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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular places to explore around Kovalam?

Reet Cheema DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

When we are talking about God’s own country, each and every slice of this land is bound to be a heavenly delight. So why not venture a little bit further from Kovalam and get a taste of something different, but equally divine?  Here are a few places worth checking out.

  • Thiruvananthapuram / Trivandrum

    The capital city of Kerala, is just 16 kilometres away from Kovalam. Nicknamed as the “Evergreen city of India”, it is one of the top 10 greenest city in India. A bustling city with a backdrop of the undulating coastal hills, Trivandrum is home to a number of reputed educational institutes. You can visit various museums, palaces and temples, or shop at the Chalai and Connemara markets. Napier Museum and the Padmanabhaswamy temple are quite popular amongst the tourists

  • Varkala

    The beaches of Varkala are a more calmer and less crowded version of the Kovalam beaches, and to some extent cheaper too (unless you drop in during December or January). It is only 60 kilometres from Kovalam. Though Varkala is gradually gaining popularity as a tourist destination, it hasn’t caught the full-fledged tourist bug, yet. In the off seasons, the atmosphere is quite mellow and relaxed. You can simply sleep, swim and chill out. There is a very pretty promenade, constructed by the Tourism Department, which passes through the scenic coastal town and villages.

  • Kanyakumari

    About 85 kilometres from Kovalam, this southernmost tip of the Indian mainland boasts of being the confluence three major water bodies viz. the Arabian sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Swami Vivekananda, a renowned Indian spiritual leader, had attained Samadhi (enlightenment) on one of the huge rocks present at a distance from the beach, post which, he went on to become a great philosopher and reformer. Today the rock houses the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial which has a huge statue of Swamiji in front. There is also a huge statue nearby, dedicated to the famous Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar. The views from the feet of the statue are simply breath taking. Apart from these, you can visit the beach and climb up the lighthouse, or pay respects to various temples and churches in the area. Exploring is best done on foot.

  • Ponmudi

    This is a beautiful hill station located just 67 kilometres away from Kovalam. The road from Trivandrum to Ponmudi is known for its scenic beauty. With 22 hairpin curves, travelling here is quite a thrill. Apart from the lush tropical greenery and the thriving wildlife, Ponmudi has a number of attractions like the Golden valley (great views of the Western Ghats and the Kallal River from here), Agasthyarkoodam (one of the highest peaks), sprawling tea gardens, Meenmutty waterfalls, and a number of rivulets and rapids. We think that’s more than enough USP for a single place.

  • Alleppey

    Alleppey or Alappuzha is synonymous with beautiful backwaters, lagoons, endless canals, swaying coconut palm trees and cashew plantations. It more than justifies its reputation of being the Venice of the East. Around 160 kilometres away from Kovalam, it takes about 5 hours to reach this idyllic delight. You must visit Kuttanad - the rice bowl of India, with its unending paddy fields, streams, canals and lush tropical vegetation in the background. And how can we forget the serpentine boats gliding through the waters towards the finish line, with 100 men rowing to the beats of drums? We are talking about the famous snake boat races of Alleppey. Held on the second Saturday of August each year, they are a huge deal over here. There is a smaller boat race held in mid-January for the benefit of tourists.

  • Thekkady

    A special listing for the wildlife enthusiasts. This is where the Periyar National Park is located. About 220 kilometres from Kovalam, driving over to this place should take only around 4 to 5 hours. The park is famous for its dense evergreen to semi-evergreen deciduous forests, savanna grasslands and of course, wildlife. You will find herds of elephants, tigers, bisons, sambar deers, peacocks, lions tailed macaques and a plethora of langurs. Surrounded by the Cardamom hills, this region is the origin of the longest river in Kerala, the Periyar and the holy river of Pamba. The view around the Periyar Lake is very picturesque.

  • Vagamon

    At a distance of a little more than 200 kilometres, Vagamon gets a special mention because of its relatively unvisited status and a potpourri of hidden goodies tucked inside its lush bounties. Adventure seekers will find their pot of gold here. Take your pick (or picks) from, trekking, mountaineering, paragliding, dirt biking, rock climbing, etc. From rolling meadows filled with wildflowers and misty lakes, to the hush of the pine jungles and tea estates, to enchanting palaces, waterfalls and Indo-Swiss dairy farms run by monks, Vagamon lives up to its reputation of being the Scotland of India. National Geographic Traveler has cited this place as one of the 50 most attractive regions in India. Recently, the Naseeruddin Shah starrer - The Blueberry Hunt, was shot in this location. 

So, are you tempted yet? We sure are. Let loose the traveller in you and embark on a new journey. When you venture out and explore more of Kerala, you will realise why it is called God’s Own Country.

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