about Kerala?

Read on in our blog!