Although now officially in Tamil Nadu, PADMANABHAPURAM, 63km southeast of Thiruvananthapuram, was the capital of Travancore between 1550 and 1750, and maintains its historic links with Kerala, from where it is still administered. For anyone with even a minor interest in local architecture, the small Padmanabhapuram Palace, is irresistible. With its exquisite wooden interiors, coconut-shell floors and antique furniture and murals, the building represents the high-water mark of regional building. Just avoid weekends, when the complex gets overrun with bus parties.
Frequent buses run to Padmanabhapuram along the main highway from Thiruvananthapuram and Kovalam. Hop on any service heading to Nagercoil or Kanyakumari and get off at Thakkaly (sometimes written Thuckalai).