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Lines of men and boys stretch from the sea to the shore, each holding tightly to a section of rope. Grunting, chanting, they pull backwards, together, until finally the net comes into view. This is early morning, Kovalam beach.
If you’re a morning person, it’s an experience not to be missed. In fact, you can have a go yourself – if you're brave enough. Step forward and let the local fishermen welcome you into their throng to drag in the catch – but beware, you will get wet. And you’ll definitely feel those muscles the next day.
Kovalam is almost at India’s most southern point, and the former fishing village is now one of Kerala’s most popular beach resorts. But at the same time it's a really cool beach (well, technically, there are three – Lighthouse, Samudra and Hawah). It has that laid-back, traveller vibe, thanks to the hippies who put it on the map back in the 70s. Less touristy than Goa, and a bit more ‘real India’.
If you’ve been travelling around a bit, a tour of Kovalam is just the thing for some R&R. Little restaurants and hotels are dotted along Lighthouse Beach, the most popular of the three. In the evening, wander along the shore and gaze at the arrays of shiny, plump fish displayed on wooden tables, until you find the nicest looking catch and pull up a chair.
It’s the perfect place for a sundowner – but to be honest, watching a sunset over the sea is just as awesome from a plastic chair on the beach as it is from a posh hotel. Only the drinks might be better.
Watching agile men shimmying up palms to cut down ripe coconuts, fully-clothed adults cooling down in the sea and groups of local children having a kickabout on the beach will be your abiding memories of Kovalam. Have a read of our blogs below to find out more about this chilled-out place.
If the Earth’s the body, then India is the soul - a land of spirituality, contrasts and rich culture.
Dreamy mountain vistas and palm-fringed beaches aside, India’s food was made for the camera lens.
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