Three crescent-shaped beaches, separated by rocky outcroppings, constitute the chief attraction of this coastal town. Backed by the palm-covered steep headlands, the beaches are lined with a host of shops that offer all kinds of goods and services, creating an unmistakably resort-like atmosphere.
Just a short drive away from the State capital, Kovalam is easily accessible. Internationally acclaimed, this seaside destination comprises three adjacent rescent-shaped beaches. Golden sands, miles of shimmering sea, rocky promontories constantly caressed by the sensuous surf and a brilliant sunshine warming the very souls, make this place truly sensational. A charming village in its yesteryears, Kovalam today has all the trappings of a popular beach destination. Lined with shops, restaurants, ayurvedic centres and an accommodation option to suit all budgets, the place has the unmistakable ambience of a resort.
Shallow waters, stretching hundreds of metres, are ideal for swimming. The vast expanse of shimmering sea, sandy coves, and rocky outcroppings over the water, exuberant surf and brilliant sunshine impart an unreal quality to this popular tourist spot.
The 35-m lighthouse stands atop the Kurumkal hillock, jutting out on to the sea. For a nominal fee, visitors can climb the spiralling staircase inside to the top of the red and white tower. The palm-covered hillock offers a spectacular view of its surroundings.
Twelve kilometres from Kovalam, the Karamana River crosses the highway at Thiruvallom. This is an idyllic spot, offering a delightful view of the backwaters. A boat club offers a variety of cruises from canoe rides and kayaking to jaunts in kettuvalloms. Day tours to the nearby Pozhikara and Edayar islands and homestays at ldayar homes can also be arranged.
One of the few freshwater lakes in Kerala, this pristine water body is a must-see. Accessible by boat from Kovalam, 7 km away, the lake draws huge crowds during the Onam boat races.
This 214-m long pier at VaUakkadavu offers magnificent views of the coast. However, because it is constantly pounded by the sea, the pier today has been reduced to a mere shadow of its busy former self. Fishermen fling their catamarans into the sea, jump in after them, and swim to the boats. Crowds gather just to watch this improptu show.
Located 17 Ian from Thiruvananthapuram, close to Kovalam, is this historic spot - the ninth-century capital of the Ay kings. Today, it is a quiet village, with only its relics, such as the cave temple, linking it to the past. The fishing harbour becomes a beehive of activity at dawn. The bay makes a pretty picture.
Believed to go back as far as the eight century, the cave temple is located close to the centre of the village, a few yards from harbour road Kerala. Essentially, it is a huge granite boulder with an opening on its side, which is said to lead to an underground cave; but the passage now appears completely blocked. A half finished bas-relief of Shiva appears on the stone on either side of the opening and an idol of Sastha sits at women made offerings of gold at the cave, and a related incident led to the sudden, miraculous closure of the cave mouth is a must see place when out on a pilgrimage tour to Kerala.
Chowara, a tiny fishing village 8 km south of Kovalam, boasts broad sandy beaches minus the crowds. Uncluttered and pristine, the beach attracts solitude-seeking beach- combers rather than revellers and beach buffs. Chowara's location and serenity have also made it home to ayurvedic and heritage resorts. Of the three resorts located here, two attract tourists seeking ayurvedic treatments, whereas the third is known more for its lovely architecture.
Two kilometres south of Kovalam is another peaceful but stunningly beautiful beach, Poovar. Situated close to the Neyyar River estuary, Poovar was a trading port in its early days. Today, it is recognised as a tourist destination, mainly due to the many resorts in the area such as the Poovar Island Resort, Isola di Cocco and the Estuary Island Resort.
Largely unexplored and unspoilt, the island of Poovar has developed into an up-market tourist destination. Enveloped by serene backwaters and at places, separated from the sea only by narrow sand banks, Poovar, with its virgin beaches, is very popular with tourists.