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Nestled at the southern tip of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, often referred to as the jewel in the emerald necklace that Kerala presents to the Indian sub-continent, has captivated hearts long before National Geographic Traveller bestowed upon it the "must-see" status. Legend whispers tales of Sage Parasurama's divine battle axe, carving a path from Kanyakumari to Gokarnam to claim Kerala, God's own land, from Varuna, the sea god. It predates the times of Mahabali, the just and democratic ruler, who met his fate through deceit and descended into the netherworld. This enchanting land, rich with history, likely sparked the imaginations of explorers like Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo, Fa Hien, and countless others, etched or unrecorded in the annals of history.

Named after Ananthan, the cosmic serpent with a thousand heads upon which Lord Mahavishnu reclines, Thiruvananthapuram is a city steeped in spirituality and heritage. King Marthanda Varma, in 1745, moved the capital from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram, becoming 'Padmanabha Dasa,' the servant and representative of Lord Padmanabha. The Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, a colossal complex with a towering Gopuram adorned with intricate carvings, stands as a testament to the city's spiritual allure. A focal point for the devout, tourists, and the merely curious, it echoes with the grandeur of a bygone era.

Thiruvananthapuram, built on seven hills, has evolved into a sprawling metropolis, yet it retains its past glory and charm. Despite the hustle of modern life, it remains perhaps the most serene among the state's larger cities. The people, known for their friendliness and hospitality, effortlessly converse in English, Hindi, Tamil, or the native Malayalam. The East Fort, a protected landmark dating back to the Royal days, houses the famous Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, the Navarathri Mandapam, and the exquisite Kuthira Malika, showcasing traditional architecture. The Mahatma Gandhi Road, the city's main artery, juxtaposes traditional mansions with modern high-rises, reflecting the blend of the traditional, colonial, and contemporary.

The city's ambiance is unique, blending strong traditions, colonial nostalgia, and modern elements in architecture, food, and attire. Thiruvananthapuram embraces a 'live and let live' spirit, exemplified at Palayam, where centers of worship for three faiths coexist harmoniously - the ancient Ganapathy Temple, Palayam Muslim Mosque, and Palayam Christian Cathedral church with its distinctive Gothic tower.

Blessed with a pleasant climate year-round, Thiruvananthapuram sparkles post-monsoon rains. Following mild summers, the welcomed showers usher in the festival season, transforming Kerala with traditional colors, rhythms, and characters from ancient lore. The festivities peak with Onam, the Spring harvest festival, featuring the spirited snake boat races, a grand elephant parade, and captivating performances of traditional arts like Kathakali, Mohiniyattom, and Koodiyattom. Thiruvananthapuram, a city that breathes life into history, spirituality, and vibrant traditions, invites visitors to step into a world where time seems to stand still.



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