Kovalam, a small town located 16 km from the capital city Thiruvananthapuram is Kerala’s most famous tourist attraction and most popular beach in India. The three fabulous crescent shaped beaches of Kovalam separated by rocky headlands is the main attraction of Kovalam which gave Kovalam the present recognition and popularity.
Kovalam a sheltered natural bay with warm sand and gentle waves was once just a small beautiful fishing village . It was at 1930’s the Europeans discovered the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination. The real fame came with the arrival of a mass of Hippys’. In the seventies Kovalam became a Hippy idyll providing fresh fish, fruit and toddy.
Places to Visit in Kovalam
Kovalam offers so many entertainment options. One can indulge in various water sports activities like swimming, surfing, skiing etc.
1. The Three Crescent Beaches
Kovalam has three crescent shaped beaches separated by rocky outcroppings. Of the three Lighthouse Beach in the southernmost end is the most popular. The old elegant lighthouse give the beach the name Vizhinjam Lighthouse. This stands on a rocky promontory.
The promontory that separates Eve’s or Hawa Beach from Lighthouse Beach is Edakallu. This is the sunset viewing point. The third beach is the famous Ashok Beach. At some points rocks extended out of Ashok beach. Kovalam Jama Masjid stands on Ashok Beach.
2. Samudra Beach
The Samudra Beach lies on the Northern part of Kovalam Beach and is popular among the tourists. This beach is not affected by the changing times. Samudra Beach in Kovalam has succeeded in retaining its original charm.
Even today one can find a number of basic wooden fishing vessels in the village. Close to the beach opposite to Hotel Samudra is the Kovalam Sri Dharmasastha Temple.
3. Vizhinjam Village
Situated 2 km south of Kovalam, Vizhinjam is a fishing village. Vizhinjam Fishing Harbour, a natural port is one of the busiest fishing harbors in the district. This Fishing port is important for an ongoing pioneer project to generate electricity from wave energy.
Another beautiful fishing village just 8 km south of Kovalam. There is an Ayyappa Temple in the hilltop which overlooks the beach. The white sandy beach is a perfect place to relax with the sight of kites and eagles circulating in the clear blue sky.
5. Valiyathura Pier
An old pier used by fisherman is about 10 km from Kovalam. Standing on the pier one can see the wonderful sight of long coastline of Kovalam on one side and Shanmugham beach on the other side. The pier has a unique feature which draws the attraction of both locals and tourists.
During Monsoons the fisherman carry the their catamarans to the edge of the pier , throw them to the sea and then jump and swim into them. This is really interesting to watch.
This is where the two rivers Killi and Karamana meet. The famous Parasurama temple, the only temple in Kerala dedicated to this Legendary creator is close by which attracts thousands of tourists. Pozhikkara Beach is another unique attraction close to Thiruvallam where the two rivers join the Arabian Sea.
7. Vellayani Lake
One of the two large freshwater lake is situated here. This 7.5 square kilometer waterbody is a must visit place. The virgin beauty of this calm waters is a refreshing experience. During Onam boat races are conducted here. About 300 meter from the lake is the famous Vellayani Devi Temple.
Shopping in Kovalam
Shopping in Kovalam is an interesting experience. There are so many shops lined up along the beach side. Those who are interested in shopping must look for spices or decorative items made of rosewood or teak wood in Kovalam.
There are numerous shops selling handicrafts, clothes, books and antiques. At beach one can find vendors selling beachwear, hats, beach mats and other things useful in beach.
For Tibetan shawls and woodwork one can shop at Yak Boutique and the Heaven Handicrafts. Also there are shops like Surabhi Handicrafts, Kashmir Cottage Crafts Industries for shopping in a reasonable price.
Where to Stay in Kovalam
Kovalam have so many hotels and Resorts. Some of the best places to stay in Kovalam are Leela Kempinski, Raja Hotel, Hotel Samudra, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel, Hotel Sea Face, The Travancore Heritage, Somatheeram Ayurvedic Beach Resort, Manaltheeram Ayurveda Beach Village, Nikki’s Nest, Beach and Lake Ayurvedic Resort etc.
Places to Eat in Kovalam
All the hotels in Kovalam offers restaurants with traditional Kerala as well as other cuisines. Sea food is the speciality of the place. There are a lot of restaurants along beach side. Some of the best hotels to dine in Kovalam are Sea Face Dosa Camp, Lonely Planet, Garcia, Swiss Cafe, German Bakery, Beatles, Fusion Restaurant etc.