Our favorite beach in Kerela is Lighthouse Beach Kovalam. Here we had glorious times relaxing, eating extremely well, drinking lattes made from water buffalo milk and cold, illegal beers. Kerela is a “dry state” in part because it has a Communist ruling party. Beers are sold under the guide of “large coffee/tea” with a wink and a smile. Our days were spent body surfing in the Indian Ocean ignoring touts. Often we would venture north to watch the fishermen haul in their nets.

Lighthouse Beach Kovalam Sunset

Lighthouse Beach Kovalam Sunset

It didn’t take long for us to realize that after all our traveling around that we had found a place to blow off the rest of our itinerary. Clear skies, glowing red sunsets over the Arabian Sea, hot summer-like days and warm balmy nights, complete with really good international non-vegetarian restaurants made this place paradise! With few tourists in town, the place was ours. We are now totally convinced that the best time to travel is during a war since regular travelers were not out and about; we had first choice on where to stay and we negotiated the prices down further. Restaurants vied for our business practically grabbing us by the arm to bring us inside to show us their menus. It was all very friendly, and understandable.

Lighthouse Beach Kovalam

The Lighthouse at Lighthouse Beach Kovalam

For a while I stopped keeping track of the days in my travelogue and we simply got in synch with the beach lifestyle. We’d wake up around 8 o’clock, have a two-hour breakfast lingering over coffees, stroll back to our room, put on a bathing suit, slather sunscreen lotion all over our bodies, grab water bottles, sarongs, and sunglasses and walk a few yards to the beach and soak up the sun until one of us couldn’t take the heat any longer. Then we’d amble down to the water and wade through the oncoming waves until we were out far enough to body surf back to shore on a seriously good wave. Hours were spent catching waves back to shore. Then we’d spend an hour to drying off often snoozing in the sand.

Everyday we had to wave off and curse the pesky touts and then roll over to ensure an even tan. We used to joke that when the touts came by it was time to rollover.

About two o’clock we’d wander down the row of restaurants and select a new place to have some lunch. Sometimes we’d bring a book to read and made it a three-hour lunch.

Returning to our room, we’d shower off the lotion, salt and sand, and dress for cocktail hour. Given that Kerala is a “dry” state, cocktail hour has special meaning. We soon learned which places really serve up. A brief exploration of curbside menus and we’d have an early dinner, followed by a nightcap somewhere else.

Every night before bed we would leisurely walk the length of the beach along the water’s edge, enjoying the lights of this tiny beach resort area, and ponder how we got to be so lucky. And almost two weeks passed without a change in the directions of “lather, rinse, repeat.”

Kerala Girls on Lighthouse Beach Kovalam Kerala India

Kerala Girls on Lighthouse Beach Kovalam Kerala India

One day these teenage girls, depicted in this oil painting, were visiting the beach with their teacher who was there to celebrate her birthday. They were dressed up with jasmine flowers in their hair and looked gorgeous standing ankle deep in the surf. This scene captures the moment for me and the spontaneous beauty that occurs on this Lighthouse Beach Kovalam.

“Girls on Lighthouse Beach Kovalam, Kerela, India” by Anne Marie Peterson-Kolatkar. Oils on canvas, 12×16, signed June 2004.


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