If you had only one place to visit as a tourist, what would that be?
A tough question that has a million answers. How can one choose that one in a million?
If ever you have set foot on Kovalam, you know where you want to go.
A hippy idyll, fishing paradise, ozone territory, supremely serene, divinely beautiful, and heavenly land of sun, sea, sand, and surf.
Just chill with coconut beer (toddy) and you would sooner than later be adding up your own Kovalam concoctions!
Cool Kovalam is a pint-sized picture perfect tropical beach wooed by thousands of tourists 24/7/365, never mind the Kerala monsoon. Celebrated as the paradise of the south in God’s own country, Kovalam is nature’s very own packaged dose of ozone, UV and a uniquely Indian experience.
A few minutes drive from the State capital, Trivandrum, Kovalam meaning grove of coconut trees, is true to its name; the crescent-shaped beach village offers an endless sight of coconut trees seamlessly merging into the horizon.
Kovalam offers enough to walk away your scrumptious lunch and build up appetite for an equally delicious dinner. If you love seafood, Kovalam is your soul mate, specially the range of grilled seafood delicacies like lobsters, king prawns, and kalamari, fresh from the seabed.
Kovalam is also universally popular as a health hub. A wide range of Ayurvedic massage parlours, yoga centers and water sport facilities, makes Kovalam a popular haven for tourists from all over the globe.
As beaches go, Kovalam is not only beautiful, but also safe. The sea here is pacific and shallow, the sand clean white, and water azure. One can walk into the sea for about 100 metres without losing ground. The coves are also said to be very safe for swimming, and so hugely popular with tourists who love water-sports.
Eye-witness reports say that at Samudra, the northern part of the beach, time stands still, so keep a tab on your watch, lest you be timed out of the tour! With a high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights. The soothing sea breeze caresses the sea waves, against a backdrop of gently swaying coconut trees.
The light house beach on the southern side offers an amazing sight of the Vizhinjam mosque, while the sight of fishermen setting out for sea in the middle of the beach, is a spectacle to behold. Their sheer energy and enthusiasm to challenge the elements for their daily dose of fish is to be seen to be believed.
Beautiful patches of coral reefs dot the seascape and the underwater views in particular during snorkeling, are nature-in-bath. Once out of the waters, the clean white sandy beach will tempt you no end to idle away on the sands and get yourself a body tan. If you are the sort who wants to push the experience a little more, check out any one of the Ayurvedic massage centres and indulge in a rejuvenating herbal, body-toning massage and holistic therapies.
Kovalam’s surroundings too are bathed in natural beauty and splendor, just the sort of places to reboot the touristy holiday. There are awesome palaces and forts, museums, resorts, tourist villages, fairs and much more to keep you on the ball.
To cite but one example, the Gramam, the Kerala Village Fair gives you a snapshot of vintage Kerala life in the forties, a jog away from Kovalam beach. Within a few minutes of losing a thousand calories (if you are going by foot), you are well into the cusp of a down-time travel to a bygone era. Tucked deep in an old world style-hamlet, are a bewitching line of traditional houses, where groups of village artisans are at work, creating amazing curios, exquisite handicrafts and costumes. And when your legs ache and hunger strikes, it’s time for another discovery of culinary India, mouthful by mouthful: Kovalam’s very own exotic seaside delicacies, the famous tandoori seafood from Lakshadweep, the north-east Indian cuisine that is a cousin of Chinese, and so on and so forth.
Apart from the sun and sand beaches, Kovalam also has the Anchuthengu Fort, Napier Museum, Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Kuthiramalika Palace Museum.
As you wind down the trip, it’s time for thanksgiving – to the Maharaja of Travancore, who was the first to bring Kovalam to the public domain. Let us say cheers with coconut beer!