Mal: കോവളം kōvaḷam
‘King’s Coast’ Town/Resort, Kerala
From Mal: kō, ‘king’; or kōyam/kōva, ‘temple’, ‘palace’; and aḷam, ‘coastal area’, ‘sea’, ‘saltpan’.
There are two ‘twin’ Kovalams in Tamil Nadu (one near Kanyakumari, the other near Chennai) both famous for their salt manufacturing, which suggests ‘saltpan’ may indeed be relevant here.
The first beach resort, Halcyon Castle, was built here in the 1920s by Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (the Regent or acting monarch of Travancore under the British).
The modern Kovalam is famous for its beaches (it has three: Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach and
Samudra Beach) and, since the ‘Hippie Trail’ in the 1970s, has been a major tourist destination.