About 17 km from Trivandrum, lies Kovalam - the tropical paradise of South India. Similar to Sri Lanka, it attracts travellers by its pristine beaches, beautiful temples, amazing wildlife and scrumptious seafood.
On your holiday to Kerala, this time - you can experience Kovalam apart from Munnar, Thekkady and Alleppey. Travelling to Kovalam has an added advantage - you can explore Kanyakumari too, where you can see the confluence of Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean.
1. Lighthouse Beach
Visit the Lighthouse Beach where you can enjoy a leisure walk or indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities like parasailing, surfing or swimming. You’ll see a 30 m tall lighthouse which is a major landmark for the beach. Do not miss out on the nearby German Bakery which serves delectable pancakes and shakes. It is open between 11am and 11pm. Tantalise your palate with yummy pastries, creamy milkshakes, pancakes and aromatic coffee.
2. Karamana River
It will take you approximately 20 minutes by vehicle to reach Karamana River from the Lighthouse Beach. Catch a glimpse of the breathtaking backwater backdrop, beautiful paddy fields and pepper plantations while you enjoy a boat ride. Boat rides are available from 10am to 6pm.
3. Thiruvananthapuram Zoo
A 30-minute drive from the Karamana River and you’ll reach the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo. Comprising of 55 acres of woodland, lakes, and lawns - this zoo was open to the public in 1857. One of the oldest zoo in India, it houses more than 82 species from across the globe. Get a chance to spot wildlife which include royal Bengal tiger, lion-tailed macaque, Cape buffalos, Nilgiri langur and many more. There’s also a snake farm, The Reptile House which is home to snakes and anacondas. It is open on all days except Monday from 9am to 5pm.
4. Napier Museum
Located near the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, the Napier Museum houses a unique collection of historic and archaeological artefacts, ancient ornaments, ivory carvings, bronze idols, and a temple chariot. Photography is prohibited inside the museum. Built in 1855, this museum is worth a visit where you can admire Kerala's rich cultural heritage. Interesting thing about the museum building is that it’s a blend of Kerala, Italian, Mughal and Chinese architectural styles. The museum is open on all days except Monday from 10am to 4.45pm.
5. Padmanabhaswamy Temple
A 20-minute drive from the Napier Museum and you can visit one of the famous treasure troves ever found, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. In 2011, hidden treasures were found in the underground chambers of this temple. It is the wealthiest place of worship in terms of precious stones and gold assets. Built in the honour of Lord Vishnu, this temple has a beautiful architecture, a combination of Kerala and Dravidian style.
PS: You have to follow a dress code to enter this temple. Men are supposed to wear dhoti and women, sari; dhoti and sari are also available on rent outside the temple. You have to pay an entry fee to visit the temple which is approximately Rs. 150 per person.
6. Vellayani Lake
It will take you approximately 35 minutes by vehicle to reach Vellayani Lake from the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This freshwater lake is picturesque with a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can take a boat ride and treat your eyes to the surrounding ecosystem. If you want to witness the annual boat race, then plan your visit during the festival of Onam.
Best time to visit
November to February when the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing.
How to reach here
By flight: Nearest Airport, Trivandrum International Airport.
Author : Vijaylaxmi Thakur