Kochi: Bharathapuzha, a river nicknamed Nila that originates from the Anaimalai Hills in Tamil Nadu, is the floating heritage of Kerala. The second longest river in the State flows through Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram districts before draining into the Arabian Sea near Ponnani.
A large number of small islets can be sighted on the course of Nila covered with clusters of flowers called Attuvanchi. The colour of the flowers of Aattuvanchi is white and when sun rays falls on it the colour changes. The grass flowers create the view of a stunning garden with water flowing through the gaps. The movement of small country crafts through the river covered by Aattuvanchi flowers is a picturesque sight. During the monsoons the flowers would be submerged and the period after the rains is the best time to view the grass flowers. The riverbed becomes totally dry during the summer seasons.
When one crosses the river by ferry from Kuttippuram to the nearby Kumbidi one can see large stretches of aattuvanchi flowers and flock of migratory birds around. The bus ride from Kuttippuram to Tirunavaya also enables to view the Aattuvanchi flowers in plenty. The views of the grass flowers in the riverbed from Navamukunda temple banks are splendid. Nila Park in Kuttippuram and old rail bridge at Pallippuram are also perfect spot to view the aattuvanchi flowers.
Abode of Winged Visitors
Besides being an attraction for visitors, the sand beds of Nila filled with Aattuvanchi flowers attract flock of water birds and migratory birds every year post monsoon and it’s is an inimitable sight for the ornithologists and eco-tourists. The flowers offer ideal shelter for many bird species such as munia, prinia, cormorants, egrets, pratincoles, storks, terns and sandpipers. Pollination is done by the birds by transferring the seeds. In Karakkad near Shoranur, even peacocks are spotted in the paddy fields on the river banks. Some of the birds make their nest inside the thick shrubs and some collect the dry grass for making nest.
Discover Nila on Rails
The ideal mode of transportation to view Nila closely is railways. Board the train from Palakkad or Ottappalam station if one is coming from eastern side and from Tirunavaya if coming from north. As the train moves slowly, it enables travellers to view the panorama better. You are lucky if you had got a window seat to view the Aattuvanchi and experience the delightful sights of the river.
Paradise for shutterbugs
The sunset view from the sand beds of Nila is eye-catching and fascinating. The Aattuvanchi flowers dance during the evenings to the rhythm of the breeze and it is a sight one should never miss to watch.
The river has already been featured in many Malayalam movies. The evergreen romantic song Eenthinuveroru sooryodayam from Mazhayethum Munpe, which starred Megastar Mammootty and Shobana, was completely shot here.
The movement of trains, flock of birds, village life, fishing, ferry ride, sunset and sunrise are ideal to watch from the sand beds of Nila. Even though the aattuvanchi flowers are distracting the natural flow of water, it is still an attraction for tourists.