12 Things To Do In Thiruvananthapuram

12 Things To Do In Thiruvananthapuram

Nestled on the southwestern coast of India, Thiruvananthapuram, the vibrant capital city of Kerala, beckons travelers with its exquisite blend of tradition, history, and natural beauty. Known for its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys, the city offers a plethora of experiences that cater to every kind of traveler. From the sacred ambience of ancient temples to the serene beauty of golden beaches, the lush greenery of hill stations, and the rich tapestry of cultural heritage, Thiruvananthapuram is a treasure trove of diverse attractions. This guide embarks on a journey through the heart of this enchanting city, uncovering the top things to do in Thiruvananthapuram. Whether you are a history enthusiast, nature lover, cultural explorer, or just in search of a peaceful retreat, the city has something special in store for you. Join us as we explore the gems that make Thiruvananthapuram a must-visit destination on India’s tourist map.

Things To Do In Thiruvananthapuram

  1. Visit the Padmanabhaswamy Temple

At the heart of Thiruvananthapuram lies the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture and a testament to the city’s spiritual heritage. This ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is renowned for its intricate stone carvings, towering gopurams (gateway towers), and a majestic idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the serpent Anantha.

The temple’s ambiance offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its tranquil surroundings and partake in the daily rituals and ceremonies. Notably, the temple is also famed for its hidden treasures, making it one of the wealthiest religious institutions in the world. Visitors are advised to adhere to the dress code and respect the temple’s traditions while enjoying this spiritual journey. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is not just a place of worship but a cultural landmark that embodies the soul of Thiruvananthapuram.

  1. Explore the Napier Museum

A visit to Thiruvananthapuram is incomplete without exploring the Napier Museum, a treasure trove of Kerala’s history, art, and culture. Named after Lord Napier, the Governor of Madras from 1866-1872, the museum is an architectural gem that combines traditional Kerala, Mughal, Chinese, and Italian architectural styles. Inside, the museum houses a rare collection of historical artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot, and ivory carvings that narrate the rich cultural tapestry of Kerala.

Additionally, the museum’s natural history section offers an intriguing glimpse into the region’s flora and fauna. The surrounding gardens are a delightful bonus, providing a serene spot to ponder the beauty and craftsmanship of Kerala’s heritage. The Napier Museum is not merely a window into the past; it’s an educational journey that inspires awe and appreciation for Kerala’s multifaceted culture.

  1. Relax at Kovalam Beach

Kovalam Beach, with its iconic lighthouse, pristine sands, and azure waters, is a slice of paradise that has charmed both locals and tourists for decades. This crescent-shaped coastline consists of three beaches: Lighthouse Beach, Hawa Beach, and Samudra Beach, each offering its own unique vibe. Lighthouse Beach, the most popular among them, boasts a 30-meter-high lighthouse that provides panoramic views of the surrounding area, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and sunset watchers.

The beach is also known for its vibrant shacks and eateries that serve delicious local cuisine, offering a taste of Kerala’s rich flavors. Whether you’re interested in indulging in water sports, soaking up the sun, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the shore, Kovalam Beach provides a relaxing escape from the routine of daily life. Its serene beauty and laid-back atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those seeking peace and tranquility amidst nature’s splendor.

  1. Discover The Zoological Park

The Zoological Park in Thiruvananthapuram, established in the 19th century, is among the oldest of its kind in India and is a testament to the city’s commitment to conservation and education. Spread over 55 acres of woodland, lakes, and lawns, the zoo offers a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. It houses a diverse collection of animal species, both endemic and exotic, in well-designed enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. The park is also home to a botanical garden, which showcases a wide variety of tropical plant species, and an aviary that is a paradise for birdwatchers.

The zoo’s layout encourages leisurely walks through its paths, allowing visitors to closely observe the animals and learn about their behavior and habitats. Educational programs and conservation efforts are at the heart of the zoo’s mission, making it a valuable resource for understanding biodiversity and the importance of protecting the natural world. The Zoological Park is not just an attraction but a memorable educational experience that appeals to both young and old.

  1. Sunset at Shanghumukham Beach

Shanghumukham Beach is another coastal jewel in Thiruvananthapuram’s crown, renowned for its breathtaking sunsets and tranquil atmosphere. Unlike the more bustling Kovalam Beach, Shanghumukham offers a quieter setting where the sky and sea meet in a symphony of colors every evening. The beach is famous for its massive sculpture of a mermaid, ‘Matsya Kanyaka,’ which adds to the mystique and charm of the location.

Local families and tourists alike flock here to enjoy the cool sea breeze, relish street food from nearby vendors, and immerse in the peaceful vibe. The adjoining Veli Tourist Village enhances the experience with its boating facilities, where visitors can sail on the serene backwaters. Shanghumukham Beach is the perfect spot for those seeking to escape the city’s hustle and unwind in the lap of nature, making it a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience the serene side of Thiruvananthapuram.

  1. Engage with Science at the Science and Technology Museum

The Science and Technology Museum in Thiruvananthapuram is a dynamic institution designed to spark curiosity and promote scientific thinking among visitors of all ages. With a wide array of interactive exhibits, working models, and educational programs, the museum makes learning about science and technology an engaging and fun experience. Highlights include the planetarium, which offers spectacular shows that take audiences on journeys through the universe, and the motion simulator, providing an immersive experience into the world of virtual reality.

The museum covers various fields such as electronics, mechanics, and computer science, making it an ideal place for budding scientists and tech enthusiasts to explore and discover. The hands-on approach allows visitors to experiment and learn through direct interaction, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of scientific principles and innovations. A visit to the Science and Technology Museum is not just an educational outing but an adventure into the wonders of science, offering insights that inspire creativity and innovation.

  1. Walk Through the Trivandrum Heritage Tour

Embark on the Trivandrum Heritage Tour to step back in time and discover the city’s rich history and architectural grandeur. This guided walking tour unveils the charm of Thiruvananthapuram’s old quarters, where colonial influences merge with traditional Kerala architecture. Highlights include the Kuthiramalika (Puthenmalika) Palace Museum, known for its exquisite wood carvings and royal collections, and the Chalai Bazaar, a bustling market that offers a sensory overload with its array of spices, textiles, and handcrafted items.

Participants will gain insight into the city’s cultural fabric, visiting ancient temples, century-old buildings, and heritage sites that narrate stories of a bygone era. The tour not only provides a glimpse into the city’s past but also offers an opportunity to interact with local artisans and vendors, making it a must-do for history buffs and culture enthusiasts alike.

  1. Experience the Magic of Poovar Island

Poovar Island, a serene escape nestled at the juncture of the Neyyar River and the Arabian Sea, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and tranquility. Accessible only by boat, this picturesque island is a haven for those looking to connect with nature. The island is surrounded by a soft, golden sand beach on one side and a network of tranquil backwaters on the other, framed by lush, tropical foliage.

Visitors can indulge in a variety of activities such as boating through the backwaters, enjoying a beach day, or simply relaxing at one of the eco-friendly resorts. Poovar is also renowned for its floating restaurants, where you can savor local delicacies while admiring the water’s reflection of a golden sunset. The island’s peaceful ambiance, combined with its natural beauty, makes it an ideal spot for relaxation and rejuvenation away from the city’s hustle.

  1. Take a Day Trip to Ponmudi Hill Station

Ponmudi, located just a short drive from Thiruvananthapuram, is a breathtaking hill station that promises an escape into nature’s lap. With its winding pathways, misty hills, and lush green landscapes, Ponmudi offers a refreshing retreat for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The drive up to the hill station is itself an exhilarating experience, with scenic views and cool, crisp air welcoming visitors.

Once there, trekking through the numerous trails reveals exotic flora and fauna, picturesque waterfalls, and sprawling tea gardens. The hill station is also a paradise for bird watchers, with a variety of species making their home in this biodiverse region. For those looking to relax, there are plenty of serene spots to unwind and soak in the natural beauty. Ponmudi’s serene environment and stunning landscapes make it a perfect day trip for those looking to experience Kerala’s mountainous charm.

  1. Visit the Vellayani Lake

Vellayani Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Thiruvananthapuram, offers a picturesque and peaceful setting for nature lovers and those seeking a serene escape. The lake’s crystal-clear waters and the surrounding lush greenery make it a perfect spot for picnics, boat rides, or simply a leisurely walk along its banks. During the full moon nights, the lake turns into a magical spot, reflecting the moonlight and creating a tranquil ambiance.

Vellayani Lake is also the venue for the famous annual boat race that takes place during the Onam festival, attracting visitors and locals alike to witness this vibrant and competitive event. The area around the lake is ideal for bird watching, as many migratory and local birds can be spotted here. Visiting Vellayani Lake allows for a moment of calm and connection with nature amidst the bustling city life.

  1. Explore the Anchuthengu Fort

Anchuthengu Fort, also known as Anjengo Fort, is a historical landmark that dates back to the 17th century, offering a glimpse into Kerala’s colonial past. Built by the British East India Company, this fort was a significant trading post and played a crucial role in the colonial battles between European powers. Today, it stands as a testament to the region’s rich history, offering visitors a chance to explore its well-preserved walls, bastions, and the adjacent cemetery with centuries-old tombstones.

The fort’s location by the sea adds to its charm, providing stunning views of the Arabian Sea and the tranquil backwaters. A visit to Anchuthengu Fort is not just a walk through history but also an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty and peace of this coastal area, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

  1. Attend a Kathakali Performance

Experiencing a Kathakali performance is an absolute must when visiting Thiruvananthapuram, as it offers a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Kerala’s cultural heritage. Kathakali is a traditional Indian dance-drama known for its elaborate costumes, intricate makeup, expressive gestures, and captivating storytelling. This art form portrays stories from Hindu mythology and epics, bringing them to life through powerful performances.

Various cultural centers and theaters around Thiruvananthapuram, such as the Margi Theatre, host Kathakali performances, providing an opportunity for visitors to witness this mesmerizing art form up close. The performers’ detailed facial expressions, hand gestures, and well-choreographed movements, accompanied by live music, create an immersive experience that leaves audiences spellbound. Attending a Kathakali performance is not just about watching a dance; it’s an opportunity to engage with the local culture and traditions, making it a memorable part of any visit to Thiruvananthapuram.


Thiruvananthapuram, with its sprawling landscapes, historical edifices, and cultural vibrancy, offers an immersive experience that goes beyond the conventional tourist trail. Each attraction we’ve explored in this guide not only showcases the city’s diverse offerings but also its ability to engage visitors in a deeply enriching journey. From the tranquil backwaters and majestic hill stations to the architectural marvels and cultural performances, Thiruvananthapuram reveals the essence of Kerala’s celebrated heritage and natural splendor. As you plan your visit, remember that the true beauty of Thiruvananthapuram lies in its ability to blend the old with the new, the tranquil with the vibrant, and nature with culture. Whether you’re wandering through its historic paths, soaking in the scenic landscapes, or delving into its cultural depths, Thiruvananthapuram promises an unforgettable exploration of the soul of Kerala. So pack your bags, set your sights on this remarkable city, and prepare to be captivated by the myriad experiences that await you in Thiruvananthapuram.

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