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Kovalam

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Kovalam was brought to the public eye by Her Highness The Queen of Travancore Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bai decided to build a palace for herself at a rock top near the beach, as her private residence better known as Haylcon Castle. Later, in 1936, the next Queen, HH Karthika Thirunal choose this palace for her honeymoon with her newly wed husband, 1st Prince GV Raja. It was Prince G.V Raja who found immense tourist potentiality of the region and decided promote the region among state guests, by inviting Thomas Cook & Sons- UK to develop the region. The Maharaja of Travancore soon started hosting regular state banquets and accommodation of his European guests in Kovalam Haylcon Palace. This made the beach popular among European families living in nearby Madras and Bombay Presidencies as well as elite Travancore families to spend their holidays. Thus, the move helped to lay foundations of modern tourism industry in South India. Post independent India, the beach was popular among Indians and few tourists. It was 1970s, the hippie culture helped to revive the beach, with vast influx of tourists, spending their wild holidays here. When Kerala government thought of making tourism as a major industry, towards 1990s, Kovalam was the first tourist destination to be highlighted and promoted. Today its an intentionally renowned beach.
Kovalam has 3 major beaches in its 17 km coastline. The southernmost, known as the '''Lighthouse Beach''',url="http://www.kovalam-beach.com" is the most popular of the three. Many hotels, restaurants, lodges and shops are located here. It is frequented by outsiders who stay and enjoy Kovalam.
The Northern most crescent, (with the different names Main Beach/Leela Beach/Samudra Beach) - is crowded on weekends, is very popular with the locals, day-travelers, and passing-by tourist buses. During the week it's quiet. '''Hawa Beach''' inbetween is among one of the beaches in India where top-less sunbathing is tolerated and well appreciated by the locals. The tourism department provides a vigilant life guard service on both Lighthouse and Hawa beach.
The northern part of the beach is known as '''Samudra Beach'''. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn't have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part.
The old lighthouse, located at the southern beach is a local landmark, for being one of the oldest lighthouses of Kerala, guiding ships to the nearby Vizhnjam port. The lighthouse can be visited from 2PM 3PM to 4PM 5PM daily.
==Do==
Kovalam junction: there are four ATMs here which accept all the major cards. They are open 24 hours a day and protected by security guards.
There is an ATM just inside a hotel driveway just a short distance (10 minute walk) from Hawa Beach toward Kovalam Junction. This ATM only accepts Visa cards but is often out of money as it is closest.
The ATM's are:-
You can grab a top fruit salad from the fruit ladies with all the trimmings for less than $1USD. But, they'll remember you and if you don't buy from them again they will take it very personally.
Head up the hill from the beach to Kovalam Junction and sample some of the many local restaurants. The specialty of the area is Chicken Fry. Fried chicken in a red masala paste with freshly cut chillis. Some places are spicier than others. For between $2 & $3USD you will get 2 pieces of chicken fry, vegetable sambal and some paratha (a richer version of roti). Beef fry and fish fry are sometimes available as well. Note: These establishments are very local orientated so do not expect cushy surroundings, its : it's very much eat, pay, leave. Expect great chicken.
*'''The German Bakery''' - Go for the date shake and the excellent banana pancake. A full range of baked goods are available too, plus one of the best views in Kovalam. Easily the most popular place for breakfast on the main beach.
*'''The German Bakery''' - Go for <eat name="Bethel" alt="" address="" directions="down the date shake alleyway between Fusion and the excellent banana pancakeSwiss Cafe" phone="" email="" hours="" price="Mains Rs. 50-110" lat="" long=""> - A full range good vegetarian restaurant in Kovalam. Friendly staff and comfortable, cozy, open-air seating with two levels. They serve delicious Keralan and other Indian foods, as well as a medium selection of baked goods are available too(equally tasty) Continental and Chinese cuisine. Plus one of the best views The owner (who cooks there) was a chef in an upscale veg restaurant in Kovalam! Easily the best and most popular place Varkala for breakfast on the main beach8 years.</eat>
*<eat name="BethelCoconut Grove" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach" directions="down the alleyway between Fusion and Swiss Cafe" phone="" email="" hoursfax="" priceurl="Mains Rs. 50-110" lathours="" longprice=""> - The very best vegetarian restaurant in Kovalam. Friendly staff and comfortable, cozy, open-air seating with two levels. They serve delicious Keralan, and other Indian foods, as well as a medium selection of (equally tasty) Continental and Chinese cuisine. The owner (who cooks there) was a chef in an upscale veg restaurant in Varkala for 8 years. </eat>
* <eat name="Coconut GroveFusion restaurant" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="0471 2484153" url="" emailhours="" faxprice="" urllat="" hourslong="" priceemail="[email protected]">First floor restaurant on the beach front (recently moved to the end of the beach near the lighthouse) with beautiful ambiance and great food. Unique menu offers food from the East, the West and fusion of both. Great seafood, good service, super atmosphere.</eat>
*<eat name="Fusion restaurant" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="04 712484153" email="[email protected]" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">First floor restaurant on the beach front with beautiful ambiance and great food. Unique menu offers food from the East, the West and fusion of both. Great seafood. Good Service. Super Atmosphere. Highly recommended.</eat> * <eat name="Spice Restaurant" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></eat>
* <eat name="Suprabatham" alt="" address="Kovalam" directions="200m away from Lighthouse Beach, acessible via a path between German Bakery and Hotel Orion" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">One of the best vegetarian restaurants in Kovalam. Friendly waiters.</eat>
*<eat name="Malabar Cafe" alt="Malabar Hotel" address="in front of light house beach, kovalam." directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></eat>
*<eat name="Malabar Cafe" alt="Malabar Hotel" address="in front of light house beach" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long=""></eat>
== Drink==
===Budget===
* <sleep name="Hotel Sea View Palace" alt="Beach Resort" address="Light House Beach, Kovalam" directions="20 metres walk from the Light house" phone="9895909494" url="https://sites.google.com/site/hotelseaviewpalace" checkin="" checkout="" price="1500-3000" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">The hotel is established in 1994 and is located right on the beach front with beautiful view of the beach and the Light house beach offering clean and cosy rooms with homely ambiance. </sleep>
* <sleep name="KOVALAM HOMESTAY - GANESH HOUSE" alt="" address="" directions="it is 2 minutes walking distance from Samudra beach (Grow beach),and 15 minutes sea way walking distance from light house beach." phone="+91 9995012627,+91 9446 557372" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.ganeshhouse.webs.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rs:950-2000">Ganesh house is one of the family based home stay near Samudra Beach Kovalam</sleep> * <sleep name="Muringa Vila" alt="" address="" directions="Located at Kovalam's Main Beach (or Leela Beach) right behind the Ganesh Temple." phone="9656170759" email="" fax="" url="http://www.muringavila.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="">A small family run guest house with stylish apartments (some with kitchen) and The Little Shanti Coffee Shop, serving local and international foods on their sea- view terrace. All rooms with private bathrooms and sea facing balconies.</sleep> * <sleep name="Chalet Resorts" alt="" address="Kovalam Beach" directions="50 metres walk from the Eve’s beach, Lighthouse beach and Ashoka beach" phone="+919847022037" url="http://www.chaletkovalamresort.com" checkin="12Noon" checkout="11AM" price="850-2000" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">Offers clean and cozy rooms.</sleep> * <sleep name="Hotel Sea View Palace" alt="Beach Resort" address="Light House Beach, Kovalam" directions="20 metres walk from the Light house along the tiled pedestrian pathway" phone="9895909494" url="https://sites.google.com/site/hotelseaviewpalace" checkin="" checkout="" price="1500-3000" lat="" long="" email="[email protected]" fax="">The hotel is established in 1994 and is located right on the beach front with beautiful view of the beach and the Light house offering clean and cosy rooms with homely ambiance.</sleep> * <sleep name="Greenshore Apartments" alt="" address="Lighthouse Road" directions=" 100 Metres West of lighthouse opposite Rockholm junction" phone="0091 471 2480106" url="http://www.thegreenshore.com" checkin="12:00" checkout="10:00" price="" lat="8.38300" long="76.98123" email="[email protected]" fax="">An award winning hotel with 95% customer satisfaction rate, (Trip Advisor, Trivago)located very close to Rockholm and Light house beach offering clean friendly accommodation. url="http://www.thegreenshore.comcheckin="" checkout="" price="Tariff 1400-2800INR last updated 24th November 2011. "</sleep>
* <sleep name="Green Valley Cottages" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="Rooms from Rs.500 per night">Room service with good vegetarian restaurant right next door. Located next to the remnants of a former rice paddy field just off the beach.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Hotel Sea Breeze" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="+91 471 2480024" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.treatyourself.uk.com/seabreeze.html" checkin="" checkout="" price="">From Rs. 600</sleep>
* <sleep name="Hotel Shirleys Beach" alt="" address="Lighthouse Beach, Temple road Kovalam" directions="behind Coconut Groove Restaurantnear avaduthura devi temple " phone="+91 963 32 00 137" url="http://www.shirleysbeach.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="From Rs, 1,500600/-" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">A family run place. The rooms are spotless and well managed.They also conduct fixed departure tours which are so cheap and they also run their houseboat company in alleppey.its all under one roof!</sleep> * <sleep name="Devi Beach Resort" alt="" address="Lighthouse beach Kovalam" directions=" Next to Spice Village restaurant" phone="+91 0471 3191807" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price=" from 1000INR">a brand new hotel opend December 2011 with basic large rooms which are spotless, ideal for those with difficulties using stairs the hotel has 5 ground floor rooms and 5 first floor rooms ideally situated for the beach and overlooking paddy fields each room has western style en-suite shower room and private balcony</sleep>
===Mid-Range===
* <sleep name="Kovalam Beach Hotel" alt="A Superior Heritage Boutique Hotel" address="" directions="" phone="+91 471 248 3200" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.kovalambeachhotel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=80&Itemid=472" checkin="" checkout="" price="Arabian Sea View AC room from Rs. 3,000 onwards, very good guest satisfaction rating"></sleep>
 * <sleep name="The Leela Kovalam" alt="The Leela Kovalam" address="" directions="" phone="(+91) 9895758991" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.karmakerala.com/details/the-leela-kovalam.html" checkin="" checkout="" price=" Rs.8000 per person sharing a Beach View room">The Leela Kovalam-Beach View room</sleep>
* <sleep name="The Beach Hotel" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+91 471 2480179" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://www.thebeachhotel-kovalam.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="Double non AC room Rs. 4,000 - 11,000">Private veranda towards the sea.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Hawah Beach Resort" alt="" address="Hawah Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="+91 471 2481951" email="" fax="" url="http://www.hawahbeach.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price=""></sleep>
 
* '''Muringa Vila''' [http://www.muringavila.com] is a small family run guest house with stylish apartments (some with kitchen) and The Little Shanti Coffee Shop, serving local and international foods on their sea- view terrace. Located at Kovalam's Main Beach (or Leela Beach) right behind the Ganesh Temple.
* <sleep name="Pappukutty Beach Resort" alt="" address="Hawa Beach, Kovalam" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.pappukuttybeachresort.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="From Rs. 1,200">It has 38 well furnished A/C Rooms with all modern amenities inside. It also has a beach facing restaurant, swimming pool.</sleep>
* '''Hotel Samudra''' [http://www.ktdc.com/Samudra.htm] is a 3 star deluxe hotel
* <sleep name="Orion Beach Resort" alt="" address="Kovalam" directions="Light House Beach" phone="+91 471 2480999" email="" fax="" url="http://www.orionbeachresort.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">A friendly and family run hotel right '''Turtle on the beach.</sleep> * <sleep name="Sea Flower Beach Resort" alt="" address="Light House Road, Kovalam" directions="" phone="+91 471 2480554" email="[email protected]" fax="" url="http://seaflowerkovalam.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price=""></sleep> * <sleep name="Swagath Holiday Resorts" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="+91 471 2481148" email="" fax="" url="''' [http://www.swagathresortsturtleonthebeach.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">3-] is a new 4 star boutique luxury hotel.</sleep>
* '''Taj Green Cove Resort''' [http://www.tajhotels.com] Located on one of India’s most popular beaches the property is spread across 10 acres of land, offering a breathtaking view of the backwater, lush landscapes, coconut palms, and unspoiled beaches. The resort is located on the most northern beach of Kovalam.
==Get out==
*[[Vizhinjam]] - Head down to the harbor at sunset for some spectacular shots of the area with the seaside Mosque in the background. The atmosphere is quite lively with fisherman heading to and from the sea. Note: Once the sun is down, it is probably best to head back to Kovalam unless you are with a guide. While hostility/violence to foreigners is VERY rare, you do not want to get caught up in a scuffle between the rivaling Christian and Muslim communities.
*[[Akkulam]] lake and picnic spot in [[Thiruvananthapuram]]
*[[Ponmudi]] hill station and [[Golden Valley]] River Resort and Eco Point
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[[WikiPedia:Kovalam]]
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