Go There & Back Dave & LeeAnne Travel the World in 2007

Three Nights in Thiruvananthapuram

The Main Drag in Thiruvananthapuram
The Main Drag in Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram: the small town with a really long name!

Formerly known as Trivandrum, the town elders decided to change the city name for brevity’s sake to Thiruvananthapuram in 1991. We’re in town for a few days waiting on a train to Delhi. I have to say, there isn’t a whole lot else to do except wait on a train in this town.

Our train ride should be a blast! We’re taking a train from Trivandrum (located at the very southern tip of India) to Delhi (Near the top). If we’re lucky it will only take about 40 hours. We leave Tuesday evening and arrive in time for lunch on Thursday, awesome!

Trivandrum is an older city and you can tell: all of the side streets are a bit circuitous and it’s easy to get turned around fast. Some time back they decided to make it a bit easier to navigate the city by putting in straight flat roads. It was a good idea, but poorly executed. The roads they put in were two lanes, one in each direction and were quickly swamped with traffic. Solution: widen the roads!

They’re in the process of doing that now, so the main drag of the city looks like a bomb hit it. They have a weird redevelopment process to say the least: if you home or business is far enough back, the city is only taking your front yard or parking lot. If your home or business is built right up to the road, you have to demolish the first set of rooms in the building.

The result is a lot of buildings with the first room torn off of them and people setting up business in the rear rooms of the buildings. It’s a strange site.

The effect is that now, it’s hard to get around the city on both the old winding roads and the new straight roads, beautiful!

In any even, there are a few thing to do in town if you can get to them: there’s a huge ornate Hindu temple, a wonderful beach a short distance away and you can go to a Keralan Martial Arts demonstration downtown for free. And of course, if your an urban planner, there’s a lot of “interesting” decisions being made downtown. I’m sure there’s a case study here somewhere.