82. Beaches of Kerala

@My favourite beaches, Kerala, India.
In the last few years, I have visited too many beaches in Kerala, and it is no surprise because the state has a long coast line compared to its total size. Most of the roads which we took were through the coastal areas too. The two places that come to the mind when talking about the same are the Kovalam beach and the Shankumugham Beach which I visited during my childhood, but due to the memories being mostly replaced, I would give them honorary status like the Great Pyramids has among the Wonders of the World and proceed to share something about my favourite beaches of Kerala, all of which I have visited in the last three years, a journey beginning and ending at Kollam Beach.
*^*Just my personal favourites; do not ponder over it.

10. Kappad Beach

Kappad Beach at night

Kappad Beach at night.

This is a place of high historical significance, as Vasco Da Gama landed here in 1498 and began an age of colonization which was to follow and to be taken over by the British. A new trade route from Europe to India was established in this part of Kerala which was to change the way in which Indian history was to be shaped later on. The beach is a nice little place, with not too much crowd, and there was a lot of developments going on there when we visited, and this is going to be a pretty nice place the next time we visit.
Nearest railway station: Calicut
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Calicut
District: Calicut (Kozhikode)

9. Calicut Beach

A sunset at the Calicut Beach

A sunset at Calicut Beach.

The Kozhikode Beach is a nice place in the heart of the city and is blessed by statues and remains of piers giving it a rather historical look. It has successfully joined the beauty of nature with the rush and modernity of the city and provides the visitors with a nice experience as it remains crowded. There would be no reason why one goes through the city and not take a look at this beach which is well maintained and is expected to be even further developed – this is the beach I visited earliest, among the beaches in this list and I feel that a lot have changed about this one.
Nearest railway station: Calicut
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Calicut
District: Calicut (Kozhikode)

8. Quilon Beach

The mermaid (jalakanyaka) statue at Kollam beach

The mermaid (jalakanyaka) statue at Kollam beach.

Known to many people as the Kollam Beach as well as the Mahatma Gandhi Beach, this is a wonderful location close to the heart of the city. Quilon has the history of being a very important seaport in the past, and is still the second largest port in Kerala after the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin. We can regularly see large ships moving around in the sea if we spend enough time at the beach. There is a lighthouse and the ruins of historical forts which form the mementos of European rule which existed there.
Nearest railway station: Quilon
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Quilon
District: Quilon (Kollam)

7. Kappil Beach

The sea on the left and the lake on the right.

The sea on the left and the lake on the right.

There are only a few beaches which can boast of having an identity different from the rest, and that too without being huge or without having any structure or monument, but Kappil Beach achieves that. The beach begins from the side of the road and goes on to an area where the sea and the lake are separated by a small stretch of sand a part of which where we can drive through between the coconut trees. There, we see a beautiful green world on one side and the sunset on the other, with jelly fish near the water around our legs!
Nearest railway station: Paravur
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Paravur
District: Trivandrum

6. Azhikode Beach

Azhikode beach with its Chinese fishing nets.

Azhikode beach with its Chinese fishing nets.

Located near Kodungallur, this is one of the lesser known beaches of the area, and we were glad to find it using the google maps, and let that not fool you because this is a beautiful beach with not much rush, and has a lot of areas to spend some lone time and also take photos. Known as the Azhikode-Munakkal beach, this has a big place in the history of Christianity in India, as Saint Thomas the Apostle is believed to have landed near this area. The first mosque in India is also not that far away from here.
Nearest railway station: Irinjalakuda
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: Kodungallur
District: Trichur

5. Varkala Beach

The parking is at the top, and so are the best viewpoints.

The parking is at the top, and so are the best viewpoints.

Also known as the Papasanam Beach, this is a nice place with a difference, and it remains calm and peaceful despite the good number of visitors, including a lot of foreigners. Its unique geography makes sure that there are cliffs surrounding the beach, something not common in Central and South Kerala. You can have a look from the cliffs when eagles fly closer. There are water spouts and nice restaurants around the beach, and there is enough parking as long as you make sure you come early.
Nearest railway station: Varkala
Nearest airport: Trivandrum
Nearest town/city: Varkala
District: Trivandrum

4. Payyambalam Beach

This came as a pleasant surprise at that time.

This came as a pleasant surprise at that time.

Payyambalam is a beautiful beach where we can see the lagoon being separated from the sea from many angles. It is very close to the town of Kannur and is very clean. A number of Kerala’s prominent political and social leaders are also buried in an area at the beach including A.K. Gopalan, E.K. Nayanar, Sukumar Azhikode etc. You can also go to St. Angelo’s Fort, most commonly known as the Kannur Fort from there, a symbol of Portuguese dominance in that part of the country.
Nearest railway station: Kannur
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Kannur
District: Kannur

3. Fort Cochin Beach

There is always something about Fort Cochin.

There is always something about Fort Cochin.

The beauty of Fort Kochi beach is more in its own identity rather than just the sands. It lives in and breathes history like no other place in Kerala. There are lots of buildings which is of colonial architecture around the beach along with places of spirituality and religion, and the number of foreign tourists is enormous. I would suggest visiting the place during the next Kochi Biennale exhibition, and lets join the beauty of nature and historical monuments with art. You don’t always need to go to Goa or Pondicherry.
Nearest railway station: Cochin (Ernakulam)
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: Cochin
District: Ernakulam (Cochin)

2. Cherai Beach

They wanted me to write down something on the sand.

They wanted me to write down something on the sand.

There are only a few beaches which can grow with the pace that Cherai has developed from just another sea-side to the most visited beach in Central Kerala. There is a lot of development still going on there, and it is a very long extending by road to what is called Munambam, which is rather another beach where one can see the river Periyar flowing into the Arabian Sea, surrounded by Chinese fishing nets, an inspiration for any poet or photographer deprived off ideas by modernity.
Nearest railway station: Aluva (Alwaye)
Nearest airport: Cochin
Nearest town/city: North Paravur
District: Ernakulam (Cochin)

1. Muzhappilangad Beach

The best beach is where the Beat goes.

The best beach is where the Beat goes.

How can you not visit the largest drive-in beach in Asia? To be frank, I don’t know about any other beaches in India where you can drive this long on the sands. As we reach here through a small road surrounded by coconut trees which bows their heads towards the road and reach the nicely maintained beach which seems to stretch towards eternity, there is an unbelievable amount of happiness that we feel in our hearts. It is a lesser known destination, and it is going to develop a lot considering its potential.
Nearest railway station: Thalassery
Nearest airport: Calicut
Nearest town/city: Thalassery
District: Kannur

Other mentions: Puthuvype Beach (Ernakulam/Cochin), Snehatheeram Beach (Trichur), Aleppey Beach (Alappuzha), Munambam Beach (Ernakulam/Cochin), Chavakkad Beach (Trichur).

Diving out —>
TeNy

76. Driving in the Sea

@Muzhappilangad, Kerala, India.

DSC04809

Even while immersing myself in the vampiric theories of the wonderful coffins, I have always wished to drive around in the sea. But about being able to drive a sea vessel – I was perfectly sure that it was an impossible thing. I am no merman, and therefore those more imaginative and creative options are left out. The Cabin in the Woods was that movie which took away the last few ideas about being a merman away. Being a half-fish, half-human monster with Piranha-tooth and a blowhole was never the best of things, no matter how well the figure is romanticized and exaggerated with the image of the mermaid from Disney’s cartoonish fortress. The mermaid are still portrayed with their beauty and cuteness which they might hold onto until the end of the world despite of a few exception, and mermans – right from the Mer-Man of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, there has been not much hope about it, even as Poseidon might wish to have a word or two about it. I would rather read Matthew Arnold’s poem, The Forsaken Merman. There goes all the sea vessels, and the merman element right out of the picture. Now the question would remain about driving in the sea; an unfulfilled desire.

So, what remains is the option to drive in whatever parts of sea which takes a peek into the sands of a beach. Driving through the beaches has been there during most of the Malayalam movies songs of the last century, and there was always something emotional about it, from love to friendship, and the sunset or sunrise was there to provide the background with the sea. I used to wonder how they drive around these areas of sand without the sands holding them down like zombies rising from their graves. The four wheels should have gone down, I would think – what are they doing? Drive-In-Beach was the answer. It was never officially an answer until that moment when the place was first visited. Well, we live in a world of paranoia, and this sense is more part of our life than of the post-modern literature. We live in our fears and refuse to accept the truths, and man and science has combined to destroy nature and call it a huge achievement, there are not much to talk about this anxiety, tension and depression which support paranoia on a large scale. But what a visit made sure about, is that the answer is right and close enough to truth. From those Mathematical equations to the news about space expedition, we are forced to believe – but aren’t these supposed-to-be truths pushed right into our brains?

Keeping all these in mind, this was explored by driving to the District 13, where I had to go during that time of extended vacation. This was a remarkable journey indeed in many ways. A road trip from Kannur to my hometown would be the longest route I have ever taken in my life in one stretch without stopping for more than just a tea or two. It was also that test which my own car had never taken before. The largest city in North Malabar region and the sixth largest in Kerala proved to be one of the worthiest destinations, as surrounded by history and geographical beauty. The Land of Looms and Lore was a destination which I should have visited long ago. Did I need inspiration to visit such a good destination? What took me so long is a question which is more rhetorical than anything else. But the fact remains that I was late and I would surely admit that. But being late has its charms; and being early always has so many negative things. This late-Kannur-coming was more positive than any other early visits to the other places. It created more wonderful moments than what was possible if the journey had happened long ago. Among those great moments, one of those places remained more striking, and it was here, at Muzhappilangad.

Muzhappilangad Beach is located near enough both to Kannur and Thalassery. The path to the beach might be a little narrow, but still beautiful enough, and the beach is long and wide, with not much of disturbance around in the morning when we went there. Thalassery should be the nearest railway station and Calicut the nearest airport. Well, it is the only beach in Kerala where you can drive and splash the sea water around. It is the place where your car becomes a sea vessel of the land. It is the right place for you to take photos of your autmobile with sea, beach and the boats around you giving the feeling that your car or motor-bike is one of those machines which can travel both in water and land, making both the tortoise and the frog jealous. The rocks add to the beauty of the world around. You can just drive and drive until the world gets tiresome. There is also supposed to be an island, Dharmadam island – but that was surely not in the list. With Thalassery is seven kilometres away and Kannur distant by just thirteen kilometres, one has to try hard not to visit this place if they wander around the district or the nearby ones.

If you love driving and the beaches, here the right paradise for you. There are no devilish snakes to take you out of this Eden. This place still remains unknown to a good number of people in the South of Kerala, and that remains a mystery. There is so much of peace and calm around this place, which might be quite unusual for a beach, and I would be surprised about the same sitting at any other beach in the South. Another major surprise comes in the form of the superior cleanliness which is seen around the sands. The calmness joins with the cleanliness to create a new world of serenity and a highly camera-loving area around there. Why haven’t most of us been aware about such a place which is better than most of the other beaches is India? This is a question which would have no answer just as the doubts about the low popularity level of the places like Urulanthanni, Paniyeli-Poru and Ilaveezhapoonchira; the last two still experiencing some rise, and with some better roads, they can see more visitors. But our beach still has a better accessibility, and I would be surprised if more people won’t come to know about this beautiful sands of time.

As I say about Kannur itself, what strikes the most might still be the blending of history to the nature, this time with the sands of many beaches – resembling our own Prince of Persia’s sands of time which continues to disappear into that void of worthlessness, that black hole filled with white sands. The Prince of Persia was surely not the one person to understand the importance of time, and the total number will not be limited to a few. The hourglasses will continue the job and the world will continue to have its not-so-Persian princes. One can bid adieu to this beautiful beach which provided great hospitality to our car along with hat ancient sea port, but how long until it fades away? The centuries of history would support the cause of the sea port to live in the minds of people. What about this great host of all four-wheelers and two-wheelers known by the name Muzhappilangad? That might lead to the rise of another story, or more than just one tale of travel. There is more about this beach that one should write about, as it is more experienced than talked about.

Diving out —>

TeNy