After having a solid sleep, all of us were completely recharged and were very excited to begin our journey. We had to cover a number of destinations and so woke up early that day. We decided to begin with what is known as Bharathapuzha Malappuram. Bharathapuzha, also known as River Nila or River of Bharatha, is 209 km long and is considered to be the state’s second biggest river in terms of length, next to Periyar River.
You can have an idea about the culture of the state from the term Nila. The River has played a great role in influencing the life and culture of the people living in South Malabar. The local residents informed us that the river has a rich association with Indian history and can be found out by the name of Peraar in ancient documents and scripts.
The main tributary of the River Nila starts from the Anaimalai Hills and travels through the Palakkad Gap, Malappuram and Thrissur districts while being joined by various other tributaries including River Tirur. The river course finally empties in the Lakshadweep Sea near Ponnani. After being joined by the Thootha River, the Bharathapuzha becomes extremely thick.
We could see that most of the river is hardly navigable but the locals informed us that we could see some boars in the small stretch before it finally falls into the sea. The Bharathpuzha River claims to have one of the largest basins in Kerala. However, it doesn’t have a lot of water flow in comparison to other rivers in the state. This has been mainly because of the construction of different types of dams.
We learnt that the river plays a very important role in the life of people living in villages like Chittur, Thathamangalam, Pattambi, Pallipuram, Ottappalam, Parli-Kottaui, Palakkad, etc. It is also referred to as the Sokanasini for this purpose. A number of dams have been constructed across the river. We could already spot 11 reservoirs and see some more under construction. We felt a bit sad that the natural beauty of the river was getting hampered with the construction of these dams but then realized they were essential for people’s safety.