Ever wished that you could ride a boat in the river and sail to the sea?
Ever wished that you vacationed in a hotel room adjacent to a tranquil riverside with a view of the seabeach?
Ever wished that you enjoyed the food in a floating restaurant with the Sun setting into the sea?
You could have all these and more adventures when in Kerala. And no, I am not talking about Alleppey. It's Poovar Backwaters.
Nestled between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats lies the enchanting state of Kerala. Popularly referred to as God's own country, Kerala is known for its lush greenery, serene beaches, exquisite temples, and vibrant culture. One of the best experiences that Kerala offers is boating through its backwaters. One destination that gets lost amid more popular attractions like Alleppey and Kumarakom is the Poovar Backwaters. Poovar is a small village around 35 km from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, located at the southern tip of Kerala. Poovar Backwaters is a hidden gem that is still relatively unexplored, but extremely enjoyable. The village is situated at the mouth of the Neyyar River, where it meets the Arabian Sea, creating a stunning backwater that is perfect for boating.
A Tourist is filled with excitement and anticipation upon arriving at Soolamkudi. This is where numerous boating operators are based. A manager would first give an overview of the journey, elaborating upon the spots that this boat ride would cover. He details the rates of the trip. A tourist may employ his negotiation skills to get the best deal!
After paying the charges upfront, a driver-cum-guide leads the tourists into the boat. As the engine revs, the exploration of a hidden paradise through the Neyyar River begins.
Poovar Backwaters Ride
As the boat cruises slowly in the Neyyar River, the setting changes from a semi-urban to a more rural one, every passing minute. The Poovar Backwaters are a maze of interconnected canals and lagoons that are lined with coconut trees, mangroves, and lush greenery. Trees flank the banks on either side of the river, covering up most of the things that lay beyond. One can catch a little glimpse of houses on the river bank through some small sliver of space between the trees. These houses are mostly made of wood and they have thatched roofs. Some were even built on stilts, with their feet in the water. It gives them a rustic and charming feel. The boat operator would slow the boat upon sighting a rare species of bird, and allow for photographs to be taken from up close.
Sometimes, the water canal is very narrow with trees bending down and forming a canopy. The experience cannot be described in prose. It is like floating through a cave, the walls of which are made of trees! The tunnels in the water are not like amusement park experiences. It is eerie, surreal, picturesquely beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable.
And the journey continues…
With a turn of the wheels of the boat, the view changes suddenly. The boat leaves the narrow canal and the river gets wider. The boat rides towards the sea, the Golden Sand Beach is the final destination of this route. The boatman would point out key landmarks, including the Poovar Island Resort and the Mahindra Resort. These luxury properties allow boarding right by the banks of the Neyyar River. Built on 25 acres of lush green coconut gardens alongside the beach, the Poovar Island resort offers a unique blend of elegance and natural beauty. The resort is one of the few places in India where one can find the unique experience of floating cottages and villas.
The boat then cruises past a giant rock that is called The Elephant Rock, for its shape resembles an elephant and an altar dedicated to Mother Mary. There are a few floating restaurants here. Big boats anchored in the river double up as restaurants that serve snacks and meals. Generally, visitors are required to place the order during the onward journey. They may then explore the beachside while the restaurant gets adequate time to prepare the food. Upon returning to the boat restaurant, food is served to the tourists.
The Majestic Beauty
Upon reaching the beach, the boatman anchors his boat. The sandy stretch of land that separates the river from the sea is popularly called the Golden Sand Beach, where the Poovar Backwaters lead to. The sand is soft and golden, and the sea is a deep shade of blue. The beach gets narrower as one walks southwards and gradually it merges with the sea. Tourists are cautioned to not venture into the estuary for the risk of sudden water currents. On the wider part, the beach is busy with local vendors selling coconut water, fresh seafood, salty snacks, and petty souvenirs. It is a relief to find that such a beauty is not yet commercialized and exploited.
Maneuvering back through the serene waterbody, inching closer to the jetty, one's heart is praised for the fantastic experience. The streams, canals, rivers, and mangroves are nature lovers' paradise. The abundant natural beauty of this place is sure to mesmerize every traveler that ventures into this place. This is about a two-hour trip that offers a zillion camera-friendly moments and a lifetime of memories. Away from the hustle and bustle of crowded tourist spots, this fishing village could be a perfect getaway for the weekend when visiting Southern Kerala.
How to reach Poovar
Poovar Island is around 30 km from the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. Cabs may be booked therefrom. Resorts arrange for pick up and drop at the airport as well.
Poovar is around 29 km from Trivandrum railway station, which is well connected to major cities of India. One may get cabs for traveling to Poovar.
Some tour operators and auto rickshaws arrange for day trips to the Poovar Backwaters from Trivandrum. The package would include a couple of hours of boat ride along with other attractions like a visit to the Azhimala Shiva Temple and the Kovalam Beach (17 km away from Poovar).
Poovar is a natural wonder where the river, sea, and beach meet to make magic. The best time to visit Poovar is during the winter season. Enveloped by the most serene backwaters and opening out to the sea over a golden sand beach, Poovar Backwaters invites tourists looking for an idyllic setting to soak in the tranquillity of nature.
An honest SCORPIO who is crazy about movies, and overly passionate about travel.
Believes in immortalizing the moment, either by way of the photograph or literal documentation of the journey.