Chalakudy River

Chalakudy River or Chalakudy Puzha runs through Chalakudy  town which is in the Thrissur District of Kerala state, south India. It is the 4th longest river in Kerala and its basin is between 10° 05’ to 10° 35’ North latitude and 76° 15’to 76° 55’ East longitude. This area is located in Thrissur, Ernakulam and Palakkad districts of Kerala. The total drainage area of the river is 1704 km². out of this 1404 km² lies in Kerala and the rest 300 km² in Tamil Nadu. The length of the river is 145.5 km. Chalakudy River is the one of very few rivers of Kerala, which is having relics of riparian vegetation in substantial level. The annual report of the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources Lucknow, mentioned that the Chalakudy River is the richest river in fish diversity perhaps in India.

The riparian forests of the Chalakudy River have revealed the existence of a thick riparian vegetation of more than 10 metres width for a distance of 10.5 km downstream from Peringalkuth, covering an area of 58.5 hectares. Out of this, 26.4 hectares lie within the Vazachal area, including three large islands densely covered by riparian forests.

The riparian forests of the area have been found to be characterised by the presence of typical riparian species of plants, in addition to evergreen and semi-evergreen species.Out of the 319 species of flowering plants identified from the study area, 24 are endemic species of the Western Ghats and 10 are rare and endangered. Moreover, the Chalakudy River is known for its diversity, as it contains 85 species of fresh water fishes out of the 152 species known from Kerala. Among these, 35 are endemic species of the Western Ghats and nine are considered to be endangered.

The river though has its origin in the Anamalai region of Tamil Nadu, is actually a collection of some major tributaries originated from Parambikulam, Kuriyarkutti, Sholayar, Karapara and Anakayam. The famous waterfalls, Athirappilly Falls and Vazhachal Falls, are situated on this river. The famous Hydro Electric Projects on Chalakkudy River are 'Sholayar Hydro Electric Project' and 'Peringalkuttu Hydro Electric Project'. For irrigation purposes Thumboormoozhy Dam is constructed across this river. It merges with the Periyar River near Puthanvelikkara, adjacent to Manjali, North Paravur in Ernakulam District.