1,200km (744 miles) S of Mumbai
Thiruvananthapuram ("City of the Sacred Serpent") is the mouthful of a name given to Kerala's seaside state capital, but thankfully almost everyone calls it Trivandrum (if you want to impress locals, though, try saying it slowly: Tiru-vanan-tha-poo-ram). Although the city has some interesting museums and a temple that's of great significance to Hindus (and off-limits to non-Hindus), the main reason you'll find yourself here is to utilize the city's excellent transportation connections and head for the beautiful beaches that surround it. North lies Varkala, which has been a popular seaside vacation spot since the early 20th century -- no doubt because of its proximity to Trivandrum (a mere 10- to 20-min. drive south) -- and as a result has become overcommercialized and saturated with tourist-hungry businesses. If you're looking for Kerala's most stunning, upmarket seaside options, many with more-or-less private beaches, you'll have to travel farther south of Kovalam.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.