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It was during the 1930's, that the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination was discovered by the European guests of the then 'Travancore' kingdom. But the real fame as an ideal beach resort was won later for the Kovalam beach in the early seventies with the arrival of masses of 'Hippys'.
In the seventies Kovalam became a hippy idyll, a fishing village providing fresh fish, fruit and toddy (coconut bear) nestling a picture perfect tropical beach. Later it developed into a laid back tourist hangout with a few basic but comfortable lodges and makeshift restaurants. But today this tiny beach is ferrying thousands of tourists from all around the world and has a wide range of accommodation for the budget as well as luxury tourists.
Kovalam consists of three adjacent coconut palm fringed crescent beaches separated by rocky promontories. The southern most beach, marked by a prominent red and white striped Light House, known as the Light house beach, is the most popular of the three. It is lined with cafes/restaurants serving delicious seafood especially prawns and lobsters, bars and vendors selling clothes, crafts, carpets, fruits etc. Further south beyond the light house, is the small village of Vizhinjam. Vizhinjam, scarcely visited by tourists is a major centre for fishing. It has a beach of its own. The northernmost beach is the Samudra, dotted with traditional fishing boats and is least affected by the changing times. In between lies the Hawah or the Eve's beach. North of the Eve's beach on a rocky promontory lies the award winning resort, the Ashoka beach resort which divide the beaches into north and south sections. The resort has its own small section of private beach and provides windsurfing and sailing boat facilities. Its a 15min. walk between the Ashoka and the Light house.
beaches are generally safe and clean. The best season is from December
to March. There are life guard patrols on the beach, but you still need
to be careful when swimming. It is safest to swim between the flags in
the area patrolled by the life guards. Besides swimming and sunbathing,
the natural bay is ideal for kayaking, surfing and skiing. Surfboards
and boogie boards can be hired on the Kovalam beach. Marine Angling for
deep-sea fishing is also available at the beach. The sunrise and sun set
cruises in country rafts or on logs of lashed woods on catamarans, provided
by local fishermen are quite popular.
Kovalam is also a centre for the traditional Ayurvedic treatment. Many hotels offer complete health and revitalization packages. Apart from Oil massages, intensive treatments that last up to 21 days including special diet's and daily massages are offered. Yoga schools offering meditation and yoga classes, are also plenty in and around Kovalam beach. Cultural programmes at the beach include performances of the traditional Kerala art form, Kathakali and ethnic martial art, Kalarippayattu.