"Kovalam" means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees. The crescent-shaped beach has three parts. The southern most beach, and the most popular, is light house beach. It offers an amazing sight of Vizhinjam mosque. The northern Samudra is a laidback one and time seems stands still here. The middle, hawah, in the early day, is a beehive of activities with fishermen setting out for sea. With a high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights.
Thirty years ago, Kovalam was a hippy idyll: a picture perfect tropical beach; a traditional fishing village providing fresh fish, fruits and toddy (coconut beer). Today this tiny beach is the focus of a multi-million dollar business, drawing thousands of tourists for a week dose of ozone, UV and a refreshing Indian Experience. Kovalam was brought to the public eye by the Maharaja of Travancore. Over the past three decades, the place has been well developed, and now figures prominently on the world tourism map. Kovalam is just 16 kms away from Trivandrum.Today Kovalam beach is known as the "Paradise of the South".Its scenic beauty and serenity is supplemented by the availability of excellent accommodation . There are a lot of restaurants which provide western style food as well as Indian, which is delicious. The grilled seafood items such as lobster, king prawns and kalamari are got fresh from the sea at Kovalam. Ayurvedic massage parlours, yoga centers and water sport facilities, makes Kovalam a popular haven for tourists from all over the globe.
Impressive Palaces and Forts
Padmanabhapuram Palace :
Located at 54 kms from Thiruvananthapuram across the border in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district, the palace nestles at the foot of the Veli hills. Built during the 14th cenury it was called Darpakulangara, but later in the 18th century it was renovated and renamed as the Padmanabhapuram palace. A place of elaborate woodwork, it was the ancient seat of the Travancore rulers Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma till the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in 1780. It contains relics of historical and artistic value.
This palace is the home of the late Maharaja Sree Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and his family. The view of the grand old building from the gate is excellent, but unforunately it is off limits to the public. If you are lucky, you could probably walk a few steps inside to get a better view provided the gate keeper is friendly enough.
Located 36 kms from Thiruvananthapuram, the historic remains of the fort built by the British East India Company in the 17th century and an adjoining cemetery are the noteworthy relics of this first major British trading station on the Malabar Coast. This colossal monument was once the trading station of the mighty British. The monument built in the 1800s stands as an excellent example of sturdy and lasting forts constructed in the English style.
Classified as a double storeyed ‘nalukettu’, Koyikkal Palace was the official residence of the of the rulers of the erstwhile State of Travancore. This ancient palace, located 18 km from Thiruvananthapuram on the way to Ponmudi hillstation and the Kuttalam waterfalls, dates back to the 15th century. In1979 this Palace was declared as a protected monument and further in 1990 after carrying out restoration work, it was converted into a Folklore Museum and Numismatic Museum.
The museum contains a fine collection of Kerala's bronzes, ornaments and contumes, and a model of "Tharawad'-the traditional Nair family home.
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum:
Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, a classic specimen of Kerala Architecture is situated in 'Kuthiramalika'. The palace, with its excellent carvings and amazing architectural designs, is by itself a slice of heritage. The museum has a wide range of exhibits representing the erstwhile state of Travancore.
Science & Technology Museum:
The Science and Technology Museum, situated in Thiruvananthapuram was established with the prime objective of setting up of galleries with working, animated or participatory type of exhibits, on all disciplines of Science and Technology.
Veli Tourist Village:
The seemingly placid sheet of water that backed away from the visibility reverberant sea offers a general idea of the famous backwaters of Kerala. Located near the airport this popular picnic spot offers landscaped gardens and water-sports facilities.Pedal boats, rowboats, and motored boats are available.Children in particular have a lot of fun and frolic climbing over the huge sculptures, which dot the landscape, and riding a ferry.
Located 8 kms from Thiruvananthapuram city, the Shankhumugham Beach is a favourite haunt of sunset watchers. The beach is adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport and Veli Tourist Village.the 'Matsya Kanyaka', a gigantic 35 m long sculpture of a mermaid and a restaurant shaped like a starfish are the major attractions here.
Varkala is a sea side resort, as well as an important Hindu centre of pilgrimage. High cliffs with rich mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. The 2000 year old Janardana Swamy Temple and the Nature Centre are the two main attractions here. High cliffs border the excellent beach. Located 55 kms north of Trivandrum with unusual land formations, Varkala beach does has not many visitors. Cliffs, 3 kilometers of shining white sands, the red soil of the hilltop and coconut trees makes it unique. The beach named as Papanasam- an auspicious place, for Hindus to worship their ancestors.