Trivandrum mountains have a stately presence, very much in keeping with its past as the capital of the Maharajah of Travancore. Gracious buildings peep out of lush palm groves and the architectural style clings to its traditional past. A numberof palaces till today remain residences of the royal family and are out of bounds for visitors.
Legend lives on in the city and its environs. The very name Trivandrum means the town of Anantha the serpent that forms the couch for Vishnu—and derives its hoary tradition from the ancient Vishnu temple which houses this deity.
So central is this temple to Trivandrum’s history, that successive Maharajah’s of Travancore from the 18th century onwards built their palaces close to this temple, giving the city its present day royal character. At this landmark temple “the Sree Padmanabha temple” as it is called—the visitor can admire intricate stone carvings and beautiful mantapams. A stunning idol depicting Lord Vishnu reclining on his serpent Anantha is housed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
THE PADMANABHAPURAM PALACE
Giving a cue to Trivandrum’s rich past is the unique wooden palace, 53 kilometres
away. The Padmanabhapuram Palace belonged to the 18th century king Marthanda
Varma and was the princely capital before it shifted to Trivandrum. The wooden
architecture, murals and craftsmanship are a fascinating study in this medium.
The visitor is offered a peep into the grand lifestyle of the Maharajahs of yore at the excellent Napier Museum which has a remarkable collection of art objects, jewellery, bronzes, stone carvings and ancient musical instruments.
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