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Last Updated Wednesday May 24 2017 08:24 PM IST

Beach wanderers in God’s own country

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Beach wanderers in God’s own country Varkala beach. Photo: Vanitha

When you pause on the Kovalam beach, watching each successive wave trying to lure you with its mesmerising gesture- asking you to take a dip- you become aware that hospitality is second nature to Kovalam. That is perhaps the reason why the place is a favourite with foreign and domestic tourists. One can confidently surmise that Kovalam is the most sought-out beach in Kerala, the capital of all beaches in the state!

Lying 16 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, the beach has all the quintessential Kerala charms - swaying palms, white sands that glow in the moonlight, frollicking waves, a rocky terrain. The romantic charms here are pure magical! Kovalam: On a quest for serenity, peace, adventure

Kovalam beach is divided into three: the northern part is the Samudra Beach while the central part is the famous Hawa Beach. The southern part is the Lighthouse Beach.

Also read Exploring the life underwater at Kovalam

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Beach wanderers in God’s own country Payyambalam beach. Photo: Vanitha

Moving to the southern tip of the capital of Kerala, you come to another beach, the Poovar Beach; the meeting place of Neyyar River and the sea. A large number of fishing boats and fishermen oblivious to tourists are the highlight of this place.

The ambience changes when you come to Varkala, a beach that is at once a tourist resort as well as a centre for pilgrimage. Lying about 50 kilometres to the north of Thiruvananthapuram, it is about 35 kilometres from Kollam, one of the major cities in Kerala. Varkala and its famous visitors

Varkala is a place where you need to go down the terrain to meet the beach. As you walk down a hill to the sandy beach, you are immediately gripped by the beauty and grandeur of the reddish mounts that rise around you, standing guard to the silvery waves rollicking on the beach.

The main attraction at the beach is the bath in the waters, which are considered to be therapeutic. The crowd who come here are either tourists who come to revel at the natural beauty or pilgrims coming to free themselves of their sins in the famous 'Papanasam' beach. The Janardhana Temple, which is considered to be 2000 years old, stands close to the beach.

Moving north, you reach Alappuzha where rivulets and canals make the town. The beach, which is about four kilometres from town, is known for its placid waters, a reflection of the same geniality that you get to see in Kuttanad. Another highlight here is the long bridge that extends into the sea, one that is in disuse for many years and on which time has left its indelible marks of ravage. About 150 years ago, when the bridge was made, it stood strong as a gateway to Alappuzha, which was one of the busiest ports in South India. The canals, rivulets and the bridge formed an important network that facilitated trade in the district. After Alappuzha lost its prominence as a trading hub, the bridge became a rusting artefact that stands looking into the setting sun, ruminating on past glories. Alappuzha and its unparalled coastal beauty

Beach wanderers in God’s own country Cherai beach in Kochi. Photo: Vanitha

There is another small beach in Alappuzha called Marari, a beach that is set in an idyllic fishing hamlet, where the rustic village life is unpretentious and devoid of ostentations.

The Cherai beach in Kochi is something like a green lung for the people of Kochi who seem to have lost touch with nature in their multi-storeyed flats. Located on the northern tip of Vypin Islands, Cherai beach brings you the vivid beauty arising out of the confluence of the backwaters and the sea. Located about 26 kilometres from Ernakulam, this is one of the beaches in Kerala that seems to stretch on and on. When you come here, do not miss the occasional dolphin that jumps out of the water for a brief split of a second.

The Kappad beach in Kozhikode has a historical tale to tell because it is here that Vasco Da Gamma landed on May 27, 1498. The relentless onslaught of tourists has not destroyed the beauty of the beach. Perhaps, it stands with the same hospitality that it offered to the uninvited Portuguese explorer who made history after landing here. The temple that stands on the rocks in the beach is about 800 years old.

The people of Kozhikode, who have an insatiable pang for sunsets, make a rendezvous with the Kozhikode beach that is hardly a kilometre from the city, each day. As in Alappuzha, here too, two bridges jut into the sea. Especially on Sundays, the beach is full of people who come here to spend some time with the sea.

Beach wanderers in God’s own country Muzhapilangad beach. Photo: Vanitha

About 15 kilometres from Kannur is Muzhapilangad and about a kilometre from here, towards the west, is the beach, which is about five kilometres long. This is the only drive-in beach in Kerala and people come here to enjoy a trip on their vehicles, splitting the incoming waves.Driving through Muzhapilangad

Close to where Anjarakandipuzha meets the Arabian Sea, you can see the Dharmadam Islands. If you reach here at times other than the monsoons, the greenery will surely tempt you to stay on.

One way to approach the beach in Payyambalam is through a park, which has some rare monuments from bygone eras. You can also see the St. Angelo fort here, which was built by the Portuguese.

The Bakel Beach in Kasargod would not have been so beautiful had there not been a fort in the background. Located about 16 kilometres from Kasargod, the beach is a spectre in itself- the fort in the background, a railway station one side and a beautiful park lying between the beach and the station.Where Aravind Swamy romanced Manisha Koirala in Bombay

As we wound up our trip through the prominent beaches in Kerala, we were taking with us a mixed bag of emotions. Charmed by the bewitching beauty of some beaches, we were humbled by the history behind others. While some stood solemn and serious, enlightening us about the turns and ebbs of time, some frolicked with us, without a care. All of them pampered, awed or lulled our senses, us, the wanderers in God's own country.

(In arrangement with Vanitha)

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