Kovalam, which is Malayalam for ‘Grove of coconut trees’ is located by the Arabian Sea in the Indian state of Kerala, and is known for its amazing beaches. As the name suggests, the city is characterized by its endless rows of coconut trees and is often called the ‘Paradise of the South’. The town became one of the major tourist hotspots in India, after the hippy culture explosion during the 1970’s and it became an essential part of the Hippy Trail. The town’s iconic Halcyon Castle was built during the time of the Travancore Queen Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi in the 1930’s. As a result, her European guests discovered the town’s unique beauty and it soon saw the arrival of countless hordes of tourists. Today, Kovalam is one of the major tourist spots in Kerala. Here’s the list of the best places one can visit in Kovalam.
1. Lighthouse Beach
As the name suggests, the Lighthouse beach is characterized by its 35 meter tall Lighthouse and is one of the major tourist hotspots in the city. The beach is the largest of the 3 beaches in Kovalam and is frequented mostly by the foreign tourists due to it being more developed. The Lighthouse is placed atop a hillock called the Karumkal Hill and can be easily reached by foot.
2. Hawah Beach
Quiet interestingly, the Hawah Beach was named during the time when it got famous as the 1st and only topless beach India. The name Hawah translates to ‘the wind’ and is a pun on the topless European women that used to roam on the beach. Sadly (for men), topless bathing is banned now, but the beach still retains its natural beauty which is also a nice thing.
3. Samudra Beach
Samundra beach, unlike the other two is the most sparsely populated beach in Kovalam and is mostly used by fishermen. The beach is best for people who like to spend some quiet time and meditate amidst the sounds of the sea. Bathing alone is not advisable as the beach is often vacant and the shore is a bit rocky.
4. The German Bakery
One of the best mid-priced eateries in Kovalam, the German bakery is located on the Lighthouse beach. The German bakery is famous for its amazing breakfast menu and is one of the best places to spend the scorching evening with your friends. The Pancakes and shakes are totally worth digging into.
5. Karamana River
Starting near the Western Ghats, flowing into the Arabian Sea, the Karamana River is one of the major rivers in Trivandrum with two dams built on it. The river is one of the best places to visit in Kovalam to experience the fruits of nature that Kerala has been blessed with.
A famous spot on the shore, Edakallu is placed right between the Hawah beach and the Lighthouse beach. It is a sunset seeing spot that is frequented by numerous shutterbugs and sight seers. The sunset witnessed here is a breathtaking sight like no other.
7. Vellayani Lake
The Largest freshwater lake in Trivandrum, the Vellayani Lake is another amazing picnic spot in Kovalam. The water in the lake is amazingly calm and crystal clear. The lake is best viewed during a moonlit night or during the annual boat race during the festival of Onam.
8. Halcyon Castle
Halcyon Castle was built by the Regent Queen Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore in 1932. The queen’s European guests were enchanted with the beauty of the town and led to the increased popularity of the town. Today, although the castle is converted into a luxury hotel, few areas can still be visited by non-guests for a fee.
9. Valiyathura Pier
The Valiyathura Pier is a 214 meter long pier located at the ancient port of Valiyathura and is another serene and relaxing beach location near Kovalam. The pier was used by fishermen during the high tide and is now a famous spot for angling and photography.
10. Vizhinjam Village
Located at a short distance of 3 kilometers, the Vizhinjam Village is one of most famous Ayurvedic centers in Kovalam. The roots of the village go back to the 7th and the 11th century. The village is famous for its ayurvedic centers; rock cut temples, beaches and fishing harbors.
Popularized by the Hippies in the 1970’s, the previously humble fishing village is today one of the most enticing tourist and beach destinations in Kerala. The aforementioned places are a must visit to experience the magic of aptly titled ‘Paradise of the South’.
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