There is little wonder why Thamirabarani or Tamraparni river, which originates from Agasthyakoodam or Agasthyarkoodam, is considered as a holy one. The river flows over 120km, before entering the Indian Ocean, catering to the water needs of people in Thirunelvelli and Thoothukudy districts in Tamil Nadu.
The water of Thamirabarani, that used to be a part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom, flows entwined with history and mythology. References about the river can be found in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Tolkappiyam. In Sangham literature, this river is refered as Thanporunai. The ancient port Korkai, the a place also known for its production of beads, is on the banks of this river.
The magic touch
The river has a unique ability to turn the leaves that fall into it reddish in color. The presence of copper in the river bed is the major reason for this happening. The river got its Tamil name, Tamraparni – thamiram in Tamil means copper and parni means leaf, for this ability.
The river descends from a height of 1725m. Major towns in Tamil Nadu such as Thirunelveli, Sri Vaikundam, Ambasamudram and Thiruchendoor are all situated on the banks of this river.
2 major waterfalls to watch
The river splits into five tributaries before meeting the Indian Ocean at Papanasam. Of these, Kalyana Theertham and Banatheertham are extremely picturesque. The water of Kalyana Theertha waterfall, which descends from a height of 100m, is cool and considered to have medicinal value. The Banatheertha waterfall dives from a height of 40m. As Agasthyakoodam is home of several rare herbs, rivers that originate from this mountain is also believed to contain medicinal qualities.
Those who trek Agasthyarkoodam, makes it a point to make a pit stop on the banks of this river to alleviate tiredness from long walk. Traveling along the river path is also a great way to take in south Tamil Nadu's beautiful landscape. This river is sure to be a source of immense joy and wonder to all who make the effort to visit it.