About 17 km. from Thiruvananthapurm city, is the suburb and beach town Kovalam, famous for its beaches. It is one of the oldest tourist destinations of India. Kovalam beaches have shallow waters and low tidal waves which makes them popular among tourists.
Queen of Travancore, Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bai, got a palace build for her as use a private residence, known as Haylcon Castle. When the next queen visited here for her honeymoon, her husband Prince G.V.Raja realized the tourist potential of the place and started promoting the place. Hippies started arriving in Kovalam in the early seventies. Looking at the number of tourists visiting Kovalam, Kerala Government started promoting the Kovalam as a tourist destination. Equally popular among domestic and international tourists, Kovalam is today a renowned beach.
How to reach Kovalam
Kovalam is very well connected by Air, Rail and Road. Nearest international airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is approx. 15 km. away. It has regular flights to many international destinations like Colombo, Singapore, some Gulf countries like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain. The airport is also connected to all major cities in India. Taxis are easily available from airport to Kovalam.
Nearest Railway station is Trivandrum Central which is approx. 15 km away from Kovalam. This is connected with most of the cities in India. Through Road, Kovalam can be reached from Trivandrum by taxi which takes about 20 minutes. Hiring an auto-rickshaw takes little more time, but saves on money. State run buses are also available from Trivandrum. Bikes can also be rented for local travel.
Best places to visit in Kovalam : Beaches
Kovalam has three main beaches in its 17 km coastline which are separated by rocky outcroppings. The beaches have thick lines of palm trees. The largest beach is called Light House Beach. It has the oldest light house of Kovalam which is 35 metre high and is atop Kurumkal hillock. This lighthouse guides ships to the nearby Vizhinjam port. The second largest beach is Hawa Beach which was named after the topless European women who used to visit here. Topless bathing at this beach is banned now. Northern part of the beach is called Samudra Beach where local fishermen do their trade. There are also some other small beaches as well.
The small rock hill that separates Hawa beach with Northern beach is a local landmark. It has the giant Haylcon Castle (now called Leela Kempiniski Hotel, a popular 5 star premium hotel) overlooking the seas. The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach resort is the largest beach resort in Kovalam. The palace has played host to several leading European, US and Arab leaders and is the testimony of Anglo-Travancore architecture.
Things to do in Kovalam
Apart from enjoying the sea, beaches and admiring the picturesque scenery, one can enjoy boat rides. Alongwith motor boat rides, wooden boat-rides are also available. These boats are operated by experienced local fishermen who use a bamboo paddle. Surfing is another adventurous sport one can enjoy at Kovalam. Surf boards and body boards are available at the beaches. If you are not a trained surfer, it is best to follow life-guard’s instructions as some strong current can suddenly whisk the unwary out to the sea.
The other main attraction of Kovalam is the ayurvedic treatments that you get at the spa in Leela Kempinski. It is among the top Ayurvedic centres of Kerala. The spa provides best packages for relaxation and rejuvenation. Ayurvedic packages are also offered for De-stress, Detox, Health management, Weight management and anti-aging.
Enjoy the Beaches, marvel at the natural beauty and Relax & Rejuvenate at Kovalam.