Go on a boat trip, visit sacred sites and relax with an ayurvedic treatment at this attractive beach in the Indian state of Kerala.
Spend some time at Vizhinjam Beach and in the village that flanks the waterfront. This tranquil sea port is a world away from the nearby tourist-oriented markets of Kovalam, and is populated by fisherman, traders and spiritualists.
Vizhinjam has been a sea port since ancient times and archeological evidence has revealed that the Romans came here to trade. The centuries-old fishing industry is still very much alive here today, so wander along the beachfront to see fishermen hauling traditional wooden boats into the water.
With unpredictable waves and limited maintenance, Vizhinjam Beach is not considered a swimming beach. However, don't let that put you off asking boat operators for a ride out to sea, where you'll enjoy spectacular views of the coast.
Learn about life under the waves and the region's marine ecosystem at the Vizhinjam Marine Aquarium. It is housed in one of the few modern structures in the village and is home to colorful lionfish, surgeonfish and clown fish, among other species. Get a close look at the toothy piranha and discover how pearls are farmed from local clam species.
Another highlight of a walk through the village is its colorful mosque, which can be seen from all round the harbor. Just outside of Vizhinjam is an additional sacred site, Vizinjam Rock Cave. Inspect the outer walls of the granite cave to see reliefs of the Hindu deities, Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati. Go inside for the sculpture of Vinandhara Dakshinamurthi, another deity.
Vizhinjam Beach is a great place to come if you are in need of some stress relief. Not only do the sea views have a calming effect, but there are also numerous ayurvedic treatment centers dotted around the region. Treat yourself to a soothing oil-drip massage.
Vizinjam Beach is approximately 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) from Kovalam. If you are based in Thiruvananthapuram, come by taxi, rental car or a 1-hour rickshaw ride.