One entire side of the scenic verdant state of coastal Kerala is bound by the Arabian Sea. Not only does it provide access to panoramic beaches, but a number of ports and fishing harbors too. The Neendakara fishing village and the fishing port is one such place and is located about 9km from the historically famous city of Kollam that rests on the banks of the picturesque Ashtamudi Lake. In the local lingo, the name translates to ‘a long bank’ and as far back as the 16nth century, when the Portugese traders settled down here, the Portugese ships used to sail through this long bank or bar across the Ashtamudi Lake.
It is also the headquarters of the Indo-Norwegian Fisheries Community project, set up in 1953 and handed over for administration to the government of Kerala in 1961. Some of the activities of this project include the setting up of the Fisherman Training Institute, establishing a boat building yard as well as a refrigeration plant. Neendakara is now a famous fishing sea port, with the capacity to handle over 500 fishing boats at a time. Aside from fisheries, the port is also used for trading purposes.
Due to its strategic location in the East-West International Sea route for international trade, the Neendakara port has retained its importance even after the opening on the Kochi port. Further competition is expected with the upcoming Vizhinjam port. By virtue of the fact that this fishing village has been in the fish trade since ancient times, it’s no wonder that Neendakara has been maintaining its status as an important fishing port till now. However, this busy international sea route has resulted in many export-oriented marine businesses being located close to this fishing village on the NH47.
Neendakara is also a beautiful location with people flocking down here to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature at work. You can even watch the magnificent sight of the majestic Ashtamudi Lake converging towards the sea as it drains into it at Neendakara. The Chinese fishing nets silhouetted against the sky like sentinels of old can also be seen. With Kollam city being a major tourist hub by virtue of the presence of the huge Ashtamudi Lake and its associated backwaters houseboat cruises, the Neendakara port also becomes a must-visit spot for the tourists.
It is about 66km from the nearest airport located in the capital city Trivandrum and is a breezy drive through the newly-widened NH47 that crosses right over the Ashtamudi Lake, giving tantalizing views of the port as you cross over the bridge. Kollam is well connected by rail as well as road, so visiting Kollam is very easy. The best time to visit is during the months of October through February, when the banks are peaceful and calm.
Some of the nearby places to visit here are the:
- Bridge that connects the two land masses near Shaktikulangara, creating breath-taking views of the Ashtamudi delta as it slowly drains out into the Arabian Sea at Neendakara.
- The 500-year-old St. Sebastian church built during the Dutch era and host to a magnificent annual festival when the idols are taken out and paraded amid lots of fanfare.
- Neendakara beach is another attraction that attracts people to its enticing golden beaches as well as the mesmerizing sunsets.