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Ideas for an enriching weekend in Thiruvanathapuram
August 30, 2015, 1:20 pm
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Rise early and join one of the free walking tours conducted in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala State. While Tree Walk explores the city's tree wealth, Heritage Walk delves into its social, cultural, and architectural history.

Freewheeling walk is a great way to discover facets of the city that would otherwise pass right by. Both tours usually start at 7am and cover one of the city's neighborhoods.

No visit to Thiruvananthapuram is complete without admiring the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple – possibly now the world's wealthiest religious institutions estimated to hold antiques, gems, and gold worth US$20 billion.

A few hundred meters from the temple's main entrance is the Kuthira Malika Palace, also called the Puthen Malika, which houses a museum of artifacts belonging to Kingdom of Travancore's former royals.

(Palace remains open from 8:30am–1pm and 3pm–5:30pm; closed on Mondays. More details are available on sreepadhnabhamsawamytemple.org)

For a further dose of history, art and greenery, head to the tree-filled government museum and complex that contains a couple of museums, a zoo, and an art gallery. At the very least, visit the eye-catching Napier Museum with its mélange of architectural styles and collection of archeological and historical artifacts.

(Open from 10am–5pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays; 1–5pm on Wednesdays; closed on Mondays)

Next, step into the nearby Sree Chitra Art Gallery to see paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerich.

(Open from 10am–5pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays; 1–5pm on Wednesdays; closed on Mondays)

For a booster shot of history, head to the Kerala Museum of History and Heritage, opposite the main museum complex. The museum, which opened a few years ago, traces the region's history and global connections across the ages. Its collections include Neolithic stone axes, a jar and bowl used in Iron Age burials, Roman coins, and sculptures of bronze, wood and stone.

(Open from 10am–5:30pm; closed on Mondays and public holidays. More details can be availed on museumkerala.org)

Round off the heritage-filled day with a mesmerizing kathakali or koodiyattom performance at Margi, a cultural organization that promotes Kerala's classical performing art forms. Margi conducts regular kathakali and koodiyattom performances throughout the year, but when planning a visit, it is best to give them a call to find out what is on (marigtheatre.org)

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