Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Situated on a hilltop at the southern end of India is Kerala's capital, Thiruvananthapuram (still commonly known as Trivandrum). For most visitors the capital is simply a transit-point on their way to Kovalam, the popular beach resort a few miles to the south. However, it is worth lingering for a day or so in this easy-going city to explore the narrow backstreets, old gabled houses and expansive parks.

The most fascinating part of Trivandrum is the Fort area, around the Shri Padmanabhaswamy temple (closed to non-Hindus); and Puttan Malika palace, seat of the Travancore Rajas. Some of the palace has been turned into a museum, and displays a collection of heirlooms and artefacts; however, the highlight is the building's typically understated, elegant Keralan architecture. Beneath sloping red-tiled roofs, hundreds of wooden pillars carved into the forms of rampant horses prop up the eaves, with airy verandas projecting onto the surrounding lawns.

When it gets too hot at sea level, Ponmudi makes a welcome excursion. This enchanting hill station, tucked away in the Western Ghats forty miles to the north of the capital, offers a lot to travellers with a passion for trekking; and just as much to those who'd prefer a gentle wander along narrow, winding pathways, through cool green, wooded environs thick with mountain flowers and butterflies. The hill resort is surrounded by tea-estates and mist-covered valleys, and peppered with little stone cottages painted violet, pink and white.

Information & Facts

Although English is generally used for official and business purposes, Hindi is the official language and is spoken by about 40 percent of the population. Urdu is the language common with the Muslim demographic. India has a total of 22 official languages

The currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised bureaux de changes. It is impossible to obtain rupees outside India, but no matter what time you arrive in India there will be an exchange office open at the airport. It is illegal to exchange money through the black market and it is advisable to refuse torn notes, as no one will accept them apart from the National Bank. It is best to change money into small denominations. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATMs are not generally available.

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