“Faultlessly pure, tasty, cool, generous
With her abundance she flows,
Blessing her subjects along the way
Goes this goddess coming from the east.
Destined to travel thousands of fathoms
Sprinkling her blessings that promise prosperity.” Mahakavi Vallathol, poet laureate of Kerala on Nila.
Bharathapuzha called Nila or Perar is more than a river name. It is the lifeline of the culture of Kerala, South Malabar in particular. Bharatappuzha, mentioned as ‘Pratheechi’ in the ancient scriptures of Bhagavatham originates from Anamalai near Pollachi in Tamil Nadu State and flows 209 km west to join the Arabian Sea near Ponnani, in Malappuram District of Kerala.Gayathripuzha, Kannadipuzha, Kalppathipuzha, Poothapuzha are its major tributaries and distributaries.
Thunchath Ezhuthachan, considered as the father of Malayalam language, lived on the banks of Nila. His Satirical art form called ‘Ottanthullal’ was used to criticize social injustice.
Nila has offered more legends to the rich culture of Kerala.The great Ayurveda Acharyas, delegated by lord Brahma himself for the treatment of all ailments were raised here namely, ‘Alathiyur Nambi’, Pulamanthole Moossath,Vaidya Maddom Namboodiri.
Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, the celebrated Sanskrit scholar and the distinguished author of “Narayaneeyam the famous Astrologer Thalakkulath Bhattathiri and their distinguished disciples, Great Azhvancheri Thamprakkal, who was the ultimate word on Hindu religious rituals and Vedic explanationswere all the great sons of Nila.
The three temples of Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu ideally set on the banks of Nila is caressed by the river and thus attained holiness.
Unfortunately Bharathapuzha is almost on the death bed. Illegal sand mining is the major reason for the same. The National Green Tribunal (NGT)’s recent ban on unauthorised river sand-mining is expected to go a long way in saving the Bharathapuzha.Exploitationbeyond control has opened threat to the rich and endemic fish wealth in the second largest river.
Backwaters of Kerala
Nila and backwaters of Kerala are the essentials and unique hallmarks of the State. Essential, for its economic and ecological significance. Unique, since it’s a feature pertaining only to state of Kerala as hills, lakes and mountains can be seen anywhere else in India.
Backwaters locally called as Kayals are a significant wetland system in the state of Kerala. It is a natural phenomenon, formed by various reasons but mainly due to soil erosion from the high ranges in monsoon which are the source of many river origins. They flow down through intricate labyrinth of lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries, and rivers to the Arabian Sea.
Kerala is graced with a navigable 900km long water channels all connected in unfathomable patterns. The land strips and islands in between theses waterways are fringed with Coconut trees and the backwater s could be enjoyed via cruises.
The scenic beauty of these backwaters has allured travellers from around the globe. In fact backwater cruises is one of the major reasons for tourists flocking to Kerala.
Vembanad Lake has the largest extension of backwaters spread in 3 districts of the state. Followed by the Ashtamudi Lake and a dozen more. This land of 44 rivers and its more than a dozen backwaters create another wonder called estuaries. The point where these inland waters merge with the Arabian Sea.