Thiruvananthapuram 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 the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills and busy commercial alleys. With almost 745,000 inhabitants per the 2001 census, it is the largest and most populous city in Kerala; the wider urban agglomeration having a population of about one million.
The city is the state capital and houses many central and state government offices, organizations and companies. 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 Kerala University, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and Technopark.
Thiruvananthapuram is an ancient city with trading traditions dating back to 1000
BC. It is believed that the ships of King Solomon landed
in a port called Ophir (now Poovar) in Thiruvananthapuram
in 1036 BC. The city was the trading post of spices, sandalwood
and ivory. 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.
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. 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 Lunatic Asylum in the state was also 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).
The early 19th 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. Despite not being under direct control of the British Empire at any time, the city however featured prominently in India's freedom struggle. The Indian National Congress had a very active presence in the city. A meeting of the Indian National Congress presided by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah was held here in 1938.
The period of Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma, who took over in 1931, witnessed many-sided progress. 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 the Kerala University.
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. The king of Travancore, Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma became the Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from July 1, 1949 until October 31, 1956. When the state of Kerala was formed on November 1, 1956, Thiruvananthapuram became the capital of the new state.
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) located in the outskirts of the city in 1963. Several establishments of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) were later established in Thiruvananthapuram.
A major milestone in the city's recent history was the establishment
of Technopark—India's first IT park—in 1995. Technopark
has developed into the largest IT Park in India and third
largest in Asia and is home to IT giants like Infosys and
TCS, employing around 12,500 people in close to 110 companies.
This placed Thiruvananthapuram on the IT map of India and
it is today one of the most promising in the country in
terms of competitiveness and capability
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 Chennai and Bangalore. At present the economy is growing with the contributions from more professionals in the fields of IT, and Medical/Bio-Technology. The city contributes 80% of software exports from the state. The opening of many private Television channels in the state, made Thiruvananthapuram the home of several studios and related industries. India's first and only animation park is situated here.
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.Technopark
houses global majors like Infosys, TCS, McKinsey & Co.,
Ernst & Young, Allianz Cornhill, Tata Elxsi, Toonz, US Technologies,
etc. The park has around 110 companies employing over 12,500
professionals. With the expansion plans to be completed
in 2007–08, this figure is to rise to about 30,000. With
the completion of the 600,000 ft² Thejaswini, Technopark
has become the largest IT Park in India. The works in progress
include 400,000 ft² TCS Peepul Park and TCS Development
Centre. Peepul Park is partly operational. Work on the 460,000
ft² Leela IT building, IBS Campus and Tata Elxsi D&D Centre
has commenced while that on the US Tech Campus and Infosys
campus is due to commence shortly.
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 It is also a major destination for chartered flights
to India for Medical tourism, as there are more than fifty
recognised Ayurveda centres in and around the city. This
is primarily due to Ayurveda's immense popularity in the
West. Medical tourism is further promoted by the recuperation
facilities available at the beach resorts and hill stations
There are around 20 government owned and 60 privately owned medium and large scale industrial units in Thiruvanathapuram. The major employers are the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), Milma, Keltron, 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.
Commercial activity is quite low mainly due to the under-development
of ports. However, this is expected to change with the construction
of the proposed mega Deep Water Container Transshipment
Port at Vizhinjam.Situated close to the city, Vizhinjam
is very close to international shipping routes and the East-West
shipping axis and hardly require maintenance dredging. Other
major organizations of economic interest are the Chithranjali
Film Complex, Kinfra Apparel Park, Kinfra Film and Video
Park, Kerala High-tech Industries (KELTECH), Kerala Automobiles
and the English Indian Clays Ltd.
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