What to See
Beaches: Kovalam's most recognised feature is undoubtedly its three crescent-shaped beaches, which are separated by rocky hills. Among the most popular beach is the Lighthouse Beach, so named because of the presence of the Vizhinjam Lighthouse, which now is closed to the public. The second large beach is the Hawah Beach, which is also popular among the tourists. The Samundra Beach is relatively quiet and has very few tourists here. In fact it is mostly used by fishermen.
Padmanabhapuram Palace: This is one of the most popular attractions near Kovalam built in true Travancore architecture. This is one of the few well-preserved palaces here and is marked by elaborate woodwork, complete with 108 rooms! The palace is especially noted for its bright murals, mahogany ceiling, coloured windows, Belgian mirrors and a four poster bed made of 67 different pieces of wood. Its special features are the black shiny granite floors and bright paintings of Lord Krishna that adorn the walls. Next to this impressive palace is an Archaeology Museum, which houses murals, manuscripts, stone inscriptions, arms, coins and metalware.
Open from: 9.00 am-5.00 pm,
Koyikkal Palace: Located almost 18 kms from Trivandrum, this is a traditional building complete with sloping roof and a wide inner courtyard. Once home to the erstwhile Venad royal family, today it is home to the Folklore Museum and Numismatics Museum. The Folklore Museum, as the name suggests, has artifacts typical of the area. These include rare musical instruments, household utensils, manuscripts, jewellery and fabrics. Among the most interesting exhibits are a percussion instrument, Chandravalayam, which you will not find in any other Kerala museum, and the Nanthuni, an instrument made of wood and strings. The Marayuri, a dress made of the bark of trees can also be found here, as are several forms of lamps like the Gajalekshmi and Kettuvillakku, which are lit during ceremonial occasions. The Numismatics Museum's exhibits include the oldest coins of Kerala. The most valuable of Indian coins, karsha, is also found here, which is said to date almost 2500 years. Other coins that you would find here are Rasi (also the world's smallest coins), the first modern gold coin, silver coin and Roman gold coins with imprints of gods and goddesses.
Open from: 9.00 am-5.00 pm (Monday closed)
Kaudiar Palace: One home to Maharaja Sree Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and his family, this is one of the most fascinating royal houses in Kovalam. Though it is not open to the public, you can take a walk around the courtyard.
Anchuthengu Fort: Located some 40 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, this fort is one of the strongest surviving forts of the British. This colossal fort, built in sturdy English style was once an important trading station for pepper and coir for the British.
Museums: The museums are Kovalam are possibly the best places to seek out the treasures of the state. Among these, the Napier Museum is one of the most popular, and houses a grand collection of traditional musical instruments, wood carvings, bronze sculptures, ivory wares, old ornaments and costumes. The Kuthiramalika Palace Museum houses paintings and artifacts dating to the era of the king of Travancore. This palace is especially known for its intricate carvings. Science & Technology Museum was established as an informative section and has galleries that offer facts on scientific elements.
Open from: 10 am-4.45 pm (Tuesday-Sunday)
Veli Tourist Village: This is the place to try your hand in watersports. Pedal boats, rowboats and motorboats are available on hire. The area also has a couple of restaurants and cafés as well as landscaped gardens.
Open from: 8.00 am-6.00 pm
Sankhumugham Beach: This popular beach is located almost 8 kms from Trivandrum, close to the Veli Tourist Village. There is a children's amusement park here and several cafés providing a range of snacks. This beach is particularly noted for its star-shaped restaurant serving yummy multi-cuisine dishes. Its attraction also includes the 35 m high statue of Matsya Kanya or mermaid.
Villages: Among popular villages near Kovalam, Vizhinjam Village is known for its Cave Temple, which has unfinished carvings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Also visit the Marine Aquarium, which has a range of exotic marine life, including squirrel fish, moon wrasse, butterfly fish, lion fish and giant turtles. A tiny, yet worth visiting fishing village is Chowara, which is dominated by the Chowara Ayyappa Temple, the Pulinkudi Azhimala Shiva Temple and the Analothbhava Matha Church.
Open from: Cave Temple & Aquarium - 9.00 am-6.00 pm
Chowara Temples - 5.30 am-11.30 am; 6.00 pm-7.30 pm
Vellayani Lake:The only freshwater lake in Kerala, it is a haven for anglers. It is especially worth visiting on full moon nights. The lake is an active venue for the boat races held during Onam. It also houses a Devi Temple close to the lake, which is the site of the Vellayani Mahotsava celebrated once in 3 years.
Valliathura Pier: This is most active during the monsoons, when fishermen, unable to venture to the sea, head to this pier. Worth watching is when they throw their catamarans from the pier and swim to them!
Top Hotels in Kovalam
- The Leela Kovalam
- The View Heights
- Uday Samudra
- Abad Harmonia Ayurveda Beach Resort
- Turtle On The Beach
Top Landmarks in Kovalam
- Hotels Near Chowara Beach
- Hotels Near Vizhinjam Beach
- Hotels Near Ponmudi Hill Station
- Hotels Near Kovalam Beach
- Hotels Near Ksrtc Bus Stand