Down By The Riverside
Unlike in some parts of the country where rivers are politicized for selfish reasons, rivers in Kerala's are revered. They are part of its folklore. Eulogized by poets, inspiration for writers, sanctified and obeisance paid to. These rivers are Kerala's lifelines. Periyar, Pamba, Nila, Chandragiri, Gayatri and Bhavani – all names of major rivers in the State of Kerala. With cultural values running so deep, its not surprising therefore, that the buildings in Technopark are named after these rivers. What's so sacrosanct to them?
The River Periyar, is Kerala's longest river, originating from the Western Ghats and flows across 244 kilometres in the state. Its waters are widely believed to have medicinal properties and not only is a dip refreshing, but also rejuvenating. The famous Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, with its thick jungles and evergreen forest surrounds this vast river and is a major tourist attraction.
From the high altitude ranges of the Idukki mountains, originates the River Pamba considered highly sacred by the Malayalis. Legend has it that Lord Rama, in his search for Sita met Sabari, an ardent devotee, in a valley of this river. Highly unlikely that the present generation will connect the river with this mythological legend, but the sanctity of the river is easily recognized by Sabarimala pilgrims who have to walk the 4-kilometre distance from the river, to reach the Holy Shrine of Lord Ayyappa. And also, it's on the River Pamba the famous 'Aranmula Jalamela' (the annual Boat Race) – takes place, coinciding with Kerala's most popular festival, Onam.
Cheruthuruthy is a tiny hamlet between Palghat and Trichur. Nothing spectacular to a small village, one might think. But mention the name "Kathakali" or "Mohiniattam", the two major art forms of Kerala's classical dance traditions, and your eyes sparkle bright. As bright as the rich colours and intricate costumes donned by performers of this traditional art of Kerala. Its here, on the banks of Kerala's second largest river, Bharathapuzha, or 'Nila', as its affectionately known as, is located the Kerala Kalamandalam, the Centre for Indian Performing Arts and Culture and the home of Kathakali. Originating from the Annamalai hills in neighbouring Tamilnadu, Nila occupies pride of place in Kerala's rich culture.
From the northernmost district of Kasargod, flows River Chandragiri and it's said that the backwaters around here are breathtaking. The small town of Chandaragiri is well known for the 17th century fort, which was built during the Vijayanagar kingdom rule. They say that to watch the sun setting into the Arabian Sea from the portals of the fort is a feast for the eyes.
Palghat district is widely known as the granary of the state. Well-known for its cultural influence, it's also seeped in history. In 1766, Hyder Ali, Emperor of Mysore build a Fort here, which he named after his son, Tipu Sultan. Later, after an eleven-day siege, the British captured the fort in 1784. Though in ruins, it still stands in the heart of Palghat town as a symbol of the fight against British Colonial rule, and is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. River Gayatri originating from Annamalai hills mingles with the history of Palghat as it flows majestically through this district, on its way to join River Nila.
The Attapaddy forest ranges of the Manarkkad Forest Division in Palghat district are of great interest to anthropologists. It has the largest tribal settlement inhabited by the Irulas (legendary snake catchers) and the Mudugas. It's an extensive mountain valley above the crest of the Ghat ranges with numerous rivulets of River Bhavani, as it weaves through a circuitous route from the Blue Mountains of the Nilgiris near The National Park of the Silent Valley and eventually joins the River Cauvery.