Travel

Thiruvananthapuram’s villages by the sea

Adimalathura beach

Adimalathura beach   | Photo Credit: Asvin VN

A scenic drive through coastal Thiruvananthapuram takes you to picture-perfect locales

Recently, The Guardian chose 10 places in the world for the best road trips and sure enough a drive through Kerala was on that list. Beginning from Periyar River Lodge in Kothamangalam, they drove down to Varkala and took the coastal route via Alappuzha to Kochi.

With the onset of the tourist season, however, beaches like Kovalam and Varkala can become crowded and noisy. But a few kilometres south, in the neighbourhood of Vizhinjam, there are a handful of spots to experience at peace the best that coastal South Kerala has to offer. With the Onam holidays just around the corner, make the most of the break to explore this picturesque part of Thiruvananthapuram.

Taking the National Highway bypass from Thiruvananthapuram, head straight to Vizhinjam and past the town towards the hilly neighbourhood of Poovar.

Chowara

Chowara   | Photo Credit: Aswin VN

The winding road through lush coconut groves is a joy to travel. Six kilometres away from Vizhinjam town on the Poovar route is the first on the list of places to be explored. Chowara is a little village perched on top of one of the tallest coastal hills in the region. A right from the junction takes me further into the rustic rural seaside with thick vegetation and bird calls aplenty. A kilometre down the route, a path leads to the right through the temple archway of Chowara Ayyappa temple.

It’s late morning and the place is deserted. A large muddy parking space is empty. It is just me, my ride and the mini acacia jungle that surrounds the temple. The blue of the sea gleams through the lines of Acacias perched on the edge of the cliff. I walk through shade to reach the edge and it is a stunning view of the Adimalathura coast. It is a sharp 60-metre drop to the coconut palm-carpeted Adimlathura village region that lies between the cliff and the beach. Sky, sea, white beach and rich green of the village all combine for a visual treat. Although it could mean peace of mind, being deserted is not so nice when jackals [or is it fox?] are lurking around in the thickets. So after two rounds of howls coming not so far away from the temple, I decide to hit the road again.

Going further down the hill on the road from Chowara, I reach the Adimalathura-Kochupally road running parallel to the coast. Heading north for a kilometre takes me to the picturesque Adimalathura beach where the main road does a U-turn and becomes a narrow route going South, hugging the beach all the while. Starting from a rock on the seaside above which is the Adimalathura Catholic Church, the beach stretches a long way along with the beach road. A large resort takes up the space facing the beach next to the narrow path leading to the Church. It extends further inland towards Chowara occupying a substantial portion of the cliff side.

I linger around for a while watching the fishermen mend nets, couple of tourists strolling around and children playing in a pool, probably formed by the tide, in the green patch between the road and the beach. When the tide is low, one can walk beyond the rock up to the bigger conglomeration a few hundred metres towards Vizhinjam. Azhimala Shiva temple rests on top of it and that is where I go next.

Tracing my way back, I reach Chowara junction. Going half a kilometre towards Vizhinjam, it is a sharp left to Azhimala. The road takes you to the edge of the hill past couple of resorts and then it is a steep route down to the temple on the edge of the short cliff banking the sea.

The seaside view point at Azhimala

The seaside view point at Azhimala   | Photo Credit: Aswin VN

The temple is closed and so is the parking space in front of it. Fortunately, the slanting road is wide enough for me to turn around and park the car. A path through the coconut grove on the right is the way to the seaside view point and the rock formations. Steps lead down from the view point platform to the idyllic Azhimala beach. Fenced by the thick vegetation on the cliff and rock formations on either end, although not cut off from the Adimalathura beach stretching towards south, it is a pretty little cove and a wonderful place for a dip in the sea while watching the sun slip into the crimson waters at dusk.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 3:27:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/take-a-scenic-drive-through-coastal-thiruvananthapuram/article24632294.ece

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