Tranquil Rivers in Kerala

Wildlife & Nature

Kerala, often referred to as God’s Own Country, is the land of nature in its purest form. Home to forty-four rivers – forty-one of which flow westward, while the rest flow towards the east – these water bodies of Kerala hold cultural as well as agricultural significance. An important source of livelihood for fishermen, irrigation for farmers, as well as leisurely activities like boating, the pristine rivers enhance the scenic beauty of the state. Enlisted below are some of the major rivers in Kerala.

Here is the list of 10 Tranquil Rivers in Kerala

1. Periyar River

Periyar River

The Periyar River is the longest river in Kerala, whose name may be literally translated to ‘Big River’. It is of utmost significance to the economic benefit of the state and is one of the few perennial water bodies that are also the providers of drinking water as well as other activities. Owing to these reasons, Periyar is often referred to as the ‘Lifeline of Kerala’. In addition to the practical uses, the Periyar River is also used for a number of religious as well as cultural purposes. On the banks of the river in Aluva, people celebrate the Aluva Sivarathri Festival every year on the day of Shivaratri.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating in the Western Ghats, the Periyar River, according to many, is believed to start from the dense forests located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Other sources claim that the river originates from a peak perched on the southern boundary of the tiger reserve, named Chokkampatti Mala. The river drains into the vast Arabian Sea.

Places Covered
Mullakudy, Moola Vaigai, Thannikudy, Mlappara

2. Bharathapuzha River

Bharathapuzha River

Also known as the Nila, the name of the mystic Bharathapuzha River may be translated to ‘The River of Bharata’. Even though its total length is more than that of Periyar River, part of it flows in Tamil Nadu, thus making it the second-longest river of Kerala. It is a significant place where sons go and pay homage to their deceased fathers on Karkidaka Vavu.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
The primary source of the Bharathapuzha River originates from the Western Ghats in the form of several rivulets and drains into the Lakshadweep Sea.

Places Covered
Pollachi, Parli, Ponnani, Pallippuram

3. Pamba River

Pamba River

The Pamba River, also referred to as the Pampa River, was initially known as the ‘Dakshina Bhagirathi’ as well as ‘River Baris’. The Pamba River traverses a distance of about a hundred and seventy kilometers.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating in the hill named Pulachimalai located in the Peerumedu Plateau of the Western Ghats, the majestic Pamba River branches along its course, with one end draining into the Thottappally Spillway, and the other into the Vembanad Lake.

Places Covered
Chittar, Ranni, Cherukole, Kozhencherry

4. Chaliyar River

Chaliyar River

With a length of a hundred and seventy kilometers, the gurgling Chaliyar River is also referred to as the Beypore River or the Chulika River. The scenic beauty surrounding this river has made this place a popular one among tourists as well as locals.Ferry services are available from Edavannappara that can take you across the Chaliyar River to its northern side for a beautiful sightseeing experience. 

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
The Chaliyar River originates somewhere at the majestic Neelambari Hills in Kerala’s Wayanad Plateau and moves through a number of places before draining into the Lakshadweep Sea. 

Places Covered
Malappuram District, Kozhikode, Nilambur, Areekode

5. Kadalundi River

Kadalundi River

One of the most important rivers in the district of Malappuram, the glorious Kadalundi River is a result of the confluence of the Veliyar and Olipuzha Rivers. It flows across a distance of around a hundred and thirty kilometers and is completely dependent on the region’s rainfall. At the place where the Kadalundi River flows into the vast Arabian Sea, there is a cluster of lush green islands that form the popular Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, which is home to over a hundred species of birds – both native as well as migratory. 

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating in the Western Ghats from the western borders of the lush Silent Valley, Kadalundi River drains into the Arabian Sea. Kadalundi Rover covers the Malappuram District.

6. Chalakudy River

Chalakudy River

One of the very few rivers in the state that is home to a significant level of the relics of the riparian vegetation, the Chalakudy River is the fifth-longest water body in Kerala. It covers a distance of about a hundred and forty-six kilometers and passes through quite a few places in the state.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
The Chalakudy River originates from Tamil Nadu’s Annamalai region. It links with the Periyar River before flowing into the Arabian Sea.

Places Covered
Palakkad District, Ernakulam District, Thrissur District

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7. Chandragiri River

Chandragiri River

Also referred to by the name of Payaswini, the Chandragiri River is believed to have been visited by the late Chandragupta Maurya while he was on his journey to Shravanabelagola. It is after him that the river has been named Chandragiri. Being the longest river in the district of Kasaragod in Kerala, this river is a major source of livelihood for the locals.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating in a reserve forest in Coorg in the midst of the Patti Ghat peaks, Chandragiri River drains into the Arabian Sea in Kasaragod.

Places Covered
Jalsoor, Sullia, Cherkala, Parappa

8. Kabini River

Kabini River

One of the only three rivers that flow eastwards, the Kabini River, also referred to as the Kapila River, is one of the most significant tributaries of the Cauvery River. The backwaters of this river are often frequented by people from places near and far, owing to its rich wildlife, thus making it a popular tourist destination.  

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating from the Pakramthalam hills, the gushing Kabini River links with the Cauvery River before the latter takes its own course towards the Delta Kaveri.

Places Covered
Valad, Korome, Mananthavady

9. Bhavani River

Bhavani River

Flowing through the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu both, the Bhavani River is one of the major tributaries of the Cauvery River. This river, with a length of two hundred and seventeen kilometers, is one of those water bodies in Kerala that flow towards the east. 

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating from the Western Ghats in the Nilgiri Hills, the Bhavani River meets the Cauvery River before the latter takes its own course towards the Delta Kaveri.

Places Covered
Silent Valley National Park, Coimbatore District, Erode District

10. Achankovil River

Achankovil River

Flowing towards the west, the Achankovil River is an enriching water body that has been created by the merging of the rivers Pasikuda Mettu, Rishimala, and Ramakkalteri. Providing for a number of townships on its banks, it is one of the greatest sources of livelihood for many. The river does not have any notable tributaries.

Where does it Come From, Where does it Go?
Originating from Devarmalai in the Western Ghats, the Achankovil River is a confluence of three rivers. It merges with the Pamba River at Veeyapuram before the latter branches into two and drains into Thottappally Spillway and Vembanad Lake.

Places Covered
Pathanamthitta District, Alappuzha District, Mavelikkara, Vettoor

The rivers in Kerala are forty-four in number, and in addition to their individual practical purposes, they add to the aesthetic value of the breathtaking state of Kerala. The lakes, the backwaters, as well as the dams, which have been primary attractions of God’s Own Country, have all originated from some river or the other. The next time you pay a visit to Kerala, make sure to add this list of rivers to your itinerary!

This post was published by Soumita Ghosh

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