Some of the best things in this world come free. And what can be freer than the natural breeze, flowing from the sea shore lined with rippling sand , the sea waves gently lapping across the shore, the sun rising in the background like a glowing sphere? And all this, to be found within driveable limits of a major metropolitan city.
Welcome to Kovalam Beach, 40 km away from the centre of Chennai, on the scenic ECR ( East Coast Road), connecting Chennai to Mahabalipuram. As one exits Chennai, from the far end of Sholinganallur, past police checkposts and across a landscape consisting of farmhouses, sea beaches, estuaries and soothing greenery, the mind is already delighted to be far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the crowded city.
Kovalam Beach may be confused with its more famous counterpart in Kerala, but it has a separate beauty of its own. It is secluded and tucked away on one side of ECR. As one passes the estuary at Muttukadu, driving on the overlying bridge, and leaves the East Coast Dhaba on the left hand side, a road on the left leads to the beach. The beach is also home to the Taj Fisherman’s Cove, a premium Chennai hotel , preferred for business and leisure purposes alike. This has been built on the site of an old Dutch fort. Kovalam (Covelong) was set up by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali, taken over by the Ditch in 1746 and destroyed by the Britishers in 1752.
There is a fishermen’s village at the far right end of the beach. Palm trees, huts and boats line the seashore. And if one is adventurous enough, fried sea food is available in the village nearby. This is one of the few beaches along the East Coast where windsurfing takes place.
The best time to visit the beach is at the time of Sunrise or Sunset, when one catches the beach in all its multihued splendour. The beach is undulating and provides a good walk, though one has to steer clear of the limits of the resort (the concept of private beaches being popular in Chennai). It is a relief to catch the cool sea breeze, and revel in the seclusion provided by this place. It is better to keep between the limits of Taj Fisherman’s Cove and the fishing village.
If one likes, they can take a detour to the nearby Crocodile Farm at Muttukadu, which has a place for crocodile breeding and one can observe these reptiles in their homely habitat. One can also move on 20 km to the renowned historical place, Mahabalipuram.
This place is not crowded unlike the many other beaches of Chennai, and provides a sense of seclusion and exclusivity. As one drives back to Chennai, the mind is already refreshed and happy, ready to take on the trials and tribulations of city life.
Distance : 40 km from Chennai Central Railway Station
Mode of reaching : 1) Car; 2)Metropolitan Transport Services (MTC) Chennai, TNSTC
Accomodation: Taj Fisherman’s Cove : http://www.beachresortsindia.com/beach-resorts-in-tamil-nadu/taj-fisherman-cove-covelong-beach.html (Facilities :Guest Rooms, Restaurants, Bar, Conference Hall, Swimming Pool, Health Club, Spa Indoor Games and Water Sports)
Attractions: 1) Ancient Catholic church on the beach; 2) Taj Fisherman’s Cove : 3) Windsurfing activities