Kovalam: Nirvana at sea
Kovalam was a sleepy fisherman village on the west coast of Kerala, hundred years back until in 1920 when the Regent Maharani Seth Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore built Halcyon Castle on its beach.
Kovalam beach has hundreds of places offering Ayurvedic massages and other Indian treatments. There are international tourists living here for months together to enjoy it.
Kovalam was a sleepy fisherman village on the west coast of Kerala, hundred years back until in 1920 when the Regent Maharani Seth Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore built Halcyon Castle on its beach. She invited her European friends for enjoying the benefits of sunbath and swim in the sea. Later during the period when ‘Generation Gap’ gained currency as an excuse to leave homes, the cool climate and golden sands were the major attraction to those gypsy hippies who were on the lookout for Nirvana and peace. In those days Marijuana was supplied aplenty from the hills of Western Ghats. And for hippies it was a heaven.
Also grew along with them the number of dark lungi clad body masseurs on the beach who gave any willing customer a warm rub of oil in the open air under the warm sun that soothed the body. Photographs of them in the media thumping the backs of Western women made the place even more popular.
There are three beaches of Kovalam, Hawah Beach, Light House Beach and Samudra Beach. The last one is used mostly by the fishermen for their livelihood. The Hawah Beach which has immediate access from the parking place was said to be famous in ‘60s and ‘70s as favoured haunt for topless sun seekers. That added to the crazy hoards of people visiting the place. As a result the topless appearance stopped and said to have become now a very exclusive affair in closed places. Beaches are guarded by security in the sea for swimmers. You will find men on surf boats blowing whistles at people who go into deep waters.
Kovalam beaches are stratified in three layers. The first one is the lovely blue sea. The second one is the golden sands of the beach. The third one is the long promenade studded with restaurants offering most delicious sea foods and fruit juices and many of them have a variety of menus of the world.
The beach is peaceful, almost no criminal nuisance and is known for its orderliness. In Kovalam you don’t find traffic jams. One can see an ambulance travelling at high speeds because everyone gives way immediately on hearing the siren. The approach to beach has good parking place. Many tourists, stop their vehicles, change, and run straight to waters.
Behind the food joints, you have on Kovalam beach hundreds of places offering Ayurvedic massages and other Indian treatments. There are international tourists living here for months together to enjoy the benefits of Ayurveda.
The place abounds in yoga and meditation centres. Today one may not find what was there fifty years ago at Kovalam, but it is a place to have a wonderful holiday at reasonable price. The sun, the sand and the sea never stops luring.