Thiruvananthapuram the capital of the state of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram or the City of the Sacred Snake, is built over seven hills. Named after Anantha, the thousand - headed serpent of Hindu mythology, the city once formed a part of the Travancore kingdom, its capital at Padmanabhapuram, now a part of Tamil Nadu.
Thiruvananthapuram is, decidedly, one of the cleaner and well-planned cities of the country. The city's scenic appeal, its enchanting beaches, and overwhelming greenery only add to its uniqueness.
It embodies the magical feel of Kerala, as a whole, and lends terrific insight into the culture of the state. The red-tiled roofs, the never-ending stretches of palm trees, the maze of narrow, winding streets and above all, the sea, make for a fascinating mixture. There is an element of understated and effortless elegance about the city, which leaves a lasting impression on the visitor.
The area of historical interest in the city is the Fort, at the southern end of M.G.Road, which encloses the famous Shri Padmanabhaswamy Vishnu Temple.
The fort gateway leads to the temple, which is surprisingly enough, in the Dravidian style of architecture, typical of Tamil Nadu. The temple enshrines, and is dedicated, to the presiding deity of Thiruvananthapuram, Lord Vishnu.
It was constructed by a Maharaja of Travancore, in 1733. The temple is open only to Hindus. The city derives its name from this temple, as the deity i.e Lord Vishnu, is shown as reclining on his serpent, Anantha.
The Museum, Zoo, and the park they are located are in, are quite popular with the local people and tourists. The Napier Museum is housed in a striking building, and has a good collection of bronzes, ivory carvings, ancient musical instruments and life-size figures of Kathakali dancers.
The art collection at the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, contains paintings of the Mughal, Tanjore and Rajput schools and a special section, devoted exclusively to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There are, also, works of art from China, Bali, Tibet and Japan.
The Zoological Gardens are, said to be, among the most well-planned zoos in Asia. The Botanical Garden within the zoo, houses specimens of almost every tropical tree existing. The Observatory, located on the highest point of the city, is one of the impressive architectural landmarks of Thiruvananthapuram.
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