Kovalam Beach Guide
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
There are three crescent shaped beaches and all three are popular hot spots. The three are separated by rocky headlands. Along the long coast there are also other less famous but equally scenic beaches.
Kovalam beach, was discovered by the western hippies in the 1960s. It was they who chanced upon this hidden paradise, till then a fishing village (as it still is on Chowara Beach). It has since become one of the most popular beach destinations. Kovalam has today acquired all the trappings of a beach resort . The seaside eateries serving a fusion of Indian and continental food, itinerant hawkers, fast food vendors, pubs etc. [Editors Note: Our local author has never seen a European beach so take it from me: there is no comparison!]
All the beaches overlap each other in succession. The Light House beach gets its name from the Vizhinjam Light House located there. The lighthouse is on a rocky promontory, and is not open to the public.- Edakallu(meaning stone in between), separates Hawa Beach from Lighthouse Beach. The Ashoka Beach, which divides the beach into its northern and southern sections sports a Government Rest House. The beaches attract their visitors to stay on till late in the evening.
10-km south of Chowara there is a fishing village called Poovar. This beautiful village is close to Neyyar river (Poovar Puzha in local language), the backwaters and the sea. Be in Poovar, to be in river, to be in backwaters, to be in sea. Three catches in one stroke. Poovar Island Resort, a resort in island, offers floating cottages, restaurants and Ayurvedic treatments. To reach the resort 10-minute boat cruise in the river is the only option.
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 minutes 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.