Welcome to the Land of Coconut Groves !!
Kovalam is the most famous beach spot of Kerala. It is located on the Malabar Coast and is just 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. This small and beautiful village was established as a tourist spot after the discovery of three fabulous beaches. Tourists from all over the world approach these beaches for sun-bathing, swimming in shallow waters and catamaran cruising.
Kovalam was a traditional fishing village, which was famous for fish, fruits and toddy (coconut beer). The credit for bringing this casual fishing village in the limelight goes to Sri Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, the king of Travancore (South Kerala, along with a few states of Tamil Nadu). The village was developed into a tourist place after 1930s. Its popularity increased in the 70s, with the arrival of hippies.
Kovalam is not a replica of Goa. It has its own distinctive identity and popularity among tourists. It is unique in all respects, be it vegetation, ecology, scenic beauty or atmosphere even. Kovalam is surrounded by coconut groves. Limitless blue water of Arabian Sea, miles of white sand washed away by the surf, lush green palms and rocky promontories are the synonyms of Kovalam. The place was first spotted as a tourist destination in 1930s.
The beaches at Kovalam can be divided in three parts. The southern most beach is the most popular one. It is called Light House Beach. The name came from its 35 metre high light house which is situated at Kurumkal hillock. It is surrounded by coconut trees and is heavily crowded year-round. You can find several five star and four star hotels here and good restaurants to taste various cuisines.
The other one is Hawah Beach. This is popular as the first topless beach in India. Topless bathing has since been banned. Marvelous greens, blue sea and soothing atmosphere collectively make this place the dreamland for tourists. Cool sea-breeze and white sand-beds are perfect for relaxing holidays.
The third beach, in the northern part is called Samudra Beach. It is used by the local fishermen of Kovalam.
Kovalam is also a perfect spot for water sports. Tourists enjoy several activities and sports like kayaking, swimming, surfing and skiing. Besides such activities, Kovalam is also popular as an Ayurvedic Treatment Spot. You can find various Ayurvedic Centres, Yoga Centres, Spas and Massage Centres alongside the beaches.
Kovalam, quite naturally has a variety of sea food. The beach-side restaurants are famous for both veg and non-veg sea food. Tourists are very fond of fish, lobster, king prawns and kalamari here in Kovalam. If you are planning to visit Kovalam, do not miss Kathakali dance performances in the evening on the shores.
This beach destination is considered a dream place for tourists throughout the year.
It is visited for three popular beaches:
These beaches are the major centre of attraction in Kovalam,and are heavily crowded year-round.
Ayurveda Treatment Centres, Spas and Resorts are another major attractions. You can find a number of such centres and resorts for rejuvenation treatments and healing purposes along the beaches. They follow the complete Yoga Padhdhiti and Ayurvedic methods for curing several diseases. Such centres are based on natural treatment processes and are very helpful in relaxing your mind, body and soul even.
Padmanabhapuram Palace is a palace located at the foot of Veli hills. It was built during the 14th century and was called Darpakulangara. It was the palace of the kings of Travancore since the rule of Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma. You can see wonderful woodwork and historical art forms & architecture in this palace. It is a perfect example to see the traditional art forms of Travancore Royals.
Near Kovalam, another historical monument to visit is the Anchuthengu Fort. The fort was built by the East India Company in the 17th century for trading purpose. It contains several ancient items and art forms of the British. It is an excellent historical monument built in typical English style.
A few museums form the category of other attractions in Kovalam. You can visit Napier Museum, which is famous for a fine collection of Kerala's bronzes, ornaments and costumes.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum is a classic specimen of Kerala Architecture. This is a tribute to Kerala's cultural heritage.
Tourists can spend their evenings enjoying Kathakali Dance Performances.
Climate And Best Time To Go
It is tropical in nature throughout the year and the atmosphere is very peaceful and pollution free. The place is much effected by monsoon winds. The atmosphere is warm during summer (20-30 degrees), but sea-breezes keep the tourists refreshed. September to March is considered the best time for vacations in Kovalam, though it remains heavily crowded year-round. The price of accommodation goes very high during Christmas and New Year.
Flora And Fauna
You can find green coco-palm vegetation in Kovalam. Groves of coconut trees form the major part of vegetation. Kovalam beaches are world famous for different kind of special fish, lobster, king prawns and kalamari.
Kovalam is popular for sea items. You can find different shops near the beaches to buy some unique sea items, shells, pearls, gems etc. Besides, you can also find some Kashmiri shops.
Kovalam is just 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram, which is well connected with all other parts of India via road, rail or air. From Thiruvananthapuram, you can hire a taxi which will cost you around Rs. 200-300 and will take just 20 minutes to reach Kovalam. You can also hire an auto-rickshaw, which will charge you about Rs. 70-100. Apart from this, there are direct bus links to Kovalam from Ernakulam, Kanyakumari and Periyar wildlife sanctuary. Getting around on a hired bike is an adventurous way to explore this small city.