Poovar – where river and sea meets ..
A blue sky, an island, a sandy beach, a river ,an estuary , a stretch of coconut trees, a lone boat and the blue-green backwaters . And of course, birds, fish , the boatman and us .
This is Poovar for you, lost somewhere near the tip of South India, tucked in Gods own country , Kerala .
It was a lazy Saturday morning and we were in Tiruvanthapuram or Trivandrum staring endlessly at the beaches in Kovalam . Unlike most capital cities, this quiet nonchalant town-city has a certain charm that makes you linger. While most of my friends prefer Cochin , I have always had a certain soft corner for Trivandrum – maybe , because its closer to my roots in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu .
We were in Kovalam at the beach , sipping a tender coconut when the vendor asked us if we had been to Poovar . I recollected travel packages promoting Poovar , images of floating cottages and a couple of resorts vying for attention . We were not the typical beach bums , so we were willing to tear ourselves away from the sunny shores and look for newer shores. So, we went driving , in search of a coastal hamlet called Poovar along the River Neyyar .
According to Wikipedia , ‘Poovar was a trading center of timber, sandlewood, ivory and spices. It is believed that the trading ships of King Solomon landed in a port called ‘Ophir’, which is figured out as Poovar.’
While surfing through kerelatourism.com, I was surprised to read that Poovar had a royal connection as well and it owed its name to a king . It was in this tiny hamlet , then a rich trading centre, that Raja Marthanda Varma , the legendary 18th century king of Travancore had sought refuge .
The story goes that Ettuveetil Pillamar, had proclaimed Marthanda Varma as his successor and the former’s sons declared war. The Maharaja had to flee from his land and he landed in Poovar with the help of one Moosa Marikar, a merchant who also helped him regain power .
The Raja was fascinated by the sight of red flowers, chipped out from the Kovala trees growing along the Neyyar river , which floated in the river as a red carpet on water. The legned is that the stream was named as “POOVAR” as the Raja described the river as “POO-AAR” ( meaning a stream of flowers).
The drive is not just beautiful, but it takes you into the heart of rustic India. A little bustle here and there, a few shops will convert a sleepy village into a market. The smell of the fish was everywhere – we took a detour and came to a jetty which only allowed tourists who were staying in the resorts ..We managed to talk the boatman into taking us for a little ride on the backwaters .
There were a few resorts dotting the landscape ..but besides that, all we could see was just the azure waters and the blue sky . The coconut trees stretched out, kissing the waters here and there, as we sailed ..Until we saw two horizons ..one separating the sky from the sea, the other – a sandy beach separating the sea from the backwaters . The estuary here connects to the sea during high tides . I looked at the vast expanse of waters called sea, river, backwaters , estuary and wondered if there was anything so simple and yet so beautiful in life ! This is probably what they call happiness !
Nearest Airport : Trivandrum International Airport – 18km, Nearest Railway Station : Trivandrum Central – 22km, Nemom – 12km, Nearest Harbor : Vizhinjam – 14km
Poovar is just 32 kms away from Trivandrum .
Lovely resorts and homestays dot Poovar . Poovar Island Resort with its floating cottages, The Estuary Island from where these photographs have been taken , Isola Di Cocco and a homestay – Fridays Place
Yeah, looks sweet. Maybe next time I visit Kerala!
Beautiful blue pictures and an interesting text. It’s making me feel most uncomfortable for never having been to India…
Priyank – Its quite a sweet place and a great place to chill ..
gmg – I think you should then plan a trip very soon ..you will be surprised at the variety and diversity
One day I will surely visit Kerala. The only time I have ever been there was a friend’s visit near Cochin, but it was a very short 2 day trip, didnt get a chance to see any sights. Amazing pictures and narrative 🙂
Nice pics…I missed this place during my trip, but will keep it in mind during the next to Trivandrum.
Fabulous shots.. the contrasting coco trees in the blue horizon is awesome. But personally I liked the gray back waters.. Nice post
I’ve seen quite a bit of Kerala, yet feel it’s never enough. No matter how many trips you make to ‘God’s own country’ the place never fails to fill you with joy – be it the beaches, backwaters, or the mountains.
Typial scenery of Kerala captured by you beautifully here. Thanks for sharing these. 🙂
your country is very beautiful!
Cosmic Joy – cochin is still very beautiful..combines history with natural beauty.am sure you enjoyed it
Ajeya rao- Thanks..some trips just happen , unplanned !
Pijush – I prefer the backwaters too..but this was so out of the blue ..the floating cottages in one of the resorts are highly rated
Indicaspecies – Kerala is one world of discovery ..Ive been there too several times and everytime I see sthg new in the same city
Ken-thanks..India is truly very beautiful ..rich in natural wealth and historically and spiritually rich too ..pls visit sometime
Nice! I need to pay a visit down south now 🙂
No chance! I’m stuck; more than five days out is almost impossible, except in August or September. And even so twelve days will be the maximum! But that�s not a sitable season… Have to retire! ;))
Looks like an inviting place. The location of the pier looks beautiful.
Anjuli- that would be very nice..let me know for anything
hey not now, not now, but yes I will, thanks sweets!
GMG – maybe a “travelling” job would help . You could still get a glimpse of India in those few days
Arun – It was very simple and beautiful..the best thing is the way we discovered it ..but thats the best thing abt travelling, right ?
Thank you for showing us this magical place. I find it heartening that the resorts for the tourists seem to have left nature untouched (I hope that it is Indians who own and get work at those places).
God’s own country! Not without reason 🙂 How come you get to travel so much? Not fair! ;D
so much water, so so much. I come from a real water-land (North Bihar) but we have no sea there and as I sit tight in Delhi-winters, its giving me more chill.
WoW…some very beautifully captured shots!
Merisi – There are certain resorts and homestays that try not to spoil the beauty of the place and are still comfortable.Eco tourism in India is very much in the nascent stage but most of them are owned by indians and they provide employment to the locals
Smita – And I hope to see more and more …
Nandan -thats the best part of the backwaters ..and I hate winters too .
Kalyan -thanks .its nothing compared to your kashmir pics
Thank you for the information,
makes me really glad to hear that!
Most of my friends would rather stay with local owners who regard the environment as a treasure we need to respect and care about. I do hope this is going to be the trend of the future.
Yes..there are home stays in most places that give you a flavour of the local culture without spoiling the environment and also ensuring the holidays are comfortable.
Your description of this place reminds me of Xochimilco (the floating gardens) in Mexico.
wow ! sounds like an exotic place ..had been once in mexico , but in transit and was only at the airport
It’s simply great! I understand that there is one resort owned by Mahindra Holidays. How is your experience of the same?
One more query. If we want to travel to kanyakumari, I think Poovar is very close. Please guide me, as myself and my wife, both in sixties, wish to stay there and explore the nature during this Septemeber 2009.Any more tips?
Thanks a lot.
And that’s where I live. I never knew Trivandrum was so beautiful! Haven’t seen enough of my home town, I guess!
great place to be..
Wow! Amazing post. I would have never known why this place was named POOVAR, if I wouldn’t have read your post or would have visited the place. I’m planning to visit this place soon.
Thanks for the post. The best part about your blog is you add a lot of pictures which is good as per my liking. I’m able to relate more as to what is written in the content and what actually the place looks like. Also, the little history you add makes it more informative along with your personal experience.
I’m glad I’ve found this blog. Cheers!!! 🙂