Her driver took us to many tourist spots, where he was familiar with. Among them, I was lucky to get a chance to visit the famous Kanakakunnu Palace, situated in the heart of the city on the crest of a small hill surrounded by meadows and grooves. Now it is under the custody of Kerala Government. This famous palace was used by the Travancore royal family to entertain their guests in the earlier days.
This stunning piece of architectural excellence was constructed during the reign of King Sree Moolam Thirunal (1885-1924). Later, during the period of King Chithira Thirunal, one of the most popular rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore, modified it and constructed tennis courts in the premises, and used it as a summer retreat. After the Kanakakunnu Palace was taken over by the State Government, much of its lost glory has been restored. I was fortunate to get a chance to see inside the palace, where the royal feelings can still be felt.
There is an open-air auditorium, called Nisagandhi auditorium, in the sprawling ground, where stage shows and cultural shows are conducted. Famous artists of Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, and Odissi participate in these dance festivals, showing fascinating glimpses of India's rich cultural heritage. Besides, international food festivals are also held in the Palace grounds, participated by well known hotels. Traditional handicrafts and crafts are exhibited during the festival in the adjacent Sooryakanthi Fair Ground. It is an ideal place for a family to spend an evening in the city.
There are more palaces in Thiruvananthapuram like Puthan Malika Palace, (also called as Kuthiramalika Palace), Koyikkal Palace, Kowdiar Palace, Pattom Palace and Padmanabhapuram Palace. Among these palaces, the must-visit place is the dazzling Padmanabhapuram Palace, about 55 kms away at Thuckalay town on the way to Kanyakumari. This is a wooden palace built by Iravi Varma Kulesekhara Perumal in the 16th century, in the traditional Travancore architectural style. This palace was once the capital of the State of Travancore. The important features of the palace are ancient murals, carved mahogany ceiling, colored mica windows, secret underground passages, inner courtyards, Durbar hall, Museum, Belgian mirror, pictures of Lord Krishna and granite dance halls.
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, has an International Airport.
Since Thiruvananthapuram has a Central Railway Station and Central Bus stand, which connects the major cities, reaching there is not a problem.