GR Travels

vellayani-lake

Picking a spot to watch the Vellayani Lake in Thiruvananthapuram is not easy. There is just so much of it. There is no tourist village built up like Veli, so you will have to find a spot by moving on the road and searching. You will pass the Agricultural College, and somewhere within is the Kanthari Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. Vellayani Lake is a freshwater lake and a popular picnic spot located in Thiruvananthapuram district. People stop while they pass on cars and bikes stand on the cemented paths and watch the sunset over the lake. Tourists come here for a boat ride or to spend the time hailing the charm of the landscape while they chat. During Onam festival enthusiasm takes over as the popular traditional boat races are organized here. In one stretch is a row of green beeches built on the side for evening travelers to rest for a while by the lake before they resume their journey. Here, men and women step out to click photos of the rare boatman out in the lake. Sometimes I the background you hear devotional music coming from a distant church. Also on parts of the lake are lotus plants that boys come to pluck out now and then. There is a steady flow of breeze at all times, and an evening out here is as relaxing as youd imagine it would be, when you think of a few hours by the lakeside, away from the chaos that is your daily life. The world famous Kovalam Beach is just 6 Km away from Vellayani Lake.      Book Now



Kowdiar Palace

Kowdiar Palace is situated on State Highway No.2, Then Mala Road on Kowdiar at Trivandrum District of Kerala State, India. It is the largest palace of the princely Travancore clans, who still resides in this magnificent structure. It is an important landmark in Trivandrum and a must to see if you are in Trivandrum. The public entry is restricted and one can see from the outside areas only. Kowdiar Palace is the master piece of Kerala Architectural marvel. It is built on 100 acres of Land area on a small hilltop above 300 meters above the sea level. This location is chosen as it didnt have any obstacles in between and provide a fresh breeze of winds from the Arabian Sea from its west side. It was also placed in such a coordinates that wind always flows inside the palace from its all windows and doors from the South West Monsoon and the retreading North East Monsoon. It is said by the historians that this palace was built on vasthu shasthra, which took nearly a 3 months of discussion by many experts and concluded the majority of the accurate principals which benefited with its structural dynamics to occupy in Kowdial location. This palace is a large rectangular shaped structure which has 150 rooms. It was built in 3 floors. There are 6 small towers placed on the roof tops which looks like a small watch tower. There are long running corridors along with the small pillars adjoining the main walls of the edifice. There are small and large pillars all over the building. Its entrance has two major arched pillars which welcomes in to the palace. The roof of this palace is placed with terracotta tiles. On the interior there are beautiful arts works found. There are well carved furnitures, paintings and sculptures were found. It floors are laid with pure white marbles and few floors are in the color of chess board and few are well designed in the floral forms. It has a very spacious kitchen and a large dining hall to accommodate 500 peoples at a time. There are large store rooms for storing food stocks. Its windows are framed on glasses and there are glass hanged lightening in all rooms. Its furniture, doors and windows frames are made of teak wood. Carving works are seen on the pillars doors and arched entrances of the palace. Kowdiar Palace was built in 1934 by the Travancore Thamburan Sri Chithirai Tirunal for his beloved daughter as a wedding gift. In 1971 this palace was portioned among the Thamburatis named Laxmi Thirunal and Parvathi Thirunal. It is the last and only palace were the Travancore decedents agreed to settle here permanently after the independence of India and when the princely states were dissolved by the government of India. Travancore clans are well known for their cultural and architectural achievements. This palace was the last ever built palace in the modern times of 20th century. The name Trivandrum came from the order of its Thirunal who governed this state. They ruled south Kerala from 1729 and Padhamanabhapuram as its capitol and possessed it until 1949. This old capitol is the present capitol of Kerala State now called as Thiruvananthapuram. All its state governments offices are majorly occupied in the Travancore built edifices throughout the Trivandrum. This palace is seen in many regional language films. Many Malayalam movies and Medias use to show palace as the backdrop and as landmark to show Trivandrum.Kowdiar Palace is a modern palace of the era, which is located on a small hillock with beautiful scenic landscape surrounding on it. The palace does have a large lovely garden with color lighting fountains. It is a unique palace in India, since no other palace have such splendid features.      Book Now



Napier Museum

Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are situated in the Museum compound, right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, near the zoological park. Napier Museum built in the 19th century, this Indo Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Keralas rich cultural heritage. An exceptional piece of architecture, the Museum is named after the former Madras Governor General, John Napier. The Napier Museum is also called the Government Art Museum. The Museum building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are situated in the Museum compound, right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, near the zoological park. Napier Museum built in the 19th century, this Indo Saracenic structure boasts a natural airconditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Keralas rich cultural heritage. An exceptional piece of architecture, the Museum is named after the former Madras Governor General, John Napier. The Napier Museum is also called the Government Art Museum. The Museum building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are situated in the Museum compound, right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, near the zoological park. Napier Museum built in the 19th century, this Indo Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Keralas rich cultural heritage. An exceptional piece of architecture, the Museum is named after the former Madras Governor General, John Napier. The Napier Museum is also called the Government Art Museum. The Museum building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. Napier Museum and Natural History Museum are situated in the Museum compound, right in the heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city, near the zoological park. Napier Museum built in the 19th century, this Indo Saracenic structure boasts a natural air conditioning system and houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariot and ivory carvings. The Japanese shadow play leather figures, used to depict the epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana, are very interesting. A visit to the Napier Museum complex reveals a glimpse of Keralas rich cultural heritage. An exceptional piece of architecture, the Museum is named after the former Madras Governor General, John Napier. The Napier Museum is also called the Government Art Museum. The Museum building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles.      Book Now



Pazhanchira-Temple

Pazhanchira Devi temple is one of the ancient temples in south India. The temple is beautified with carvings of the various manifestations of the god and goddess. The Trust undertakes and monitors the work related to the renovation of the temple, improvement of the roads leading to the temple, expansion of areas for Ponkala, and provision of facilities for the devotees to worship in the temple. Pazhanchira, the spiritual oasis stands as a testimony to the creative manifestation of Pazhanchira Devis divine vision,enabling humankind to tread the path of Dharma (righteousness), by understanding and transforming oneself, in the most difficult period of Kaliyuga. Pazhanchira Devi temple is said to be built by the Sidha Yogi in the 13th century. They worshipped the Devi in the Sri Kovil inside the temple. Later it became the goddess Pazhanchira Devis temple. There is a Sarpa Kavu (abode of snakes) outside the Shri Kovil. Naga Pooja is performed here. The surrounding of Sarpa Kavu is full of shady trees. People believe that those who do this pooja, will be cured from diseases affecting eyes,skin and so on. Aiswarya Mahalakshmi pooja is also done here in Sri Pazhanchira Devi temple, Thiruvananthapuram during every full moon day. It is a one hour pooja starting from 5.00 pm in the evening and ending at 6.00 pm. Mainly this pooja is performed for curing diseases and for the happiness in the family. The annual festival of this temple starts during the Malayalam Month Meenam on Makiram day. Special poojas are also performed during the Navarathri and Mahanavami days. Kanyakapooja is a special pooja conducted here during the Mahanavami day. This pooja is conducted by worshipping the young girls and presenting them gifts and clothes. Samooha Laksharchana is done during this day in the presence of thousands of devotees. People consider this temple for Vidhyarambam in the Vijayadhasami day for children. Huge crowds of devotees visit this temple every day,more specially on Tuesdays and Fridays. A well maintained temple, the deity is known to bless her devotees who pray there for her benevolence. There are many subdeities adjacent to the temple. The main subdeities on the premises are lord Yogishwara, Lord Ganesha, goddess Rektha Chamundi, Lord Nagaraja, Lord Brahm Rakshas Lord Madan Thampuran, and Navagrahas.      Book Now



Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The origin of the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is lost in antiquity. It is not possible to determine with any exactitude, from any reliable historical documents or other sources as to when and by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy was consecrated. The Temple has references in Epics and Puranas. Srimad Bhagavatha says that Balarama visited this Temple, bathed in Padmatheertham and made several offerings. Nammalwar, 9th century poet and one among the 12 Vaishnavite saints of the Alvar tradition, has composed ten hymns in praise of Lord Padmanabha. Some well known scholars, writers and historians, like the late Dr. L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, have expressed the view that this Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (which is over 5000 years ago). The legends of the Temple are handed down through the centuries. One such legend which finds a place in the old palm leaf records of the Temple, as also in the famous grantha entitled Ananthasayana Mahatmya, mentions that it was consecrated by a Tulu Brahmin hermit named Divakara Muni. On the 950th year of Kali Yuga a reinstallation of the idol was done. In the 960th Kali year King Kotha Marthandan built the Abhisravana Mandapam. Divakara Muni was a great Vishnu Bhaktha. While at Aanarthadesa, he performed deep tapas. One day Maha Vishnu appeared before the sage as a lovely child. The charming child attracted the attention of the sage. He requested the God child to stay with him. The child made his stay conditional. Accordingly, the Sanyasi should treat him with respect. On failing to do so, he would vanish at once. This was accepted and the child stayed with him. The hermit gave him great care and tolerated the childish pranks. One day, when the sanyasi was in deep meditation at his prayers, the chills took the salagram which the sanyasi was using for worship and put it into his mouth and made such a nuisance of himself that Divakara Mini was greatly angered and could tolerate it no further. He thereupon chastised the child. In accordance with the earlier agreement, immediately the child ran away and disappeared from the spot. While going he said, If you wish to see me again, you will find me again in Ananthankaadu. It was only then that Divakara Muni realized who his erstwhile child guest had been. The hermit was stricken with inconsolable grief and for many days followed what, he believed was the route taken by the child foregoing food, rest and sleep in the process.      Book Now



Sri-Bhagavathy-Temple

The story goes that the Goddess Bhagavathy revealed herself to a fervent devotee of a notable family viz. Mulluveettil family. It is said that one evening a young girl appeared before the head of the family while he was performing his oblations in the Killi river and requested him to help her cross the river. Impressed by her charismatic demeanour, the old man bent before her with awe and reverence and not only helped her cross the river but took her to his house nearby. Strangely enough, while the household members were amidst preparations for intending a warm welcome to the young girl, she vanished. That very night she appeared as an icon before the old man in his dream and demanded that he should establish an abode for her in the nearby sacred ground of shrubs and herbs (kavu), at a consecrated spot marked by three lines. The next morning the old man went to the spot revealed to him in the dream and to his great surprise he did find three marks indented on the ground He lost no time in erecting a temple on this consecrated spot to house the Goddess. Many years later, the building was renovated by the local devotees. They also installed a beautiful and majestic icon of the Deity with four arms, bearing weapons of destruction in each, like spear, sword, shield etc. The consecration ceremony of this Exalted Being was performed by no less a person than the high priest of the Badarinath Temple.      Book Now



Trivandrum-zoo

Trivandrum Zoo or the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is situated in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. The Maharaja of Travancore established the zoo stretching over 55 acres of woodland, with lakes, and lawns, in 1857. The zoo was at first made with the archetypal ironbarred enclosures and was primarily planned for creating something for leisure but with the increased deforestation and effect on wildlife due to human encroachments, the goal of the Zoo changed from amusement to protection of the flora and fauna of the area. o accomplish the same goal, a project was started in 1995 with an objective to steadily change the old iron enclosures of the zoo with roomy and more natural enclosures to ensure that the animals can feel at home. Further, the local and the state government of Kerala are aiding this refurbishment of the zoo with money and technical help from the Central Zoo Authority. Home to about 82 species from across the globe, the zoo includes native species like the lion tailed macaque, Indian rhinoceros, Nilgiri langur, royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, and leopard, along with nine Asian elephants. Some animals are even brought from Africa to the zoo like giraffes, zebras, hippos, and Cape buffaloes. There is also a snake farm in the zoo showcasing both poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes.      Book Now


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