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Thiruvanathapuram

THIRUNANATHAPURAM
Telephone access code: +91-471
Area: 2192 sq. km
Population: 3,234,707(2001 census)
Altitude: Sea level
Air: Thiruvanathapuram International Airport 6 km from City
Rail: Well connected to all Indian cities
Road: Long distance buses operate from the central Bus station (KSRTC)
 
The capital city derives its name from Thiru-Anantha-puram, which means the place of the sacred serpent Anantha or Adisesha on which Lord Padmanabha reclines. The Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the city’s landmark. The ramparts of the fort of those royal days are still there. The main entrance is through the East Fort leading to the temple. There are old places inside this sprawling Fort, which was constructed during the period of Maharaja Marthanda Varma (1729-58).Known as the maker of the erstwhile Travancore State.
 
Padmanabha Swamy Temple
(Open 0415-0515 hrs,0645-0715 hrs,0830-1115 hrs,1145-1200 hrs,1700-1815 hrs,1845-1930 hrs)
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this ancient temple is belived to have been rebuilt by Marthanda Varma in 1733 A.D.One among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha, the Serpant.Hindus are allowed inside the temple. This temple is a splendid example of South Indian architecture.
Dress code: Men-Dhoti with out any upper clothing: Women-Saree or full skirt and blouse: Hand bags, mobile phones, cameras etc not allowed.
 
Napier Museum
(Open 1000-1645 hrs, Closed on Mondays, Wednesday forenoons, January 26th, August 15th Thiruonam and Mahanavami) 
The Government Art Museum or Napier Museum as it is popularly called has been built in the year 1880 in the honor of Lord Napier. The museum houses great archaeological and historical artifacts. Built in the 19th century, this indo-Saracenic structure boasts of a natural air conditioning. 
 
Sree Chithra Art Gallery
(Open 1000-1645 hrs. Closed on Mondays, Wednesday forenoons)
Located near the Napier Museum, this art gallery displays select paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and exquisite works from the Rajput, Mughal and Tanjore schools of art in India. The collection also includes paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali. The collection also includes unique copies of Indian mural paintings from the pre –historic times down to the 18th century.
 
Kuthiramalika (PutheNmalika) Palace Museum
(Open 0830-1300 hrs, 1500-1730 hrs.Closed on Mondays)
The palace was built by Maharaja Swathi Tirunal Balarama Varma, the King of Travancore who was also a great poet, musician, social reformer and state man. This palace has wood carvings in the traditional Travancore style. The palace museum displays various painting collections of the royal family. It is situated on the South East side of Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple.
 
CVN Kalari
Location: East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram, at a walkable distance from the central bus station..
Kalarippayattu, considered to be the mother of all martial art forms in the world, is a priceless asset to Kerala's heritage. An intricate blend of physical prowess, mindset, martial techniques and indigenous medical system, this form of armed, close quarter, hand-to-hand combat is unique to this State.
 
The Kalari is a practice ring or training centre on the lines of a gymnasium and Payattu is a duel. Hence, Kalarippayattu means martial skills learnt in a ring or training center.
 
The CVN Kalari Sangham in Thiruvananthapuram was established in 1956 following the lifelong dedicated efforts of C.V.Narayanan Nair, C.V.Balan Nair and Kottackal Karunakara Gurukkal, who popularised the art which was on the verge of dying. They succeeded, by staging demonstrations, collecting information and establishing Kalaries all over the State.
 
The CVN Kalari is built in an East-West direction about 4 feet below ground level, and is closed on all sides except for a small door on the Eastern side. This cocoon-like traditional Kalari architecture is greatly suited for the tropical, humid climate of Kerala. There is not much light within the Kalari other than the light from the traditional wick lamps or nilavilakku
 
Since Kalarippayattu is considered a sublime martial art, certain deities are placed in the Kalari and devotional rituals performed before every session to obtain their blessings. The main deity is Kalari Paradevata, or the Goddess of Kalari. Idols of Ganapathi, Naga (the serpent god), Bhadrakaali and others are also placed along with. The rites of worship are a part of the Kalari tradition
 
Rigorous training and perseverance creates a Kalari fighter
 
The Kalari fighter depends only on his alertness and agility, and the use of various stances and swift movements for attack and self defence. Long years of systematic and rigorous training hone these reflexes even while cultivating mental abilities like concentration, confidence and courage
 
The training usually starts at the age of seven for both boys and girls. For most Kalari exponents, the training becomes a way of life. Besides the physical aspects, the Kalari training includes meditation and Ayurvedic oil massages. The massages are of prime importance in conditioning and making the body supple. This is done by the Gurukkal or the Master Trainer himself

The training is imparted in four stages. First the Chuvadu or stance. This is followed by Vadivu or body postures which are eight in number: gaja (elephant), simha (lion), aswa (horse), varaha (pig), sarpa (serpent), marjjara (cat), kukkuda (rooster) and matsya (fish).

The trainee who masters the Chuvadu and Vadivu goes on to Meyppayattu (the use of the body in fighting) which aims at perfecting neuro-muscular coordination. Then begins the training with weapons. Commencing with cane weapons, the trainee graduates to using the Cheruvadi (small stick), Ottakkol (poles), Gada (mace) and Kadtaram (steel dagger), and then the most glamorous of combats - fighting with the sword and shield.

Another weapon is the Urumi, a long, springy, double edged, coiled sword which can even recoil and hurt the user if not wielded with skill. Fighting with spears is the last in the weapon training syllabus. The spears called Kuntham are long poles made of cane, bamboo or wood with a sharp double edged metal tip.

An entire system of medicine evolved around the art

Kalari Chikitsa, or Kalari treatment is an integral part of the Kalari tradition. It is mainly used to treat sprains, fractures, wounds and other injuries. Performers of other traditional arts of Kerala also undergo the Kalari Chikitsa to improve the suppleness of the body. The masters of Kalarippayattu are extraordinary healers adept at curing physical ailments with the ancient Ayurvedic system of massages and herbs

Kalari performances at CVN Kalari

Performances are organised both in India and abroad on request. Lecture demonstrations are presented to interested groups at the Kalari in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. The timings are usually 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Shankhumugham Beach
08 km away from Thiruvanathapuram city. An indoor recreation club, the children's traffic training park, the matsya kanyaka, a gigantic 35mt long sculpture of a mermaid and a restaurant shaped like a star fish are some of the attractions here.
 
Neyyar Dam
A popular picnic spot, Neyyar Dam has a watch tower, crocodile farm, lion safari park. Boating facilities available here.32 km away from Thiruvanathapuram city (1 hour)
 
Agasthyakoodam
Agasthyakoodam is the second highest peak in Kerala, at a height of 1890mts above sea level and is a part of the Sahyadri range of mountains. The forests of Agasthyakoodam are rich in rare medicinal herbs and plant, and hued orchids. In 1992, an area covering around 23 sq kms was established as Agasthya Vanam Biological Park. The intension was to restore the degraded forests and to use it for educational purpose. The season from December to April is advocated for trekking. 34 km away from Thiruvanathapuram city.
 
Ponmudi
An idyllic hill station which is 62 km away from Thiruvanthapuram. It is located 915metres above sea level. It is an idyllic hill resort with narrow, winding path ways and cool, green wooded environs. It serves as a good base for trekking, bird watching and visiting the near by dear park. The natural scenery, salubrious climate and the scope of hiking in high trails make the visit an exhilarating experience. There is a charming deer park which is only 3kms from Ponmudi.
 
 
Kovalam Beach
Telephone access code: +91-471
Accessing Kovalam
Air: Nearest airport: Thiruvanathapuram International Airport (16 km)
Rail: Nearest station: Thiruvanathapuram Central (16 km)
Road: Kovalam off the NH47 by pass
Bus: Kovalam’s KSRTC bus stand is near Vizhinjam-Poovar road. It has services once in every 15 minutes to Thiruvanthapuram.
 
Kovalam is one of the most popular beach resorts in Kerala and forms an important tourist spot on Kerala visit. The beach is just a few minutes walk from the village. The beaches of Kovalam can be divided in three parts. The southern most beach and the most popular from the three, is the Lighthouse Beach. The middle beach is called Hawah and the northern most beach is Samudra. It is dotted with few rudimentary wooden fishing vessels. You can enjoy the palm-fringed bays of Kovalam in secluded coconut groves, which would make a perfect vacation in Kerala. This marvelous beach forms a must visit on your travel to Kerala.
 
 
Varkala Beach
Telephone access code: +91 -470
Air: Nearest Airport is Thiruvanathapuram International Airport (55 km)
 
Rail: Varkala has its own railway station. You can board a train from Thiruvanathapuram to Kollam or Kochi and get down here. But you need to check if the particular train has a stop at Varkala.
 
Road: Varkala is nearer to Kollam.It is 35 km away from Kollam,2 hrs from Thirunanathapuram and 4 hrs from Eranakulam.
 
Varkala beach is located 55 Km north of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. The beach is a popular holiday destination among those looking for relaxed and quiet holidays.Varkala beach is also called ' Papanashini' since it is believed that a dip in the holy waters of Varkala beach will purify your body and soul.Varkala Beach is also renowned for its scenic land scape.The contrast between the cliffs, sand and sea makes Beach a bewitching sight. The sunset at Varkala beach is truly breathtaking.
 
Papanasam Beach
 
A remarkable feature here is the long stretch of red laterite cliffs fringing the beach. The cliff top is an ideal place to watch the sunset. Natural spring, said to have curative properties, originates from the cliff.
 
 
Janardhana Swamy Temple
(Open 0400-1200 hrs, 1700-2000 hrs)
Varkala is also famous for its 900 year old Janardhana Swami temple which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the south). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.
 
Sivagiri Mutt
(Open 0530 -1200 hrs, 1630 – 1800 hrs)
200 acres of sanctified land, this is the final resting place of the most eminent leader, saint and social reformer of Kerala Sree Narayana Guru. The Mahasamadhi of the humble belongings are kept on display.
 
 
 

 


 
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