Not so long ago, this picturesque tropical beach, a traditional Keralite fishing village, was a hangout of the Hippies. Today this beach is one of the most sought after resorts in India, drawing thousands of tourists.
Kovalam consists of two palm-fringed bays. They are lighthouse beach and Hawah Beach. These beaches are usually calm, safe and clean. Surfboards and boogie boards are available on hire at the beach. Swim only in the safe area between the flags and always listen to the lifeguard. There are many Ayurvedic treatment centres in Kovalam offering oil massages to full treatment for 21 days.
Many moneychangers are also available at the beach. Handicraft emporia and many souvenir shops are operating in the premises of the beach. The Kovalam post office has STD/ISD, fax and email facilities.
The season starts in November and ends by the middle of March. The peak season is December - January. There are a variety of accommodation facilities to suit ones taste and budget.
Neyyar Dam is located 29km from Thiruvananthapuram. It is a picnic spot and dam site. Facilities are available for boating in the reservoir. The surrounding Neyyar wildlife sanctuary has a lion park and a crocodile-breeding park. It is a popular location for picnics and day trips.
Located 54km from Thiruvananthapuram on the way to Nagercoil, Padmanabhapuram was the capital of the rulers of Travancore for more than 400 years. The Padmanabhpuram Palace, now in Tamil Nadu, is the property of Kerala. The palace was built with local teakwood and granite. The oldest structures date back to the 16th century. The palace has rosewood ceilings carved in floral patterns, highly polished flooring with a special mix of locally made grout. The architecture is exquisite and the 18th century murals in the palace are well preserved. The banquet halls, audience chamber, women's quarters and galleries make a visit to the palace worthwhile.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary
Peppara is accessible from Vithura on the Thiruvananthapuram Ponmudi road. The sanctuary is spread over 53sq.km on the Western Ghats. The sanctuary dotted with large hills, numerous hillocks, forests and eucalyptus plantations and rich fauna is a growing attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. The fauna includes elephants, leopards, sambar, lion-tailed macaque and a large species of birds.
Located about 60km from Thiruvananthapuram is Ponmudi, a small hill resort that is ideal for pleasant day trips and overnight stays. Accommodation could be arranged in the Government Guest House or other hotels.
41km from Thiruvananthapuram, Varkala is a developing beach resort. The beach is 2km from the railway station where almost all trains have a halt. Varkala is a temple town. Janardhana temple is on the beach road. Sivagiri Mutt, the Ashram of Sree Narayana Guru who preached 'one caste, one religion, one god for mankind' is in varkala. It is also the headquarters of Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust.
Regular Kathakali performances are conducted in the surroundings of the old devaswam building during the season of Dec.-Jan. A wide range of accommodation is available in Varkala.
About 15km from the capital city and 1km from Kovalam is the small fishing village of Vizhinjam, once the capital of Ay kings of 8th-9th century AD. The only historical monument that withstood the ravage of time is a rock temple, assigned to the period to Cheras. The temple has a strong influence of Pallava and Chola temple architecture. It is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.