KOVALAM: A place in the sun

One of the world's greatest beaches, now a magnificent resort of the sun, surf and sea. A beach paradise: the boundless blue of the Arabian Sea and the unwinding miles of the fine sanded beaches washed by a surf which raors and hisses at the feet of the stalwart palms.

At the Kovalam Ashok Beach Resort, there's the magnificent Kovalam Hotel. Built as an extension of a hill that overlooks the Kovalam Bay, the five tiered hotel gently descends to the beach following the contours of the land. Nearby is Kovalam Grove, a beach village with 42 air-conditioned "kudils" or cottages set in a grove of lush palm trees. On the other side of Kovalam Hotel is Halcyon Castle the summer retreat of the kings, with two de luxe suites and mini conference facilities. Between the Hotel and the Grove is the Beach Center with typical south Indian circular kiosks with thatched conical roofs and facilities for popular aqautic sports.

Yet Kovalam is not just a beach resort. At the Yoga and Health Center in a shady grove, the intricacies and the dynamics of yoga and transcedental meditation are taught by experts. You can try out rejuvanating Ayurvedic massages and oil baths that date back thousands of years. And in the quietude of the evening take in a performance of Kathakali, the specatcular dance-drama of Kerala. Drawing from the rich heritage of Hindu epics, Kathakali depicts in chant and dance, th tales of gods, heroes and demons of the fabulous Indian legends. It is richly costumed and unrivalled in dramatic splendour.

Car hire and tour facilities take you to fabled Cochin through plantations of tea, coffee and fragrant spices; to

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