Tuesday, 11 September 2012

God’s Own Capital - Thiruvananthapuram

[Discover the India of your dreams @ www.oddroad.com - The Way I Like.]

Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala brings together a refreshing balance of two ways of life. The paced development as well as the old-world, time-stopping charm, becomes a part of this city. Placed between the Arabian Sea and Tamil Nadu, the city is the first in India to have had a massive Techno Park that put it on the IT map of the world. However, it is difficult to separate it from its pagoda styled, red-tile-roofed houses and the quaint winding streets that run across the city, giving it a staid, other-worldly charm. 

We were bowled over by almost everything we saw. However, the Kovalam Beach deserves first mention. It can easily be the subject of innumerable post-cards, etc. The beautifully blue waters, with sun-kissed ripples that sparkled of gold, left us speechless and eager for more. Dotted with palm trees, fishermen going about their daily work, lush green stretches and golden yellow sands - we were sold. The Sanghumukham Beach was equally alluring. If you think that it is just the beaches, well, you should look again. 

We found this city a treasure house of natural beauty. Ponmundi, Poovar, the Varkala Cliffs and beaches, the Akkulam Lake, the list could go on and on.  Ponmundi, with its orchid exhibits, deer park and golden valley was as heart-lifting as ever. Its wooded hills have a way of calling out to you, to lull you into a true sense of peace. The Akkulam Lake is an extension of the Veli Lake and is a tourist favourite. With traditional houseboats available for overnight stay and myriad water sport possibilities in the Veli village, this was another treat for us. If nature is therapeutic, Trivandrum can show you how!

The city beautifully balances culture and modernity along with its spread of nature. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple, with its estimated assets of over 100,000 crores, is an example of their beautiful culture and heritage. Open only to Hindus, the temple preserves its strict dhoti/sari only policy. It is a beautiful piece of architecture with a seven storied gopuram built in a Dravidian style.  The Napier Museum and Zoo and the Kuthira Malika palace also form a part of this heritage. The city is also a hot-house of Indian traditional arts, especially Carnatic music. 

Of course, like all other Indians, the people there enjoy their food. Karikku (Coconut water) and Sambharam (Butter milk with ginger and chillies) are among the lip-smacking drinks found there. Among food items, the Malabar Lamb/Chicken/Fish curry is famous. Also, coconut is used as an ingredient in a lot of food items. The sea-food at Trivandrum, especially the prawns, is to die for. Different sorts of spicy fries are also available. 

The city’s usual slow lifestyle becomes a whirlwind of activity during the months of August/September. For it is then that Onam arrives. Onam brings together the city’s love for food, spirit of culture and a hint of the carnival. During this time, the state government holds the Tourist Week Celebrations, with an authentic art, food and culture carnival. The food was served in banana leaves and we had to sit down and dig in with our hands, making it an ideally authentic experience. The fish pollichathu was a favourite.

On our way back, we realised that the city had stolen our hearts away. So, we recommend…Go. Lose your hearts in ‘God’s Own Capital’

[Discover the India of your dreams @ www.oddroad.com - The Way I Like.]

[Image Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Napier_Museum.jpg