Labelled map of Pamba
|Length||176 km (110 mi)|
|Source elevation||1,650 m|
|Avg. discharge||109 m³/s|
|Basin area||2,235 km² (873 mi²)|
The Pamba River (also called Pampa river) is the third longest river in the South Indian state of Kerala after Periyar and Bharathappuzha and the longest river in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is located on the banks of the river Pamba.
The river is also known as 'Dakshina Bhageerathi' and 'River Baris'.
The Pamba originates at Pulachimalai hill in the Peerumedu plateau in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1,650 metres (5,410 ft) and flows through Ranni, Ayroor, Kozhenchery, Tiruvalla, Chengannur, Kuttanad, Karthikapally, and Ambalappuzha Taluks before emptying into the Vembanad Lake. A noted Anjana temple is situated near this bank. The river enriches the Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha districts of Kerala state. Kuttanad, an important rice cultivating area in Kerala receives its irrigation water from the Pamba river. The Pamba basin is bounded on the east by the Western Ghats. The river shares its northern boundary with the Manimala River basin, while it shares the southern boundary with the Achankovil River basin.
The river Pamba rises at an altitude of 1,650 metres (5,410 ft) on the Peermade Plateau in the Idukki district of Kerala. After traversing a distance of 176 kilometres (109 mi), the river joins the Arabian Sea through a number of channels. The basin extends over an area of 2,235 square kilometres (863 sq mi) with the entire catchment area within Kerala state. The basin is bounded on the east by Western Ghats and on the west by Arabian Sea.
Topography of the basin, reservoirs and command area
Like all the river basins in Kerala, the Pamba basin also can be divided into three natural zones based on elevation, consisting of low land or sea-board, midland and high land.The coast for a short distance along the borders of lakes is flat, retreating from it the surface roughens up into slopes which gradually combine and swell into mountains on the east. The low land area along sea coast is generally swampy and liable to be flooded during monsoon inundation. The plains/midlands succeed low land in gentle ascents and valleys interspersed with isolated low hills. The high land on the eastern portion is broken by long spurs, dense forests, extensive ravines and tangled jungles. Towering above all their slopes are Western Ghats that form eastern boundary of the basins.
Due to drought and lack of conservation and protection by the government, the Pampa River has shrunk to a stream and is totally dry in many places. Nearby wells have also dried up. Water for farming, such as paddy fields, is scarce. Experts are calling for a governmental awareness of the dire situation and the need to rein in development that is destroying the environmental before it is too late.
Significance in Hinduism
Lord Ayyappan (Sri Dharmasastha) appeared to the Pandalam Raja as a child on the banks of the Pamba River. The Pamba River has been venerated as southern Ganga, and devotees of Lord Ayyappan believe that immersing oneself in the Pamba is equivalent to bathing in the Holy Ganges River. Bathing in the river, believed to absolve one's sins, is a requirement before commencing the trek through the forest to the Ayyappan Temple atop Sabarimala.
An entire Kandam, or Chapter 'Kiskhkindhakandam' of Ramayanam is around the banks of the River Pamba located around today's Shabarimala. Sriram and Lakshmana are advised by Sage Shabari to meet Sugreeva in Rishimookadri and they enter into an agreement in the presence of fire to work together to locate Sita. Ramayanam describes Pamba's origin as an area of immense natural beauty. It is where the Pamba Festival takes place as a part of the Shabariamala pilgrimage. Mathanga Maharshi also had his Hermitage north of this.
- Kuttoor, Radhakrishnan (7 March 2014). "As Pampa shrinks, life ebbs away". The Hindu. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- Ramayanam-Kishkindhakandam scriptures
- Pathanamthitta District
- List of rivers in Kerala
- Aranmula Kottaram
- Ganges River
- "Infobox facts". All Kerala River Protection Council. Retrieved January 26, 2006.
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