Thiruvananthapuram

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This article is about the city. For the district, see Thiruvananthapuram district. For the urban agglomeration area of Thiruvananthapuram, see Thiruvananthapuram metropolitan area.
Thiruvananthapuram
തിരുവനന്തപുരം
Trivandrum
Metropolis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travancore#mediaviewer/File:Flag_of_Kingdom_of_Travancore.svg
From top clockwise: Pattom Skyline, Infosys, Ponmudi, Kazhakoottam, Kerala University and Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Thiruvananthapuram is located in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram
Coordinates: 08°29′15″N 76°57′9″E / 8.48750°N 76.95250°E / 8.48750; 76.95250Coordinates: 08°29′15″N 76°57′9″E / 8.48750°N 76.95250°E / 8.48750; 76.95250
Country  India
State Kerala
District Thiruvananthapuram
Government
 • Body Thiruvananthapuram Corporation
 • Mayor Adv. K. Chandrika
 • Deputy Mayor G. Happykumar
 • City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh IPS
 • Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor (Lok Sabha)
Arearank = 62
 • Metropolis 214.86 km2 (82.96 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Metropolis 657,730
 • Density 4,454/km2 (11,540/sq mi)
 • Metro[2] 1,687,406
Languages
 • Official Malayalam · English
 • Spoken languages Malayalam · English
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 695 XXX
Telephone code 91 (0)471 XXX XXXX
Vehicle registration KL-01, KL-22
Coastline 78 kilometres (48 mi)[citation needed]
Sex ratio 1064[1] /
Literacy 93.72[1]%
Planning agency TRIDA
Civic agency Thiruvananthapuram Corporation
Distance from Mumbai 1,543 kilometres (959 mi) NW (land)
Distance from Delhi 2,814 kilometres (1,749 mi) N (land)
Climate Am/Aw (Köppen)
Precipitation 1,700 millimetres (67 in)
Avg. annual temperature 27.2 °C (81.0 °F)
Avg. summer temperature 35 °C (95 °F)
Avg. winter temperature 24.4 °C (75.9 °F)
Website www.corporationoftrivandrum.in
Outside the Napier Museum, Trivandrum

Thiruvananthapuram (IPA: [t̪iruʋənɨn̪t̪əpurəm] ( )), also known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala and the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram District. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as "Evergreen city of India",[3][4] the city is characterised by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys.[5] The city has a population of 752,490 inhabitants and a population of around 1.68 million in the urban agglomeration and is the most populous city corporation and the fifth largest urban agglomeration in Kerala.[6][7] Thiruvananthapuram contributes 80% of the state's software exports and is the major IT hub of the state.[8][9][10]

The city is home to central and state government offices and organisations. Apart from being the political nerve centre of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the University of Kerala, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), College of Engineering Trivandrum (CET),the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI),[11] Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering (SCT), Technopark, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST),[12] the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Kerala,[13] Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER),[14] the Centre for Development Studies, the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software[15][16] (ICFOSS), the Centre for Earth Science Studies, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology and the Sree Chitira Thirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology.[17] It is also considered as one of the 10 greenest cities in India.[18][19] Thiruvananthapuram was ranked as the best city in Kerala to live in by a recent Times of India survey.[20] The city is also ranked as the best city in India for Housing and Transport by a survey conducted by India Today.[21][22]

Toponymy[edit]

The city gets its name from the Malayalam word thiru-anantha-puram IPA: [t̪iruʋənɨn̪t̪əpurəm] ( ), meaning the "City of Lord Ananta".[23] The name derives from the deity of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple at the centre of the city. Anantha is the serpent Shesha on whom Padmanabha or Vishnu reclines. This temple of Vishnu reclining on Anantha remains the iconic landmark of the city. It is estimated that the value of the monumental items and assets of the temple partially revealed are close to INR1000 billion (US$17 billion), making it the richest temple in the world.[24] The city was officially referred to as Trivandrum until 1991, when the government decided to reinstate the city's original name Thiruvananthapuram.

History[edit]

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicting Richard Temple-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos being greeted by Visakham Thirunal, with Ayilyam Thirunal of Travancore looking on, during Buckingham's visit to Trivandrum, Travancore in early 1880.
Kowdiar Palace built in 1915 was the official residence of the Travancore Royal Family.[25]

Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient region with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BCE.[26][27] It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram in 1036 BCE.[28] The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood and ivory.[29] However, the ancient political and cultural history of the city was almost entirely independent from that of the rest of Kerala. The early rulers of the city were the Ays. With their fall in the 10th century, the city was taken over by the rulers of Venad.[30]

The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor in the local vernacular). Thiruvananthapuram was made the capital of Travancore in 1745 after shifting the capital from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district.[31] The city developed into a major intellectual and artistic centre during this period. The golden age in the city's history was during the mid 19th century under the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal. This era saw the establishment of the first English school (1834), the Observatory (1837), the General Hospital (1839), the Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library and the University College (1873). The first mental hospital in the state was started during the same period. Sanskrit College, Ayurveda College, Law College and a second grade college for women were started by Moolam Thirunal (1885–1924).[30]

The early 20th century was an age of tremendous political and social changes in the city. The Sree Moolam Assembly, established in 1904, was the first democratically elected legislative council in any Indian state.[32] Despite not being under direct control of the British Empire at any time, the city featured prominently in India's freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress had a very active presence in Thiruvananthapuram. A meeting of the Indian National Congress presided by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was held here in 1938.

The Thiruvananthapuram Municipality came into existence in 1920. The municipality was converted into a Corporation on 30 October 1940, during the period of Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma, who took over in 1931.[33] The city witnessed many-sided progress during his period. The promulgation of "Temple Entry Proclamation" (1936) was an act that underlined social emancipation. This era also saw the establishment of the University of Travancore in 1937, which later became Kerala University.[34]

With the end of the British rule in 1947, Travancore chose to join the Indian union. The first popular ministry headed by Pattom Thanu Pillai was installed in office on 24 March 1948. In 1949, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Thiru-Kochi, the state formed by the integration of Travancore with its northern neighbour Kochi.[35] The king of Travancore, Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma, became the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from 1 July 1949 until 31 October 1956. When the state of Kerala was formed on 1 November 1956, Thiruvananthapuram became its capital.[36]

With the establishment of Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in 1962, Thiruvananthapuram became the cradle of India's ambitious space programme. The first Indian space rocket was developed and launched from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in the outskirts of the city in 1963. Several establishments of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were later established in Thiruvananthapuram.[37]

A major milestone in the city's recent history was the establishment of Technopark—India's first IT park—in 1995.[38] Technopark has developed into the largest IT park in India in geographical area,[39] employing around 40,000 people in 300 companies.[40] This placed Thiruvananthapuram on the IT map of India.[41]

Geography and climate[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram is built on seven hills[42] by the sea shore and is located at 8°30′N 76°54′E / 8.5°N 76.9°E / 8.5; 76.9 on the west coast, near the southern tip of mainland India.[43] The city situated on the west coast of India, and is bounded by Laccadive Sea to its west and the Western Ghats to its east. The city spans an area of 214.86 km2 (82.96 sq mi)[44] and the greater metropolitan area spans an area of 250 km2 (96.53 sq mi). The average elevation of the city is 16 ft (4.9 m) above sea level.[45] The Geological Survey of India has identified Thiruvananthapuram as a moderately earthquake-prone urban centre and categorised the city in the Seismic III Zone.[46]

Thiruvananthapuram lies on the shores of Karamana and Killi rivers. Vellayani, Thiruvallam and Aakulam backwaters lies in the city.[47]

Climate[edit]

The city has a climate that borders between a tropical savanna climate and a tropical monsoon climate. As a result it does not experience distinct seasons. The mean maximum temperature 34 °C and the mean minimum temperature is 21 °C. The humidity is high and rises to about 90% during the monsoon season.[48] Thiruvananthapuram is the first city along the path of the south-west monsoons and gets its first showers in early June. The city gets heavy rainfall of around 1700 mm per year. The city also gets rain from the receding north-east monsoons which hit the city by October. The dry season sets in by December. December, January and February are the coldest months while March, April and May are the hottest. The lowest temperature recorded during winter was 15 °C, and the highest temperature recorded in summer is 39 °C.[49]

Climate data for Thiruvananthapuram
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37
(99)
38
(100)
41
(106)
44
(111)
46
(115)
43
(109)
38
(100)
38
(100)
33
(91)
38
(100)
37
(99)
36
(97)
39
(102)
Average high °C (°F) 30.7
(87.3)
31.2
(88.2)
32.1
(89.8)
32.1
(89.8)
31.3
(88.3)
29.3
(84.7)
28.8
(83.8)
29.0
(84.2)
29.6
(85.3)
29.5
(85.1)
29.6
(85.3)
30.3
(86.5)
30.29
(86.53)
Average low °C (°F) 22.4
(72.3)
23.0
(73.4)
24.4
(75.9)
25.3
(77.5)
25.2
(77.4)
23.9
(75)
23.4
(74.1)
23.5
(74.3)
23.6
(74.5)
23.6
(74.5)
23.3
(73.9)
22.8
(73)
23.7
(74.65)
Record low °C (°F) 15
(59)
17
(63)
20
(68)
20
(68)
20
(68)
21
(70)
18
(64)
20
(68)
18
(64)
20
(68)
20
(68)
20
(68)
15
(59)
Precipitation mm (inches) 22.9
(0.902)
21.9
(0.862)
36.4
(1.433)
110.5
(4.35)
210.0
(8.268)
343.5
(13.524)
218.6
(8.606)
143.2
(5.638)
152.5
(6.004)
267.9
(10.547)
199.0
(7.835)
70.2
(2.764)
1,796.6
(70.733)
Avg. precipitation days 1.0 1.7 2.3 6.5 9.7 16.6 13.4 10.3 8.7 11.7 9.2 4.2 95.4
Source #1: World Meteorological Organization(normals 1901–2000),[50] Indian Meteorological Department (precipitation days),[51]
Source #2: [52]

Economy[edit]

The Bhavani building at Technopark
Professionals at work in the Technopark campus

The economy of Thiruvananthapuram city was earlier based on the tertiary sector with about 60% of the workforce being employed as government servants. Large-scale industrial establishments are low compared to other south Indian state capitals like Bangalore and Chennai. Currently the economy is growing with the contributions from more professionals in the fields of IT, and Medical/Bio-Technology.[citation needed]

Thiruvananthapuram was listed as one of the top 10 cites in India on Vibrancy Index and Consumption Index by a study conducted by global financial services firm Morgan Stanley.[53] The opening of many private television channels in the state made Thiruvananthapuram the home of several studios and related industries.[citation needed] India's first animation park Kinfra Film and Video Park is situated here.[54][55]

A building in the Infosys-Thiruvananthapuram campus

The city contributes 80% of software exports from the state, and was selected as the fourth hottest[when defined as?]

IT destination in India.[8][9][10] Since the establishment of Technopark in 1995, Thiruvananthapuram has steadily grown into a competitive IT centre. The city was rated as the best 2nd tier metro with IT/ITES infrastructure, and second in terms of availability of human talent.[41][56] Technopark is home to several major and smaller companies including Oracle Corporation, Infosys, ITC Infotech, TCS, Capgemini, Visual Graphics Computing Services, Ernst & Young Global Shared Services Center, Allianz Cornhill, RR Donnelley, UST Global, Tata Elxsi, IBS Software Services, NeST Software, SunTec Business Solutions etc.[57] The park has around 285 companies employing over 40,000 professionals.[40] This is the first CMMI Level 4 assessed Technology Park which spreads over 330 acres, and about 4,000,000 sq ft (370,000 m2). of built-up space[58] As Phase IV expansion, Technopark is developing 450 acres of land in Pallippuram, 5 km north from the main campus as Technocity.[59]

Tourism has also contributed heavily to the economy of Thiruvananthapuram. Foreign tourists generally use Thiruvananthapuram as a hub to explore the highly promoted tourism industry of the state of Kerala.[60][61] A large number of foreign tourists visit the city every year.[62] It is also a major destination[citation needed]for chartered flights to India for medical tourism.

There are around 20 government owned and 60 privately owned medium and large-scale industrial units in Thiruvanathapuram. The major employers are the KSIDC, Milma, Keltron, VSSC, ISRO LPSC, Travancore Titanium and Hindustan Latex, all government owned. There are also about 30,000 small scale industrial units employing around 115,000 people. Traditional industries include handloom and coir.[63]

Commercial activity is low mainly due to the underdevelopment of ports. However, this is expected to change with the construction of the Deep Water Container Transshipment Port at Vizhinjam.[64] Situated close to the city, Vizhinjam is very close to international shipping routes and the east-west shipping axis and hardly require maintenance dredging.[65] Other major organisations of economic interest are the BrahMos Aerospace, Chithranjali Film Complex, Kinfra Apparel Park, Kinfra Film and Video Park, Kerala Hitech Industries (KELTECH), Kerala Automobiles Limited and the English Indian Clays Ltd.

Administration and law[edit]

Kerala Legislative Assembly Building
Secretariat of the Government of Kerala

The state legislative assembly and Secretariat are located here as Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of Kerala. The city is also the headquarters of the Thiruvananthapuram district. The foreign missions in the city are the Consulate of Maldives[66] and Honorary Consulate of Russia.[67]
There is also a recent plea to reinstate a bench of the Kerala High Court at Ernakulam (Kochi) in the city which was earlier cancelled in 1957 due to setting up of the High Court of Kerala at Kochi.[68]
The city is administered by the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation which headed by the Mayor and is responsible for the overall, supervision and control of the administrative functions of the Municipal Corporation.[69] The city council is democratically elected and comprises 100 members representing the different city wards. Several agencies work under or in partnership with the Corporation including the Thiruvananthapuram Development Authority (TRIDA) and Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL).[70]

Thiruvananthapuram City officials
Mayor
K. Chandrika[71]
Deputy Mayor
G. Happikumar[71]
Corporation Secretary
Biju K IAS[72]
Commissioner of Police
P. Vijayan[73]

The city comes under the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. The city corporation area contributes to four legislative assembly seats namely Kazhakuttam, Vattiyoorkavu, Thiruvananthapuram, and Nemom.[74] The city police is headed by a Police Commissioner, an officer of Deputy Inspector General rank in the Indian Police Service. The city is divided into three police sub-divisions headed by Assistant Commissioners. There are also two traffic sub-divisions. A women's cell and a narcotics control cell also operate in the city. The other units of Thiruvananthapuram City Police include Crime Detachment, City Special Branch, Dog Squad, Mounted Police, District Crime Records Bureau, Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), Tourist Police and District Armed Reserve.[75] There are two state Armed Police Battalions and a unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) based in Thiruvananthapuram. The CRPF has a Group Headquarters (GHQ) located at Pallipuram. There is also a large army cantonment in Pangode where some regiments of the Indian Army are based.

Infrastructure[edit]

Kowdiar, one of the important streets in the city

The city is fully electrified by Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). The district is divided into three circles: Transmission circle, Thiruvananthapuram city and Kattakkada. Domestic consumers account for 43% of the total power consumption, or 90 million units per month. Thiruvananthapuram district has one 220 kV, nine 110 kV and six 66 kV electrical substations. A 400 kV substation has just been commissioned by the Power Grid Corporation and will ensure high-quality power supply to the city.[76]

The water supply schemes cover 100% within the city limits. It is 84% of the urban and 69% of the rural population, when the district is considered. Peppara and Aruvikkara dams are the main sources of water for distribution in the capital city. The new project plan for improving the water supply with Japanese aid covers Thiruvananthapuram city and six suburban panchayats having urban characteristics.[76]

The sewerage system in the city was implemented at the time of the Travancore Kingdom, and modernised in 1938. This scheme for the disposal of sullage and sewage is an underground system. The whole system is controlled by Kerala Water Authority now. The city area is divided into seven blocks for the execution of the sewerage system, two commissioned in the 1990s and two after 2000. The sewerage is pumped to a stilling chamber at the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) located at Valiyathura, and is disposed through sewage farming. The Dairy Development Department maintains this sewage farm, and fodder cultivation is done here. There is no revenue generation from this scheme, and the sewerage system in the city is a service provided to the residents.[77]

Tourism[edit]

Kovalam Beach with Kovalam lighthouse in the background

Thiruvananthapuram is also a tourist destination for both domestic and international tourists. There are many tourist destinations in or near the city including Kovalam beach, Sanghumukham Beach, Napier museum and Zoo (Yann Martel wrote his book Life of PI after studying a disabled lion, Simba for months together), Agasthyarkoodam peak, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and Neyyar Dam, Kuthira Malika palace, Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, Ponmudi, Poovar, Varkala Cliffs and beaches and many others.

Kanyakumari, Thiruvattar, Padmanabhapuram Palace and Tirpparappu waterfalls, are also near the city, in the adjoining Kanyakumari District (Nagercoil), in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The eponymous Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple circled by the East Fort is at the center of a busy shopping hub of the city. The temple attracts millions of visitors every year. Visitors are required to adhere to special dress code before entering the temple. Recent court battle challenges the custodianship of the Royal family over the temple. The controversy centres on the estimated properties of over $20 billion[78] housed in the vaults of the temple.

Transport[edit]

Road[edit]

An AC KSRTC Volvo bus in Thiruvananthapuram
Kowdiar road, also known as the royal road or "Raja Veedhi", as it leads to the Kowdiar Palace of the Royal family of Travancore
National Highway NH47 in Kesavadasapuram, Thiruvananthapuram

The NH-66, which runs from Panvel to Kanyakumari connects the city to Kochi, Kozhikode and Mangalore. The Main Central Road (MC Road) which is an arterial State Highway in Kerala and designated as SH 1 starts from Kesavadasapuram in the city.

The Thiruvananthpuram Road Development Company Limited is an SPV to develop the road network in Thiruvananthapuram city.[79] It is the first intra-city project in the country.[80]

The intra-city public transport in the city is dominated by the state-owned KSRTC, though there are significant numbers of private buses plying within the city limits.

Within the city, city buses, taxis and autorickshaws provide transportation. Scooters, motorcycles and regular bicycles are the favoured means of personal transportation. The intra-city public transport is dominated by the state-owned KSRTC (Kerala State Road Transport Corporation).[81]

There are bus services operated by private operators and provides access within city limits and beyond. The city services of KSRTC operate from six depots namely, the City depot, Vikas Bhavan, Peroorkada, Pappanamcode, Kaniyapuram and Vellanad.[82] These services were revamped in 2005 with the introduction of modern buses and electronic ticketing mechanisms. The Central bus station is in Thampanoor, opposite Thiruvananthapuram Central Station. It connects Thiruvananthapuram with other parts of Kerala as well as other states. The central city bus terminal is 1 km away at East Fort (Kizhakke kotta), near the Padmanabha Swamy temple.

Interstate buses service the city: Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation of Tirunelveli Division ply buses between Nagercoil and Thiruvananthpuram and many other parts of Kanyakumari district. It has a depot of SETC which operates long distance services towards Chennai and Bangalore via Nagerkovil, Madurai.

Rail[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is one of the busiest railway stations in south India
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station Platform one

Thiruvananthapuram comes under the Southern Railway zone of the Indian Railways. There are five railway stations within the city limits including the Thiruvananthapuram central station. Thiruvananthapuram Pettah, Kochuveli and Veli stations are located towards north direction and Thiruvananthapuram Nemom is located in south direction from the central station.[83] The Central railway station is located at Thampanoor in the heart of the city, and is about 5 km from the new international air terminal and nearly 8 km from the domestic air terminal. It is the largest and busiest railway station in the state.[84] Kochuveli railway station is developed to ease congestion on central station and it act as satellite station to Thiruvananthapuram Central.[85] Some of the long distance trains from the city operates from this station. The Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express connects the city to New Delhi, the capital of India. The city is well connected by rail to almost all major cities in India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Tirunelveli and Hyderabad. Thiruvananthapuram is also the first major South Indian city on the longest train route in India, Kanyakumari to Dibrugarh.[86]

Monorail[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram Monorail is a proposed monorail system for the city.[87] The monorail is expected to start from Pallippuram and terminate at Neyyattinkara covering a distance of 41.8 kilometres (26.0 mi). 35 stops have been proposed with multi-storeyed parking lots in the stations.[87]

Sub Urban Rail[edit]

A new suburban corridor proposed by Railways in Thiruvananthapuram – KollamHaripad/Chengannur routes for which MRVC is tasked to conduct study and submit report. Ten trains, each with 7 bogies will transport passengers back and forth between Trivandrum-Kollam-Chengannur-Harippad section. Suburban Corridor is modelled on the lines of the Mumbai Suburban Rail where around 3,000 suburban trains ply every day[88]

Air[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram is served by the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (IATA: TRVICAO: VOTV), which is the first international airport in India outside the four metropolitan cities then. It has direct connectivity to the Middle East, Singapore, Maldives and Sri Lanka and is a gateway to the tourism-rich state of Kerala. The airport is qualified for all-weather and night operations. One of the major advantage of the airport is the prevailing weather at the location that does not go to extremes, allowing flight operations without disruption year around.[89] The International terminal of the airport is approximately 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) due west and the domestic terminal is approximately 8.0 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the central business district.[90] The importance of the airport is also due to the fact that it is the southernmost airport in India and also the closest option for neighbouring countries like Maldives and Sri Lanka, and the only option to Maldives from India. Also, apart from the regular scheduled flights, charter flights, primarily carrying tourists, also serve the airport.[91]

Sea[edit]

The work on infrastructure development for the Deep Water Container Trans-shipment Port at Vizhinjam has begun, which is expected to be completed within one year and the work on the terminal is to begin within a year.[92] It is to be built in three phases, and expected to be a key competitor in the ports business (especially for container transshipment), with the international shipping lanes between Europe and the Far East lying very close to the port, and also with major ports like Colombo, Kochi and Tuticorin in close proximity.[93]

The exponential growth of the services and IT-based sectors coupled with its prominence as the state capital and tourist center has caused considerable strain on the transport infrastructure of the city. To ease the strain, several construction projects are underway and completed[94] including the construction of flyovers[95] and under passes.[96] In the first phase, 42 km of six-lane and four-lane dual carriage ways are being built.[97]

Demographics[edit]

Gandhi Park in East Fort
A Busy Road in the city
Religions in Thiruvananthapuram
Religion Percentage
Hindu
  
65%
Christian
  
18%
Muslim
  
15%
Others
  
2%

The city has a population of 752,490 according to the 2011 census,[1] and 1,687,406 in the Urban Agglomeration.[2] Within the city, the density of population is about 5,284 people per square kilometre.[citation needed] There are more women in Thiruvananthapuram than men; the sex ratio is 1,064 females to every 1,000 males.[1]

In October 2010, the area of the city was increased from 86 wards to 100 wards[98] by adding Sreekaryam, Vattiyoorkavu, Kudappanakunnu, Vizhinjam and Kazhakuttam panchayats into the corporation.[99] The city[clarification needed] has now an area of 214.86 km² and a population of 957,730 inhabitants with 467,739 males and 489,991 females.[100]

Hindus comprise 65% of the population, Christians are about 18% of the population, and Muslims are about 15% . The remaining 2% practise other religions. The major language spoken is Malayalam. English, Tamil, and Hindi are widely understood. There is a prominent minority of Tamil speakers and a few Tulu and Konkani speakers.

Unemployment is a serious issue in Thiruvananthapuram, as it is in the whole of Kerala. The increase in the unemployment rate was from 8.8% in 1998 to 34.3% in 2003, thus registering a 25.5% absolute and a 289.7% relative increase in five years.[101] Thiruvananthapuram taluk ranks third in Kerala with 36.3% of its population unemployed. The in-migration of the unemployed from other districts boosts this high unemployment rate.[101] Thiruvananthapuram has a high suicide rate, which went up from 17.2 per lakh in 1995 to 38.5 per lakh in 2002.[102] In 2004, the rate came down slightly to 36.6 per lakh.[103] As per 2001 census, the populace below the poverty line in the city was 11,667. A BPL survey indicated the urban poor population as 120,367. Majority of these populace lives in slums and coastal fishing areas.[104]

Culture[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram is a unique Indian City, where greenery and modernity co-exist.[105] Shown here is the aerial view of Kowdiar

The cultural background of Thiruvananthapuram originates from the efforts of the rulers of erstwhile Travancore, who took an active interest in the development of arts and culture. Thiruvananthapuram has produced several great artists, the most famous ones being Maharaja Swathi Thirunal,[106] Irayimman Thampi and Raja Ravi Varma.

Maharaja Swathi Thirunal was a great composer and played a vital role in the development of Carnatic music.[107] There is a music college in his name in the city – Swathi Thirunal College of Music. Raja Ravi Varma was a famous painter of international renown. His contributions to Indian art are substantial. Most of his famous paintings are preserved at the Sree Chithra Art Gallery in the city. The Padmanabha Swamy Temple and the fort surrounding it, the Napier Museum and Zoo, the VJT hall are among the prominent heritage buildings in the city. The Veli lake and Shankumugham beach are home to various sculptures of the noted sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman. Many people, including Mahatma Gandhi have admired the city's greenery.[105]

Thiruvananthapuram appears as a laid back and quiet city to a casual observer. However there are considerable cultural activities in the city. The cultural activities are more during the festival season of Onam in August/September, and during the tourist season later in the year. The state government organises the tourism week celebrations every year during the Onam with cultural events conducted at various centres in the city. The other major events include the annual flower show, the Attukal Pongala, the Aaraat of Padmanabha Swamy Templeetc.[108] The CVN Kalari at East Fort is a well-known centre for training in Kerala's indigenous martial art—the Kalaripayattu. The Margi centre offers training in many of Kerala's traditional arts including Kathakali.

The general cuisine of the people is Keralite cuisine, which is characterised by an abundance of coconut and spices. Other South Indian cuisines, as well as Chinese and North Indian cuisines are popular. Fast food culture is also very prominent in the city.

Thiruvananthapuram has numerous libraries, the prominent ones being the State Central Library (Thiruvananthapuram Public library, Est. 1829),[109] the University Library, Thiruvananthapuram Children's Library, Manuscripts Library and the Centre for Development Studies Library. The British Library (Est. 1964)[110] was located very near to the Government Secretariat adjacent to the YMCA Hostel.

Education[edit]

Kerala University Administrative Building

Thiruvananthapuram is an academic hub. The University of Kerala is located here. The regional headquarters of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is also situated in Thiruvananthapuram. There are many professional education colleges including fifteen engineering colleges, three medical colleges, three Ayurveda colleges, two Homeopathy colleges, six other medical related colleges, and two law colleges in the city and its suburbs.[111] The College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, and Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering are the main engineering colleges in the city. The Asian School of Business and IIITM-K are two of the management study institutions in the city, both situated inside Technopark. The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology is situated in the city. Centre for Development Studies and Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) are located within city limits.

The schools in the city are classified as Aided, Unaided and Government schools.[112] The government schools are run directly by the state government and follow the syllabus prescribed by the state government. The aided schools also follow the state syllabus. In addition to this, there are five Kendriya Vidyalayas run directly by the Central government, which follow the CBSE syllabus, and private schools run by educational trusts or boards which follow CBSE and/or ICSE syllabus and/or NIOS syllabus and/or state syllabus. The first International school in Kerala, The Trivandrum International School, was started in the outskirts of the city in August 2003.[113] The literacy rate in Thiruvananthapuram, according to the 2001 census, is 89.36 percent; 92.68 percent among males and 86.26 percent among females.[114]

Science and technology[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram is a Research and Development hub in the fields of space science, information technology, bio-technology, and medicine. It is home to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), ER&DC – CDAC, CSIRNational Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Free Software Foundation of India (FSFI), Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), Kerala Science and Technology Museum, Priyadarsini Planetarium, The Oriental Research Institute & Manuscripts Library, Kerala Highway Research Institute and Kerala Fisheries Research Institute. A scientific institution named National centre for molecular materials, for the research and development of biomedical devices and space electronics is to be established in Thiruvananthapuram.[115] College of Architecture Thiruvananthapuram(CAT), which specialises only on the architecture course, is another institution proposed to set up in the suburbs of the city.[116]

Media[edit]

Daily newspapers are available in English, Malayalam and Tamil. The English newspapers with editions from Thiruvananthapuram are The New Indian Express, The Hindu, The Deccan Chronicle and The Times of India. The major Malayalam newspapers are Mathrubhumi, Malayala Manorama, Kerala Kaumudi, Deshabhimani, Janmabhumi, Keralakaumudi Flash and Madhyamam.

Most of the Malayalam TV channels are based in Thiruvananthapuram. The government owned Doordarshan began broadcasting from here in 1981. Asianet, the first private Malayalam channel, began its telecasts in 1991. The other channels now based in Thiruvananthapuram are Amrita TV, Kairali TV, Kairali We (Youth channel of Kairali), JaiHind TV, Asianet Plus (Youth channel of Asianet) and People (News and current affairs channel of Kairali TV). The local cable services are provided by Asianet Satellite Communications Limited, Connecttel Communications Pvt Ltd, Trivandrum Cable Network Pvt Ltd and Siti Cable and they provide a bouquet of local channels in addition to all the Indian channels. DTH services are available through Doordarshan Direct Plus, Tata Sky, SUN Direct, Big TV, Airtel digital TV, Videocon d2h and Dish TV.

All India Radio has an AM (1161 MHz) and an FM (Ananthapuri FM; 101.9 MHz) station for the city. FM radio channels broadcast from Thiruvananthapuram are Ananthapuri FM (AIR) 101.9 MHz,[117] Gyanvani from IGNOU 105.6 MHz,[118] Big FM 92.7 MHz,[119] Club FM 94.3 MHz,[120] Radio Mirchi 98.3 MHz,[121] Red FM 93.5 MHz[122] and Radio DC(Low power CRS) 90.4 MHz.[123]

Thiruvananthapuram city contains the largest number of theatres in Kerala.[124] There are over 18 cinema halls which screen films in Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi. There are also two film studios in the city—Chithranjali and Merryland. The Kinfra Film and Video Park, located near the Technopark, is one of the most advanced film and animation production centres in India. Leading firms like Prasad Labs have set up their facilities here. The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) is held in November/December every year and is acknowledged as one of the leading events of its kind in India.

The wireline telephone services are provided by BSNL, Reliance, AirTel and Tata Indicom. The main GSM networks operating in the city are BSNL CellOne, Airtel, Aircel, Tata Docomo, Uninor, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Reliance, Videocon and Virgin Mobile. The main CDMA providers are Reliance, MTS and Tata Indicom. The number of mobile phone connections has increased exponentially since the late 1990s. Major broadband internet services are provided by BSNL Broadband, Asianet Dataline and Siti Cable. Private providers like Reliance, Tata Communications (VSNL), Airtel and Satyam also have their presence in the city. The major dial-up internet providers are BSNL NetOne, Kerala Online and KelNet among others. Thiruvananthapuram also holds the distinction of having been the first 100% Digital SSA (Secondary Switching Area) in India.

Sports[edit]

Chandrashekaran Nair Football Stadium

The most popular games are Football and Cricket.[125] Basketball, Badminton and Volleyball are also popular, mostly in schools. The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) is headquartered in Thiruvananthapuram. The HQ complex of KCA, has advance facilities including two practice turfs with nets, bowling machines, gymnasium with multi-gym and equipment for aerobic training, lecture hall and library, an astro-turf indoor coaching facility, fully furnished accommodation for coaches and players, a physiotherapy clinic, functional office facilities and guest rooms.

The Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium, in the heart of the city, is a prominent football stadium and has hosted both national and international level matches. The University Stadium has hosted two international cricket matches.[126] This stadium is under the University of Kerala and is equipped with synthetic tracks for athletics games.[126] The Central Stadium, which has facilities for athletics, football, basketball, volleyball and cricket practice nets, is situated on the eastern side of the Government Secretariat. The Jimmy George Indoor Stadium, the GV Raja Sports School and Lakshmi Bhai National College for Physical Education (LNCPE) are the other major sports establishments in the city.

The city has a golf course known as Thiruvananthapuram Golf Club. It is one of the oldest golf course in India, more than 150 years old.[127] The city also has a Tennis Club (Trivandrum Tennis Club/TTC) both located at Kowdiar. The city fields two football clubs--SBT-Thiruvananthapuram and Titanium—in the second division of the National Football League. The city also has a fully equipped modern swimming pool located near the Jimmy George Sports Complex at Vellayambalam. Many state level and national level swimming competitions are held in this complex. It also holds coaching camps for those who are interested in learning swimming.

The Kariavattom Outdoor Stadium, is an upcoming cricket/football stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. It is the first stadium in the country coming up on DBOT (Design-Build- Operate and Transfer) basis. It is also the first stadium in the country to be developed on annuity mode. It is the proposed venue for the opening/closing ceremonies of the 35th National Games to be held in Kerala.[128] The playing arena in the stadium will be constructed in line with FIFA regulations and ICC norms.

Strategic importance[edit]

Thiruvananthapuram is a strategically important city in Southern India. Being the largest city in India's deep south, it is important for both military logistics and civil aviation in the southern part of the country. It is the headquarters of the Southern Air Command (SAC) of the Indian Air Force.[129] Due to the strategic importance of the city, the Indian Air Force authorities have planned to establish an aerospace command in SAC.[130] The plan for setting up a new "Tri-Service Command", which will integrate all the three forces under a single command, is also in the pipeline.[131]

Being the Indian city with the closest air link to the small island nation of Maldives and also Sri Lanka,[132] the city's medical and health infrastructure caters to the needs of the patients from both countries, especially Maldives.[133] Thiruvananthapuram also provides a key link in the movement of goods and passengers to and from southern parts of Tamil Nadu into Kerala, the state border being just 30 km from the city centre.

Notable people[edit]

Picture gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

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References[edit]

  • Manorama Yearbook 1995 (Malayalam Edition) ISSN 0970-9096
  • Manorama Yearbook 2003 (English Edition) ISBN 81-900461-8-7
  • Frank Modern Certificate Geography II ISBN 81-7170-007-1
  • Growing Populations, Changing Landscapes – Studies from India, China and United States 2001 (National Academy Press, Washington DC)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]