Bharathapuzha River which has a length of 209 kms is the second longest river in Kerala. It is considered as the Nile of Kerala and is also called as Nila. It is also known by other names such as Kuttipuram puzha and Ponnaniyar. This river originates from Anaimalai hills of Western Ghats and flows towards the west direction. On the way many rivers join Bharathapuzha and finally flow into the Arabian Sea. The river spreads across the Palakkad and Malappuram districts.
The river has many tributaries some of which are Thuthapuzha, Gayathripuzha, Kalpathipuzha, Kannadipuzha etc. The river is not suitable for navigation except at areas where it joins the sea. The Bharathapuzha basin is the largest river basin in Kerala. A portion of this river is in Tamil Nadu also. As most of the river lies in dry areas such as Tamil Nadu and Palakkad the water flow is comparatively less. The construction of dams also resulted in less water flow.
There are 11 reservoirs in this river and there are still some under construction. The largest of all the dams in this river is the Malampuzha dam. Some other dams include Walayar dam, Pothundi dam, Chulliyar dam, Meenkara dam etc. The water from these reservoirs is useful for irrigational purposes. There is a Regulator cum bridge constructed at Thrithala, the main aim of which is water supply.
The Bharathapuzha has got some cultural heritage also. It is on the banks of this river in Shornur, that the famous Kerala Kalamandalam is located. The birth place of Kunchan Nambiyar which is Killikkurissimangalam is also on the river banks. Besides these there are several pilgrim centers such as Thiruvilwamala Sree Rama temple, Thirunavaya temple and Panniyur Sree Varahamurthy temple. A Hindu ritual called as Pithru Tharpanam in which people pay homage to their late relatives is performed from the river banks. Cremation of many persons is also done from here.