a Mathrubhumi initiative

Kovalam

 

Kovalam, the beachfront that has made into the international tourism map, is 16 km off the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The Arabian Sea that lines Kerala along its west all along turns into a meek and placid waterscape at Kovalam. Its major attraction is the sandy seaside naturally divided by rocky mounds into three separate curved beaches. Clear water with shallow bottom up to a hundred metres has made Kovalam a swimmers' haven. However, the 1970's saw foreign tourists arriving and hotels being set up for them. In the early years of discovery of its potential a large part of the tourists were followers of the counterculture, like the Hippie movement, who wanted to enjoy an idyll on this lonely beach. Kovalam was the harbinger of the now thriving tourism industry in Kerala.

Since then, Kovalam has been the single major attraction for tourists for many years until other places began to be explored in terms of tourism potential. It is also the first place in Kerala to be featured on the International tourism map in a big way.

Nowadays, tourism lore treats Kovalam beach as made of three small beaches differently named. The beach is divided into three sections by rocky headlands jutting out in to the sea at two places. They are named Light House Beach, Hawah Beach or (Eves Beach) and Samudra Beach. The first two beaches lying southwards are tourist spots. The curved shape of beaches makes them a sort of coves with shallow water extending up to a hundred metres. This natural protection from strong waves and deceptive undercurrents make it safe for swimming. The clear water resembles the clear blue sky. Both the Light House Beach and the Hawah Beach have a large number of hotels and resorts. This little seaside town sees much business aimed chiefly at foreign tourists. There are also a large number of curio shops here selling things from all parts of India. The northern part of the seaside, known as Samudra Beach in tourist parlance, lies quietly separated by a high headland from the busy areas. It is still undeveloped and the local fishermen continue to venture into the sea on catamaran, the traditional sea faring device which is just a few logs of light wood tied together.

International tourism agencies have spotted Kovalam for its potential and of late chartered flights have begun to bring tourists every week from Europe in large numbers.

Amenities

There are many hotels and here to suit different budgets, including a few five star hotels. Kovalam is also a major destination of health tourism with many of the hotels offering Ayurvedic treatment. Sun bathing and swimming are two options too tempting to refuse. Surfing boards, beach umbrellas, beach benches etc are available on rent. There are lifeguards on the beach. Local fishermen offer a ride on their catamaran for a small fee.

Other Attractions

The Lighthouse on a rocky promontory at the southern end is open to visitors. Vizhinjam, a natural port and site of the proposed Transhipment Container Terminal, is a few kilometres away. A rock cut cave temple at Vizhinjam, which is a protected historical monument, is also worth a visit.

Best Season:
Being a beach resort Kovalam really is a year-round destination weather-wise. The actual season is from September to March. The prices shoot up during the Christmas-New Year week as do the number of tourists, so it might be wise to avoid this period.

Emergency Details:
Tourism Information Centre, Phone : 0471 2480085

Transport Terminals:
Thambanoor, Kizhakkekottah.

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Thiruvananthapuram central, about 16 kms away
Nearest Airport: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 10 kms away

Tags :Thiruvananthapuram
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