I was aware of the Kovalam beach earlier, but I was undecided on whether to visit it or not. I mean, there is not exactly a scarcity of beaches in Chennai, and that too on the East Coast Road (ECR). I went anyway just to check why this beach had become so popular. I found that this beach is indeed different from all the other beaches in Chennai!
For starters, we don’t find waves splashing on rocks (see the above photo) on the other beaches in Chennai. On the other hand, rocks are present on certain beachless(!) beaches such as the one you find in Pondicherry. But there is no sand in such places (generally). This beach has both! It has a decent stretch of beach sand and a few rocks. The waves are strong and the location is just too perfect for people to splash in and enjoy. But,
But, But, But, unlike the other beaches in Chennai that are maintained at least to a certain extent, this one seems to have been totally neglected. It is swarmed with locals and tourists (I guess from around the place), and there are so many shops/rides all around. As a result, the beach is a total mess. Even the parking area (thank god, it has one) is quite messy. The parking was full, as I went on a Sunday.
You know what surprised me, people were rafting! Local people here have rafts and they were playing with it bravely in spite of the fierce waves (look at the photo below). Of course, you might be able to get rafts from around here, but you should use it at your own risk. There are absolutely no life-guards around. Your safety is at your own peril!
This beach is almost perfect. It has smooth sands, rocks on the shore, heavy waves, water splashing all around, people enjoying every bit and it even has an awesome curve that will make the straight marina/besant nagar/mahabalipuram beaches jealous.
But due to lack of maintenance, I can’t (yet) recommend it for foreigners and even Indian people from other states. But if you live in Chennai, know the local ways, are a brave-heart, want to kick/splash in water and have the maximum fun, this is the place to visit.
Here are some photos I took at the Kovalam beach -