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Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees. It is also known as the paradise of the south.
Kovalam first received attention when the Regent Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore constructed her beach resort, Halcyon Castle, here towards the end of the 1920s. Thereafter the place was brought to the public eye by her nephew the Maharaja of Travancore. The European guests of the then Travancore kingdom discovered the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination in the 1930s. However, Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon in the Hippie Trail. This exodus started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in all India.
Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17 km coastline, the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach
- Lighthouse Beach
The southernmost beach, the Lighthouse Beach is the one most frequented by tourists, Lighthouse Beach got its name due to the old Vizhinjam Lighthouse located on a rocky promontory here. Its intermittent beams at night render the beach with an unearthly charm. See some images of Kovalam here.
- Hawah Beach
Eve’s Beach, more commonly known as Hawa Beach, ranks second, in the early day, is a beehive of activities with fishermen setting out for sea. With a high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights.
- Samudra Beach
A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part.
Detour past Kovalam junction to land on Samudra Beach which is to the north of Ashoka Beach. One has the option to walk along the sea-wall too.The sight of the waves lashing on the rocks below is awesome. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.
The larger of the beaches is called Light House Beach for its 35 metre high light house which towers over it atop Kurumkal hillock. The second largest one is Hawah Beach named thus for the topless European women who used to throng there. It was the first topless beach in India. However topless bathing is banned now except in private coves owned by resorts. Visitors frequent these two beaches. The northern part of the beach is known as Samudra Beach in tourism parlance. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and Monazite. The normal tourist season is from September to May. Ashoka beach is also the part of Kovalam beach.
There are a large number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3 km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a mosque. The Proposed International Trans shipment Terminal at Vizhinjam is also close to Kovalam.
Kovalam was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. It still has a high status among tourists, who arrive mostly from Europe and Israel. Kovalam is finding a new significance in the light of several Ayurvedic salons, and recuperation and regeneration resorts which provide a wide variety of Ayurvedic treatments for tourists.
Kovalam assembly constituency is part of Trivandrum (Lok Sabha constituency). The assembly constituency of Kovalam is represented by Jameela Prakasham of Janatha dal. She defeated the sitting MLA Adv. George Mercier .
Other renowned beaches in Kerala
- "Paradise of South India - Kovalam". kovalam.com. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- "Kovalam". kovalam.hotels.com. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
- Ayub, Akber (ed), Kerala: Maps & More, 2006 edition 2007 reprint, p. 97, Stark World Publishing, Bangalore, ISBN 81-902505-2-3
- Ayurveda Ayurveda in Kovalam
- "Assembly Constituencies - Corresponding Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies". Kerala. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- News The Hindu
- Election results Election Commission of India
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kovalam|
- Kovalam travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Kovalam Pictures and Information
- Kovalam beach
- Alternative Guide to Kovalam