Connemara Market, Palayam
Established in 1857, Connemara market in Palayam is one of the major shopping hubs of the city. It was built during the reign of King Uthradom Thirunal of erstwhile Travancore dynasty to supply day-to-day commodities to the army members. The arched gate which leads to the market was inaugurated by Sir Connemara, Governor of Madras Presidency on his visit to Thiruvananthapuram in 1888 and the market was named ‘Connemara market’ in honour of him.
One of the oldest market places in Thiruvananthapuram, Chalai market in East Fort is regarded as the biggest as well. The shops, arranged on two lines, sell almost every thing a family needs. There are both retail as well as wholesale outlets where a wide range of commodities, from vegetables to exquisite handicrafts and jewellery, are sold.
Victoria Jubilee Town Hall, popularly known as VJT Hall, had been built to commemorate the golden jubilee of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1896. Even today, this colonial structure has retained all its glory and is one of the most sought-after centres for exhibitions and cultural get-togethers.
University College, which is a pioneering institution in the higher education sector of the district, has a history dating back to 1834. It was founded during the reign of King Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma to facilitate educational system in the western model. In 1866, the institution was upgraded to the status of a college. Since then, the college has played a great role in moulding the intellectual life of many generations and now has grown into one of the biggest in the state with as many as eighteen departments and research facilities.
Govt. Sanskrit College
One of the oldest in the state, Sanskrit College was founded in 1889 by King Sri Mulam Thirunal of the Travancore dynasty on the model of the Benares Sanskrit College.
Swathi Thirunal College of Music
The first music college in the state, Sree Swathi Thirunal College of Music was founded in 1939 aimed at giving refresher courses to music teachers of the state of Travancore. Until 1962, when it was named after the great king Swathi Thirunal, the college was known as Music Academy. This prestigious institution has done a commendable job in popularizing Carnatic music, especially the compositions of Sree Swathi Thirunal in the state.
College of Fine Arts
This elegant Baroque building, originally known as the School of Arts, was founded in 1888 by King Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma, the then ruler of erstwhile kingdom of Travancore. A number of distinguished artists and art educators have nurtured the legacy of this pioneer institution.
State Central Library
One of the biggest libraries with a wide collection of books on various subjects, the State Central Library, commonly known as Public Library is remarkable for its fine architectural features. Once known as the Victoria Diamond Jubilee Library, it was founded in 1829 during the reign of King Sree Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma.
The University Observatory, which functions as part of the Department of Physics, is situated on a hill about 60 feet high, known as the Observatory Hill. The Observatory started its operation in 1837 and is one of the oldest of its kind in modern India. This centre of astrology has been instituted under the patronage of Sree Swathi Thirunal, the then king of erstwhile Travancore dynasty. The building, which once hosted the Meteorological Centre, is now under the conservation of Archaeological Survey of India.
Agraharam, East Fort
Agraharams or the traditional Brahmin settlements of East Fort have a history of their own to tell. They have an ancient charm, which is shared by the palatial houses and other related structures of the fort area. These agraharams are constructed in such a way that each home shares a wall with the others, with their doors opening to the street. Most of these homes, which survive even now,have mud-walls.
This elegant white building in Roman architecture style situated in the heart of the city was constructed during the colonial period. This is the centre of administration of the state of Kerala and had housed the Legislative Assembly until 1996.
One of the prime attractions of Thiruvananthapuram city, Napier Museum had started in 1857 under the initiative of Mr. Allen Brown, the director of Thiruvananthapuram observatory. In 1860, during the reign of Sri Uthradom Thirunal, the then monarch of the erstwhile Travancore dynasty, the new building was inaugurated by Mr. John Napier, the Governor General of Madras and the museum was named after him.
A 703 feet long pier at Valiyathura, a coastal hamlet of Thiruvananthapuram, is one of the very few sea bridges in the state. The only port along the South Kerala coast had located here until it was declared inactive in the early eighties. Today, this almost ruined pier is used by the traditional fishermen here for catamaran fishing.
A silent spectator to history, Padmatheertham, the sacred pond in front of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, has many tales to tell. It is one of the oldest waterbodies in the city and is located on the north western part of the temple. This sacred tank was constructed during the Travancore era, with the incoming water from the Kochar, a tributary of river Killi. There was a flushing mechanism as well, with the excess water diverted to nearby Pathrakkulam and then to Thekkanamkara canal. There are many a legend revolving around this temple pond.
The Thiruvananthapuram fort is built around Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. Its construction works started in the year 1747, during the reign of King Marthanda Varma and was completed in 1787 when King Kartika Thirunal Dharma Raja was ruling over the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore. The height of the fort is approximately 15 feet and is built in on the plan of Mr. Thaikkad Vishnunathan Namboothiri, a renowned architect of those days. There are four main gateways and three sub gateways for the fort. The fort is now a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
A large open space in East Fort, it is hard to believe that Putharikandam Maidan had once been a paddy field, as the name indicates. The paddy cultivated here had served the needs of Kaudiar palace and the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. Today, this maidan is venue for many functions and fairs.
Once the official residence of the erstwhile Travancore dynasty, Padmanabhapuram palace complex is regarded as Asia’s largest wooden palace. The palace has fourteen structures spread over an area of six acres. The palace is also noted for its rich mural collection tracing back to the 17th and 18th century. The earliest of structures here is believed to have been constructed in 1335. Pointed gables, dormer windows and long corridors are specimens to the tradition architecture of Kerala.
Kuthira Malika, meaning the ‘horse mansion’ had once been the palace of King Swathi Thirunal, a known musician and a good statesman. Some of his finest compositions have been composed during his stay here, which lasted for one year until he died an immature death at the age of 34. The palace is located on the south eastern side of Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The palace gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets. Built in 1840s, the palace is a good specimen for the architectural legacy of Kerala. The palace, also known as Puthen Malika (new mansion) is now preserved as a museum.
Kilimanoor palace is home to a branch of the royal family of Travancore. The palace is situated in a sprawling green landscape. The palace is known for its celebrated member, Raja Ravi Varma, one of the best painters that India has ever produced. Many big and medium sized buildings, temples and sacred groves are there as part of the palace. Kilimanoor palace has a history spanning almost 300 years. It has witnessed many events which transformed the history of Travancore.
Located at Nedumangad, Koyikkal Palace was built for Umayamma Rani, the monarch who ruled the land between 1677 and 1684. This double storeyed traditional Nalukettu has been well preserved even today with its sprawling courtyards and a big pond. Now, the palace hosts a Folklore Museum and a Numismatics museum which houses many exquisite antiques.
Kaudiar palace is the present residence of the royal members of the erstwhile Travancore dynasty. It was gifted to Queen Sethu Parvati Bai by Sri Moolam Thirunal in 1915. Sri Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma, the last ruler of the dynasty had also resided here. The palace is set in the midst of a beautiful garden. The architectural style of this royal residence is also noteworthy.
Kanakakkunnu palace is another magnificent specimen to the Travancore era. The palace was constructed during the reign of king Sree Moolam Thirunal and was modified when King Swathi Thirunal. It was once used by the royal family to entertain their guests.
Now, the government has undertaken this beautiful monument and has done renovation and restoration works. It is one of the major centres in the city where many cultural events are held. There are two open air auditoriums, Nishagandhi and Sooryakanthi, in the palace premises.
Anjengo or Anchuthengu (meaning five coconuts) fort was originally built by British in 1690. It was one of the powerful bastions of the British empire in Kerala. The construction works were completed in 1690. The fort was once used as the first signaling station for ships arriving from England to India. The remnants of a majestic fort and the graveyard which contains the mortal remains of the British men and their families can still be seen here.