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 !

Getting there

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


  1. backpakker 4 December, 2007 at 13:54 Reply

    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

  2. Cosmic Joy 4 December, 2007 at 20:37 Reply

    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 🙂

  3. indicaspecies 5 December, 2007 at 19:58 Reply

    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. 🙂

  4. backpakker 6 December, 2007 at 12:31 Reply

    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

  5. GMG 9 December, 2007 at 07:07 Reply

    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! ;))

  6. backpakker 11 December, 2007 at 12:35 Reply

    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 ?

  7. Merisi 11 December, 2007 at 13:17 Reply

    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).

  8. Nandan Jha 11 December, 2007 at 20:44 Reply

    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.


  9. backpakker 12 December, 2007 at 19:47 Reply

    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

  10. Merisi 13 December, 2007 at 20:27 Reply

    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.

  11. backpakker 14 December, 2007 at 20:36 Reply

    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.

  12. mannab 20 April, 2009 at 19:29 Reply

    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.
    Mangesh Nabar

  13. Anshul Sharma 18 March, 2018 at 19:18 Reply

    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!!! 🙂

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