Offering a rejuvenating retreat amidst the backwaters of Kerala, Poovar Island is a scenically stunning sojourn. The island harbors floating cottages and mellow hammocks and is a secluded escape like no other. Poovar Island is owned and administered by Floatels India Pvt Ltd. It's known to be the first company to have the idea of floating structures implemented in India. Thus, it is the only place in India where you can find floating cottages and villas afloat on the scenic backwaters which face the sea.
The small island is a sanctuary for those who seek seclusion and solace. It's tucked away where the backwaters and the Neyyar river converge at the Arabian Sea. This little coastal island has been marked on the map for its serenity and unwinding experience, whether it's a romantic or a family getaway.
The legendary King of Travancore, King Marthanda Varma, spent his exiled days on the island before reclaiming his throne. According to the legend passed down over generations, he once saw flower petals scattered and floating on the river. He then named the place Poovar from ''Pokkummoosapuram", as in 'the river of flowers', and that is how the place got its name.
Poovar has been known to have a tradition of sea trading things like ivory, spice,s and timber, the origin of which can be traced back to the days of King Solomon. Ancient archives regard Poovar as the port of Ophir, proving that its trading roots are very deep indeed. The central mosque on the island is known to be one of Kerala's earliest mosques. It was built by Malik-bin-Dinar around 1400 years ago. The pages of history remember him as the Arabian missionary who brought Islam to Kerala.
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The unexplored pathways made by the golden sands along the serene backwaters are as tempting as the backwaters themselves. If you'd rather explore the backwaters than the beaches, hop on board a boat. Many tourists unwind here by going on boat rides in the backwaters. You can either hire a canoe or a luxurious houseboat at your convenience.
You can take a walk through the villages around the island to experience the local life there. The closest fishing village is only a couple of minutes away by a boat. Only a few steps into the fishing village and you can find the traditional martial art of kalaripayattu being taught. Centuries of tradition being nurtured and passed down to younger ones, Kerala's own and unique self-defense system, and you get to witness it all in person.
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The unwinding experience in Poovar Island goes in tandem with the Ayurvedic therapies offered by almost every major Poovar resort. They comprehensively tend to tourists by providing them with various Ayurvedic treatments. This works wonders for your body as you unwind not just by soaking in nature's serenity, but also with the treatments.
Boat ride too short and simple? Choose to go on boat cruises instead. Poovar is known for its cruise facilities where you can either choose an hour or two ride in motor or country boats through the embedded mangrove forests and canopy of trees in the blue lagoon of waters. The cost of the two hour boat ride, which covers at least 15kms in water, is about Rs.200 per person. Along the captivating forest areas, the cruise moves to cover the mangrove forests, golden beach, statue of Mother Mary and so much more.
Boat ride too short and simple for you? Choose to go on boat cruises instead. Poovar is known for its cruise facilities, and you have a few fun choices on hand. You can choose to go on either a one or two hour long ride on a motor or country boat. These wind through the embedded mangrove forests and the blue waters, under the canopy of trees. The cost of the two hour boat ride, which covers at least 15 kms in the water, is about INR 200 per person. Apart from the captivating forest areas, the cruise takes you through the mangrove forests, past the golden beach and statue of Mother Mary, and so much more.
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The best time to visit Poovar Island is the winter season from October to February. As the temperature drops and the visibility increases, the ambiance of the entire place enhances the quintessential beauty of the entire region.
There's no entrance fee to the island, and it's also open at every hour for tourists who want to visit and enjoy themselves. The accommodation at Poovar Island is very minimal as the isle is very small. There are only three major beach resorts and only a few other smaller establishments for your stay. The three main beach resorts are Isla de Cocco, the Estuary Island Resort, and the Poovar Beach Resort.
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Vizhinjam, a natural harbor, is only 14 kms away from Poovar Island. Vizhinjam is known for a stunning cave temple with rock-cut sculptures, dating back to the 18th century.
Another noticeable spot that attracts tourists is the Pozhikkara beach, just a kilometer away from Poovar. The beach has an interesting bank of sand that separates the sea and backwaters. At the peak of the monsoon season, as the lake and sea merge, it becomes a sight to behold. It's also a great bird-watching area where many local birds (like the native Great Hornbill) and migratory birds (like th ePied Kingfisher and Chestnut Bitten Cotton Teal) drop by.
The famous Kovalam beach is located just 12 kms away from the island. It's one of the most sought out and popular beaches in Kerala. Being only a few kilometers away from Poovar, it would be a shame not to visit it.
The Kuthiramalika Palace which is also referred to as the 'Mansion of Horses' is another remarkable place to visit. It's intricately built and shows off beautiful wood carvings, wooden ceilings, and floral motifs from traditional Kerala architecture.
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While Poorvar is well connected, the island is accessible only via boats. After reaching the nearest boat jetty to Poovar, you only need about a 10 to 15-minute boat ride to reach the island.
There are numerous routes and modes of transportation you can take to reach the closest boat jetty to Poovar. The three nearest towns are Neyyattinkara, Nemon and Trivandrum. Neyyattinkara is only 10 kms away, whereas Nemon is 12 km away and Trivandrum, the capital city of Kerala, is 30 kms away. All three aforementioned towns have bus stations available, and Trivandrum has an airport as well.
Poovar is also well-linked by roadways to other towns like Kulathupuzha, Kollam, Kochi, Kottayam, Thrissur, Tirunelveli, Madurai and Thoothukudi.
In case you plan on traveling via train, the closest railway station is at Dhanuvachapuram, only 9 kms away from the island. However, the frequency of the trains is low and it doesn't have connections to major cities in India. A better option would be the Trivandrum Central railway station in Trivandrum, just 22 kms away.
The closest airport is the Trivandrum International Airport, in Kerala's capital city. The airport is connected to major metropolitan cities in India and is located at a distance of 20 km from Poovar. From there, you could get a cab or a bus.
Setting aside the mystical nature that fortunately remains untouched, the undeniable charm of this gem is that it's got a river, backwaters, the sea, a beach, and an island, all in one place. Due to the Estuarine belt in this area, the beach is not suitable for swimming in every season because of strong currents. So make sure to take precautions and ask the locals before diving in.
Kerala is known for its boat races that are held annually. But there are also many minor boat races that are conducted seasonally. Similarly, the backwaters of Poovar Island are one such place where you can witness years of traditions. It is the only time when the serenity of this place is disturbed due to the boat ride competitions in the neighboring fishing villages. The air is filled with enthusiasm and frivolity, and you get to see local tradition at its finest.
Poovar Island is a gateway to a tropical paradise with its lush flora and fauna. Golden sands, emerald backwaters, swaying coconut trees, crimson sunsets and sheets of history pages written in its name, all of this makes it like no other.
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What Is Special In Poovar?
Apart from the stunning Poovar island, Poovar has several other attractions like its fishing village, the Thirparappu Falls, local shopping in the markets and the boat rides in the backwaters.
Is Poovar Worth Visiting?
Poovar is one of those hidden gems that has loads to offer, which is why we certainly think it’s worth a visit. It has stunning, untouched beaches, and a thriving ecosystem to be explored in its backwaters. Local culture is alive and kicking here, and of course, Poovar Island is a must see.
How Do I Get To Poovar Island?
Getting to Poovar Island can only be done by catching a boat from the Poovar jetty. Poovar itself is well connected by road to nearby cities, namely Trivandrum, that has the nearest major airport and rail head.