Sunday, September 03, 2006

Poovar Island Resort, Kerala.

God’s own country???...well almost!
A boat ride, sandy shores, waves lapping gently as you lie floating…. Songs hum in your head as the wind caresses softly and the scent of wet mud rises to your call…. Esoteric you might think. Not impossible though. And certainly not a dream, as four days at the Poovar Island Resort, Kerala proved.

The first sight of Thiruvananthapuram (the main connecting point) was beaches and coconut trees.....with houses by the sea, reminding me of a devotional song that used to be softly sung by my ‘mallu’ teacher in school-"Cheti Mandaram Thulassi..." in honour of Lord Guruvayurappan. The journey to the resort saw more sand and lots of colour, which was apparent in the bananas being sold on the road-they were yellow, green and yes red too! We got down at a pick up point, by the riverside. Moments later, a speedboat from the resort arrived and carried us over a calm green expanse of the famed Kerala backwaters.Escorting us on both sides were stretches of coconut groves rising from 4ft to 15ft -and one could smell freshness in the air mixed with the subtler magic of silence- simply amazing!

The backwaters opened out revealing a white sandy beach opposite, which became the dividing line between the backwater lagoon and the sea. At one point, very delicately, the land submerges as clear and saline water mingle with each other. The boat stopped at a group of cottages and steps led to the great hall and reception all in wood with a huge sloping roof. My room turned out to be one of the cottages on the bay…and better still, was a floating paradise! (The resort offers stay in either a land cottage, which lies beyond the reception and swimming pool, or a floating cottage - on the backwaters. The floating units are constructed on hollow light weight concrete hulls. They are air-conditioned and fully equipped with all modern amenities.)

The staff is very competent and speaks excellent English and have been taught to chat and converse with the guests, mostly foreigners, to make them feel comfortable. Our attendants were Rajanikanth (apparently after the great movie star whose done Bloodstone and is (world)famous in China---didn’t know about this!) and Pradeep- who said that it is possible one day the float might loosen and we might find ourselves in Maldives...which I wouldn’t have minded one bit, in fact was praying for it... but at the same time, was very content being where I was- maybe it was the romance of the place that added the extra zing!

A trip to Kerala without the legendary Ayurveda massage was unthinkable! So the next afternoon was spent on rejuvenating all our senses...and more. Some great food and a relaxing canoe ride down the backwaters at sunset, completed the serene picture. The resort organises a day trip to Thiruvananthapuram, wherein one can visit the famous Padmanabhan temple that has the awe-inspiring reclining 18 ft idol of Lord Padmanabhan , the Palace of the Travancore Maharaja (all done up in rose and teak wood) and now a museum. Also a must -visit to the Raja Ravi Verma Museum which has within the same complex the zoo, a reptile park and an art gallery. Culture and beauty intertwine to enliven the mind...

And to enliven our hearts, nature played a big part- for on the way back, it rained!!!! Suddenly the place smelt differently. Various smells like sandalwood, flowers, etc mingled with that of the rain.....the heavy smell of tobacco + wet mud created a very potent and sultry atmosphere... Saw a mind-blowing sunset view whilst sitting on the verandah of my 'floating home'.....the waves crashed against the beach opposite and the waves kept getting higher as the sun dropped lower.......our cottages slightly danced to the music of the full moon and sea....as we did too...
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Factoids:
Location- Poovar Island Resort, Kerala
How to get there–
Nearest Airport: Trivandrum - 30 km. Prepaid cabs available at the Airport.
Nearest major Railway station: Trivandrum central -30 km.
It is accessible by a 10-minute ride on the river.
Local Languages- Malayalam, Hindi, English
Units - Categories of Room: 50 Floating Cottages, Standard and Superior Land Based Cottages. All units have air-conditioning, colour TVs with a varied choice of international and Indian channels, and contemporary security devices & systems.
Cuisine- There is Western, Asian and Indian Cuisine to choose from, and two bars in addition to service at your hammock!
Additional- Conference and function facilities range from10-600. The resort offers a choice of Ayurvedic massage programs to suit your personal needs.
Places to see nearby – Padmanabhapuram Temple and Palace, Neyyar Dam, The Zoo, Shanghumugham Beach, Museum, Raja Ravi Verma Art Gallery and Museum.
Contact- K.P. VII/911, Paruthiyoor, Kulathoor Panchayath, Pozhiyoor PO, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 513, Kerala, India. Email: poovarisland@hotelskerala.com
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Trivandrum Sightseeing
Padmanabhapuram Palace:
This palace was the capital of Travancore before it was shifted to Trivandrum. The wooden palace contains some interesting murals of the 17th & 18th century. The palace is on the way to Nagarcoil.
Neyyar Dam:Situated 32 km from Trivandrum, this is a favourite picnic spot of the local community. Boating facility is available in the reservior. There is also a crocodile farm and a lion safari park. There are some direct buses from Trivandrum from the KSRTC bus stand. A better option would be to take a bus to the Kattakada (20 km) from Trivandrum, and to Neyyar dam from there.

The Zoo:This zoo is among the best managed in India, it is located near the Napier museum. (Open 9.00 am – 5.00 pm closed on Mondays)Shanghumugham Beach (4 km):This beach is the favourite of the locals. There is a park in the vicinity.
Kowdiar Palace- This palace, home of the late Maharaja Sree Chitra Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and his family is off limits to the public. But the view of the grand old building from the gate is excellent, a co-operative gate keeper just might let you walk a few meters inside for a better view.
Velli Lagoon- The Velli Tourist Village is just on the outskirts of the city. The place is an good picnic spot with some good restaurants and boating facility in the bottle green river. The beach is the other attraction. The fishing activity near the beach area is an interesting sight.
Ponmudi (61 km) -This is a small hill station near Trivandrum, accommodation and restaurants are available. This a good trekking area. There are buses from Trivandrum between 6.00 am and 7.00 pm. The journey takes 2 ½ hours.
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary (50 km)- This sanctuary is on the way to Ponmudi , a small detour from Vithurai. The possible wild life sightings are elephants, sambhar, leopards and the lion tailed macaque.

(this is part of a larger travel piece that I had written on my visit to Poovar Island, Kerala- edited and re-written into a shorter version for another blog. )

12 comments:

s. said...

kitthe twadde pix re? Loved the 'wild' ride! Now hurry up and write about ur italian adventures! Happy Travelling!

lovemarks said...

:))) yessum.... need to put up the pics too! Will do that asap!

s. said...

hey dee, punmudi is known for its spring which can be trekked upto for a lovely swim! :)

lovemarks said...

will add that- thanks!:)

Anonymous said...

Its September 12. WE WANTS PICS PLISS

Thanks

lovemarks said...

:(... yes yes

s. said...

wt a demanding lot!!! so here goes...WE WANT PIX PLSSSSSSSSS! Esp since u take such lovely ones!

Geoff said...

Cool
This is what I had in mind for my Blog
Geoff's World but has eventuated yet.
great Travel Blog :-) keep up the travelling :-)
thanks Geoff

lovemarks said...

A little late in replying...but thanks Geoff! :)

Zofo The Hermit of Wandering Thoughts said...

this is brilliant.. I have often thought of mantaining a seperate blog of my travel pics and trips that I do.. but never seem to find the time to do it... If I could it would be something like this...

Loved the kanha pics...

The last time I was away was in Sept to SIkkim.. got some of those pics on my blog.. but always wanted something like this..

cheers
z

Kuan Gung said...

Interestings and loved the factoids!

lovemarks said...

Happy New Year!!!

* Zofo: Aha, the wandering hermit returns! :))) I so love the Sikkim pics you've taken and in fact of most of the stuff you've talked about in your blog. (Mutal Admiration Soc, this!hehe)

* Kuan: Thanks and I'm glad you mentioned you liked the facts- will now ensure every post has it.

Stay tuned for the next piece.