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Which Indian River is Known as the “Lifeline of Kerala”?

Kerala, known as “God’s Own Country,” is a state in southern India famous for its lush landscapes, serene backwaters, and vibrant culture. Central to its geography and life is a river often termed the lifeline of Kerala. This river is none other than the Periyar River. In this article, we will explore why the Periyar River holds such a significant place in Kerala’s heart, its course, historical and cultural importance, and its role in the state’s economy and ecology.

Which Indian River is known as “Lifeline of Kerala”?

The Periyar River is often referred to as the ‘Lifeline of Kerala’ due to its crucial role in sustaining the state’s water needs. It is one of the few perennial rivers in Kerala, providing essential water for drinking, agriculture, and industrial purposes.

Origin of the Periyar River

The Periyar River originates from the Sivagiri hills of the Western Ghats, located in Tamil Nadu. From its source, it flows westward into the state of Kerala, traversing through various districts before emptying into the Arabian Sea. This journey from its origin to the sea is crucial in sustaining the ecological and economic fabric of the regions it passes through.

Length of the Periyar River

The Periyar River is approximately 244 kilometers long, making it the longest river in Kerala. Its extensive course plays a vital role in the state’s water resource management, ensuring that various regions have access to water for multiple uses.

Main Tributaries of the Periyar River

The Periyar River is fed by several important tributaries, which include:

  • Muthirapuzha
  • Mullayar
  • Cheruthoni
  • Perinjankutti

These tributaries enhance the river’s capacity to support the diverse needs of the regions it traverses, contributing to its overall flow and water volume.

Ecological Importance of the Periyar River

The Periyar River’s ecological importance is underscored by its flow through the Periyar National Park, a significant biodiversity hotspot in Kerala. The river’s ecosystem supports a variety of plant and animal life, including several endangered species. This riverine ecosystem is crucial for maintaining ecological balance and supporting conservation efforts in the region.

Benefits to the People of Kerala

The Periyar River provides numerous benefits to the people of Kerala, including:

  • Drinking Water: It is a vital source of drinking water for several districts, ensuring that communities have access to safe and reliable water.
  • Agriculture: The river’s water is extensively used for irrigation, supporting the state’s agricultural sector and ensuring food security.
  • Energy Production: The river hosts several hydroelectric power stations, which are critical for Kerala’s energy supply, providing renewable energy to the state.
  • Tourism: The scenic beauty and wildlife along the Periyar River attract tourists, boosting the local economy and supporting livelihoods related to tourism and hospitality.

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