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Padmanabhapuram

This majestic old palace is 63kms from Thiruvananthapuram. It is situated at Thucklai, on the way to Kanyakumari. The palace is built in the Travancore architectural style. This palace was once the capital of the State of Travancore. The palace was constructed around 1601 A.D by Iravipillai Iravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore between 1592 A.D. and 1609 A.D. In the late 18th century, the capital of Travancore was shifted from here to Thiruvananthapuram, and the place lost its former glory. However, the palace complex continue to be the best examples of traditional Kerala architecture, and some portions of the sprawling complex are also the hall mark of traditional Kerala style building art. This is famous for its 17th and 18th century murals, carved mahogany ceiling, colored mica windows, secret underground passages, inner courtyards, durbar hall, museum, four poster medicinal bed, Belgian mirror, pictures of Lord Krishna, granite dance halls and special black shiny floors which are made from a unique combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand.

The palace also has a secret underground escape route (now blocked), open air swimming pool, dance hall, massive paintings and idols of Indian Gods and Goddesses, carved figurines carrying lamps, etc. There is also a unique stonewall that is held together till date without the use of mortar. The Palace though surrounded entirely by the State of Tamil Nadu is still part of Kerala and the land and Palace belongs to the Government of Kerala. The clock tower in the palace complex has a 300 year old clock, which still keeps time. A big hall now bare, which can accommodate around 1000 guests, and where ceremonial feasts were held, on auspicious occasions. A secret passage, now blocked, through which the king, his immediate family members, and their entourage could escape to another palace, located several kilometers away in the event of any emergency. Name of this palace is Charottu kottaram. A flight of steps leads to a bathing pond, which has lost its freshness due to neglect and years of disuse.

The Palace complex also has a section of curios and several interesting objectsAn entire room filled with old Chinese jars, all gifts by Chinese merchants. A variety of weapons (which were actually used in warfare), including swords and daggers. Brass lamps, wood and stone sculpture, a variety of furniture and large mirrors made of polished metal. A gallery of paintings depicting incidents from the history of Travancore. A wooden cot made of up to 64 wooden pieces of a variety of medicinal tree trunks Polished stone cot, meant for cool effect

Bolghatty Palace

The splendid Bolghatty Palace is located on the Bolghatty Islands, in the Cochin city of Kerala. In 1744, the Dutch traders built this palace, initially as a villa. The appeal of the palace lies in the fact that it is among the oldest existing palaces built by the Dutch in India, during the pre-British times. Kochi has long been one of the important trading centers of India, attracting traders and seafarers from far and near. Later, the villa was extended and lush green gardens were added all around it.

During those days, the Bolgatty Palace sued to serve as the Dutch Governor's residence. Incidentally, the Bolgatty palace happens to be the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside the Netherlands. Later, in 1909, the palace was leased to the British, who turned it into a residence for the British governors. In 1947, after India gained her independence, the Bolghatty Palace of Cochin became the property of the state and was later transformed into a heritage hotel resort. Also referred to as the Hotel Bolgatty Palace, it is now under the administration of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).It is one of the best Kerala holiday destination in Kochi. Just off the Kochi Marine Drive is the Bolgatty Island Resort. It is an island of calm right in the midst of the bustling City of Kochi. The resort is neatly tucked among giant umbrellas of refreshing green.

It is also an important part of the Cochin International Marina that is fast becoming a stopover for international yachts and cruise ships. It is adjacent to the Bolgatty Palace and is considered as honeymooners’ paradise .Set in the middle of a fabulous garden, the palace has slowly metamorphosed into an esteemed heritage hotel. With the spectacular backwaters of Cochin as the background, the scenery around the palace is simply breathtaking. Hotel Bolgatty Palace is a two-storey building, with tastefully decorated bedchambers and a huge lounge, wherein historical portraits are displayed. The hotel proffers executive suites, deluxe rooms and honeymoon & lakefront cottages along the edge of the backwaters for tourists to stay.

Trivandrum

Thiruvananthapuram which was previously called Trivandrum is an ancient city with tradition dating back to 1000 BC. Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Raja of Travancore in 1750.The city gets its name from the word, Thiru-anantha-puram, meaning the city of Anantha or the abode of the sacred Serpent Anantha on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity, reclines.

Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of the state of Kerala. It is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland spreading over a total of 2,192sq.km.Today the city has emerged as an important tourist destination and commercial centre and is fine blend of traditions and modernity.
 
The area of historical interest in the city is the Fort, the famous Shri Padmanabhaswamy Vishnu Temple, at the southern end of M.G.Road. The fort gateway leads to the temple, which is surprisingly enough, in the Dravidian style of architecture, typical of Tamil Nadu. The temple enshrines, and is dedicated, to the presiding deity of Thiruvananthapuram, Lord Vishnu. It is known for its Mural Paintings and Stone Carvings. One among the 108 sacred Vishnu Temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on anantha the serpent. It was constructed by a Maharaja of Travancore, in 1733. The temple is open only to Hindus. The city derives its name from this temple, as the deity i.e. Lord Vishnu, is shown as reclining on his serpent, Anantha.

The Museum, Zoo, and the park they are located are in, are quite popular with the local people and Kerala  tourists The Napier Museum wasBuilt in the 19th century, the indo - saracenic structure boasts a "natural" Airconditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artifacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The use of plaxtic is banned in the museum premises. Sree Chitra Art Gallery is  Located near the Napier Museum. The art collection at the See Chitra Art Gallery, contains paintings of the Mughal, Tanjore and Rajput schools and a special section, devoted exclusively to the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. There are, also, works of art from China, Bali, Tibet and Japan. The Zoological Gardens are, said to be, among the most well-planned zoos in Asia. The Botanical Garden within the zoo, comprises  specimens of almost every tropical tree existing. The Observatory, located on the highest point of the city, is one of the impressive architectural landmarks of Thiruvananthapuram. Kovalam 16 kms away this internationally renowned Beach Resort has been a favorite haunt of tourists since the 1930s. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches. The Southernmost, known as the Lighthouse beach, is the most popular Kovalam offers accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Kuthiramalika Palace Museum was built by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma - the King of Travancore, who was a great poet, musician, social reformer and statesman. This rare specimen of workmanship in the traditional travancore style of architecture also has exquisite wood carvings. The palace museum displays paintings and various priceless collections of the royal family.
Other places of interest  are the zoological park , priyadarshini planetarium , observatory, shankhumugham beach & connemera market.

 
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