Saturday, 23 January 2016


Fringed by headlands that rise steeply above the shore, Kovalam is almost completely covered by coconut palms. Of the three small bays separated by rocky outcrops, the southernmost, known as the Lighthouse Beach, is the most popular. The lovely old lighthouse that gives the beach its name is the Vizhinjam Lighthouse. Edakallu, a rocky headland separates Eve’s or Howah Beach from the Lighthouse Beach. The hill that separates Howah Beach from the third of Kovalam’s celebrated beaches houses the Government Guest House and the Halcyon Castle, a palace.
Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach with three adjacent crescent beaches. It has been a favourite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing.
The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes and catamaran cruising are some of them. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night. The beach complex includes a string of budget cottages, Ayurvedic health resorts, convention facilities, shopping zones, swimming pools, Yoga and Ayurvedic massage centres.
Accommodation facility for tourists at Kovalam ranges from five star hotels to budget hotels and the choice of food is available at restaurants and cafeteria ranges from Continental varieties to South Indian tastes. 
Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just 16 km away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. But if you are on holiday it is better to stay in Kovalam and visit the city. 
Kovalam beach is Kerala's most famous beach town. Unlike quieter Varkala, it's well and truly been discovered and developed. It's brash and at odds with the rest of Kerala. The action congregates around two main beaches -- Hawa (also called Eve's beach) and Lighthouse (the biggest and busiest of the two) -- with a walkway along the seafront. Samudra beach is separated by a large promontory, and is relatively free of tourists.
Access Information
Nearest Airport -Trivandrum (11kms), Tuticorin (190kms), Cochin (Ernakulam) (225kms)
Nearest Railway Station - Trivandrum(11kms), Varkala(55kms), Kollam(70kms)
Kovalam is an Ex-Trivandrum / Ex-Kollam / Ex-Kottayam / Ex-Cochin (Ernakulam) / Ex-Madurai / Ex-Trichur Getaway
Lattitude:8.402074, Longitude: 76.978426
Reasons To Visit
Kovalam is "small goa" of South India. Kovalam is one of the few developed beach retreats in India alongside Goa.
Kovalam has a Goa-like feel with beaches suitable for swimming and a lot of beachside resorts that offer nice Arabian sea views (Unlike Goa).
Kovalam gets a a lot of organised charter tour operators from all over the world who get guests here for stays of 1 week multiples (Upto 4 weeks).
Samudra, Hawa, Lighthouse, Chowara and Mulloor are different beaches of Kovalam area. Chowara and Mulloor are more idyllic, Hawa and Lighthouse is more touristy. Samudra beach is where two major resorts are located.
Poovar lies at an extreme end of Kovalam and is treated as a backwater / island like destination
Guests to Kovalam do day visits to Kanyakumari, nearby plantation highlands and Neyyar wildlife sanctuary.

Niraamaya Retreats

1. Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra
If you're looking for luxury in Kovalam, the boutique Surya Samudra is the most indulgent property you'll find. Set on 20 acres of landscaped grounds atop a cliff, it has 31 heritage cottages (think terracotta roofs, wooden pillars, and tiled floors), a renowned Ayurvedic spa, two restaurants, and stunning infinity pool. The cottages, which come with open-air bathrooms, are very private and there's plenty of space to spread out. The sea facing ones are particularly captivating. Rates start from around 8,000 rupees per night, plus tax, for a garden view cottage during the monsoon season. This increases to around 15,000 rupees, plus tax, during peak season. 

The Leela.
2. The Leela
The very popular Leela is looking a bit tired these days but the atmosphere and views are magical, making this hotel very high on romance. The hotel is located on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean and has its own private beach. It's a substantial property with 183 rooms. The beach view rooms have their own sun deck, while the peaceful garden view rooms are located in a coconut grove right near the water. There's a stunning infinity swimming pool as well. Enticing monsoon discounts are available and it's possible to pick up a room for around 7,100 rupees per night, plus tax. Otherwise, rates go up to 15,000 rupees for a double room plus tax, depending on the time of year. 

Taj Hotels.
3. Taj Vivanta
The popular Taj Green Cove hotel is now known as the Taj Vivanta. Although it still has the same lush hillside location near Samudra beach, it wears a revitalized new look. The hotel is quite intimate and only has 59 cottages spread over 10 acres. It's peaceful and relaxing. A highlight is the hotel's beach-side restaurant called Bait, which serves up fresh seafood. However, the hotel isn't a beach resort. The ocean is around a 10 minute walk away, and the beach is submerged from March to November, so most guests prefer to relax by the infinity pool amongst nature. The Taj Vivanta is slightly less costly than the Leela. Expect to pay 6,500 rupees plus tax for a double room during the monsoon season. Otherwise, rates go up to 13,000 rupees a night, plus tax. 
Turtle on the Beach
4. Turtle on the Beach
A luxurious beach resort, Turtle on the Beach faces Hawa beach (Eve's beach). It has a Zen feel, with large Buddha statue and lounge that overlooks the sea from a height. There are 44 rooms and suites spread over six categories. The 2,480 square foot Sky Suite has a private terrace with outstanding views and a Jacuzzi. There's also an Ayurvedic spa on the premises, along with swimming pool and health club. Expect to pay around 5,400 rupees plus tax during the monsoon season, increasing to 7,500 rupees plus tax in peak season, for a double room. 
Hotel Samudra. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
5. Hotel Samudra KTDC
This mid-range, value for money resort is owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. It's located next to the Taj Vivanta at quieter Samudra beach. Unlike many state government-owned properties in India, it's well maintained and well operated. There are 64 rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness center, plus some magnificent views. Rates start from around 4,000 rupees per night. 
Hotel Sea Rock
6. Hotel Sea Rock
The best thing about Hotel Sea Rock is its fabulous, convenient location on Hawa beach. The hotel has a terrace restaurant overlooking the ocean, and airy sea facing rooms with balconies. Note that there's no elevator though, and food in the restaurant is quite expensive. Expect to pay 2,500- 5,000 rupees per night. 
The Beach Hotel
7. The Beach Hotel
The funky and fashionable Beach Hotel has two locations a few minutes walk apart on Lighthouse Beach. The rooms at both places are sea facing, and are clean and airy, with private balconies or verandahs. Beach Hotel I, the older of the properties, is decorated in earthy tones. It has a German bakery, restaurant, and bookshop. Beach Hotel II is more modern and bright, and in a quieter location at the far end of the beach. Five of its 10 rooms have air conditioning. There's also a fusion cuisine restaurant and coffee bar. Rates vary depending on the property, room, and time of year. Expect to pay around 2,500 rupees upwards for double, per night. 
Sea Flower Beach Resort

8. Sea Flower Beach Resort
Sea Flower Beach Resort is an old favorite on Lighthouse Beach. Its 14 plain rooms are simply furnished and spread over three floors. The top floor rooms all have private sea facing balconies, while the balconies on the middle floor are shared. The views are outstanding and staff friendly! Rates for ground floor rooms range from 600-900 rupees per night, depending on the time of year. Rates for the other rooms range from 1,150-3,000 rupees per night, depending on the time of year and whether the room is air conditioned. The air conditioned rooms are on the top floor. 
Staywell Beach Resort
9. Staywell Beach Resort
A resort it is not, but rather a small and inviting blue family-run guest house situated next to Beach Hotel II on Lighthouse beach. It has six rooms, most with private balconies, and one with private kitchen. Ayurvedic treatments are provided on the premises by a qualified Ayurvedic doctor, and yoga sessions are held on the rooftop. Rooms are basic but clean. Expect to pay 600-1,000 rupees per night for a room. 
Vedanta Wake Up!
10. Vedanta Wake Up! by Lighthouse Beach
Vedanta Wake Up! is one of the most popular chains of backpacker hostels in India. The property is located in a quiet area surrounded by coconut trees, a couple of minutes walk from the beach. It features garden, free wireless Internet, and restaurant. The staff are polite and friendly, and the service is great. There are 17 large air-conditioned rooms with balconies. Expect to pay 599 rupees for a bed in mixed-dorm and 2,400 rupees for a private room, including tax. 
Things to Do in Kovalam
Lighthouse Beach Overview
The shining star of Kovalam, the Lighthouse Beach is a magnificent mix of gleaming sand, rocking waves, swaying palm fringes and blue aquamarine waters. 
The most frequently visited beach in Kovalam, the Lighthouse beach got its name from the old Vizhinjam lighthouse, which stands tall on a rocky headland. Long walks by the coastline, sunbathing, surfing, beach volleyball and swimming are some of the activities that can be enjoyed at the beach. 
Exquisite sea food is also available at the stalls lining the shore. Ayurvedic massages and beachside spas are a hit with tourists frequenting the Lighthouse beach.
Veli Tourist Village Overview
The Veli Tourist Village is a popular picnic spot and the number of tourists that throng this place bear a testimony to its charm. Children are especially fond of the place as it gives a free reign to their playful spirit. 
Ferry rides are quite popular among the children. Located in close proximity to the airport, Veli Tourist Village offers pedal boats, rowboats and motored boats for thrilling water sport activities.
Opening Closing Time8 am to 6 pm
For Kids
Kids will love this place for the ferry rides and other fun activities they can indulge in.
Entrance FeeSafari boat: Rs. 15 per person
Speedboat: Rs. 150 per person
Pedalboat: 4 seater - Rs. 50 for half an hour; 2 seater - Rs. 40 for half an hour
Vellayani Lake Overview
The Vellayani Lake is one of the famous fresh water lakes in Kerala and is located seven kilometers from Kovalam. 
The Vellayani Lake is the venue of the world famous annual snake boat race organized during the Onam festival. A must visit when in Kovalam.
Opening Closing Time9 am to 8 pm
Entrance FeeFree Entry
Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple Overview
Unique and an elaborate display of uninhibited talent, the Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple houses rock cut sculptures dating back to the 18th century. Although unfinished (perhaps that is the real charm!), the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi are the major attractions here.
Opening Closing TimeTuesday to Sunday - 9 am to 6 pm
Entrance FeeFree Entry
Artificial Off-Shore Coral Reef Overview
The artificial coral reef at Kovalam is India’s first off-shore coral reef. The Government of Kerala in association with the Department of Harbor Engineering launched this project with the aim of protecting and enhancing the ecology at the Lighthouse beach. 
The introduction of surfing at the reef has also boosted tourism in the area. Designed to protect the beach from erosions, this man-made reef is made up of materials that help in improving the marine habitat and fishing.
Entrance FeeFree Entry
Hawa Beach Overview
The Hawa beach has an interesting story behind its name. Sometime back, this beach was frequented by topless European women looking to get a perfect tan and thus originated the name Hawa beach. However, at present, topless bathing is banned here, as it is on beaches elsewhere in India.
Entrance FeeFree Entry
Hawa Beach or Eve's Beach Overview
"Hawa Beach is one of the three beaches that together form the crescent of the Kovalam Beach. This beach is endearingly known as the Eve's Beach, presumably because of its beautiful surroundings. It is a heaven for those who are looking for peace and relaxation. The calmness and tranquillity of this beach makes it an ideal place to get some moments of relaxation away from the humdrum of the city life. 
What adds to the appeal of this beach are several coconut trees along the shore and the Arabian Sea that looks amazing. You can enjoy a walk by the shoreline, go swimming or just laze around and sunbathe. Besides, there are a number of eating joints here, where you can savour local delicacies. Also, sometimes, local fishermen offer sunrise and sunset cruises in their small fishing boats."
Photo Opp
There is not a better place than a beach to get some beautiful pictures. Photography at a beach is truly a fantastic experience for any photo enthusiast. The best time to capture the beauty of the beach is during sunrise/sunset.
Karamana River Overview
Originating from the southern tip of the Western Ghats, Karamana River flows through the city of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The river is called so because it flows through a small suburb called Karamana. Tourists can enjoy boating on the lake, which is dotted with expansive green patches of tropical plants on its banks. Located on the riverbank is the Thiruvallam Boat Club that offers kayaking, houseboat cruises and canoe rides.
Photo Opp
Do not forget to carry your camera before commencing the boat ride. The bewitching views of the backwaters and greenery throughout the ride are worth capturing in your camera.
Vellayani Lake Overview
"Located about 7 km away from Kovalam, Vellayani Lake is one of the popular freshwater lakes in Kerala. Here tourists can enjoy the beauty of this picturesque lake as well as go on a boat ride. Being home to a variety of flora and fauna, the lake is known for its unique ecosystem. 
There are many interesting stories associated with the origin of this lake. As per a popular legend, once a beggar who was searching for drinking water visited a saint while he was meditating. When the saint found out that his vessel was nearly empty, he took the last few drops from the pot into his palm and threw them as far as he could, saying a small prayer. Interestingly, the area of the land till where the drops fell gradually turned into a big lake, which is today known as Vellayani. The lake also serves as the venue for the world famous annual boat race that is organised during the festival of Onam. "
Photo Opp
Even if you are not a photo enthusiast, the beauty of this lake will compel you to take pictures. Photographs clicked here will remind you of the amazing journey and experience you had during the boat ride in the lake.
Neyyar Dam Overview
The Neyyar Dam, located about 32 km away from Thiruvananthapuram, is a popular picnic spot featuring a beautiful lake. The place is particularly famous for some of the rarest medicinal herbs. Boating is the ideal way to explore the beauty of the surroundings. The area circumscribing the Neyyar Dam also houses the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwanthari Ashram, which is a heaven for peace lovers. Here, visitors can learn and practice Yoga and relax amid natural surroundings. The green coconut groves and serene environment make for a nice escape from the hustle-bustle of a city.
Photo Opp
You will get ample opportunities to click some great pictures at the Neyyar Dam. Take pictures of the dam, lake and your loved ones while enjoying a boat ride.
Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium Overview
Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium is a must-visit attraction located in one of the busiest fishing harbours in Vizhinjam, near Theatre Junction. The aquatic life preserved here is a treasure trove of marine wealth, comprising a variety of fish, corals and other aquatic animals. This aquarium is known for a unique technique of Image Pearl production. In this procedure, a mould of any random shape, made of shell cement is embedded into the pearl oyster and within 2-3 months, one gets a beautiful pearl in the shape of the mould.
Opening Closing Time09:00 am – 05:30 pm. Open all days
Padmanabhapuram Palace Overview
Situated at the foot of Veli Hills, Padmanabhapuram Palace is a majestic old fortress located en route to Kanyakumari. A marvel of architecture, the palace has secret courtyards, a dining hall that can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and other interesting facets. 
Known as the ancient capital of Travancore kings, the palace has black floors that are made of a unique mixture of burnt coconut, sand and charcoal. The visitors can roam around 180 massive rooms and discover the beauty and historical significance.
Opening Closing Time9 am to 5 pm (All days except Monday and national holidays)
Entrance FeeAdult: Rs. 25, Children: Rs. 10, Foreigners: Rs. 200, Children: Rs. 50
The Zoological Park Overview
The Zoological Park in Thiruvananthapuram is the largest zoological park in India and is a must-visit while staying here. Home to wild animals and various species of flora and fauna, the park is an exciting place to take your kids and learn about wildlife.
Opening Closing Time10 am to 5 pm (All days except Monday)
For Kids
This is a great place for children to observe various kinds of animals at close quarters.
Entrance FeeAdult: Rs. 5, Children: Rs. 3; Camera permit: Rs. 15
Chowara Beach Overview
Located at a distance of approximately 10 kilometres from Kovalam, the beautiful village of Chowara is popular for its beach. Coconut trees dot the sandy shores and the golden sands are an ideal place to relax and enjoy with family. A lesser known seaside destination, the Chowara Beach also has an ayurveda resort in the vicinity.
Opening Closing Time24 hours
Entrance FeeFree Entry
Napier Art Museum & Gallery & Shri Chitra Art Gallery Overview
An art and natural history museum, the Napier Art Museum is one of the most famous attractions in Thiruvananthapuram. It has been named after the former governor of Madras - Lord Napier. The museum has a beautiful collection of artifacts including ivory carvings and traditional ornaments. 
It also has a zoological garden, one of the oldest in the nation. Shri Chitra Art Gallery, located in close quarters, houses resplendent works from the Mughal and Rajput eras.
Opening Closing TimeNapier Art Museum - 10 am to 5 pm (Tuesday to Sunday) 
Chitra Art Gallery - 8 am to 6 pm (Closed on Mondays and national holidays)
Entrance FeeAdult: Rs. 5, Children: Rs. 2; Foreigners: Rs. 20

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