An ordinary seaside village can sometimes suddenly turn into a popular tourist spot after infrastructural developments and Muthalapozhi in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district is an example.
Till a few years ago, nobody gave the place any attention. After two groynes were built to the sea as part of a fishing harbour project along with a bridge, Muthalapozhi transformed into a destination attracting numerous curious visitors every day.
Muthalapozhi is an area where backwaters merge with the sea and is indeed very picturesque. Malayalam filmgoers will be familiar with the place as it is the one of the locations for the movie 'Velipadinte Pusthakam' which had superstar Mohanlal in the lead. It was the first film by director Lal Jose that had the actor in the main role. In fact, almost the entire movie was shot in the Kerala capital.
Mohanlal played the role of professor Michael Idicula, a college teacher, in 'Velipadinte Pusthakam.' Incidentally, the local residents of Muthalapozhi, Thumba, and Perumanthura had witnessed the actor's real talent when he broke down in front of the camera even after the director had called 'cut.'
Crocodiles and the bridge
'Muthala' in Malayalam stands for crocodile and 'pozhi' for the sand bar separating the backwaters from the sea. In the past, crocodiles were abundant in the waters here, as per local lore.
It was after a bridge was built connecting Perumathura and Thazhampally that the place came to the limelight, drawing visitors. The view of the sea and lake from the bridge were worht a look and the number of tourists swelled in no time.
Real feel of the sea
The government had launched the developmental works at Muthalapozhi with the aim of turning it into a fishing harbour. For this, two parallel paths were built to the sea. Visitors can walk along each of these half-a-km-long groynes and this is the main attraction of Muthalapozhi. Small vehicles can be taken along these tracks but it would be a rough ride.
Visitors can park their vehicles near the bridge on the Thazhampally (right) side and walk under the under the bridge to the sea. On the Perumathura (left) side, vehicles can be parked under the bridge.
The first sight that greets visitors after stepping on the path to the sea is a lake. It is called Anchuthengu Lake as well as Kadinamkulam Lake. The place is in fact the spot where the lake and sea merge. In the past, a sand bar used to appear in the area, separating the lake and sea. People could cross the waters along this natural bridge. This sand bar had to be broken during the rainy season to prevent flooding in the low-lying land nearby. However, when work on the fishing harbour started, the natural formation of the sand bar ceased.
When visitors reach halfway of the groynes, they can experience the real power of the sea. The waves start dashing violently against the artificial pathway to the sea. The walk can be up to the point where a warning sign has been put up. Some youths who had ventured to the rocks at the tip of the path had slipped and fell, losing their lives in the process. After this incident, tourists are not allowed up to the end of the path. Anyhow, on the sea path, the breeze is refreshing and the scenery ideal for clicking photographs.
The beach at Muthalapozhi is crowded on holidays. More people arrive at the beach on the Perumathura side as it is broader than the beach at Thazhampally. Visitors can walk some way along the groynes before stepping on to the beach.
Many people reaching the beach engage in kite-flying. Another interesting sight at the beach is peculiar greenery. Video shoots held as part of weddings take place regularly in the area now.
Even though no basic facilities have been arranged, tourists are making a beeline for Muthalapozhi. The state government had announced various projects for the area but none of them has been implemented. Other places of interest near Muthalapozhi include Anchuthengu Fort, Lighthouse, Papanasam Beach at Varkala, Sarkara Temple in Chirayinkeezhu and Kadinamkulam Temple.
A boat service is available for tourists from Muthalapozhi Tourist Village at Perumathura. The boats start from near Pulunthuruthy landing. Another boat service starts from the jetty at Pandakasala in Chirayinkeezhu where the boat race is held. This boat travels up to Muthalapozhi.
How to reach
From Thiruvananthapuram, Muthalapozhi can be reached by taking the road via Kaniyapuram and Kadinamkulam. Another route passes along Shangumugham Beach Road and Perumathura.
The nearest railway station from Muthalapozhi is Chirayinkeezhu. Kadakkavoor Railway Station is also nearby.
Travellers from Varkala can head to Muthalapozhi along the Anchuthengu Beach Road.
From Kollam, the route is along Alamkode, Mananakku, and Anchuthengu.