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Published: July 22nd 2014
View of the Arabian sea with the lighthouse in background - Kovalam, India.
If you are a beach lover, this is the place to go. It is not as well known as Goa, but is far less crowded and certainly much cleaner.
To get to this pleasant beach resort in Kovalam, one has to fly in to Trivandrum a city in southwest India. However, if you are already in India you can also take the train to Trivandrum from the major cities, and then hire a taxi to go to Kovalam. As our departure point was Colombo in Sri Lanka, we took Sri Lankan Airlines from Colombo to Trivandrum.
We had already arranged for our hotel in Kovalam to pick us up at Trivandrum airport, but when we arrived we didn't see any sign of the hotel taxi. So we called up the hotel, and they said it would take too long for them to come to the airport, or something like that. It was certainly not a good start to our India vacation. Anyway, we managed to find a cab for a reasonable fee, and took the opportunity to take in the scenery during the short ride to the hotel.
Our hotel, the Hill & Sea View Resort was situated
Hindu temple on the left and a cafe on the right - Kovalam, India.
on a hill and the cab driver had some difficulties finding the place. When we eventually arrived at the hotel we had to enter through the back way as construction was going on in front of the main entrance. Another foreboding sign of a holiday about to go bad?
Anyway, the young desk clerk on duty did apologize for the "misunderstanding" of the airport pick up, and to make up for it he said he would give us the superior room. True to his word, the room he gave us was superior in every sense, particularly the view of the sea (a separate hotel review to be written later). The surprising part was that when we checked in, we had to fill out our details in quadruplicate. It seems that the rule in India was every official or unofficial work and/or business forms had to be in written down with at least 3 copies, including the original! We were to find out more about this during our travels in the country.
As mentioned above, we already had a good view of the sea from a distance, and we wanted to explore it further. We asked the young fellow
Close up of Hindu temple - Kovalam, India.
at the desk the way down to the beach, and he gave us directions. It wasn't far from the hotel, but boy oh boy, it was somewhat of an adventurous walk as we had to take the staircase which was just temporarily put together with uneven bricks. We did have a rope banister to hold on to. Needless to say, we took the steps down with extreme caution as there was building going on all around, and neither of us wanted to slip and fall into one of the construction pits.
We walked through the quaint little village of Kovalam. We saw a Hindu temple, a roadside cafe and a couple of small grocery stores in the village. I was expecting the whole of India to be very dirty, but to my pleasant surprise, Kovalam looked quite clean, and so was the beach. It was late afternoon and most of the people at the beach were local people. Some fishermen were repairing nets besides their boats. There was a lovely promenade adjacent to the beach full of small shops selling various items, small hotels, and restaurants advertising both western and Indian cuisine. This section of the beach is known
Street scene in Kovalam village.
as Lighthouse Beach for the lighthouse which is located on a knoll at the edge of the beach.
Unfortunately, the lighthouse closes at 5 pm so we couldn't go and see it. I believe the view from the top of the lighthouse is really stunning, and although we came here again a couple more times, we just couldn't find the right opening times to get to it. Oh well, perhaps next time. I should mention too, about the many vendors walking back and forth on the promenade. Although some of them can be persistent in asking you to buy their wares, none were overly aggressive like in some other countries I've been to.
In the daytime it can be quite hot and humid, but in late afternoon or early evening it was really nice to just take a stroll along the promenade or just sitting down in one of the cafes with a cup of tea (or a glass of beer) watching the world go by. We didn't see that many foreign tourists there. The ones we saw were naturally all in their swimwear which was in stark contrast to the Indian women who were swimming fully dressed
Fishermen relaxing on the beach at Kovalam, India.
in their saris,
or their bodies covered with blouses and shorts or jeans!
All in all, I would say that Kovalam is definitely worth a visit even if you are not into beaches. It is not as popular as the other beach destination of Goa, which can be an advantage because one won't have to deal with the crowds. We certainly had a most relaxing time in this little spot in Kerala state of India.
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