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

75. A Train to South

@Quilon, Kerala, India.

DSC00161

It has been some time ago that this journey happened, even before the first post on this travel diary and the first memorized journey to Calicut on that journey of forgetfulness of existence. The district two has amazed me as a child with its name starting with Q, even as Kollam would always be more appropriate. Quilon was that place with a first letter which would save me in “Name Place Animal Thing”, our traditional childhood game which competed with the WWF trump cards and later the Mario video games to keep its place in the hearts. That was my first official encounter with the place, when I studied about those fourteen districts of Kerala in a specific order, with Quilon coming second after Trivandrum. It was more interesting than learning about those planets which none of those people I knew had seen and proved to exist, and the names of those states of India which were a lot more than I could handle at that time, with no love for geography. But, our traditional childhood game did help, as I knew more places, and there was the need to know more places all around the world, and I guess it was the animal section that always gave me trouble. Quilandy came up to join Quilon at times to save the day, and Qatar made a late entrance.

Being among the oldest sea ports and coastal towns on the Arabian coast of Kerala on the Ashtamudi Lake and having its own fame and popularity even during the times of the Chinese Civilization, Phoenician Empire and the Roman Republic, Kollam or Quilon has always had its own significance. It goes back to world of the Moroccan traveller and explorer, Ibn Battuta as it was one of those places of trade which he had visited during his long journeys of wonder and wanderings of significance. Even with the rise of Cochin, Calicut and Trivandrum as the three major cities of Kerala as taught to us during our childhood, Kollam was always in our list of places to visit as we grew up visiting places in the six districts, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Palakkad. There won’t be many people who would miss the place on their visit to the God’s Own Country, and all those who are on a road trip through the state of Kerala are surely going to stop here as much as any of the bigger cities. Along with trading with Chinese, Arabs and the other famed oriental civilizations, the knowledge of earlier trade with civilizations of Rome and Phoenicia would boost its historical significance even further and through that path of glory.

Kollam is the fourth largest city of Kerala, after the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram, the commercial hub Ernakulam (Kochi), and the centre of North Kerala, Kozhikode on the basis of population, and the fifth with Thrissur added to the list on the basis of area. It was during the period of rule of the Chera dynasty in Kerala, that Kollam enjoyed the zenith of its power in histroy, and the place continues to be a major city and commercial centre in the Southern region of Kerala. The backwater tourism and the beauty of Ashtamudi Lake and the house boats add to continuously rising significance of the city as well as the district as a whole. There is no shortage of beauty with those long journeys through the lake, and there is no love lost in the procedure. There is the natural beauty being found and nothing being lost in this world. On the process, we would also be standing on the top of whatever existed throughout the history of Kerala, a rich heritage which had long roots right below us leading from a world which was superior during its age, and we see an existence which is the present leading to the future, that has its own additions to the same.

The presence of the state of Tamil Nadu in the east, Alappuzha in the north, Pathanamthitta in the north-east and Thiruvananthapuram in the south has strategically placed the district in a position of significance. The ancient temple of Oachira is an important religious site, followed by the Kottarakkara Sree Mahaganapathi Temple and Ashram Sree Krishna Swamy Temple. Thomas the Apostle, who is said to have reached the Indian subcontinent in middle of the first century is said to have found Seven and Half Churches in Kerala and Tamil Nadu combined, also known by the masses as Ezharapallikal with one of them here; Kodungallur, Kollam, Niranam, Nilackal (Chayal), Kokkamangalam, Kottakkayal (Paravur), Palayoor (Chattukulangara) and Thiruvithamcode Arappally in Tamil Nadu which is known as the half-church. With connections of trade to Eurpe, Asia, Middle East and Ceylon, this would have been among the better places to establish such a house of God. It is one of the historical events in the history of Christianity in India. Amritapuri, not too far away from the city, is the main Ashram of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, the world renouned spiritual leader from Kerala. With its share of mosques too, the district remains a centre of spiritual and religious worship in more than one way.

The first big structure we visited was the Holy Cross Church established in 1848, still retaining some of its antiquity. There was also a smaller church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. Pullichira Church was also among those churches visited, and its serene location added to the spirituality; as a great Marian pilgrim centre situated on the banks of Pullichira Lake. Martha Mariam Church of Thevalakara was also there for the visit. The Holy Family Church is another structure with its own beauty. I had to forget the names of the churches which I visited in the Kollam city, as the pages of my life turned at a high speed, and the same is the case of one of those beautiful temples which had such a peaceful atmosphere. The time does move incredibly fast, and this case is also not of any great wonder. There was that time when I visited and really enjoyed Kollam, but now it has faded away upto an extent with only those little memories which are left at some part of the soul, not easy to dig and find from under all which have managed to stay over it. It reminds us, how powerful are those bad memories and how weak are these good memories, and how much the latter hate us and try to get away from us as if there is a certain amount of hatred which is prevalent against us.

The Palaruvi Falls would take the remaining time, even as there is not much about it that can be recollected from the disoriented memory now weakening. Thenmala is not to be forgotten even if not recollected at ease, and the beaches of Kollam always retain that charm. The trip to Quilon, or the train to the South as I had often called it, had a significant role to play at a time when I was hesitant to go out and wanted to stay indoor for most of the time. It was a time when the movie watching spree at the theatres hadn’t started yet, and no mall had infatuated me with its multiplexes. In that case, the beach town of Tangasseri‎ and its light house along with the fishing harbour created a powerful influence in totality there. Now, whateve remains of the St. Thomas Fort, stays there as a historical landmark, and the Infant Jesus Church as the spiritual side of that world. It was the most significant trip of that time, as there was not much of a journey which came before it, even as much bigger journeys were to follow. This journey was a stepping stone, a pathfinder to what was to follow, and therefore, there is not enough justice done to the place through this review from the memory. This is just a collection of what I could remember and what I could find. This is that dark day on which Reliance Netconnect blocked both wordpress (not the first time) and wikipedia with no notice or known reason, which means I have to find an alternate method to post this one.

Diving out —>

TeNy