|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,(Mattom mahadeva temple), 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, Valiyaperumpuzha bridge, Prayikkara bridge, Pottamelkkadavu bridge, Konni Bridge|
Achankovil is a river in Kerala, India, which originates in the Achankovil Reserve Forests in the Pathanamthitta district by the confluence of the Rishimala, Pasukidamettu, and Ramakkalteri Rivers. The Anchankovil enriches the Alappuzha and 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.
The River Achankovil nurtures numerous townships on its fertile banks. Among them is the Pathanamthitta Town, which is the administrative 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".
The Achenkovil river has it's origin in the peak "Devar Mala" of the Western Ghats situated in the Achenkovil division of the Konni Reserve Forest. Rivers like Rishimala, Pashukidamettu and Ramakkaltheri form the major tributaries of the Achenkovil river. It flows towards the eastern direction through a valley and enters the Konni town. Later it flows through the hilly towns of Kalleli, Kumbazha, Mylapra, Konnithazham, Vettoor, Pathanamthitta, Pramadam, Vallikode and enters into the Travancore Plains. Then the river passes through the towns of Kaipattoor, Nariyapuram, Thumbamon, Venmony, Kulanada, Pandalam, Padanilam, Edappon, Vettiyar, Kollakkadavu and Cheriyanad. After reaching Mavelikkara, the river takes a sharp turn towards the northern direction and flows through the following towns of Chennithala, Pallippad, Paippad and finally merges into the Pamba river at Veeyapuram. The Pamba River together with Achankovil and Manimala rivers, then splits into two distributaries, one which empties into the Arabian Sea at Thottapally and the other into the Vembanad Lake at Kainakary.
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Achankovil.|
- "Achencoil". www.kerenvis.nic.in. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
- ഭാസ്കര്, സാജു. "എഴുന്നൂറ് സ്ത്രീകള് ഒരു പുഴയുടെ ജീവന് തിരിച്ചെടുത്ത കഥ". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 19 May 2021.