In a fast developing society there is a risk of being cut off from
once historical moorings due to busy pursuit of carriers. Also as locations
get developed there is a blind rush to go in for short-term gains by
ignoring heritage values and focus on creation of infrastructure which
destroys heritage sites or diminishes their worth.
At the same time it is the developing society which needs to strengthen
its organic linkages with the past and learn from the aesthetic,
cultural and historical heritage so that the present and the future are
able to maintain a meaningful continuity with the past. It is necessary
to protect ageless creations which have an eternal value both from the
rapacious onslaught of modern day buccaneers and from the blind apathy
of the ignorantia.
It is felt that this can be achieved more by sensitisation and awareness
building than by regulation. The Town and Country Planning Department
has taken the first significant step in this direction. Acting on the advice
of the Art and Heritage Commission, the Department has made an earnest
attempt to identify and document sites and monuments of heritage
value in Thiruvananthapuram district. Being a pioneering venture it may
have omissions and deficiencies. But at the same time, it has the material
to stimulate interest and open up the past for broader understanding
and deeper study.
It is intended to cover other districts also in due course. Therefore,
the Town and Country Planning Department seeks critical feedback
and suggestions from the readers of this document for implementing
Heritage is very dear to everyone. Having a rich heritage is of course
a matter of pride. Be it art, literature, culture, monuments, music, built
heritage, India has an enviable position in the heritage status. No doubt,
our State too has its share to contribute.
As advised by the Art and Heritage Commission, the Department of
Town and Country Planning has made an earnest effort to identify such
buildings and precincts in Kerala, having heritage value. Though not
exhaustive, the attempt is laudable. The heritage properties thus identified
are published for the information to the public and others who are having
academic interest in the area.
The details of heritage properties in Thiruvananthapuram district are
published in the present volume and the heritage properties in other
districts will be published subsequently.
It is expected that this attempt will sensitise the public about the need
to conserve our rich heritage. Further, built heritage is the standing
testimony of history. Let’s protect and preserve our rich heritage for the
Thiruvananthapuram has a remarkable history. Its importance was closely
associated with the Padmanabha Swami Temple and the place was known
by different names in the past of which Syanandapuram and Anandan Kadu
were perhaps the more popular ones. In Varahapuranam, written in the 6"
centuary AD, the place is referred to as ‘Syanandapuram’ whereas in
Mathilakom Records it is referred to as ‘Thiruvananda Puram’.
Reference to places in the Malabar Coast (Gokarnam to Cape Comorin)
could be found in the early Greek accounts of Megasthenes (306 - 289 BC).
During the period after the Cheras and the Perumals, the place now
called Thiruvananthapuram was a part of Ayi Rajyam. In the beginning of
the 9° century, Venad was a small country with headquarters at Kollam. By
the 14 century, however, it became a powerful kingdom and the Ayi
Rajyam was retrieved.
In the Almanac of 1881 (page 240), it could be seen that
Thiruvananthapuram became a town in as early as 1049 AD. The growth of
the town and that of the Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple were
complementary. However, it came to prominence as a seat of power only
during the reign of Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1729-1758).
Marthanda Varma is regarded as the founder of modern Travancore and he
annexed many neighbouring territories to Venad during his reign. He
dedicated his kingdom to Sree Padmanabha Swami, the tutelary deity of
the Royal Family in January 1750 AD. From that day onwards, he styled
himself as ‘Sree Padmanabha Dasan’, meaning the servant of God Sree
Padmanabha. By the end of the 18 century, Thiruvananthapuram became
the capital of princely Travancore.
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