Kerala’s Iconic Hippy Hangout. Welcome to Kovalam Beach, Kerala’s most famous beach.
Kovalam is Kerala’s most famous beach and a major tourist attraction.
Location: 13 km South West from Trivandrum straight down the coast
Three crescent-shaped beaches grace the area, each holding its own popularity as a hot spot. These three beaches are divided by rugged headlands. Along the extensive coastline, you’ll also find other less renowned yet equally picturesque beaches.
In the 1960s, Kovalam Beach was stumbled upon by Western hippies, who unexpectedly found this concealed paradise, nestled within what was once a fishing village (much like Chowara Beach still is today). Over time, Kovalam has transformed into one of the most sought-after beach destinations, now adorned with all the characteristics of a typical beach resort. Visitors can indulge in seaside dining options that offer a delightful blend of Indian and continental cuisine, explore offerings from roaming vendors, relish fast food choices, and even enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of pubs and more.
The beaches form a continuous sequence, with Light House Beach deriving its name from the presence of the Vizhinjam Light House. Positioned on a rugged promontory, the lighthouse is not accessible to the general public. Edakallu, which translates to “stone in between,” acts as a natural divider between Hawa Beach and Lighthouse Beach. Ashoka Beach, situated at the midpoint, separates the shore into its northern and southern sections and features a Government Rest House. These picturesque beaches entice visitors to extend their stay well into the evening.
Ten kilometres south of Chowara lies a charming fishing village known as Poovar. This picturesque village is situated in close proximity to the Neyyar River, locally referred to as Poovar Puzha, as well as the serene backwaters and the expansive sea. Being in Poovar means being surrounded by the river, backwaters, and sea – a trifecta of natural beauty. Poovar Island Resort, a unique island-based retreat, beckons with its floating cottages, dining establishments, and rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments. The sole means of reaching this idyllic resort is via a delightful 10-minute boat cruise along the river.
Pachalloor is another pretty village that is sandwiched between the lagoon and nearby highway with appealing places to stay, which offer backwater trips and yoga classes.
Pozhikkara Beach is just thirty 30-minute walk from Kovalam; nonetheless, it is a planet away from the high-profile holiday culture of Kovalam. Here the sands are used mainly for landing fish and fixing nets and is comparatively quiet.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN AND AROUND KOVALAM
Kovalam is a quiet little town with green, palm fringed beaches. It has a wealth of tropical fruits and vegetables like coconuts bananas, pineapples, papayas, ginger and mangoes . Two beautiful adjacent bays bestow inimitable charm to Kovalam.
Lighthouse Beach, Hawa Beach and Ashoka Beach – the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach . The southernmost beach, the Lighthouse Beach is the one most frequented by tourists. Eve’s Beach, more commonly known as Hawa Beach, ranks second. Lighthouse Beach got its name due to the old Vizhinjam Lighthouse located on a rocky promontory here. Its intermittent beams at night render the beach with an unearthly charm. An Edakallu,(a stone in between) separates Hawa Beach from Lighthouse Beach. Hawa Beach is fairly clean. A rocky hill separates Ashoka Beach from Hawa Beach. Halcyon Castle, one of Kovalam’s landmarks, is located on Ashoka Beach.
Rocks protrude into the water at different points on Ashoka Beach . The beach near Le Meridien is the safest to venture into the water, but it is a private beach. The other areas of the beach are awfully dirty and efforts are on to clean them up.
Detour past Kovalam junction to land on Samudra Beach which is to the north of Ashoka Beach. One has the option to walk along the sea-wall too.The sight of the waves lashing on the rocks below is awesome.
How safe is the beach? : It is tempting to take a swim or at least paddle in the water while on the beach. But beware! Kovalam beach is risk-ridden though enchanting. Despite alert Lifeguards and warning signs, every tourism season takes its toll. At least two or three drownings occur every year. The safe areas are marked with green flags and the danger areas with red flags. Warnings boards placed on the beach are written in English, German, Hindi and Malayalam.
Fishermen hire out their fishing boats or catamarans to anglers. The rate is Rs 100 per hour. To avail of the services of the owner to row you out, you have to pay an extra Rs50.If you are not too confident about your rowing skills it is advisable to opt for this.
The Monsoons arrive in Kovalam: India’s south-west monsoon kick-starts from Kovalam. Accompanied by thunder and lightning the sea off Kovalam bears the first brunt of the monsoon fury before it moves inland. A prelude to the monsoon is the mild to harsh wind from the south-west direction in the sea that moves on to the land about7-8 hours in advance of the monsoon.The rain is a relief from the scorching summer heat, which often hits 42 degree Celsius.
Veteran travellers state that Kovalam is the place to be in when the monsoons arrive, to enjoy it in all its strength and splendour. Many littérateurs, documentary writers, and television channels including the BBC come to Kovalam to document the arrival of the monsoons. The arrival of the monsoon in Kovalam is considered to be the start of the monsoon across India as it then travels North and then East to cover the whole country over a thre next few months.
Ayurveda in Kovalam : Kovalam offers a wide spectrum of Ayurveda outlets such as ashrams, spas, clinics, centres and resorts consequent upon the 3000-year old science of Ayurveda becoming Kerala’s big tourist attraction. Many of them are spurious and aimed only at at making a fast buck. Beware, lest you get fleeced. Visit only registered centres or those managed by qualified physicians.Most of the Kovalam hotels offer Ayurveda facilities. The outlets without too much hype and are low key will give you better value for your money.
Night life in Kovalam: Night life is pretty laid back and revolves around the beach, where Westerners chill when the restuarants close. One or two places also run movie nights, screening pirate copies of just released hits.