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With palm-lined beaches beckoning, Trivandrum is unlikely to detain you longer than it takes to arrange your transfer out of there, but it has a number of interesting buildings, including the stately Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, situated along Mahatma Gandhi Road, which is the main boulevard and center of activity through town. M.G. Road runs more or less north to south and links the two most significant areas of tourist interest: the Museum Complex, to the north of the city; and the Fort area, which houses Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Puthenmalika Palace Museum, to the south. It is possible to walk from one area to the other (about 45 min.), and there are numerous shops en route. Alternatively, auto-rickshaws continuously buzz along the road's length, and you will have no trouble catching a ride from one area to the other. It's worth wandering M.G. just to shop; if this is all you feel like doing, don't bother with the sights and make a beeline for Natesan's (tel. 0471/233-1594; www.natesansantiqarts.com), the city's largest and most reputable antiques and art dealer, with original bronze, silver, teak, sandalwood, stone, and wood carvings as well as manufacturer's replicas. Hastakala (Gandhariamman Kovil Rd.; tel. 0484/233-1627) specializes in Kashmiri goods including hand-woven carpets, quality Pashminas, and Tibetan and tribal jewelry. For a uniquely Keralite souvenir, go to the SMSM Institute (off M.G. Rd., behind the Secretariat, near the British Library; tel. 0471/233-0298) and pick up an Aranmula metal mirror (produced by combining herbs with molten metal to produce a dazzlingly reflective surface), or browse the Gram Sree Craft Centre. Book lovers could spend a day in DC Books, the biggest in Kerala (www.dcbooks.com); there are four branches in the city, but your best bet is to head to the one in Karimpanal Statue Avenue. And if you're looking for clothing for all ages, Aiyappas, opposite the SL Theatre Complex (tel. 0484/233-1627; www.aiyappas.com), is a good place to start, while Karalkada (tel. 0471/247-4520; www.karalkada.com) has the most superb hand-woven cotton fabrics, saris, kavanis, kurthas, and dhotis, and is the place locals come to shop when looking to buy something special for an imminent wedding or religious ceremony.

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.