Festival: Attukal Pongala
Favorite thing: Every year the annual Pongala is held in the month of Feb-March. Lakhs of women throng the city of trivandrum and they make the sweet payasam on the streets across a 3 km radius on the 9th day of the Attukal Bhagawati Temple festival. The year 2006 saw over 15 Lakh devotees from all across kerala who came to perform the ritual, this was a guiness book record for the maximum number of devotees in a day.
As the days approach and people get ready for the festival, one can find the pot vendors shops coming up about a week before the Pongala day. The streets are dotted by a large number of pots arranged one over the other, the business during this time is good.
Two to three days before the festival starts, people would start coming to the city from far flung areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. They would occupy the nearest place available to the temple and guard it so that on the day of the pongala they would be able to receive the blessings of the preist. The later you come the farther you will be from the temple as the nearby places would all be occupied.
It is a festival for women and it is widely beleived that the Godess Bhagwati can make your wishes come true if you participate in this festival.
- Religious Travel
Events & Festivals : Nishagandhi Festival
Favorite thing: Nishagandhi festival is an event organised by the Kerala Tourism department in the first quarter of every year. This event showcases the cultural and art forms of Kerala and some of the other states. The event is for 7 days and this is held in Kanakakunnu Palace (Open Air Auditorium ) in Trivandrum. The museum road is illuminated during the entire festival and there are noted artists performing in the week long event. The event also includes the annual flower show, in the Sooryakanti show grounds.
An event to watch, if one is in Kerala during that time.
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: The all-vegetarian food was served from huge containers on to banana leaves placed on the table. No cutlery or crockery was available. You eat with your right hand is considered "dirty". To ensure I made no faux pas, I spent most of the time sitting on my left hand.
After the meal, a long trough in an other room with maybe one hundred taps in a row, ensured that you could clean your hands.
Fondest memory: Even the lassi (yogurt drink) was ladled into your cupped hands. I found the whole experience of eating with my hands, the number of people present, the sheer honour of being invited and the fact that we were treated as long-lost friends, the absolute highlight of our trip to Inida. Sheer magic!
- Arts and Culture
The wedding dinner
Favorite thing: Once the wedding was over, we made our way out of the building to leave. The bridegroom's father came running after us and declared: "You must stay for the food". So, we went back in again and hung around unil all the tables were laid.
They'd invited 2500 people to the wedding, but only about 1500 had turned up. We were the only westerners.
Fondest memory: There was a huge throng of people waiting to enter the dining room through steel gates. I have never seen so many people and so many dining tables in one place.
As we approached, the sea of people opened up, and we were allowed through first. We were treated like royalty. We were placed on the top table along with the family of the bride and groom who went out of their way to ensure we were enjoying ourselves. I never did see where the happy couple themselves ate.
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: As soon as we arrived, we were told that we were going straight out again, as we'd been invited to a wedding. The happy couple were friends of the guest house owner.
Although we were too late for the actual ceremony, we did turn up in time for the photographs. The outfits were stunning and the whole affair had a grand aura about it.
Fondest memory: As the only westerners there we were invited to be present for the photographs. They seemed to be genuinely proud to include four strangers they'd never met to be in the pictures of the happiest day of their lives. I wish we'd spent a bit more time getting ready and put on some glad rags. I didn't realise we were going to be guests of honour.
- Arts and Culture
East Fort a place to see in the night
Favorite thing: The East Fort in Trivandrum is a treat to watch in the night .The colorful lights brights up the heritage monument.
Fondest memory: The floodlights put up at central points, lights up the gates in alternating colors, bringing out the hidden splendor of the monument.
Padmanabha Swamy temple
Padmanabha Swamy temple is important temple for Hindus.
Here the presiding deity is Lord Vishnu,only here he is in recline position.
Can see the Vishnu on thousand head serpent coil bed in when he sleeps on cosmic ocean.Temple cant see at one window,have to see 3 windows.
Photogrphy is not allowed inside.
The pic is temple tower,and infront of this temple tank.
Non hinuds are not allowed inside.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Favorite thing: Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 53 sq. km. This is on the Western Ghats and was established in 1938.
The placehas a dams, thick forests , eucalyptus plantations, crystal clear streams and rocky terrains. One can indulge in adventure .
The sanctuary is rich in rare mammalian fauna . One can see elephants, sambar, leopard, lion-tailed macaque and cormorant . One can also see gaur, barking deer, mouse deer, wild boar, tiger, panther, wild dog, lion tailed macaque, Nilgiri langur, Malabar squirrel etc. Water birds like darter, little cormorant, pied king fisher and egrets are also common. Many kinds of snakes including the king cobra and python are also present in this sanctuary. The area has a variety of moth and butte
Fondest memory: Location: 50 km from Thiruvananthapuram city enroute to Ponmudi.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary consists of Part of Palode reserve (24sq.kms) and part of Kottoor reserve (29sq.kms). The total area of the sanctuary is 53 sq.kms. The total water spread of the reservoir is 5.82 sq.kms
Nearest railway station : Thiruvananthapuram, about 50 km from the sanctuary.
Nearest airport : Thiruvananthapuram, about 56 km from the sanctuary.
Favorite thing: It is belived that Sage Agasthya lived here. One can recah this place only by trekking through dense forests. Agastiyarkodam is a cone shaped mountain situated at 1890 m from the sea level.
The area is full of rare herbs and medicinal plants and the 'Neelakurinji', a flower which blooms only once in twelve years.
Women are not allowed up the peak. The belief is that sage Agasthyar who lived here was a confirmed bachelor.He disliked the presence of strange women.
Fondest memory: Location :70 km from Thiruvananthapuram.
Attractions :Rare herbs and medicial plants.
The best strekking season from December 2'nd week to February. One has to obtain a forest pass has to go to Agastiarkoodam.
This is obtained at Wildlife Warden, Forest Dept., P.T.P.Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram.
Getting there: Buses available to the local valley .After this point it is accessible only by foot from Kotoor, near Neyyar Dam and also from Bonacaud.
Nearest railway station : Thiruvananthapuram central, about 61 km from Bonocaud.
Nearest airport : Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 69 km from Bo
Favorite thing: Ponmudi is an enchanting hill resort with narrow winding pathways and cool, really beautiful environment, mountain flowers, butterflies and small rivulets.
One can indulge in trekking in Ponmudi . Still remnants of the tea estates are visisble.The mist covered valleys Ponmudi is a trea to watch especially after 1500 hrs.
Cottages and dormitory accommodation facilities area vailable.
Stay at present not recomended.One can return to Trivandrum for the overnight stay..
Fondest memory: Location: About 61 km from Thiruvananthapuram city.
Altitude: 915m above sea level
Nearest railway station : Thiruvananthapuram central, about 61 km
Nearest airport : Thiruvananthapuram International Airport about 67 km
Favorite thing: This area has some of the rarest medicinal herbs. Neyyar Dam is a great picnic spot with a lake and a dam . One can do boating in the lake.
The Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary of which the dam is a part is the habitat of over a hundred rare species of fauna including elephants, wild buffaloes, wild boar, porcupines, tigers and a variety of snakes. A crocodile breeding centre and a lion safari park are also located in here.
Soon a a floating boat jetty will be consturcted here at Neyyar Dam near Kattakada.
A changing room, concrete huts and toilets would also be set up at the picnic spot.
Fondest memory: Getting there:Buses from Thiruvananthapuram city ply to the dam everyday.
Nearest railway station : Thiruvananthapuram, about 32 km away.
Nearest airport : Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 38 km.
Favorite thing: The Beemappalli Dargah Shareef is dedicated to Bee Umma, a pious Muslim lady with great spiritiual powers. Bee Umma and her son who belong to the family of Prophet Mohammed are believed to have come here from Arabia centuries ago to preach their religion, Islam. The annual ten-day Uroos festival held at Beemappalli, to commemorates the memory of Sayyidhathunisa Bee Umma and her son Sayyidussaheed Maheen Aboobaker who are laid to rest here.
The festival begins at 8.30 in the morning with a prayer 'Dunha' led by the religious chief Imam on the premises of the shrine. A ceremonial processionis the also follwed. Religious discourses and preachings in the evenings will be held in the following days. Cultural programmes are held in the evening hours .Devotees make an offering of coins in earthern pots (kudams). This ritual is called Chandanakkudam.
Fondest memory: Thousands of pilgrims travel to Thiruvananthapuram to take part in the festival. Flowers, silk cloth and oil offered here at Dargah Shareef are distributed to the devotees who visit the shrine.
Venue: Beemappalli Dargah Shareef, about 12 km southwest of Thiruvananthapuram city.
Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram central, about 12 km from the shrine.
Nearest airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 4 km from the shrine.
Favorite thing: There is a small shack-style restaurant on Lighthouse baech, Kovalam, which serves the best ever Banana Pancakes.
Sit and watch the sunset, have a smoke and be prapared to wait a good 2h for it to arrive, -the pancake that is......
..they can be quite slow, but it´s worth it!
Fondest memory: Sunset, banana pancakes, and bumping into Paul from round-the-corner of where i lived in Manchester....-the global village!
Favorite thing: Just 10 km away from Trivandrum, this 3 or 4 beaches are quite crowded and busy even in low season. It's not so wild anymore, as tourist resorts are growing fast here, and charters from Europe come more frequently each year!
There is a bus from Trivandrum (East Fort) to Covalam, that takes around 20 minutes. It stops at the Ashok Complex. By taxi, it could be around 150 Rs.
Covalam has 3 beaches:
- Lighthouse beach (south), popular and crowded.
- Hawah (central), Ashok Hotel and local fishermen.
- Samudra (north), the less crowded.