Art and Culture

Feel the cultural vibe of Kovalam—especially so during January-March when most festivals take place. The Elephant Festival and Swathithirunal Music Festival in the courtyard of the Horse Palace in January, the Nishagandhi Classical Dance Festival at the Kanakunnu Palace compounds, in March and October, and Fandango, the annual food and fun festival organised by the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (IHMCT), are worth participating in.

In Kovalam, it would also be easy to book oneself for a very good performance of the traditional dance drama, Kathakali, or martial arts, Kalaripayyattu.


City Information

Kovalam is famous for its clean and safe beaches. With its 17-kilometer coastline and three idyllic crescent-shaped beaches that slope gently into the Arabian Sea, the city, also called the Beach Town of Kerala, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kerala. It is located about 17 kilometres from the capital city Thiruvananthapuram.

In the regional language Malayalam, Kovalam translates to ‘grove of coconut trees’. While some may compare Kovalam to Goa, Kovalam beaches bear a distinction in that they are even more laid back than those in Goa are. Added to that feel is the region’s cuisine—much lighter on the palate, and available across any of the good restaurants in Kovalam.

Hidden from the bustle of the city, Kovalam is the ideal place if you crave for calm. Choose to spend a good vacation kayaking, swimming in the ocean, surfing or water-skiing. Or seek inner peace in the city’s many yoga and Ayurveda therapy centres.



Kovalam is famous for its finger-licking seafood like lobsters, calamari or king prawns. It is also famous for its light, non-spicy vegetarian dishes. So begin your day with a breakfast of puttu and kadala (steamed hoppers with chickpea curry) and binge on a kappa and meen curry (boiled and lightly simmered tapioca with spicy fish curry) for lunch. For dinner, indulge in an iddiappam and stew (steamed string rice hoppers with chicken or vegetable stew cooked in light coconut milk).

Or you may request the chef at The Leela Kovalam to sample the best of the local cuisines in the most luxurious ambiences.



Also called the Paradise of South, Kovalam has three beaches—The Main Beach (also called Leela / Samudra Beach), Lighthouse Beach and Hawa Beach. Look out for water sports, swimming, sunbathing and surfboarding.

Then visit the Vizhinjam Mosque, Ashok Beach, Ganapathi Temple and Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium, with its variety of marine life including Rock Lobsters and Piranhas. Then, head to the 8th-century Vizhinjam Cave Temple, a granite boulder with an opening on the side, leading to an underground cave. Legends have it that the cave mouth was miraculously shut after a Muslim woman made gold offering.