Things To Do In And Around Kovalam
It is easy to forget the innumerable joys of nature that surround us when we are caught up in the perplexity and troubles of everyday life and routines. Well here is the perfect antidote to all your problems, lets call it the proverbial ?Chill pill?, a get away to the most popular beach resort in ?God?s Own Country?- Kovalam.
This quaint little fishing village is now surely on the international travel map for its sheer natural beauty that will truly mesmerize any visitor. A journey to Kovalam takes you back to a more peaceful slow life that will shake years off you and leave you refreshed and recharged for another round of battling urban life?s oddities.
Kovalam beach is a spectacular specimen of Kerala?s famed white sand beaches. The word Kovalam means a grove of coconut tress, and the place surely leaves up to its name. This picturesque beach town can be divided into three and each part has its own vibe and allure. The southern most beach is called Lighthouse beach which is lined with budget hotels. It offers stunning views of the Vizhinjam mosque from its southernmost end.
The middle beach is the sleepy albeit ritzy one; more of a fishing village but it houses some of the prime luxury resorts of Kovalam. The northernmost beach is a little more popular and is called Hawa Beach.
While you can just lay back and cool your heels on the picturesque beaches of Kovalam, there is a lot that you can do and see around it. You can avail of the water sports facilities extended to tourists here and try your hand at kayaking, swimming, surfing and water skiing. Other than this, you can experience the simple life of the local fishermen and join them for a sunrise or sunset cruise in their basic fishing boats. Or you can opt for a cruise on the luxury catamarans or even spend a day cruising the backwaters on a traditional houseboat. Each of these offers you new possibilities and rich experiences. New introductions in marine activities include angling and deep sea fishing.
If shopping is what gets you excited, you can visit the numerous handicrafts stores all around Kovalam that sell locally produced handicrafts. Remember that you will get a better deal in shops that are a little away from the beach.
Kerala is a hotbed for culture and Ayurveda. You can spend an educational evening watching the indigenous dance of Kerala called Kathakali or check out Kerala?s martial art Kalarippayattu, which is so fluid and graceful that it almost resembles a dance recital by itself. Of course, you can shake off your stresses by indulging yourself at one of Kerala?s famous spas for a traditional Ayurvedic massage that will leave you rejuvenated and give you a new lease on life.
Kovalam is a mere 20 km from the major city Thiruvananthapuram and as this city is fantastically connected to a host of other cities, you can visit a whole lot of historic and architectural monuments in these parts. There are some famous palaces, forts, and places of worship nearby, these include:
Padmanabhapuram Palace (74 km) - a 14th century palace
Anchuthengu Fort (56 km ) built by the British East India Company
Koyikkal Palace- 18 km from Thiruvananathapuram and on the way to ?visit worthy? Ponmodi hill station, was built circa the 15th century.
Shri Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple: Located in Thiruvananthapuram and restricted to only Hindus, this temple Dedicated to Lord Vishnu has a unique idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on the hood of the snake Anantha, from which the city derives its name.
Vettukad Church: 7 km from Thiruvananthapuram also has an annual celebration called ?The Feast of Christ, The King?†
For a quick education in the culture around these parts, head to the host of museums that are easily accessible from Kovalam. These are:
†Napier Museum: Containing bronze sculptures ornaments and a miniature of the ?Tharawad? which is the traditional Nair Family home.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum: besides giving an insight into classic Kerala architecture, sculpture and carving due to its magnificent structure, this museum contains exhibits from Travancore.
Science and Technology Museum: contains animated and interactive exhibits on all the disciplines of science.
If you want to venture out on a little day trip around Kovalam, here is a suggestion of some outstanding towns that are easily accessible and completely gorgeous.
Ponmudi: 61 km away from the city, is the awe inspiring beauty of the magnificent hill station Ponmudi. Replete with cascading waterfalls and tremendous opportunities for hiking, this should be on your must do list if you are the adventurous kind.
Sankhumugham Beach: This one is just 8 km from Thiruvananthapuram City and offers picture perfect sunsets. It is extremely close to the airport and the touristy Veli village. It is famous for its 35 m long sculpture of the ?Matsyakanyaka? (mermaid) and also has a restaurant that is shaped like a starfish.
Varkala Beach: A lovely sea side retreat that has a unique blend of culture, nature and religion that only India can offer. With majestic high rising cliffs, and rich mineral springs fighting for your attention alongside the ancient Janardana Swamy Temple and the Nature Centre, you can be sure that this day trip will surely be action packed. It is a good idea to set out here, when you want to do something more than relaxing on a beach.
Kerala has a lot of festivals and if you time your trip to coincide with one, you are sure to be rewarded with some absolutely marvelous spectacles and some once in a lifetime experiences. Here is a low down of all the festivals that you can experience around Kovalam:
Nishagandhi Festival: An open air experience of some of India?s traditional dances alongside folk and contemporary dances all performed by the best in India. This annual festival takes place in Thiruvananthapuram from the 21st to the 27th of February.
Onam Festival: The best known festival of Kerala, this celebration of the retreat of monsoon is a ?do-not-miss? affair, marked by feasts, dances, snake boat races, elephant parades and a joyful and festive vibe. This is held in August/September every year.
Kovalam is a stunning beach, laid back and unassuming, but offers an exciting array of experiences and places to visit around it. A trip here will leave you enchanted and wishing you could come back here again and again.