The Lighthouse Beach is located at the southernmost tip of the Kovalam coastline. The beach enjoys plenty of tourist attractions because of its proximity to the town. In olden days the hillock next to the beach had a lighthouse, called the Vizhinjam Lighthouse, and it was responsible for guiding ships that were entering or leaving the port.
When European tourists started coming to the town they named this beach the Lighthouse Beach because of the presence of the lighthouse. Fortunately for us, the passage of time and the ravages of nature have not affected the lighthouse.
The flashing beams from the lighthouse bestow an ethereal quality to the beach at night. Therefore, the beach is a must visit at night solely to witness this breathtaking site. The beach provides the tourists with an incredible swimming experience because of the clean waters of the beach that remain warm even during the month of January.
The Hawah Beach is also popularly called the Eve’s Beach. In earlier days plenty of European women would swim and sunbathe topless on the beach; however, this has been banned now. The beach is a sight to behold because of lush green coconut groves and crystal clear waters.
At night time, the gentle beams of the moon cast magical shadows in the water. The beach takes on a entirely new dimension at night. The beach is ideal for those who want to avoid the hustling and bustling crowds of the Lighthouse Beach. The beach is relatively calm and serene. It is the ideal place to get away from the rest of the world and to connect with your loved ones.
The Hawah beach is opposite the Lighthouse Beach and is mainly visited by people who do not wish to swim since the currents in this beach are quite powerful. You can go for Ayurvedic massage while enjoying the splendour of the beach.
The Halcyon Castle owes its existence to Her Royal Highness the Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi and was designed and constructed by her consort M.R.Rv Sri Rama Varma Valiya Koil Thampauran. The palace, which was built in 1932, is a splendid example of splendour, luxury and magnificence.
It is situated in Travancore that was at one time a princely state. The main idea of the castle was to act as a beach resort for the entire royal family. In 1964, the Halcyon Castle exchanged hands and was sold by the royal family to the Government of Kerala.
The castle now enjoys the distinction of being the only deluxe and luxury hotel of its kind in the entire area. The place is also now referred to as the Kovalam Palace and is within the premises of the international beach resort of Kovalam.
The Vellayani Lake flows through the district of Thiruvananthapuram and happens to be the largest fresh water lake of the district. Locals refer to the lake as ‘Vellayani Kayal’. The lake is a favourite picnic spot among the locals as well as the tourists since it is at a distance of only 9 km from the main bus station of Thiruvananthapuram.
If you are in Kovalam then make it a point to visit the lake at least once. The lake is a sight to behold with its crystal clear blue water that is also fresh. When the moonlight falls on the lake, the whole place takes on an ethereal quality. People prefer staying back until late to catch a glimpse of this mesmerizing sight.
The lake witnesses boat races every year during the festival of Onam. Many people throng to see the race. If you are in/near Kovalam during Onam then you must surely go for the boat race.
Samudra Beach is one of the three famous beaches in Kovalam. The Samudra Beach lies on the northern side of the Kovalam coastline and does not attract as many tourists as do the other two beaches. This is largely due to the presence of a huge ridge between the south and north coastlines.
Because of the absence of a large tourist population, the local fishermen prefer fishing on this part of the coastline. However, if you are adventurous enough to venture to this side of the beach then you would be delighted to see the soft waves gently dashing against the rocks and receding only to come back.
There is a sea wall lining the coast where you can sit and enjoy a beautiful view. The beach is full of coconut and palm trees that render the area an emerald-like quality. Close to the Samudra Beach is the Ashoka Beach that is again not a hit among the tourists.
The Lighthouse situated in Kovalam has been a silent witness to the many historical changes the place has been through. This lighthouse is also known as the Vizjinham lighthouse or the Vilinjam lighthouse. Tourists love to climb the lighthouse to take some delightful snaps of the vast expanse of the mighty Arabian Sea.
In fact, this lighthouse is the most visited lighthouse in the entire country. This is one reason that the beach nearest to the lighthouse has been named as the Lighthouse Beach. The lighthouse that is built using stones is coloured in red and white bands and enjoys a height of 118 ft. It is still operational and guides the ships as they sail on their course.
The lighthouse underwent renovations in the year 1972 and again in 2003 when it was equipped with instruments given by M/s BBT. From atop the lighthouse one can distinctly make out the ridges that separate the three Kovalam beaches.
Vizhinjam Fishing Harbor is known for housing the plant that is responsible for generating electricity from the energy produced by sea waves. This electricity is then utilized by the local electricity grid. The plant is one of its kinds in India and is based on the principle of oscillating water column.
The plant was set up in December 1990 and since then has already successfully tested two generations of power modules. Today, the plant is responsible for supplying more than 80% of wave energy to the project of civil construction. Even now work studies and experiments are being carried out to improve the working of the plant.
If you are around the area then it would be a good idea to visit the fishing harbour and catch a glimpse of this latest technology. If you are lucky you can also get someone to explain to you the workings of this plant and how it has improved the lives of the local people.
The Kovalam Jama Masjid is situated on the third famous beach of Kovalam, Ashoka beach. This small mosque is placed diagonally opposite to a temple devoted to a Hindu God, Lord Ganesha (Ganapati Temple).
Kovalam Jama Masjid attests to the religious diversity of the area as it co-exists with the temple. Built on the quiet Ashoka beach, the mosque is an architectural wonder and one of the most visited mosques of the region.
Those who visit the mosque to adore its noteworthy architecture can enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the beach, the nearby lighthouse and the long stretch of sandy shores in the Hawa beach. Pristine beaches and the beautiful surroundings make a visit to the mosque worth your while. Located a few kilometres away from the heart of Kovalam, the Masjid is easily accessible by road.
Valiathura Pier is a famous pier located in the suburbs of Thiruvananthapuram. The pier takes its name from the suburb it is located in, Valiathura. The place once enjoyed the distinction of being the only port in Kerala along the South Coast.
Valiathura lost its prominence when Kochi became the hub of all maritime activity. Today, the place is only a fishing village. The famous Valiathura Pier is more than 50 years old and has a large section of godowns at the back. These godowns would be bursting at the seams with merchandise when Valiathura was a flourishing port.
The pier was built in shallow waters and used for unloading goods from the ships. The ships could not be anchored into the shallow waters, and the goods were transferred from the ships and onto the pier using smaller boats. These days the fishermen use the weakened pier for casting their catamarans into the sea. However, visitors are not allowed onto the pier for safety reasons.
The Thiruvallam Parasurama Swami Temple is located on the banks of the Karamana river near Kovalam. This is the only temple in the whole of Kerala that is devoted to Lord Parasurama. The temple is centrally located and is only 9 km from both Kovalam as well as the Trivandrum Airport.
The temple was built as a tribute to Lord Parasurama who is believed to have created Kerala. This is a famous temple among his devotees and each year a large influx of the devotees visit the temple to offer their prayers. Historians believe that the temple was constructed between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and is now a heritage building that now belongs to the Archaeology Department of Kerala.
Many people come to the temple for Balitharpaman that are offerings to the ancestors. This ritual is particularly performed on the day of ‘karkidaka vavu’ after taking a bath in the holy waters of the Karamana river.
The Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium is a delight for kids and adults alike. Located in Thiruvananthapuram, this aquarium has an enviable collection of some of the best creatures from under water.
The aquarium is also famous for its Image Pearl Production Technique. Using this technique a mould, prepared from shell cement, is introduced into the pearl oyster. After a couple of months the pearl acquires the shape of the mould and is extracted from the oyster.
If you have kids with you then this aquarium should be a ‘must visit’ on your agenda. You will find some delightful sea creatures like moon wrasses, crabs, clownfish, lionfish, giant turtles, triggerfish, surgeonfish, squirrelfish, butterfly fish, sharks as well as piranhas all under one roof.
The aquarium is splendidly managed by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute or CMFRI and is open to public on all seven days from nine in the morning to six in the evening.
Vizhinjam Village lies in the state of Kerala and is only 3 km from the beach town of Kovalam. The village is an acclaimed place for its ayurvedic massage centres and beach resorts that enjoy favourable international reviews. If you are interested in seeing a natural port then this is the place to head to.
Recent archaeological excavations have shown that Vizhinjam village was a flourishing port city during ancient times. It carried out maritime trade during the Roman period and had good trade relations with countries along the coast of the Red Sea.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Portuguese and Dutch traders too came thronging to the place for selling their wares and buying the local wares. This is proved by the existence of a Portuguese church within the premises of the village, very close to the sea. This is the Old Vizhinjam Church. If you have time then definitely try the soothing and relaxing massages with herbal oils.
Analothbhava Matha Church is a very ancient church along the coast of a fishing village near Kovalam. The church is only 6 km away from the Kovalam beaches and offers a panoramic view of the area. The church leads a cozy existence amidst the thick and dense forests. During monsoons the place has an almost fairytale-like quality to it.
A short walk from the church will lead you to the white sand beaches and small villages where fishing is the only means of livelihood. An interesting fact about the beach close to the church is that it is the only beach in Kerala that remains unspoiled due to erosion of the sea. The beach is quite long and remains unaffected by the waters of the sea since the sea is at a receding point here.
People with a religious bent of mind can enjoy masses in the church on Sunday, Monday and Friday.
The College of Agriculture is located in Vellayani and was inaugurated in May 1955. This centre of learning offers both graduate as well as post graduate programmes in various fields of agriculture. This elite institution stands on the grounds of what was once a palace of the royal families of Travancore-Cochin State.
Today, the College of Agriculture is at par with the other leading agricultural institutions of India. The college has best facilities available for students doing research studies. The students are provided with all the help to enable them to become better in their chosen profession.
Along with theoretical knowledge, students are also given practical experiences by attaching them with the Krishi Bhavans all over the country. In fact, it is purely due to the efforts of this educational institution that the South has become a popular destination for students all across the country who wish to pursue higher studies in agriculture.
Aruvikkara is a famous village that comes within the district of Thiruvananthapuram. The village is only 15 km from Thiruvananthapuram and the river Karamana flows through it. The village is famous for a reservoir and garden. Locals and tourists throng to the village mainly to spend quality time with their loved ones.
Devotees of Goddess Durga throng the Bhagavathi temple situated in the village. The village is beautifully located with a small stream running at the entrance of the temple. The temple has a magical quality to it, and the visitors often stay back for the evening prayer that is conducted to invoke the blessings of the Goddess.
There is a small dam in the village that has been named the Aruvikara dam and is responsible for supplying regular water to Thiruvananthapuram and the small villages surrounding the state capital. The village should be on the agenda of all the tourists who are on a mission to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.