Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient region with trading traditions dating back to 1000 BCE.
It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram in 1036 BCE. The city was the trading post of spices,sandalwood and ivory. However, the ancient political and cultural history 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.
The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore was made the capital of Travancore in 1745 after shifting the capital from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari district.The city developed into a major intellectual and artistic centre during this period.
The city’s golden age in 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.
The museum houses a rare collection of archaeological and historic artefacts, bronze idols, ancient ornaments, a temple chariotand ivory carvings.
It also contains the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, which contains works from Raja Ravi Varma and Nicholas Roerich, as well as examples of Mughal and Tanjoreart.
The Museum grounds also hold a Zoological garden, which is one of the oldest in India. This Zoo was established in 1857 and is spread over 55 acres of land.
Kuthira Maliga palace
The palace gets its name from the 122 horses that are carved into the wooden wall brackets that support the southern roof. The official name of the palace is Puthen Malika (New Mansion). The palace forms part of a vast complex of royal buildings in the vicinity of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The building was left unoccupied for more than a century, following the demise of Swathi Thirunal in 1846.
This palace Museum hosts a number of artefacts like 1)Crystal Throne 2)Ivory Throne 3)Rare paintings 4)Huge Mirrors 5)Beautifully painted Lotus shaped Library where Swathi Thirunal Maharaja used to study and many others.
The Navarathri Mandapam is located in this Palace, where age old Saraswathi Idol, given by Kambar to Chera King 1000 yrs back is kept in all reverence all the nine days and Puja and Music Performances conducted.