The Info List - Thamirabarani

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The Thamirabarani River
Thamirabarani River
(Porunai) (Tamil: தாமிரபரணி (பொருநை)) is a perennial river that originates from the Agastyarkoodam peak of Pothigai hills
Pothigai hills
of the Western Ghats, above Papanasam
in the Ambasamudram
taluk. It flows through Tirunelveli
and Tuticorin
districts of the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
state of southern India
into the Gulf of Mannar. It was called the Tamraparni
River in the pre-classical period, a name it lent to the island of Sri Lanka. The old Tamil name of the river is Porunai. From the source to sea, the river is about 128 kilometres (80 mi) long and is the only perennial river in South India. This river flows towards North direction initially. However it changes to East direction later.


1 Etymology 2 History 3 Hydrology

3.1 Origin 3.2 Course and tributaries 3.3 Drain

4 Irrigation 5 Pollution and exploitation 6 Fishes 7 List of Fishes found on the river

7.1 Snakehead 7.2 Catfish 7.3 Alligator Gar 7.4 Eels 7.5 Carp 7.6 Roaches, Plecos, and Loaches. 7.7 Others

8 References 9 External links


Thamirabarani river

From the Tamilakam era, the area of the Tamraparni
river, in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, has had name modifications,[2] from the original Tan Porunai river to Tamira Porunai, from Tamraparni
to Tambraparni and now called "Thamirabarani River".[3][4][5] A meaning for the term following its derivation became "copper-colored leaf", from the words Thamiram (copper/red) in Tamil/ Sanskrit
and parani meaning leaf/tree, translating to "river of red leaves".[6][7] According to the Tambraparni Mahatmyam, an ancient account of the river from its rise to its mouth, a string of red lotus flowers from sage Agastya
at Pothigai hills
Pothigai hills
transformed itself into a damsel at the sight of Lord Siva, forming the river and giving it its divine name.[8] Other name derivations include the Pali term "Tambapanni", "Tamradvipa" of Sanskrit
speakers and "Taprobana" of ancient Greek cartographers.[9][10][11] Robert Knox reported from his 20 years of captivity on the island in the hills that "Tombrane" is a name of the Sri Lankan Tamil people
Sri Lankan Tamil people
for God in Tamil, which they often repeated as they lifted up their hands and faces towards Heaven".[12] History[edit]

Thamirabarani river in dawn

Its many name derivations of Tan Porunai include Tampraparani, Tamraparni, Tamiravaruni. Tan Porunai nathi finds mention by classical Tamil poets in ancient Sangam Tamil literature Purananuru. Recognised as a holy river in Sanskrit
literature Puranas, Mahabharata
and Ramayana, the river was famed in the Early Pandyan Kingdom
Early Pandyan Kingdom
for its pearl and conch fisheries and trade.[13] The movement of people, including the faithful, trade merchants and toddy tapers from Tamraparni
river to NorthWestern Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
led to the shared appellation of the name for the closely connected region. One important historical document on the river is the treatise Thamirabarani Mahathmiyam. It has many ancient temples along its banks. In the Mahābhārata
(3:88) the river is mentioned as "Listen, O son of Kunti, I shall now describe Tamraparni. In that asylum the gods had undergone penances impelled by the desire of obtaining salvation".[14] Hydrology[edit]

Paanatheertham waterfalls

Origin[edit] The Thamirabarani River
Thamirabarani River
originates from the peak of the Pothigai
hills on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
Western Ghats
at an elevation of 1,725 metres (5,659 ft) above sea-level. The river is joined by its headwater tributaries Peyar, Ullar, Pambar before it flows into the Kariyar Dam
reservoir, where it meets Kariyar. The river forms the Paanatheertham waterfalls, 40 metres (130 ft) high, as it enters the Kariyar reservoir.[15] Servalar joins the Thamirabarani before it enters into the Papanasam
lower reservoir, which was built for the Papanasam
Hydroelectric station.[16] The river descends down the mountains near Papanasam, where it forms the Kalyanatheertham falls and Agasthiar falls.[17][18] Course and tributaries[edit] The river flows on the plains eastwards from Papanasam. The first tributary to join Thamirabarani in the plains is the Manimuthar River, which originating from Manjolai hills and joins Thamirabarani near Aladiyoor village. The towns Ambasamudram
and Kallidaikurichi
are located respectively on the left and right banks of Thamiraparani, after which the river meets the tributary Gadananathi
River at Tiruppudaimaruthur. Before the Gadananathi's entry into the Thamirabarani, the Gadananathi
River is joined by the rivers Kallar, Karunaiyar and Veeranathi or Varahanathi which joins the river Gadananathi
about 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) north-east of Kila Ambur. The Gadananathi
is fed by the Jambunathi and Ramanathi Rivers. The Pachaiyar River which originates from the Kalakkadu reserve forests at about 1,300 metres (4,300 ft) above sea level joins the Thamirabarani near Tharuvai village in Palayamkottai
Taluk. The river bisects the twin cities Tirunelveli
and Palayamkottai
before meeting its major and affluent tributary Chithar (Chitranathi) which arises in the Kutralam hills and receives supply from the rivers Gundar, Hanumanathi and Karuppanathi(vairavangkulam kadayanallur) .The Chittar River runs almost parallel to Thamirabarani till it joins the main river near Sivalaperi. Thamirabarani passes through the taluks of Tirunelveli
and Palayamkottai
of Tirunelveli district
Tirunelveli district
and Srivaikundam and Tiruchendur
taluks of Thoothukkudi district.

List of major tributaries

Tributaries Length Origin Joins at Length of course of Thamirabarani Dams on the River


Mundanthurai reserve forests Karaiyar Dam 6 kilometres (4 mi) Karaiyar Dam

Servalar River

Mundanthurai reserve forests Papanasam
Reservoir 22 kilometres (14 mi)

Manimuthar River 9 kilometres (6 mi) Manjolai hills Aladiyoor 36 kilometres (22 mi) Manimuthar Dam


Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve Tiruppudaimaruthur 43 kilometres (27 mi) Gadananathi
River Dam

Pachaiyar River 32 kilometres (20 mi) Kalakkadu reserve forests Tharuvai 61 kilometres (38 mi)

Chittar River 80 kilometres (50 mi) Kutralam Hills Sivalaperi 73 kilometres (45 mi)

Ramanathi River

Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve Kizha ambur 22 kilometres (14 mi) Ramanathi River Dam


Map showing the river

The river drains into Gulf of Mannar
Gulf of Mannar
near Punnaikayal in Tiruchendur taluk of Tuticorin
district. The river drains with its tributaries an area of about 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi). As most of its extensive catchment areas lie in the Western Ghats, the river enjoys the full benefit of both the monsoons, which make the river perennial. Since all its tributaries are arising from the Western ghats, the river is prone to heavy floods especially during the northeast monsoon. In 1992, there was an unexpected flood in Thamirabarani, which claimed hundreds of lives as the dam water was let out so massively and suddenly that the river and its channels could not bear the excess water inflow. It flooded again in 2015[19] with water entering the Kurukuthurai Murugan Temple.[20] Irrigation[edit]

River Thamirabarani from Authoor bridge

The many anicuts, dams and reservoirs on the Thamirabarani river, along with those on the Manimuthar River, provide a large proportion of the water for irrigation and power generation for Tirunelveli district. It is fed by both the monsoons – the south west and the north-eastern and is seen in full spate twice a year if the monsoons do not fail. The Gadananathi
River has 6 anicuts and a reservoir of 9,970,000 cubic metres (8,080 acre⋅ft), and irrigates 38.87 square kilometres (15.01 sq mi) of wetlands. The Ramanadhi has 7 anicuts, a reservoir of 4,300,000 cubic metres (3,500 acre⋅ft), and irrigates 20.23 square kilometres (7.81 sq mi) of wetlands. Pachaiyar River has 12 anicuts and irrigates 61.51 square kilometres (23.75 sq mi) of wet and dry lands. The important irrigation channels branching off from both the banks of the river Thamirabarani are, South Kodaimelalagian channel, North Kodaimelalagian channel (Kodaimelalagian anicut), Nathiyunni channel (Nathiyunni anicut), Kannadian channel (Kannadian anicut), Kodagan channel (Ariyanayagipuram anicut), Palayam (Palavur anicut) channel, Tirunelveli
channel (Suthamalli anicut), Marudur Melakkal, Marudur Keelakkal (Marudur anicut), South Main Channel and North Main Channel ( Srivaikundam
anicut). Of these the first seven anicuts were constructed during the period of ancient and medieval rulers and the last anicut namely the Srivaikundam
anaicut was constructed and completed by the British in 1869.[21] List of dams across Thamirabarani river:

Kodaimelaalagain anicut, 1,281.67 hectares (3,167.1 acres) Nathiyunni anicut, 1,049.37 hectares (2,593.0 acres) Kannadian anicut, 2,266.69 hectares (5,601.1 acres) Ariyanayagipuram anicut, 4,767.30 hectares (11,780.3 acres) Palavur anicut, 3,557.26 hectares (8,790.2 acres) Suthamalli anicut, 2,559.69 hectares (6,325.1 acres) Marudur anicut, 7,175.64 hectares (17,731.4 acres)

List of channels:

South Kodaimelalagain channel North Kodaimelalagain channel Nathiyunni channel Kannadian channel Kodagan channel Palayam channel Tirunelveli
channel Marudur Melakkal

Pollution and exploitation[edit]

Mixing of sewage, industrial effluents, dumping etc into the river is a worrying aspect.

Sand mining in this river was banned in 2010 but it still continues illegally.

Illegal encroachments of its banks is also a growing concern.

Pepsi and cola companies bottling facility plants are also exploiting the river water.

Many industries have come in the banks of the river in and around Srivaikuntam
that injudicially use the river water and discharge untreated sewer.

Untreated sewer of towns like Ambasamuthiram, Tirunelveli, Papanasam etc also reduce the water quality downstream.

Religious practices like letting your clothes along the river at Papanasam
as an act to wash sins after a bath has also clogged up the river..

After the Sorimuthu Aiyanar Temple yearly festival upstream in the forests near Karayar dam the bacteria level in the river increases as thousands and thousands of people bath at one go..

Fishes[edit] Thamirabarani River
Thamirabarani River
is full of fishes as it is only perennial river from the South India[citation needed]. Locals not involved in fishing resulting in the vast diversity of fishes in the river. As water flows non-stop throughout the year, it is one of the most fish-rich river in the world where the river is dominated by more than 16 native Snakehead species. it is estimated that nearly 669 fish species found in the river. Fish ecosystem is flourished in the river and fishes present in this river are vibrant in color and healthy in nature. List of Fishes found on the river[edit] Snakehead[edit] Various types of snakehead fish species like Channa diplogramma, Channa bleheri, Channa striata, Channa maculata, Channa punctata, Channa harcourtbutleri, Channa asiatica, Channa marulius
Channa marulius
found throughout the river. Snakeheads are considered as top level predators in Thamirabarani River. Northern Snakehead also found in small numbers on the starting part of river where top level predators like other snakeheads are missing. Thamirabarani River
Thamirabarani River
is largest reservoir of Snakehead in the world with 17 types of Snakegeads present in this river. Snakehead fishes are locally called as Viral aka Viraal (விரால்) in Tamil and all the species are consumed as food around the regions of Thamirabarani River
Thamirabarani River
when they enter paddy fields as locals not involve in mass fishing. Catfish[edit] Following Snakehead, Catfish are also vastly found on Thamirabarani River. African Catfish are announced as Invasive Species that first caught on this river in 2009 near Aruvankulam area of Tirunelveli district. The most common catfish species found are Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, Mystus
guli Catfish, Pangas Catfish, P. hodgarti, Goonch catfish, Pseudolaguvia
Catfish. 13 species of Catfish species found throughout this river. Alligator Gar[edit] Alligator Gar is not native to the river but caught sometimes. this was the result of releasing aquarium fish into the wild. on 2015, over 100 Juvenile alligator gar fishes caught and handed over to local authority. Because of the presence of huge number of native Snakehead fishes, the Alligator Gar invasion is not spreading and under control. Eels[edit] Eels found in this river mainly belongs to Anguillidae
and Synbranchiformes
family and most common one is Indian mottled eel (Anguilla b. bengalensis). 90 species of eel found in this river. the fish Macrognathus
found in this river is mistakenly thought as eel because of its eel-like structure. Carp[edit] Carp fishes found in large numbers throughout the river. Three type of carp fishes are silver carp, grass carp, common carp. These three species of carp form 75% of carp fish population in Thamirabarani River. Roaches, Plecos, and Loaches.[edit] Large number of species of sucker fishes found throughout the river. the most common one is Acanthocobitis botia and Horseface loach. Pangio
loach, Schistura
loach also common in this river and Schistura is mistakenly treated as snake or eel because of its snake-like appearance. Others[edit] Other fishes belong to genus Puntius, Devario, Etroplus, Mystus, Aplocheilus, Dawkinsia, Garra, Glossogobius, Macrognathus, Batasio, Barilius, Badidae, Clupisoma, Nemacheilus, Oreichthys, Oryzias, Osteobrama, Raiamas, Salmophasia, Tor (Masheer), Xenentodon, are commonly found in this river. References[edit]

^ "Gauging Station - Data Summary". ORNL. Retrieved 2013-10-01.  ^ Leelananda Prematilleka, Sudharshan Seneviatne - 1990: Perspectives in archaeology: "The names Tambapanni and Tamra- parni are in fact the Prakrit and Sanskrit
rendering of Tamil Tan porunai" ^ Leelananda Prematilleka, Sudharshan Seneviatne - 1990: Perspectives in archaeology: "The names Tambapanni and Tamra- parni are in fact the Prakrit and Sanskrit
rendering of Tamil Tan porunai" ^ Pillai, M. S. Purnalingam (2010-11-01). Ravana The Great : King of Lanka. Sundeep Prakashan Publishing. ISBN 9788175741898.  ^ Caldwell, Bishop R. (1881-01-01). History of Tinnevelly. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120601611.  ^ K. Sivasubramaniam - 2009. Fisheries in Sri Lanka: anthropological and biological aspects, Volume 1. "It is considered most probable that the name was borrowed by the Greeks, from the Tamil 'Tamraparni' for which the Pali...to Ceylon, by the Tamil immigrants from Tinnelvely district through which ran the river called to this date, Tamaravarani" ^ Caldwell, Bishop R. (1881-01-01). History of Tinnevelly. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120601611.  ^ The Indian Geographical Journal, Volume 15, 1940 p345 ^ K. Sivasubramaniam - 2009. Fisheries in Sri Lanka: anthropological and biological aspects, Volume 1. "It is considered most probable that the name was borrowed by the Greeks, from the Tamil 'Tamraparni' for which the Pali...to Ceylon, by the Tamil immigrants from Tinnelvely district through which ran the river called to this date, Tamaravarani" ^ Leelananda Prematilleka, Sudharshan Seneviatne - 1990: Perspectives in archaeology: "The names Tambapanni and Tamra- parni are in fact the Prakrit and Sanskrit
rendering of Tamil Tan porunai" ^ Mendis, G.C. (2006). "The ancient period". Early History of Ceylon (Reprint ed.). Asian Educational Services. p. 33. ISBN 81-206-0209-9. Retrieved 2009-11-06 ^ Robert Knox. 1651. An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon in the East-Indies. - London. p167 ^ "Rivers of Western Ghats
Western Ghats
- Origin of Tamiraparani". Centre for Ecological Sciences. Indian Institute of Science. Retrieved 8 March 2012.  ^ Mahabharata
Online.  ^ " Ambasamudram
- Tourism". ambasamudram.net. Retrieved 8 March 2012.  ^ " Ambasamudram
- Rivers". ambasamudram.net. Retrieved 8 March 2012.  ^ "Rivers of Tamil Nadu". discovertamilnadu.net. Retrieved 8 March 2012.  ^ " Tirunelveli
- Places". Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tourism Development Corporation. Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 8 March 2012.  ^ http://www.dailythanthi.com/News/State/2015/12/08125537/Flood-in-Thamirabarani-River-people-evacuated-from.vpf ^ http://kollyzone.org/2015/11/flood-in-thamirabarani-river-devotees-banned-to-visit-kurukkuthurai-murugan-temple/ ^ " Tirunelveli
District Irrigation". Tirunelveli
District Administration. Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thamirabarani River.

v t e

of Tamil Nadu


Adyar Amaravathi Arasalar Bhavani Cheyyar Chittar Cooum Kaveri Kedilam Kodaganar Kodavanar Kokkiliyar Kollidam Kosasthalaiyar Manimuthar Manjalar Moyar Nadari Nambiyar Nanganjiyar Noyyal Pachaiyar Pahrali Palar Parambikulam Periyar Ponnaiyar Siruvani Swetha Thamirabarani Vaigai Vaippar Vasishta Vellar Vennaaru


Ambattur Lake Berijam Lake Chembarambakkam Lake Kaliveli Lake Kodaikanal Lake Perumal Eri Porur Lake Pulicat Lake Red Hills Lake Sholavaram Lake Singanallur Lake Valankulam Lake Veeranam Lake Velachery Lake Pykara Ooty Lake


Agaya Gangai Ayyanar Catherine Courtallam Hogenakkal Kiliyur Kumbakkarai Law's Katary Kalhatti Kutladampatti Monkey Sengupathi Siruvani Suruli Thalaiyar Tirparappu Ullakaarvi Vaideki Vattaparai


Edward Elliot's Golden Beach Marina Silver Beach

Dams/ Reservoirs

Aathupalayam Dam Aliyar Reservoir Amaravathi Dam Bhavanisagar Dam Grand Anicut Kamarajar Sagar Dam Karuppanadhi Dam Kodiveri Dam Krishnagiri Dam Lower Anaicut Manimuthar Dam Mettur Dam Mukkadal Dam Nallathangal Dam Orathuppalayam Dam Papanasam
dam Pechiparai Reservoir Perunchani Dam Sathanur Reservoir Servalar dam Solaiyar Dam Vaigai Dam Varattu Pallam Dam Upper Ana