After two weeks of being held hostage by the urban chaos of Mumbai and Kochi, I was in serious need of sensory detoxification. I hired a car and driver and went 250 kilometers south of Kochi to a small coastal village called Poovar. There flows the Neyyar River and a few places where you can hire a boat to cruise the backwaters that feed the Neyyar.
Once you’re on the backwaters, it’s just you, the boat captain, some kingfishers, some cormorants and a duck or two. On my two hour boat cruise, I could count the number of people we crossed paths with on my two hands. Pure tranquility and relaxation!
A gentle breeze will take you along narrow channels of water lined with coconut palms; fronds gently waving in the air.
The Neyyar empties out into an estuary where the coconut palms give way to mangroves and you’ll find yourself drifting under the cool shade of the trees.
Eventually, you end up at the point where the estuary flows into the Arabian Sea. You can take a break from the boat ride with a walk on the beach to watch the pounding waves of the sea crashing onto shore.
Poovar is located about 15 km south of Thiruvananthapuram (formerly known as Trivandrum), the state capital of Kerala. There are plenty of places to stay, either in Poovar or in Thiruvananthapuram. The boat cruise company that I hired my cruise from was Leela Backwater Craze (http://leelabackwaters.com/). They have various boating options that you can choose from.