Thiruvananthapuram means ‘the town of Lord Anantha’ –  the serpent head on which Lord Vishnu reclines, full of divine powers. The best way to experience Thiruvananthapuram is to create a short temple itinerary that focuses on both the cultural and architecture of the city.

Among the top attractions are the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Attukal Bhagawati Temple, Aazhimala Siva Temple, Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple, and the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple, all of which are artistic marvels showcasing different architectural styles.

Yet, as one of the prominent and southernmost cities of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum, is also an oasis of calm courtesy of its exquisite beaches, long shores decorated with palms, lushing greenery, calming backwaters, and the therapeutic Ayurvedic treatments that rejuvenate the mind and soul. A visit to the nearby tiny hamlet of Varkala is also recommended for its beautiful beach that gives you the opportunity to experience fishing with locals in shallow waters.

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For the city’s rich legacy of history head to Kuthiramalika Palace Museum and Napier Museum. While the former showcases the celebrated Travancore-styled architectural structures along with priceless paintings, traditional furniture and other collections of the royal family, the latter displays the beauty of Indo-Saracenic architecture, and takes you through ancient ornaments, and ivory and wooden carvings.

For the weary traveller, Mekosha Ayurveda SpaSuites (India’s first all-suites boutique Ayurveda retreat with in-suite spa) offers bespoke Ayurvedic treatment with personalised therapies for holistic physical and mental well-being. You could follow a regime that offers complete mindful rehabilitation (including post cancer rehabilitation, treatment of skin, respiratory disorders) or simply go for Panchkarma—a set of five cleansing, detoxifying treatments, balancing excess doshas and rejuvenating the whole body.

A trip to Thiruvananthapuram is incomplete without trying its coastal cuisine. With generous use of fish, coconut, banana, jackfruit, jaggery and rice,  the local cuisine is a burst of flavours. Some of the best dishes to try are Onamsadya (a traditional spread of rice with different kinds of thoran, coconut curries, olans, aviyal and payasam on a banana leaf cooked on special occasions), Malabar biryani, fried prawns, crab curry, green mussel dishes, egg curry and beef fry.