Travel to Backwaters of Kerala and Kanyakumari

  • Ravi gives a day by day account, with pictures, of the wonderful time he spent in the Backwaters of Kerala and Kanyakumari.

This was my first trip to the backwaters of Kerala and to Kanyakumari. I was very excited as this would also be my first trip after the Omicron wave.


Day 1 Cochin to Ashtamudi

Ashtamudi Lake is situated between Cochin and Trivandrum, I decided to fly to Cochin and then drive down.


The flight was along the western coast and the lovely green Kerala countryside comes up close when you land. Taxis are easily available but they charge you return fare too.


Kerala’s NH66 is narrow and old and is along the coast. The roads are crowded especially with two wheelers. They have built flyovers over some key towns to bypass them. We could see the sea sometimes on our right. We passed through Alleppey to reach Kollam (Quilon) where Ashtamudi is situated. The drive took four hours and it was evening when we reached. 


I checked in and was transported to a different world.

Welcome to Ashramudi. 

Day 2 and 3 Ashtamudi

Home on lakeside. 

Ashtamudi is one of the most important wetlands in Kerala. The lake originates as the Kallada river and has eight arms, one of which joins the sea. Munroe Island is a very large mangrove island in the lake. The lake is very clean and supports a very large fishing community along its shores.

Fishing nets. 

Chinese fishing nets are a common sight. I walked to the nearby village and discovered small homes with TVs and two wheelers. Each house has its own boat. Many of the communities are Christian and there are many old churches in the villages.

Villagers using local boats. 

I took a boat tour around the lake. We passed several villages as well as the local fish market. The main means of transport are small boats. It does have the feeling of Dal Lake (without the mountains). There is a serenity to the lake and it is easy to spend your day reading or on a hammock. For the more adventurous, there are nature walks, bird watching and dolphin sighting. Kollam beach and Krishnapuram Palace are also nearby.

Fishing nets Ashtamudi Lake. On banks are Fisherman homes.

Kerala has been traditionally part of the Global Trade from China to Europe. The cuisine reflects the various cultures. Pepper travelled from Kerala while chillies came from South America through the Portuguese. The food can range from mildly spiced stew to fiery fish curry. Malabar parathas are unique with a flakiness like Bakalava while Appam is fermented Dosa. The Kerala cuisine uses a larger variety of spices which give it a more delicate flavour unlike other South India cuisines.


Day 4 Drive to Poovar via Trivandrum and Kovalam

Ashtamudi is two and a half hours North of Trivandrum. We decided to visit the famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The main deity is Lord Vishnu in Anantha Shayana Posture. It is the tutelary deity of the Travancore Royals and is maintained by their trust.


In fact, Thiruvanthapura means “city of Lord Anantha”. Here Lord Vishnu has a hand over Shiva linga and Brahma emerges on a lotus from his navel.

Outside temple. 

The temple has very strict rules on traditional dress code as well for electronics. Even earphones are not allowed. But there is a nice cloak room as well as very clean bath rooms outside. The temple is very large, clean and well maintained.


The South Indian temples always surprise me with their scale and size. The crowds were very low and the Pujaris take trouble to explain about the deity to visitors especially from North India. The deity is similar to the sleeping Buddha in Bangkok. But it is made from a black material and so needs a lot of focus to become visible.


We then proceeded to Kovalam beach but missed the sunset. The beach is very touristy but was not crowded.


We reached the resort in Poovar in time for dinner of Malabar Paratha and Korma.


Day 5 Onward to Kanyakumari

Poovar. Abandoned boat houses.

Poovar Island is on the Neyyar River which enters the sea. You can see the river bordering the beach on the other side. It is very pristine and unspoilt. The beach has white sand. It is close to the Kerala Southern border. The resort itself is very small but completely done in Kerala style architecture.

Padmanabhapuram Palace. 

We left for Kanyakumari by 10 am. Enroute we visited the Padmanabhapuram Palace. This was the Palace of the Travancore Royals till they moved to Tiruvananthapuram. It is now in Tamil Nadu and is a protected monument. It is a complete palace in wood with Royal meeting rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, gardens, dancing hall and a lovely Clock Tower. It is very well maintained. They have very high entry fees charges for Digital Cameras on the ground that you can film videos, but after explaining our position they allowed us.

Dance Hall inside palace.

Dance Hall.  

We then stopped for traditional Tamil Thali lunch at a local restaurant – Gourishankar. This was very authentic and very reasonable. 


We then proceeded to Kanyakumari in time for the boat ride. We had been warned of large crowds. You have to be there by 3 pm to get a ticket. Boats stop at 4.30. But due to covid and a weekday, we found no crowds. Most people were from Tamil Nadu and Andhra. But the there were also people from other parts of India.

Boat ride to Vivekananda Rock Memorial.


From the shore the statue of Thiruvallavur looks stunningly majestic.

View of Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvallavur statue.

The sea was rough with very strong wind. It seems the weather is not predictable and if it gets too rough they cancel the boats. The first stop was at the Vivenkananda Rock Memorial. The statue of Vivekananda is majestic and serene. Outside it is very windy and you suddenly realise that you are at the Southern most end of India and there is nothing but the Indian Ocean beyond. We spent a few minutes at the meditation centre on the way down.

Overview of Vivekananda Rock Memorial.

The next stop is the Thiruvalluvar Statue. You can climb up and get a lovely view of the Memorial as well as the coast. The shore has a large Church and Mosque. After a little while we were back on shore.

Thiruvallavur statue.

We then visited the Kanyakumari Temple. The Devi has two diamonds which reflect the lamps. They say that in the past ships thought her diamonds with a Lighthouse so they had to enclose her. The temple was not crowded and so we had a fantastic darshan.


Behind the temple is the spot to get great shots with the Memorials in the background.


The sunset beach is slightly to the West. We saw a spectacular sunset and headed back.


We visited Suchindran temple on our way back. This is a temple with a huge granite Hanuman facing Ram. It has also a unique deity which is a combination of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in a single Moorti. Historically it was in the area common to the Shaivites (Cholas etc) and the Vaishnavites (Tranvancore). So it is dedicated to both traditions.


We reached Poovar by night.


Day 6 Fly back to Mumbai

We had to take the flight back from Trivandrum. The driver avoided the main highway and took us through the inside village roads. The lush green scenery, narrow roads and small villages felt like Sri Lanka.


On our way we passed the unique Shree Parasuraman Temple. Parasuraman is believed to be the founder of Kerala. We bought some traditional Kerala chips and flew back.


Author Ravi is a Mumbai based professional and serious photographer.


To read all travelogues by author


To read all articles in Travel


To see album on Rock Memorial Kanyakumari    


Receive Site Updates