Trivandrum - Beaches

Kovalam Beach
Kovalam Beach
Kovalam beach is 16kms away from Thiruvananthapuram. Until the 1960s, Kovalam was just a sleepy fishing village with narrow lanes and thatched dwellings with wide countryards for drying fish. However, once its spectacular beach and Shallow, crystal-clear waters were discovered, it became a favourite with hippies and backpackers, and over the years acquired the reputation of being a shabby, downmarket resort. Today, however, it also attracts the rich and famous, who come here in private planes. As a result, the beaches are dotted with both luxury and budget resorts, as well as cafes and several government-approved Ayurveda centres that Offer anything from a simple massage to three-week treatments. hawkers, too have set up stalls selling handicrafts and inexpensive beachwear. Despite the onslaughts of mass tourism, Kovalam retains an inherent charm that makes it one of india's finest and most popular beach resorts.

Kovalam's sheltered natural bay is ringed by two rocky headlands. Its four beaches-Samudra beach, Ashok beach, Eve's beach and Lighthouse beach- all within short walking distance od eachother, provide vistors with their fill of sun, swa and sand. While the beaches to the south of the promontory are more crowded, the ones to the north offer ample secluded space for sunbathing, safe swimming in the placid blue waters, catamaran trips, and water sports.
Shanghumugham Beach
It is situated about 8kms from the city and is a popular city beach adjacent to the Thiruvananthapuram airport. An indoor recreation club, the children's traffic training park, the matsya kanyaka, a gigantic 35mt long sculpture of a mermaid and a restaurant shaped like a star fish are some of the attractions here.
Shanghumugam Beach
This beautiful little beach town is better known among locals as a major pilgrimage centre. According to legend, the sage Narada flung a cloth made from the bark of a tree into the air, and it landed at the spot where the small town of varkala now stands. Narada then directed his disciples to pray for salvation at the newly created beach, which came to be known as papanasham beach or the "Beach of Redemption". Since then, this beach has been associated with ancestor worship, as Hindus immerse the ashes of their dead here.

At the heart of the town is the sacred Janardhana swamy Temple believed to be more than 2,000 years oid. This temple, dedicated to krishna, attracts many pilgrims. One of the bells in the temple is said to have been given in gratitude by the captain of a17th - century Dutch sailing were answered.

Varkala's other pilgrimage centre is the hilltop Mmrial of Sree Narayana Guru (1855 - 1928 ) at sivagiri 3km east of the temple. Every day countless devotees flock to the memorial of this great saint and social reformer who advocated " One god for mankind" With its backdrop of red laterite cliffs overlooking the beach, varakala has now emerged as a popular resort and spa. The town is famous for its natural springs with therapeutic qualiqtqiqeqs, and is also a centre for Ayurvedic treatment and yoga. To the south is the desolate Anjengo fort, the main garrison of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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