The town of Kovalam is situated along the Malabar Coast in the state of Kerala in South India. Kovalam is a famous beach destination visited by Indian and international tourists all round the year. It is 15 km from the capital city, Thiruvananthapuram.
History of Kovalam The word Kovalam in Malayalam stands for a groove of coconut trees. Kovalam was a cluster of small fishing villages during the pre-Independence era that belonged to the state of Travancore. The earlier history of Kovalam is very obscure. The town of Kovalam came to the lime light during the reign of the Maharaja of Travancore in the 1930s. The Maharaja of Travancore was so impressed by the beauty of the place that he spent a lot of his leisure time on the beaches of Kovalam. He also invited his European friends over to this place and they made the place popular.
People & Culture of KovalamKovalam shot to fame during the 1970s, during the era of the hippies. The town witnessed a heavy influx of hippies taken in by the beauty of the place. Since then, Kovalam became famous among international tourists. Some small fishing villages still exist in Kovalam which are at a distance of 4 km from the beachfront. Kovalam enjoys a languid lifestyle. Characterised by beaches, it has a huge population of fishermen and locals whose culture is regarded as susegad. Also, tourists visiting the destination tend to relax on beaches, eat and make merry, which is why Kovalam attracts a large number of international tourists till date.
Things to do in Kovalam Kovalam consists of crescent shaped sandy beaches. The three beaches of Kovalam Lighthouse Beach, Samudra Beach, and Hawa Beach (Eve's beach) are separated from each other by rocky shores. A shallow-water-stretch that extends to about 1 km from the land makes it ideal for swimming. All the beaches have steep coconut-palm fringed highlands and shining sandy beaches that contain a great amount of minerals like ilmenite and thoracite.
With the rise in tourism, there has been a great development in the infrastructure and hospitality industry at Kovalam. The healthcare industry has also greatly flourished in the region with special reference to a branch in natural therapy, Ayurveda. Visiting Ayurvedic clinics and hospitals for relaxation, rejuvenation and treatments has become a popular activity in Kovalam.
Tourists visiting Kovalam can opt for sunbathing, swimming and other marine activities or just sign up for Kovalam holiday packages that provide travellers a chance to explore the beach town in a more organised fashion. Also, visitors can also take excursions to nearby destinations like Ponmudi, Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), Vizhinjam, etc.
Food & Shopping in KovalamKovalam is a food lovers delight, especially seafood lovers. Almost all restaurants have a generous offering of seafood. The beach front restaurants on Lighthouse Beach have displays of fresh fish, lobster, crab, mussels, tiger prawns and others. Depending upon the customers selection, the fish is weighed and then cooked according to the desired style. However, service can be slow and the food a bit pricey.
Since Kovalam sees a lot of international tourists, the food menu in the restaurants is also quite varied. From German bakeries to the traditional Kerala-style restaurants, theres something for every palette. There are some good options for vegetarians as well. There is not much to shop for in Kovalam. The main beaches in the town have street shops that sell hats, sarongs and other beachwear. Tourists can also buy souvenirs from local shops or jewellery made by locals. A few bookstores in the main town sell international editions of books in various languages.
Travelling to Kovalam Kovalam is at a distance of about 14 km from Thiruvananthapuram. Buses, taxis and auto rickshaws are available from Thiruvananthapuram to Kovalam. Taxis can cost around INR 400-500 for the 20 minute journey while auto rickshaws may charge anywhere between INR 150-170. Buses, on the other hand, take nearly 30-40 minutes. If staying at Hawah Beach, passengers need to get down at the promontory, which separates Hawah and Kovalam beaches.
The nearest airport to Kovalam is Trivandrum International Airport which is connected to many cities in India as well abroad. Taxis and buses are available from the airport to reach Kovalam. The nearest rail station is Trivandrum Central railway station, which is about 15 km away from Kovalam. This railway station is well connected to major cities in India.
Travelling within KovalamTourists visiting Kovalam can hire bikes or bicycles, either from Thiruvananthapuram or from Kovalam itself. These modes of transport make it easy for travellers to explore the town at their own pace. However, there is also the more expensive option of hiring a private taxi where the drivers, sometimes, also double up as guides and take tourists to visit all attractions of the town.
Accommodation options in Kovalam There are numerous hotel options in Kovalam for tourists, which range from budget to high-end, which even include staying options on the beach. The beach town also has a few resorts that offer traditional Ayurvedic massages.
Summers in Kovalam are hot with temperatures going over 30⁰ Celsius. The rainy months of June, July and August see a lot of heavy downpours and thunderstorms. However, the festival of Onam is held during August and is a great time to witness the festivities and cultural events associated with it. The Snake Boat Race is also held during this time.
The best time to visit Kovalam is from September to March. The beaches of Kovalam also deck up for Christmas and New Year, which is another reason to visit Kovalam during this time of the year.