May 08, 2017

Even though the next long weekend is quite some time away, we, at The Good City, invite you to fight away the Monday blues, by indulging in a little vacation day-dreaming. The destination – Kovalam.

Vista of the Arabian Sea, Kovalam.
Vista of the Arabian Sea, Kovalam.

On a three-day break, our crew member Aditya Mendonca flew down to Kovalam, to hit the beaches of this coastal paradise. Located just outside of Kerala’s capital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kovalam is famous for its 17 km coastline, and three crescent -shaped beaches. In the regional language of Malayalam, Kovalam translates to “grove of coconut trees”. Pro Monday-dreamer tip – close your eyes and imagine the sound of the rustling leaves, as you sip on your drink in a hammock by the sea. 

What’s special about the place?

While some compare Kovalam to Goa, the beaches of Kovalam are more laid back. It certainly helps that the crowds are smaller. The real draw, however, is the abundant availability of local Malayali food. Almost any restaurant will serve up a heavenly, aromatic meal of chicken or seafood stew, cooked in coconut milk, with vegetables, and boiled rice.

Mouth watering Kerala food, washed down with a cold one.
Mouth watering Kerala food, washed down with a cold one.

What to do in Kovalam?

Visit the Vizhinjam Lighthouse – This is one of Kovalam’s most recognisable landmarks. This fully functional candy-striped lighthouse, straight out of a mystery novel, is located on the southern end of Lighthouse Beach. Take the walk up the spiral staircase for unparalleled views of the coast.

Vizhinjam Lighthouse is a major attraction in Kovalam.
Vizhinjam Lighthouse is a major attraction in Kovalam.

Be awe-struck at the Padmanbhswamy Temple, the richest place of worship in the world– The origin of this temple is lost in antiquity, but it has been referred to in literature dating as far back as 500 BC to 300 AD. For long now, it has held the distinction of being the wealthiest place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world, with an estimated $22 billion (approx. Rs 90,000 crore) worth of gold and jewels stored in underground vaults.

The world’s richest religious institution, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, has treasures worth over $22 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) in its underground vaults! Image Source
The world’s richest religious institution, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, has treasures worth over $22 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) in its underground vaults! Image Source 

The world’s richest religious institution, Padmanabhaswamy Temple, has treasures worth over $22 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) in its underground vaults! Image Source 

Special Classes at CVN Kalari.
Special Classes at CVN Kalari.
 

Get an Ayurvedic Massage – Kovalam has hundreds of places offering Ayurvedic massages, but the authenticity of most is dubious. There are a handful of places that do things the time-honored way,and won’t break your bones. Our tip here would be to save up and shell out some extra cash on a place such as Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra for an experience that is truly worth it.

Treat yourself at The Leela Kovalam Raviz Hotel – This is India’s only cliff-top Beach  Resort, with panoramic views of the sea.

The Infinity pool at the Leela Kovalam
The Infinity pool at the Leela Kovalam
The classic Malayali favourite, Pazham Pori.
The classic Malayali favourite, Pazham Pori. 

Pazham Pori – This take on a banana fritter is an all time favourite snack of Malayalees.
Sliced plantains are dipped in batter and decadently deep-fried.

Stew with Oratti & Pattiri – The stew, which comes in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, are served with Oratti and Pattiri, which are yummy varieties of rice flour flatbread.

A word to the wise; Kerala has several convoluted prohibition-like laws, and the first of every month is a dry day.