Built in the Dravidian style, the tall 7 storeys Gopuram of the temple is the most impressive landmark in the city. Located inside the fort, this ancient temple has been revered by Tamil hymns of the Alwar saint Namalwar of the 1st millennium AD. The presiding deity is Ananthapadmanabha (Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the serpent god). The original image was in wood. The current image was fashioned out of 1200 Saalagramam during the reign of Marthandavarma. Much of the present structure was built during his rule. The gopuram was completed in 1798. The sanctum is styled in the Kerala temple style, while the walls and the surrounding structures are built to Dravidian temple architecture. Entry to the sanctum is restricted to Hindus.
Clock Tower (Methen Many)
There is a clock tower on the Kuthiramalika museum building beside the temple. It is believed that the clock was made to ridicule Tippu Sultan of Mysore. In the clock, there is a bearded head that tries to open its mouth at every striking hour. And two goats hit the cheeks of the figure from both sides. Last time when I saw it, the strike was two minutes after the hour.
Science & Technology Museum
Not far from the Government museum, the Science & Technology Museum is located near the Postmaster General's Office. The museum is of good educational value for the students of science and technology. There is a planetarium in the same compound that has 40-minute shows in Malayalam and English.
Government Museum Formerly known as Napier's Museum, named after a Governor General of Madras Presidency, the museum is located in a botanical garden. The garden also houses the zoo, the Art Gallery and the Natural History Museum. Built in 1880, the structure is a marvel in the traditional Kerala architecture with a blend from the Chinese and Mughal architecture. The museum has a good collection of bronzes, historical ornaments, ivory carvings, temple chariots and life-size Kathakali characters in full costume.
Sri Chitra Arts Gallery
The art gallery has a rich collection of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings. Ravi Varma provided a vital link between the traditional Indian Art and the contemporary. The collection also includes the works of Nicoloi Roerich and Svetsoslav, copies of paintings of Ajanta, Rajput, Mughal, and Tanjavur Schools and miniatures from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali.
This is one of the oldest observatories in the country. The observatory is located opposite the eastern gate of the Government Museum and has a well laid garden.
The zoo in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the oldest and best in the country. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, who ruled Travancore between 1830 and 1847, established a menagerie where Bengal tigers, panthers, cheetahs, deer, boars, and other wild animals were kept. His brother Uthram Thirunal and British Resident William Cullen formally establish the Zoo in 1857 as an annex to the Napier Museum. It has a wide verity of fauna collection including overseas specimens. The zoo set among woodlands and lakes, beautifully landscaped, is a natural habitat for the animals. Shaded paths wind through woodland, lakes and native forest, where tigers, macaques and hippos gather in reasonably large open enclosures.
It is a fine long stretch of beach adjacent to the Airport. The beach is a popular hangout for the residents of the city. The vast stretch of white sand and the serene atmosphere provide all the ingredients for relaxation and for spending an ideal evening at the beach. A huge sculpture of a mermaid is beside the beach. There is a children's traffic park, an indoor stadium, an open-air theatre with car parking facilities and a star-shaped restaurant near the beach.
Shanghumugham beach is considered as the 'Arattukadavu' of Sri Ananthapadmanabhan Thousands of Hindus perform 'Bali Tharpanam' during special occasions. Shanghu mugham is the prime location for Ganesh Nimarjan at the time of Vinayaka Chathurthi.
Veli Tourist Village
Tourist Village, Veli The tourist village located on the outskirts of the city is a waterfront park. It is an ideal picnic spot where the lake merges with sea. This well-designed park contains fine sculptures by artist Kanai Kunjuraman. The sculptures and the landscape are balanced in harmony. Rowboats and speedboats are available for those who want to have a ride in the lake. It is open daily from 1000hrs to 1730hrs.
Akkulam Boat Club
The boat club is a popular retreat for the residents of the city. It is peace and quiet away from the city. The lake has boating facility. The club has the largest children's park in Kerala.
Most of the places to visit are open between 0900hrs and 1700hrs. They will be open on all weekdays except Monday.