The Puttan Malika palace in the southeast of the temple, became the seat of the Travancore raja's as Padmanabhapuram left at the end of the nineteenth century. To generate funds for much-needed restoration, the royal family have opened the palace to the public for the first time in more than 200 years.
How to reach there: The long-distance KSRTC Thampanoor bus stand and railway station face each other across Station Rd in the southeast of the city, a short walk east of Overbridge Junction, where Thiruvananthapuram is bisected by the long north-south MG Road.
What to see:
Although much of it remains off-limits, you can wander around some of the most impressive wings, which have been converted into a museum.
Cool chambers, lined with delicately carved wooden screens and highly polished plaster floors, house a crop of dusty Travancore heirlooms.
Among the predictable array of portraits, royal regalia and weapons are some genuine treasures, such as a solid crystal throne given by the Dutch, and some fine murals.
The real highlight, however, is the typically understated, elegant Keralan architecture.
Beneath sloping red tiled roofs, hundreds of wood pillars carved into the forms of rampant horses prop up the eaves, with airy verandahs projecting onto the surounding lawns.