Once referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the 'evergreen city of India', Thiruvanathapuram is the capital of its district and though it is now very much a commercial and academic centre, it has an intriguing history as a spice and ivory trading port, set conveniently as it is next to the Arabian sea.
Inland, the Ghat mountains loom over the rolling foothills that stretch to the edge of the city, and nature begins again in rows of palm trees and golden beaches on the other side.
A noticeable piece of Thiruvanathapuram's great cultural history still stands proud right in the city centre in the form of the mottled, time-ravaged Padmanabhaswamy temple, which towers over the surrounding white, tiled-roofed houses and can be seen for miles around.
Built in honour of Lord Vishnu, the essence of existence and life in the Hindu religion, it draws the visitor in with its seven-story, column-lined entrance hall towards a mysterious, richly symbolic reclining statue of Vishnu, made entire…
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