Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala. It is located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland. The city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills with narrow winding lanes and busy commercial alleys. Thiruvananthapuram literally means Ananthapuri, "the city of Ananthan", the Thiru (Great/Lord) Ananthan's Puram (City). The name derives from the main deity of a Hindu temple at the centre of the city. Ananthan is the serpent Sesha on whom Padmanabhan or Vishnu reclines. The temple of Anantha, the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is the most recognizable icon of the city.
Thiruvananthapuram which was previously called Trivandrum, is an ancient city with tradition dating back to 1000 BC. Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of Raja of Travancore in 1750. The name is derived from 'Tiru Ananta Puram', the abode of the Sacred serpent Ananta, upon whose coils Vishnu lies in the main temple. It is a peaceful attractive city built across seven hills, the city's old quarter clusters around the temple, while along the busy Mahatma Gamdhi Road are colonial mansions, churches and modern high-rises. Thiruvananthapuram had managed to retain some of the ambience characteristics of Kerala such as red tiled roofs, narrow winding lanes and intimate corner cafes.
Thiruvananthapuram is the knowledge capital of the Kerala, boasting of premier R&D institutions of national and international stature such as Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (Space Launch Vehicle Design and Development activity), integral arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, employing over 7000 high tech professionals; the Regional Research Laboratory which is home to scientists working in cutting edge research areas of agro processing, chemical technologies, biotechnology, waste water technology, material sciences and mineral processing; the Electronics Research and Development Centre India ER & DCI, which has established itself as one of India’s premier electronics design and development centers and training centres for IBM mainframes; the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (www.rgcb.org), Kerala’s apex research center for Biotechnology; the Tropical and Botanical Research Institute under the Dept. of Biotechnology, Govt. of India; the Centre for Development Studies, a premier Social Science research institution engaged in interdisciplinary research in the development problems in India; the Centre for Earth Science Studies, a centre for excellence in Earth Sciences.
The city has a tropical climate and therefore 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. 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.
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