Being the capital of Kerala, Trivandrum hosts the political and administrative seat of the State. Life in Trivandrum is a unique blend of modernity and tradition, offering a unique and fulfilling experience to its residents and visitors alike. Even during its growth from a small town to a top tier-II city in the Country, Trivandrum has managed to retain its charming laidback impression. Many residents keenly retain the link to the past.
The iconic Government Secretariat in Trivandrum celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2019. In the initial years, it was called the Huzur Kacheri- Huzur meant ruler, and Huzur Kacheri was where the ruler sat. Durbar Hall built in the Centre of the building with the Clock Tower atop is the most attractive portion. Five kings of Travancore, 18 dewans, five chief ministers of Thirukochi, and 22 chief ministers of Kerala have governed the state from the Secretariat.
Kowdiar Palace, where the erstwhile King of Travancore lived, is an architectural marvel. It was built in 1934 by the late Maharaja Sree Chithira Thirunal on the occasion of his sister’s wedding – Maharani Karthika Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi. Kowdiar Palace building is three-storied and has about 150 rooms. It also has six magnificent steeples heralding the grandeur of this edifice and can be seen from across the city. Interestingly enough, the palace also features an elevator made up of wood.
Introduction of double-decker buses in Trivandrum can be traced back to the mid-20th century. These buses quickly became an integral part of the city’s public transportation system, making them a beloved icon of Trivandrum. Double-decker buses evoke a sense of nostalgia and sentimental attachment for many locals, particularly those who grew up in the city. For many residents, memories of riding these buses as children or with family and friends are cherished. Buses now ply on two routes.
Thattukadas (street-side eateries) were once upon a time essentially a Trivandrum thing, and are a ubiquitous sight in the city. Dosa, coconut chutney, onion chutney, dosappodi, rasa vada, pappadam, and omelette – the aromatic flavours of the Thattukada are mouth-watering! Quick service and economy pricing make them popular among locals and are often a go-to spot for a quick meal at night. Most thattus are open from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm and are visited by families and youth alike.
Mounted Police unit of the Kerala Police, the only of its kind in the State, traces its origins to 1880. Then known as the Rajapramukhas Body Guard, it was set up for the use and protection of members of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore. The horses took part in official ceremonies, parades and in drawing chariots of the royal family. Early morning patrol by the mounted police is a familiar and majestic sight in the city.
Amongst the attractions associated with the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, is a piece of engineering marvel that was once a crowd-puller. Methan Mani, a grand old clock built in 1833, is on the eastern side leading to the temple, facing the Padmatheertham pond. Corresponding to every hour, a bearded man on top of the dial opens his mouth and two goats hit his cheek on either side, forcing him to close his mouth, coordinated with the hourly chimes.