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 Karala, it is also a major academic hub and is home to several educational institutions including the University of Kerala, and to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the Vikram Sarabhai Space centre (VSSC), Technopark and IIST.
Trivandrum, also known as Thiruvananthapuram is built on hills by the sea shore and is located on the west coast, near the southern tip of mainland India. The city and the suburbs covers an area of about 250 square kilometers, sandwiched between the Western Ghats and Arabian sea. The area can be divided into two geographical regions, the midlands and the lowlands. The midland region comprises low hills and valleys adjoining the Ghats. The lowland is a narrow stretch comprising shorelines, rivers and deltas, dotted with coconut palms. Vellayani lake, biggest fresh water lake in the district is in the suburbs of the city. The major rivers that flow through the city are the Karamana river, and the Killi river.
The economy of Trivandrum 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 Trivandrum the home of several studios and related industries. India’s first and only animation park is situated here.
Since the establishment of Thecnopark in 1995,Trivandrum 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 NeST Software, Infosys, TCS, Mckinsey & Co, Ernst & Young, Allianz Cornhill, Tata Elxsi, UST Global etc. The park has around 110 companies employing over 12,500 professionals. With the expansion plans to be completed in 2008–09, 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. Work on the 460,000 ft² Leela IT building, Infosys Campus, IBS Campus, NEST Campus and Tata Elxsi R&D Centre has commenced while that on the UST-Global Campus is due to commence shortly. Work on the mammoth Technocity project is also due to commence shortly.
The people of Trivandrum are now sometimes referred to as “Trivandrumites” , by some tourism sites and blogging community, though the word is not in common use. Trivandrum has a rich cultural background, with the rulers of erstwhile Travancore taking an active interest in development of arts and culture. Trivandrum easily disguises itself as a laid back quiet city to the casual observer. However, beneath it, there is a hum of cultural activity. The city comes to life during the festival season of Onam in August/September, and during the tourist season later in the year. The state government conducts the tourism week celebrations every year during Onam with cultural events taking place at various centres in the city. The general cuisine of the people is Kelalite cuisine which is generally characterised by an abundance of coconut and spices. Other South Indian cuisine, as well as Chinese and North Indian cuisine are popular.