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Thamirabarani River

Thamirabarani River that flows for a length of 125km covers the districts of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli.  According to ancient Tamil Sangam literature, this river was known as Porunai initially. Later on, it came to be known as Tamraparni, keeping in lines with its Sri Lankan origin. It is believed that the name Thamirabarani which means a tree with red leaves was originally the name of the town where the river was present earlier; later on was used to denote the district and finally it became the name of the river itself. The river is quite famous and is widely acknowledged as the main reason for the fertile plants and soil of the Tirunelveli district. The river was also praised in ancient Sangam literatures, Puranas and epics like Mahabharata.


The length of the Thamirabarani River is 125km. It has six main tributaries. They are Karaiyar, Servalar, Manimuthar, Gadananathi, Pachaiyar and Chittar. While the first two tributaries originate at Mundanthurai Reserve Forests and the other four originate at Manjolai Hills, Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve, Kalakkadu Reserve Forests and Kutralam Hills respectively. Karaiyar joins at Kariayar Dam, Servalar joins at Papanasam Reservoir, Manimuthar joins at Aladiyoor, Gadananathi joins at Tiruppudaimaruthur, Pachaiyar joins at Tharuvai and Chittar joins at Sivalaperi. Currently there are 7 dams across the Thamirabarani River. They are – Kodaimelaalagain Anaicut covering 1281 hectares, Nathiyunni Anaicut covering 1049 hectares, Kannadian Anaicut covering 2266 hectares, Ariyanayagipuram Anaicut covering 4767 hectares, Palavur Anaicut covering 3557 hectares, Suthamalli Anaicut covering 2559 hectares and Marudur Anaicut covering 7175 hectares. The channels that this river forms are South Kodaimelalagain, North Kodaimelalagain, Nathiyunni, Kannadian, Kodagan, Palayam, Tirunelveli, Marudur Melakkal and Marudur Keelakkal.


Pothigai Hills, found on the Eastern Ghats, at a height of 1725m above sea level, is the origin of Thamirabarani River. At this point, the river connects with headwater tributaries like Peyar, Ullar and Pambar. After this, it drains into the Kariayar Dam. Here, the Thamirabarani River takes the beautiful form of Vanatheertham waterfalls. It then goes on to meet the Servalar River before entering the Papanasam reservoir. At this reservoir, the river falls in the downward direction to form the Kalyanatheertham Waterfalls and Agasthiyar Falls.

Nearby Attractions

There are lots of places to see near the Thamirabarani River for tourists, ranging from temples to tourist spots. Some of the must-see places are listed below:

Nellaiappar Temple

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has the main deity in the form of Nellaiappar and His Consort is Kandhimathi Amman. The temple has a rich history that can be traced back to 7th century AD and is the biggest tourist attraction in the Tirunelveli. The temple is replete with huge Gopurams, musical pillars, hall with thousand pillars, Tamira Sabha that has some of the finest works of wood and a huge Vasantha Mandapam. The Golden Car Festival, Arudhra Darisan, Maha Shivaratri, Pradosham etc. are some of the days when the temple is celebrated in a very grand way. Lakhs of devotees come here every year to offer their prayers.

Krishnapuram Temple

This is one of the most important temples for the Vaishnavaites. This temple is known for its brilliant stone work and intricately done sculptures. Located at just about 15km away from the main city of Tirunelveli, this temple is a definitely a magical structure. The size of the temple is not as huge and dominating as the Nellaiappar Temple, however, the brilliant stone work of the sculptures here more than makes up for this.

These are just few places that should never be missed while visiting the Thamirabarani River. There are lots of other phenomenally beautiful tourist attractions near this famous river. They are Agastiyar Falls, Papanasam Shiva Temple, Sivasailam Temple, Papanasam Dam, Manimuthar Dam, Banatheertham Falls, Kattabomman Memorial Fort, VettuvanKoil Temple, Kalakkad Sanctuary, Venktachalapathy Temple, Suyambulingaswamy Temple, ThiruKutralanathar Temple, Shenbaga Devi Amman Temple, Ayikudi Murugan Temple, Athankarai Pallivasal, Narumboonathar Swamy Temple, Kalyana Theertham, Aravindalochanar Temple and many more.

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