Achankovil river (അച്ചന്കോവിലാറ്)
|Districts||Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha|
|Cities||Konni, Pathanamthitta, Pandalam, Mavelikkara,|
|⁃ location||Pasukidamettu, Rishimalai and Ramakkalteri rivers originating from Devarmalai of Western ghats|
|⁃ elevation||700 m (2,300 ft)|
|Joins Pamba at Veeyapuram|
|Length||128 km (80 mi)|
|Basin size||1,484 km2 (573 sq mi)|
|Landmarks||Thazhoor Bhagavathy Kshetram, Thrippara Shiva temple, Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple, Pandalam Palace, Pandalam Mahadeva Temple, Kandiyoor Mahadeva temple, Chettikulangara Devi temple, Venmani Sargakavu temple, Konni Muringa mangalam Mahadeva Temple|
|Bridges||Kaippattor bridge, Pandalam bridge, Vettiyar bridge, Pulakadavu bridge, Chamakkavu pedestrian bridge, Kollakadu bridge, Prayikkara bridge, Pottamelkkadavu bridge, Konni Bridge|
Achankovil is a river in Kerala, India, created towards the southern tip of the peninsula by the confluence of the Rishimala, Pasukidamettu, and Ramakkalteri Rivers. The Anchankovil enriches the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala state. It joins with the Pamba River at Veeyapuram, in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. Achankovil is also the name of the forest area, which is the catchment area for this river, and of a small town situated in the Achenkovil forest area. The Achankovil village is not easily accessible; however, it can be reached through forest routes.
Townships on the banks of River Achankovil
The River Achankovil nurtures numerous townships on its fertile banks. Among them is Pathanamthitta Town, which is the capital of the Pathanamthitta district. It derives its name from its association with the river; Pathanamthitta, from the Malayalam words Pathanam and thitta, means "houses by the riverside".
Mavelikara is a taluk and a municipality in the Alappuzha district of the Indian state of Kerala. Located in the southern part of the district on the banks of the Achankovil River. The name Mavelikara is believed to be turned out from the words Maveli the mythical king of Kerala, and Kara means land. This land is believed to be the place where king Mahabali knelt before Vamana, offering his head for Vamana to keep his feet. The town boasts about a rich historical and cultural background. The Chettikulangara Devi Temple, known for the Kumbha Bharani festival is located near the municipality, which is home to one of the 108 Shiva temples of Kerala created by Lord Parashurama, the Kandiyoor Mahadeva Temple . It was also a major centre of trade and commerce in ancient Kerala and the erstwhile capital of the rulers of Onattukara. As a result of the close association with the Travancore Royal Family, Mavelikkara gained modern facilities well ahead of other places in the state. It is one of the oldest municipalities of the state. Even before India attained independence, Mavelikara had a super express transport service to Trivandrum.
Other townships/ places include:
Achankovil Sastha Temple
Achankovil Shastha Temple, or the Dharmasastha Temple, is one among the five important temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in Kerala. Lord Ayyappa leads the Grihastha Ashrama life here – he is depicted as a family man or leads married life here. He is depicted along with his two wives – Purna and Pushkala. It is believed that the idol here was installed by Parashurama.
The Achankovil Sastha Temple is famous for curing poisonous snake bites. The left hand of the idol of Ayyappa at Achankovil Shastha Temple always holds ‘Chandan’ (sandalwood paste) and Thirtha (holy water). The Chandan and Thirtha are considered to have medicinal properties to cure snake bites. The temple complex also contains other deities associated with the Ayyappa legend. The festivals and rituals held here have strong Tamil roots.
During the Sabarimala pilgrimage, devotees also visit this temple to offer their prayers. It is believed that the idol of this temple was consecrated by Sage Parasurama. On both sides of the idol, Poorna and Pushkala, the consorts of Lord Sastha are also installed. The most important festival here is celebrated from the first to tenth day of Malayalam month Dhanu (December – January)
The river is unique in that along its route is a large number of ancient temples, indicating that the richness of the river basin has been identified by humans since ancient times and they preferred to settle down there so that they could grow their crops on the fertile lands. Edappon, a place famous for its flora and fauna, near Pandalam is on the banks of the Achankovil river.
Thazhoor Bhagavathy Kshetram Temple on the banks of River Achankovil - View from Thazhoor bridge
Chamakkavu Devi Temple near Venmoney is currently a Hindu Temple, but historically this temple was a Buddhist place of worship, which was transformed initially into a Vishnu temple (then known as Sharnga-kavu) and later into a Devi temple. The annual chariot festival and other traditions correspond to the old Buddhist practices of "kettu kazhcha", which was assimilated into Hinduism in Kerala.
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