Feb 18, 2016

Coastal India Series- Destination Poovar, the stunning estuary of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala

Estuary is the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tides from the ocean meets the river stream and forms a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats.

I had heard of this term for the first time when I was researching our stay at Kovalam. Poovar happens to be a small waterfront hamlet along the River Neyyar which flows through this hamlet and drains into the Arabian Sea. Poovar is a 75kms drive from Kovalam and has many luxury accommodations including the Club Mahindra properties.

To enjoy this magnificent destination one has to take a backwater cruise. There are many Boat Companies that ply this trip and you get a choice of boats (Motor boat, Country boat or a Shikara) to choose from for your cruise. You can book your trip online as well. Usually the ride is for a couple of hours with a 30 minute stop at the golden sandy beach of the estuary.

Backwater, Poovar, Sunset Cruise, Kerala

My son plays captain of the ship in our traditional houseboat on the Neyyar river

We sailed out in a typical Kerala House Boat that swayed through dense mangrove waterways that were home to many exotic marine birds. A slow and winding ride which occasionally interspersed with fishing villages that had their respective boats parked on either sides of the banks brought us closer to our final destination. Indeed was an interesting view to hold.

Neyyar river, backwater cruise, poovar estuary

Parked boats along the river bank of Neyyar River

Neyyar river, backwater cruise, poovar estuary

Young boys from the nearby hamlets have a playful time while we sway through the curves to our destination.

Every hamlet would have people carrying out daily chores along the banks and kids swimming in the water while the elders performed their duties. At a distance we could see vast and fairly empty winding roads that had an occasional motorbike whisk past with a pile-on rider that reminded you that modern civilization is just around the corner. As we were on a sunset cruise many of the images were merely silhouettes!

Neyyar river, backwater cruise, poovar estuary

Silhouette of the not so far-off city life!

Navigating through our winding water paths we finally surfaced on a much wider water expanse. Clearly a space where more flowing tributaries merged in therefore making the waterscape look wider & bigger. As we were done with discussing this point, at a distance not very far, we could see some broken patches of golden sand with interspersed spray of surf. My son jumped with excitement knowing very well it was beach time again!

Neyyar river, backwater cruise, poovar estuary

Finally at the estuary where the river meets the salty ocean.

Indeed was. We alighted at this spot only to realise that the small golden patch was a really large stretch and a majority of this bank was wedging into the ocean. The setting sun cast a golden hue on the shimmering sand and it was a visual treat like never before! Each wave would've been twice my height and interestingly the mixing of the waters added to the heaviness of the waves, perhaps!

Neyyar river, backwater cruise, poovar estuary

Sonny boy and me race up the beach to feel the waves.

It was kind of scary while we watched but I am sure if we were surfers we'd have jumped right in and have ridden these waves!

We spent the next half hour soaking in the beauty, playing with the waves and somewhere feeling very thankful to God for having seen such a beautiful natural wonder. The setting sun perhaps never looked as radiant and left its lasting orange in the skies for a long while even after it had set.

As the sun sets it leaves behind the orange hue.

The perfect shot where the sunset is in progess while the moon gives a quick glimpse against the orange sky

With this we got back into our respective water machines and headed back to shore where the vacation still had a promise, a promise of exploring some more and as for me, a secret desire to be back here again, very soon.

Sensuous2Spiritual Recommends:

  • Stay at Poovar if you have never experienced the estuary. I plan to do that for sure during my next visit!
  • Take a traditional Kerala Houseboat ride and feel the local ways of living through the backwaters.
  • Carry swimwear. It is way too tempting to not get into water. 
  • Have a set of good binoculars handy and if you are into photography then this should be paradise.
  • Drink 'chaya' ~ hot tea by the waterside stalls. Is a fun experience to have.
  • Ask your boatman to play some good Malyalee songs. Adds to the ambience!          

Important Tip:

Don't forget to carry some mosquito repellent cream for your ride back. It gets dark and notorious for mosquitoes. The only drawback if you are on a sunset cruise.

Silhouette of the upstream ride after the sunset.

As we approach some of the hamlets, now closer to our parking bay!

More on the Sensuous2Spiritual Coastal India Series

Stay tuned for more and until then leave me with you comments. It could be about your own experiences while touring these places, recommendations or simply some kind words that will shower love for Sensuous2Spiritual! :)




  1. Really enjoyed the genuine and passionate post. Personal to you but showing others what to do! Some really lovely photos also!
    Tthe colour of the writing on my PC seems quite faded, not sure if its the colour or just my laptop but some people may struggle to read!
    India looks so beautiful, can't wait to go back!

  2. Loved the personal and genuine blog, I can see how much you enjoyed yourself with your family and it really comes across how passionate you are about traveling India. I found the font colour a little hard to read but you have some fabulous photos! Thank you for sharing your incredible experiances. Can't wait to get back to India!

    1. Thanks Leah! It's always the best when all 3 of us are together exploring India. Take your feedback on the font. Let me try and make some alterations based on your advice. :) Do visit soon.

  3. I would love to explore this part of India by houseboat, how serene! Lovely photos, thanks!

  4. Thanks so much Hannah! I am sure you will love it... I am in Kerala at this mioment learning pottery hence the delay in response. Kerala feels like 2nd home to me now!