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Dewan Peishcar, Travancore kingdom
1. Physical Description - Section A. Physical Features

Name of the Country Geographical Position

Boundaries Shape and Area

General Features Mountains

Passes Rivers

Canals and backwaters Coast line

Ports and shipping facilities


“Were there, below, a spot of holy ground

where from distress a refuge might be found,

And solitude prepare the soul for heaven;

Sure, nature’s God that spot to man had given,

Where falls the purple morning far and wide

In flukes of light upon the mountain side;

Where with loud voice the power of water shakes

The leafy wood, or sleeps in quiet lakes.”



Name of the Country

This ancient kingdom of Travancore forms the southern-most portion of the west coast of India. The country from Gokarnam to Cape Comorin has been known by different names at different times, such as, Malayalam, Parasurama-kshetram, Karma-bhumi, Cheram, Keralam, Malanad, Malavaram and Malabar. This tract of land, according to the Bhoogola Purana — a Sanskrit work on the ancient geography of the Hindus — was 100 yojanas* long and 10 yojanas broad.

NOTEs: *One yojana is equal to ten miles.

The word ‘Malayalam’ is its Tamil name and signifies ‘mala’ (hill) and ‘azham* (depth) i.e., the hill and dale country, or the land at the foot of the mountains.

The word ‘Parasurama-kshetram’ is derived from the tradition that Parasurama, the great Brahmin sage* of the race of Bhrigu, reclaimed this land from the sea.

NOTEs: * See Ancient History, infca.

The name ‘Karma-bhumi’ signifies that the spiritual salvation of the inhabitants of this land depends entirely on good actions, as contrasted with the East Coast, or “Gnana-bhumi” otherwise “Punnya-bhumi” where a man obtains salvation by mere birth irrespective of his actions, as the land itself is said to be consecrated ground. So far is this believed in, that an orthodox Brahmin of the East Coast would not wish to die in Keralam, lest he be born an ass in the next birth.

‘Keralam’ is the name by which the country was known from the earliest times and one by which the native of the soil always loves to designate it. The word is supposed to have been derived from ‘Keram’ a contraction of ‘Nalikeram’, the Sanskrit name for coconut, as this part of India abounds with cocoanut palms. Another theory is that the country takes its name from ‘Cheraman Keralan’, a sovereign among the Perumals, who, raised to sway by the people’s will, distinguished his government by a course of wisdom, moderation and benevolence. Both the derivations are however improbable as the country had its name long before the advent of this legendary Perumal, or the introduction of the cocoanut palm on this coast.

Alberuni seems to have been the first to call the country ‘Malabar’ which is an Arabic corruption from Mala (Vernacular) mountain and Vara (Sanskrit) slope. Dr. Robertson, in his ‘Historical disquisition concerning Ancient India’, derives it from the word ‘Mall’, the name of a port (mentioned by Kosmos Indikopleustes), and says that the word means ‘country of pepper’.

Fra Bartolomeo, who resided for a long time in Travancore, says that the country was called ‘Malai-nadu’ — the land of hills, which was subsequently corrupted into ‘Mala-varom’ or ‘Malabar’. Other forms of the word are; Melibar, Manibar, Molibar, Malibar, Minibar, Minabar, Melibaria.

‘Travancore’ is the abbreviated English form of ‘Tiru-Vithan-Kodu’,once the capital of the kingdom and the residence of the court, but now a petty village 80 miles to the south-east of Trivandrum. Tiru-Vithan-Kodu is said to be a corruption of “Sri-Vazhum-Kodu”, i.e., a place where the Goddess of Prosperity dwells.

Travancore is also known by the names of ‘Venad’, ‘Vanchi-Desam’ and ‘Tiru-Adi-Desam’. Venad is a corruption of ‘Vanavanad’ (the land of the celestials). ‘Vanchi-Desam’ means either the land of treasure or the land of bamboos. Tiru-Adi-Desam is probably derived from ‘Tiru Adikal’, one of the titles of Chera kings. ‘Tiru Adi’ means ’holy feet’ or ‘the Royal feet’ and represents the usual form in which the kings of the land were addressed. Even now the vernacular form of addressing the king is ‘Adiyen Trippatham sevikkunnu meaning ‘I, a humble slave, serve thy royal feet’.

Malankarai’ is another name used exclusively by the Syrian Christians; the Syrian Metropolitan still calls himself ‘The Malankarai Metran’.

Geographical position

The Travancore State is situated at the south-western extremity of India, between 8°4' and 10°22' North Latitude and 76° 14' and 77°38' East Longitude. It is a long narrow strip of territory, measuring 174 miles in length and from 30 to 75 miles in breadth, lying between the Malabar Coast and the Western Ghauts which run almost parallel with the Western Coast of India and which divide Travancore from the British Districts of Tinnevelly and Madura.


Travancore is bounded on the north by the Cochin State and the Coimbatore District, on the east by the range of Ghauts which forms a natural barrier between it and the districts of Tinnevelly, Madura and Coimbatore, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the west by the Arabian Sea and by portions of Cochin running down in a narrow strip between Travancore and the sea.

Shape and area

Its shape is triangular with the apex towards the south, its two sides running in a north-westerly direction. It is of an unequal breadth gradually diminishing from the north and converging to a point at its southern extremity. The irregularity of its breadth offers an average width of about 40 miles inland. A narrow strip of land belonging to the State of Cochin makes a deep indentation on the northwest angle and destroys the contiguity and compactness of its shape.

The total area of Travancore is 7091 square miles. Compared with the adjoining British Districts, it is about four-fifths of Madura, nine-tenths of Coimbatore, one and one-fourth of Malabar and one and one-third of Tinnevelly. Compared with other Native States, Travancore is about one-twelfth the size of Hyderabad, one-fourth of Mysore, seven-eighths of Baroda, two-sevenths of Gwalior, more than 5 times the size of Cochin, and 6 times that of Pudukotta. It is smaller than the Principality of Wales by 279 square miles and bears to England and Wales together, the proportion of 1 to 8.

Lieuts. Ward and Conner estimated the area to be 6731 square miles. But they did not include the Anchanad valley together with a large portion of the High Ranges aggregating about 230 square miles, the Idiyara valley and a portion of the forest near the Alvarkurichi gap.

The following table conveying an approximate distribution of surface was drawn up between 1816 and 1820 by Lieuts. Ward and Conner—

From the above table, it will be seen that about two-thirds only remain applicable to the purpose of profitable cultivation or pasturage, the whole cultivation of Travancore being generally confined to a contracted strip along the coast, narrower in the southern parts, but expanding as it approaches northwards.

General features

The general aspect of the country is thus described by Ward and Conner *

NOTEs: * Memoir of the Survey of Travancore and Cochin

“The face of the country presents considerable diversity, although its general character, except the southern parts, is extremely abrupt and mountainous. The coast, and for a short distance along the borders of the lake, is generally flat retreating from it the surface immediately becomes unequal, roughening into slopes which gradually combine and swell into the mountainous amphitheatre that abounds it on the east, where it falls precipitately, but terminates less abruptly on the south. The collected villages, waving plains, palmyra topes and extensive cultivation of Nunjanaad, resemble in every particular the neighbouring province of Tinnevelly, except that it in no measure partakes of its comparatively arid sterility. Approaching northward, this fertile plain is succeeded by the woody and rugged surface of the genuine Malayalam; some few Champaign tracts enclosed within this ocean of forest relieve the uniformity of this sylvan scene.

The extent lining the coast for its whole length presents a fertility so near the sea that imparts a peculiar character to the landscape. This rich and variegated tract is flanked by a mountainous barrier and is finally contrasted with the sombre magnificence and desolate solitude of those wilds of which the elephant seems the natural master; and though the landscape may be too much made up of this wild scenery, it boasts many striking localities and peculiar beauties, if not of the sublime, at least romantic and picturesque kinds. The eye is arrested by the wild rocky precipitous acclivities and fantastic forms assumed by the mountain in the more southern parts, but proceeding north the bold and elevated contour of this Alpine tract is less sharply defined a few rugged cliffs and spiry points or conical summits alone breaking through the sameness of its rounded and sombre outline.

This apennine dissolves into clustering hills and romantic inequalities, at whose feet wind innumerable valleys, presenting (particularly in the middle parts the most delightful landscapes, whose natural beauties are embellished and diversified by the prospect of Churches and Pagodas. Indeed the endless succession of houses and gardens scattered in picturesque disorder over the face of the country, gives it entirely a different appearance from the other coast, the nudity of whose plains is unfavourably contrasted with the robe of florid and exuberant vegetation that for a great part of the year clothes Malayalam. The Areca and Cocoanut everywhere fringe those picturesque and sequestered glens which gradually expand into the extensive plantations and cultivated lands that skirt the sea and lake. This space is enlivened and fertilised by innumerable rivers and pastoral streams, whose borders are crowned with groves and cultivation that everywhere following their winding course, present a unique, interesting and charming scenery, infinitely more diversified than most other parts of the Peninsula and one that would indicate abundance.

This is especially the case in Kootanaad the watery flatness of this fertile fen is relieved by the gardens and habitations so thickly strewn over its surface which exhibits a network of rivers meandering through the verdure they create.”

Travancore is certainly one of the most picturesque portions of India. It has been the dream of poets, the delight and admiration of every traveller. Lord Curzon, the Viceroy, said —

“Since I have been in India I have had a great desire to visit the State of Travancore. I have for many years heard so much of its exuberant natural beauties, its old-world simplicity, and its Arcadian charm. Who would not be fascinated by such a spectacle? Here nature has spent upon the land her richest bounties; the sun fails not by day, the rain falls in due season, drought is practically unknown, and an eternal summer gilds the scene. Where the land is capable of culture, there is no denser population; where it is occupied by jungles or backwater or lagoon, there is no more fairy landscape”.

Here is another description founded upon closer personal acquaintance from the pen of that versatile writer, Mr. J. D. Rees I.C.S., C.I.E., a former British Resident in Travancore and Cochin —

“It would be a hopeless task to attempt to describe the scenery of the Madras Presidency, which to the east of the ghauts has one, and to the west another character, but which nowhere is without a beauty of its own But the districts more completely within the sphere of the influence of the south-west monsoon have a wholly different character. The rolling downs of the Nilgiris possess one of the finest climates in the world for the Anglo-Saxon, and nowhere is the scenery more magnificent than upon its western borders, where the happy sportsman can sit in a blushing rhododendron as big as an English oak, the moss and lichens of whose branches are pranked with orchids, and look down a sheer cliff of giddy height, the first shelf of primeval forest and on to another and another by gradual descents from a height of 8,000 feet, till the cocoanut gardens of the storied Malabar Coast arc seen between the last step and the yellow sands and white foaming breakers, beyond which the blue Arabian Sea sparkles and shimmers in the sunlight, till the orb of day descends, a blood red ball, into its distant waters.

What mountain drive equals the Coonoor ghaut, now flashed and scanned somewhat by a none the less useful railway, upon whose forest-clad slopes white fleecy clouds gently lie, while the gigantic green feathers of the bamboos lightly wave, and the most beautiful of all butterflies flit around the traveller as he passes through tree ferns and plantains, looking up at the towering masses of rugged rocks, and the purple outline of the mountains.

“Below in Malabar, Travancore and Cochin, the beauties of the country defy description, and the forests are, of all places in this world, surely the most fascinating in which to dwell. You pass through shady aisles, which admit the sunshine by infrequent shafts, Init breathe everywhere its warmth and joy, and are ever reminded of the late Laureate’s happy alaeic experiment,

Me rather all that bowery loneliness.

The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,

And bloom profuse and cedar arches,


“Tall pillar trees, with green Corinthian capitals, support the roof, festooned with vines and creeping plants, and often blooming with red, white, and purple flowers, the floor is covered with an undergrowth of tree ferns and flowering shrubs, above monkeys and squirrels leap from tree to tree, wood-pigeons coo, wood-peckers tap the tree trunks, and cicadae whirr and whistle, while now and again a startled spotted deer jumps up and disappears, or the loud crack of branches betokens the proximity of an elephant taking his meal, the picture of lazy and lordly ease.

“This spirit pervades the atmosphere. Nature, in her most bounteous and reproductive aspects, scatters her treasures around with such a lavish hand, that it speaks well for an industrious and estimable population, that, in its case, the worship of the beautiful has never ended, as some say it always does, in orgies. None the less in the forests the life of those least sensitive to the influence of the beautiful can be nothing less than one long botanical debauch in ‘valleys low where the mild whispers use of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks’, tempered by occasional encounters, wherein all the sterner attributes of humanity are suddenly brought into play, and the man may have to fight with the beast, for the life, which, a few minutes before, ran ‘in soft luxurious flow’. The contingency, ever present for the sportsman, of this sharp and sudden contrast, adds a thousand fold to the fascination of what surely is the happiest possible life”.

I may be permitted to quote here, from one of my earlier Census Reports*, the following description of one of the highest Peaks on the Ghauts:—

NOTEs: * Report on the Census of Travancore, taken in 1881 A.D

“What strikes a stranger most in Travancore is the eminently picturesque character of its natural features. The view of the country from one of our hill-tops on the Western Ghauts is worth getting at even at the cost of a hundred miles journey. Nature is then seen at its best. Going up an elevation of four or Ave thousand feet above the sea to one of those bold and isolated heights open on all sides, the traveller is treated to an intellectual repast exceeding in grandeur all that poets or novelists have discovered in the revelry of nature itself. It is one continuous feast to the eye. On one side lie a series of mountains, rising in successive tiers till the highest peaks disappear in happy confusion with the white clouds of the East. On the other side is a vast rich undulating plain spread out in velvet green and covered with dense jungle not penetrated even by a Kawni’s hut, the picturesque view extending over many square miles of territory and presenting scenes of indescribable beauty as far as the eye can reach; there is something like a glut produced on the human eyesight by the quantity and variety of beauty simultaneously presented to it. For a while, the traveller’s eye rests on regions of magnificent primeval forest as old as Parasurama himself.

Here the view is relieved by neat plots of coffee land upon which is seen the industrious hand of the mighty British adventurer, a scene full of life and calling to mind associations of lacs of plants and lacs of rupees, at one time the land of dreams, but now often the grave of fortunes. Then anon is seen towering pre-eminently over all, the Agastiar Peak or the Mount Everest of our Ghauts, supposed to be the abode of pious Rishis or at any rate now of guileless birds and beasts and of untainted perennial waters. In one word, ‘every corner and ‘every turning point opens out a panorama of inexpressible grandeur’.

To which may be added another description of a sixty miles’ journey across country from Quilon to Shencottah, from my Census Report of 1891:—

“A rich picturesqueness of scenery diversified by hills and dales is the chief characteristic of Travancore. To the admiring student of nature it presents peculiar fascinations, on account of the variety and wealth of its natural beauty. If the untraveled reader will go along with me, across country, say from the western ocean to the ghauts on the eastern frontier and thence descend into one of those trans-alpine villages which abound in the flat country of Pandi, he will have seen Travancore at its best. Say we start from one of the coast towns, a place of historic importance known at once as a port, a cantonment, a centre of trade and the head-quarters of a chief revenue officer.

The stranger will be taken up with its broad- backed gardens into which the town is laid out, the soil of which is half sand, half laterite, the former thickly planted with the valuable cocoanut palm for which every available space is used up, thus showing an ancient agricultural occupancy; while the remaining space is filled with wooded trees of all kinds, such as the mango, the jack, the anjili and the tamarind with the highly priced pepper vine parasitically clinging to them.

This pretty town I am speaking of has a reef of rocks for its beach, which prevents its corrosion by the sea, thus helping the ryot to plant his cocoanut trees so near the water’s edge that the shadows fall on the beating surf, a phenomenon not met with in any other point of this coast. On the south is the beautiful bay known to the earliest mariners of Europe as affording a perfect natural protection to ships in the worst weather; and which, it is believed, might, under favourable conditions, be turned into one of the finest harbours in India. A little to the interior you have the beautiful lake scenery, so much admired by travellers from all parts of the world, affording unrivalled conveniences for travelling and traffic and adding beauty to its general appearance. There are many turns and bends to this lake, which specially attract the eye of the traveller. On one of those turns you have a magnificent mansion standing out boldly into the lake, the waters of which reflect so well its lofty column, its halls and rooms, its high balconies and well designed circular roof that the shadows on the water seem more charming than the reality. This mansion known as the Thavally Palace is very happily situated. The ground is an elevated table-land jutting out into the lake, which bounds it on three sides. The soil is of laterite formation and the water is excellent both for drinking and bathing purposes.

There are two tanks in the garden and several wells, one of them a particularly large one within the ‘nalukettoo’ itself. The place was an abandoned jungle years ago, and the credit of discovering and reclaiming it belongs to the present Dewan (Mr. T. Rama Row). The late Maharajah and his Royal brother visited Thavally often. So also did the present Maharajah as a Prince and several other members of the Royal family. So Thavally became a favourite resort with the Royal family, and during His late Highness’ reign, the ground and property of Mr. Rama Row were purchased by the Sircar, and a magnificent mansion erected on it.

The view from the palace tower or column is most magnificent. The peculiar combination of wood and water, of groves of tall palms and forests, of well-shaded jack and mango trees, with the blue line of distant mountains on the eastern horizon, give a charm to Thavally which can only be felt, not described. Another point of vantage in this lake scenery is the Residency, the oldest and the finest of the Residencies in the country. I have heard no end of praises being heaped on this lovely spot. On occasions of State dinners the house is decorated and the gardens are tastefully illuminated, when it may well claim the encomium passed on it by one of our late Governors that it was ‘Fairy Land’. The enterprising European has not been slow to avail himself of such natural facilities so he has with his usually keen commercial instinct established mills and manufactories which, with their noisy machinery’ and smoky chimneys, remind you of the veneering of a superior civilization over this otherwise quiet spot. A mile to the east is the European quarter of the town and the British cantonment with their indispensable parade ground, church, mess-house and a club, and an open sea beach for their evenings to be enjoyed. Between, is the native part of the town with its thatched huts and busy bazaars containing a mixed population of Pandi Sudras, Nairs, Mahomedans, Jews, East Indians and fishermen.

The town is dotted with numerous tanks and wells, an indispensable auxiliary to the comfort of the true Travancorean. It is also well supplied with flat metalled roads, the very best, I think, of all the roads we have in the country.

Travelling eastwards we pass the pretty grove of Elampalloorkavoo, the only cluster of huge trees In a large expanse of open country. This ‘kavoo’ or grove is an interesting oasis in the open maidan, and I counted in it 129 trees of 17 different kinds such as the belleri myrabolam, the momordicus charantia, the cinnamon, the cassia, the callicarpa lanata, the anjili, (the artocarpus hirsuta), the echites scholaris, the strychnos nux vomica, the jack tree, the mango tree, the alangium decapitatum, the Kilimaram, the Vattathamara, the Vetti, the Edana and the Mottalu. They were the growth of ages and were an object of worship to the neighbouring population, who consider it sacrilegious to touch such trees with any knife or other piece of iron. Leaving this, we come upon a fine jungly station with a number of new clearings all round, and a wild mountain torrent running by its side the force of which, however, has been arrested by the recent bund-works of an enterprising company. The whole road is lined on both sides with fine avenue trees planted by an enthusiastic former administrator of the district and bearing testimony to his goodness and forethought. Proceeding further east, we reach Ottakkal, another distance of 10 miles.

The whole region is one continuous forest, and is an abundant source of inexhaustible wealth, the potentiality of which exceeds our most sanguine calculations. On both sides the road is barricaded by a tall tree fence. This is a phenomenon quite unknown in most parts of India, and but for our personal knowledge we should have found it hard to believe it. The noonday sun scarcely penetrates the thick crust of green leaves, so rich is the vegetation. From Punalur to Camp Gorge the river runs nearly parallel to the road for most part of it, and I believe the natural stream served as a guide to the original engineer in laying it out. It is impossible to describe the beauties of the road or the river in this region; they should be seen to be appreciated.

The best description must beggar the reality, or as Mr. J. D. Rees “writes: — ‘Words fail me to describe the lovely scenery. Tall, upright standards of huge timber trees, palms of every kind, including the exquisitely graceful areca, tree ferns, creepers, ferns and flowers, all spring from a tangled undergrowth of iral reed. The pepper vine clings to the large timber trees, and ropes of rattan and giant branches hidden in creepers, combine to construct an ever varying but unending bower As you travel in the chequered shade, you would say that every reach of the road had been designed by nature, to show what wealth of vegetation can be presented at once to the astonished and delighted eye.

After a night’s halt in the wooden house at this lonely place (Ottakkal), you rise and see nothing but a dim daylight and a white haze all round. The tall trees and the mountains are all buried under this haze, so that one would suspect it was raining hard when it was only the morning dew. As the sun rises in the horizon, the mist disappears, and the outlines of the glorious hills and the surrounding jungle become more and more visible. Altogether this Ottakkal is a lovely station, in the heart of the forest. It composes one to fine thoughts. There is not a single human habitation within a radious of five miles. There is nothing to disturb one here except the loneliness of the spot. At night you may be awakened by a wild elephant, who pays his customary visit to the neighbouring jack tree (five yards from the wooden building when the jack fructifying season sets in.

Eleven miles further to the east is the Arienkavu pagoda. This is a small temple, with its usual accompaniments of a copper-plate-roofed quadrangle, and a cupola-shaped shrine in the centre, dedicated to the god of the woods, a place of great sanctity and renown, approached with dread reverence by the superstitious traveller.

The road still lies by the side of deep and fearful ravines, thickly overgrown with moss and shrub, and through a continuous belt of tall and stately forest of the kind already described, and tenanted by the majestic elephant and the royal tiger and all the minor denizens that

‘Roam the jungle free,

Graze the turf untilled,

And drink the stream unbrewed’.

Midway between Ottakkal and this pagoda is a two-roomed terrestrial paradise, used as a rest-house by the much-travelled Briton, and which is situated on the side of a precipitous and magnificent gorge, from which it takes its name. It is the most favoured of all the fair spots on which the eye of He Heaven rests, and when fitted up with the equipments of modern civilization, it might well raise the envy of even an English prince. A mile to the east of this venerable pagoda, is the famous pass through the ghauts, known as the ‘Arienkavoo Pass’. This beautiful glade on the ghauts is fifty miles away from where we started, and forms a sort of natural gateway through the chain of mountains which would otherwise be an impassable barrier to Travancore. The road, already described, cuts the mountain saddle at its lowest point, and connects it to British India.

This road, upon which the business-bound traveller of to-day does not pause to spend a moment’s thought, bears at once willing testimony to the financial genius and engineering skill of former times. It would be ingratitude in us to forget our old benefactors, though the world is so much occupied with its present self that it has no time to look back or cherish memories of the past. The road struggles up inch by inch, for several hundred feet above the sea- level, before it reaches the top of this gap, and any but the stoutest heart must have been baffled in the attempt to make it, so great are the natural obstacles of wood, rock and ravine. The topmost part is presently reached, and you stand still and take breath for a while. Then, as you slowly wind down the tortuous path, looking at all the points of the compass, new beauties rise on every side before you. At every turn, you get exhilarating views of the enchanting landscape, which for the nonce relieves the prosaic mind of the dull monotony of daily life and fills it with sweet thoughts of fancy.

On the west is seen nothing but a dense jungle of the tall teak and the stout anjili, the valuable kongu and the oily vengai, and an impervious underwood, full of animal and vegetable life, resonant with the hum of the shrill Seevudu bee*, and the gentle murmur of the forest leaves, with the perpetual rain dripping from them, and the deafening roar of the wild torrent below dashing its headlong course — altogether a scene which, by its richness and hugeness, produces something like a glut on the vision and obscures it. The eye then fondly turns to the open east, the varied beauties of which furnish still ampler food to an imaginative mind. The view on that side, as laid out by nature, is simply grand. The ground gently falls eastward, step by step, for many miles, till at a great distance you see the ruins of a magnificent ‘gopuram’ (tower, which reminds you that the level country of the Tamils has been reached.

NOTEs: * A kind of bee that makes a shrill sound often met with in our jungles.

The zigzag line of rich avenues, with banyan trees 30 feet in circumference and perhaps as old as Queen Mangamma herself, indicate which way the cart road lies. On yonder right, flow the magnificent waters of a mighty cataract! used by millions of pilgrims from a remote past, and which, though perhaps of not equal sanctity to those of the Vedic Ganges, are yet as pure. The smoothness of the rocks, over which the water flows, reminds one of the immensity of the time that has elapsed, and the hundred little streams and channels into which the waterfall has been diverted, show how the hand of man in later ages has utilized it for religious and secular purposes. The green valley between, with their rice fields and groves of cocoanut palms in their midst, add their share of beauty to the surrounding scene. To the left, your eye falls on clusters of Hindu villages with houses closely packed to one another — an economy peculiar to this region, but unknown on the Western Coast. The houses, though small and humble, are neat and well-built ones, made of brick and chunam, and afford the inmates effective shelter from the biting winds of the monsoon, which blow here with unstinted fierceness.

Further left, you catch a glimpse of an isolated rock, with a Hindu temple on its top founded according to popular tradition about the beginning of this ‘yuga’, but, at any rate, showing that the Hindu worshipper of old had a touch of the romantic in him. On both sides of the road the tilled red soil bespeaks the quiet and patient industry of the ryot who, though the butt of fickle fortune, has through several generations and amidst all change of circumstances yet remained a contented and loyal subject. Overhead fly troops of water-laden clouds, precipitated through a hundred gaps by the winds on which they ride as if in a hurry to convey to the anxiously awaiting villagers of Pandi the glad tidings of rain and plenty in the land of Parasurama with which their own prosperity is so indissolubly bound. In short, on every side, you are greeted with a rich and interminable prospect of Nature’s beauties, sown broadcast in riotous profusion before you, such as is only possible in a Travancore landscape.”

In spite of repeated tours over this pretty tract of country, my fascination remains undiminished for wood and water, for hill and gorge, for high peaks and deep chasms, for the cry of the jungle bird and the roar of the wild torrent. I am not sure if this charm will not disappear with the introduction of the Railway. This scene of never ending beauties of the Aryankavu Pass might become an old-world dream. Speedy locomotion is inconsistent with the full enjoyment of natural beauties or diversified landscape. One relishes them better for the dull country-cart journeys.

The steam engine dashing across this 60 miles of rich scenery in a couple of hours, the natural beauty of the country will thus quickly pass the eye and escape enjoyment, like a flash of lightning. It would be as if one swallowed a whole meal in a single gulp. So sudden a change in the life of the quiet and simple Travancorean may be a matter for regret, but a vain regret after all. It is impossible to stand still in this age. Such is the current of modern civilisation. We must move on whether we will or not.


The hilly region of Travancore is very extensive and is a marked of feature of the State. What the Himalaya mountains are to the Indian Continent, that the Western Ghauts are to Travancore- Without these Ghauts Travancore would be a poor tract of land, treeless and arid and inhospitable, without rivers and rains, exposed to droughts and famine even more than the worst part of the East Coast, which itself would be the much poorer but for these Ghauts. They affect all the conditions of life now peculiar to Travancore, and it is no wonder therefore that the Travancorean worships the Ghauts, particularly one of the highest peaks in them where sage Agastya is said to dwell, and has deified their maker Parasurama who created Malayalam from the sea, the up heaved surface of which became the Ghauts. Reference is made in another part of this book to the 5 presiding deities (Sasthas) who guard the Western Ghauts.

The eastern boundary of Travancore with three small exceptions (the Anchanad valley, the Shencottah Taluk and the eastern slopes of the Mahendragiri hills is the lofty mountain range, the chain of Ghauts that forms the backbone of Southern India. The hills are of every variety of elevation, climate and vegetation. Some of the loftier mountains are entirely detached, except near their bases, from the neighbouring heights; they often have a precipitous descent towards the west and are connected with a succession of low hills diminishing in altitude near the coast. To the north, the mountains rise to an elevation of 8,000 feet with plateaus over 7,000 feet the more important of these is part of the group known as the Anamalays (between lat. 10° 13' 45" to 10° 31' 30" N and long. 76° 52' 30" to 77° 23' E.)

At the head of these hills stands Anamudy 8,840 feet high, round which are clustered several others, among the more important of which may be mentioned, Eiavimala or Hamilton’s plateau 7,880 feet (6 miles long by 3 wide containing about 10,000 acres of tea and coffee land), Kattumala 7,800 feet, Chenthavara 7664 feet, Kumarikal 7,540 feet, Karinkulam 7,500 feet, and Devimala 7,200 feet. All these run in a horse-shoe shape with the opening facing towards the north-east. These hills, together with the lower ground connecting them, form the elevated plateau known to Europeans as the High Range. The broken nature of the hills here causes the scenery to be far more varied and beautiful than that generally met with either in the Pulneys or Nilgiris. The general trend of the highlands is north-north-east and south-south-west, the highest elevation being to the north-east and to the south, gradually decreasing in sloping undulating hills towards the west excepting the Anamudy mountain and its plateau, which is situated at the extreme south-south-west end of the range. Strictly speaking, the tract known as High Ranges can hardly be said to be a plateau; it is rather a succession of high hills with deep valleys between, running down to a depth of 2,000 to 3,000 feet below them. Mr. Munro, the first Superintendent and Magistrate of the Cardamom Hills, has described it thus: —

‘The High Ranges of Travancore rise suddenly from the lower plateau of the Cardamom Hills and form a complete range of their own. On the south-east corner, the High Ranges begin with Sholeamalla or Currincollum (8,480 ft.) and run in a south-west direction to Gennewurra, thence still south-west to Corechy and thence to Puddikut (6,000ft.) near Davycollum. From Puddikut, the line of walls runs in the same direction to Coorkacomboo (7,000 ft.); then running slightly more west, the Hills rise to Chokenamuddy (7,300 ft.) from which the coursers north-west to the gap where the Moonaur disappears. From the gap the Hills run slightly south-west and then north-west to Worrayaparathundoo; thence north to Perumputty Kullo (6,500 ft.) from which again the direction is northeast as far as Aunymuddy. From Aunymuddy the course is much broken and runs irregularly to Erevimalla where there is a deep dip into the valley of the Erevimalla Aur which separates the Erevimalla plateau (also known as Hamilton’s plateau) from Perumalmalla plateau.

From this valley there is a steep rise to the north-west to Katoomalla (8,100 ft). To the west of Katoomalla, the High Ranges comprise the plateaux within Chemmun Peak (7,100 ft.), Payratmalla (7,400 ft) and thence eastward to Coomarikul (8,050 ft.). To the east of Coomarikul and Katoomalla lies the low Unjenaad Valley which separates this part of the High Ranges from the Highlands on the slopes of Tertamalla, on which are situated the hill villages of Kelandoor, Kandel, Pootoor, and Perumalla at an average elevation of 5,000 feet. In its upper part the Unjenaad, Valley is also called the Thallayar Valley where the elevation is above 4,000 feet sloping gradually to the northeast, it opens out into the Unjenaad Valley proper which is a level terrace 2 or 3 miles wide and 5 miles long lying at an elevation of 3,000 feet. Below and to the east of Unjenaad the land slopes down rapidly to the British frontier probably at about 1,500 or 2,000 feet, a very feverish tract containing no resident population.

‘To the south-cast of Tertamalla runs a ridge separating the water-shed between Unjenaad and Moonaur and joining the high peaks bordering the Pulnies at a peak called Allear Kunnoo (6,900 ft). From Allear Kunnoo the course is bounded by a curve north north-east to Pambadyshola (8,000 ft.) and then runs north to Kuduvurratukul (6,600 ft.), where there is a deep dip into the Wuttawudda river, and here the high land may he said to cease. From Allear Kunnoo southward, the line to Sholeamalla is marked by clear-cut cliffs averaging about 8,000 feet. Exclusive of the low Unjenaad Valley which is not above 3,100 feet, the area within these boundaries may be roughly estimated at 400 square miles with an elevation of one of the peaks reaching as high as 8,837 feet”.

The following are the chief plateaux in the High Ranges: —

GUDARAMALA. Between Karinkulam in the south-east corner and Devimala. Average elevation 6,000 feet, area 4 sq. miles; well wooded and watered.

DEVICOLAM. Lies to the west of the above and has an area of 3 sq. miles. Average elevation 6,000 feet; beautifully wooded and well watered.

ANAYCUDOO. Lies west of the Devicolam plateau and is separated from it by the Kazhuthaparathundoo. This beautiful valley is sheltered by the Chokkanmudy peaks. Elevation 5,120 feet. Between Vagavara and Anamudy there is a very pretty glen with an elevation of 7,000 feet.

ERAVIMALA. Lies north of Anamudy and is separated from it by a deep valley. Elevation 7,300 feet. Bare of wood on its summit but well wooded in the slopes. Has a cold bracing climate. Length 6 miles and breadth 3 miles.

PERUMALMALA. Length 2 miles, breadth 1½ miles. Elevation 7,000 feet.

To the north of this lies a plateau sheltered between Kattumala, Kumarikal and Payratmala. Length 4 miles, breadth 3 miles and elevation 7,000 feet. There is another plateau to the north of Kattumala terminating at Pudikutmala. Area 3 sq. miles. Elevation 6,600 feet.

ANCHANAD. Area 30 to 40 sq. miles. Elevation 3,100 feet. This is a level terrace, two or three miles wide and five miles long.

VATTAVADA. Length 6 miles, elevation 6,000 feet. Greater portion bare of wood but the upper portion towards the top of the pass into Bodinaickanur heavily wooded and well watered.

KUNDALA. South-west of Vattavada plateau at an elevation of 5,600 feet; length 6 miles and breadth 2 miles. A great deal of swamp land.

From the High Ranges the land slopes steeply down in three directions north-east to the Anchanad valley, to the west into the valleys of the Kandanpara, Parishakkuthu and Idiyara rivers, and southwards to the Cardamom Hills and Peermade. These last form an extensive hill plateau, 60 miles long and 20 miles broad, lying at an elevation of from 3,000 to 3,500 feet with peaks and hills running up to 4,000 or even 5,000 feet.

This is the centre of planting industry and is largely resorted to by Europeans, who have also taken up for the purpose Camp Gorge, Ponmudi, Ashamboo &c. From the main range and from the western water-shed of the Peermade plateau and the High Range, rocky spurs run out to the west and north-west extending at times to within a short distance of the sea and forming a series of parallel valleys drained by numerous rivers.

South of Peermade, the lofty mountain range is of no breadth until we come to the beautiful sanitarium of Muthukuzhi Vayal or “The field of precious stones”, 4,400 feet above sea level. For the remaining part of its length the great range becomes a mere ridge sloping down on either side and running north-north-west and south-south-east at an elevation of about 4,000 feet with isolated peaks rising here and there, the most important of which are the Agastyar peak (6,200 ft) and the Mahendragiri peak ( 5,500 ft.). The Agastyar peak was once the seat of an Observatory. It is also famous as having been the abode of sage Agastya, “a savant, physician, philologist and theologian”. The Mahendragiri peak stands on the area drained by the Hanuman River in the Tovala Taluk. This is the southernmost peak of the Travancore Ghauts and is supposed to be the hill from which Hanuman or the monkey God is supposed to have jumped to Lanka or modern Ceylon in quest of Sita.

Besides the peaks referred to above, may also be mentioned, Kallanad, Nedumpara, Papanasam, Amritamala, Kodiyattur, Chengamanad, Periamala, Therathandu, and Marutwamala.


BODINAICKANUR. This is the most northern of the passes of Travancore. It is ascended with great difficulty from the valley below. It connects Kothamangalam with Bodinaickanur.

TEVARAM. This connects Todupuzha on the Travancore side of the Ghauts with Kambam on the Madura side. This pass reaches the top of the Ghaut after a very steep ascent; for 2 miles from there it proceeds to Perrinjincooty 12 miles, continuing its course to the eastern Periyar 14 miles further and reaching Idumpanur, the first village in Travancore 13 miles beyond that river. This is now little frequented as it traverses a very wild and mountainous region.

KAMBAM. This pass though rugged for 1½ miles, is one of the best across the hilly tract separating the countries of Travancore and Madura. Merchants frequently pass this route.

GUDALUR. This connects Kanjirapalli with Kambam and Uttamapoliem, a distance of 44 miles. A more northern road strikes off from this at Copachetty Tavalam, 3 miles west of the Munjamulla Periyar, and proceeds by the Codamurutty Ghaut, a steep and difficult acclivity, to Erattupetta. This route runs over a rugged surface and is tolerable except near the pass which is now closed for traffic on account of the facilities it offered to smuggling.

South of Gudalur another path ascends the hills and leads to Sabarimala, but it is of no consequence being only frequented by cattle.

Shivagiri Ghaut. This route is also prohibited. A road leads up to it from Rajapoliem, while another from Srivilliputtur ascends from the Satur Ghaut; but both these are difficult.

ACHANKOVIL (1,500 ft). This lies north of the Puliyara pass and joins Achankovil to Pumblypatam and Shencottah. This has a difficult ascent for a mile from the plains stretching along its eastern foot. The road, after leaving the summit, descends partly through the bed of a stream to the pagoda, a distance of 6½ miles; thence passing over swelling ground and following the right bank of the Kulakkada river, it reaches Konni, a distance of 29 miles having crossed 9 powerful streams, the passage of which during the rains constitutes the chief difficulties of the route. This route passes from Shencottah over Konni, Pantalam and Mavelikara to Kartikapalli measuring on the whole a distance of more than 60 miles.

ARYANKAVAU (1,200 ft.). This connects Quilon with Shencottah and is one of the principal passes of Travancore. It has an easy ascent from the open country on the east and passes through Mampazhatora and Pattanapuram, pursuing its course over waving ground through thick woods.

NOTEs: Since this portion of the Manual was written the Railway has been completed and the line opened for traffic between Quilon and Tinnevelly

SHANAR GHAUT (1,700 ft.) This lies south of the above pass and is very difficult and little frequented. It ascends 4 miles and descends 11 miles to Kulattupuzha, from which it passes through a thick forest.

ARYANAAD. The route to British territory by this pass is now closed up. The road rising from the plains on the east to the top of this pass and thence descending through a thick forest to the village of Aryanad near Nedumangad is spoken of as having been at one time a very good one.

MOTTACCHIMALA (4,500 ft.). In the Bridge estate. This is the chief pass by which cardamoms are smuggled from Balamore to Agastyar. The road was once rideable to Papanasam the Kanikkara even now go down this path for tobacco which they buy about Papanasam,

From Calacaud to Muthukuzhivayal there is a path used by canemen and cardamom smugglers.

Pass from Kadukkara to Shoravalli Madam. Much used by villagers from Alagiapandyapuram and other parts going to Panagudy. Daily the Panagudy cattle come down to the Kadukkara edge of the jungle to graze. It is also used largely by estate coolies

TIRUKKURANGUDY. About 2,000 feet; bridle-path cut on both sides. Much used by estate coolies.

Pass through Miranjimea Estate. Formerly a good path ascending the mountains from Panagudy leading to a large coffee estate; now a very bad track overgrown and not much used.

ARAMBOLY. The trunk road from Tinnevelly to Trivandrum passes through this pass. This forms the best entrance into Travancore.

YEDAMALA. A small and easy pass across the group of hills forming a ridge about 2 miles to the north-east of Marutwamala near Cape Comorin.


Travancore is especially fortunate in its river system. Few countries of similar extent are supplied with so many fine streams. Owing to this circumstance and to the heavy rainfall, every part of Travancore is abundantly supplied with water and that of an excellent quality. Of the numerous rivers taking their rise in the Travancore hills very few escape to the other coast. The rivers have generally a capricious course and are of varying lengths and depths. The bed over which they flow is frequently rocky in the interior, but as they leave the elevated parts, it is in most cases sandy, succeeded by a muddy sediment as they empty themselves into the lake or the sea. During the wet weather, which commences about the beginning of June and lasts till November, these rivers are filled from bank to bank with a large volume of water rolling in a strong current to the sea. The large rivers flow with turbulent and impetuous force frequently rising 12 to 14 feet above their ordinary level.

The flood diminishes as the monsoon draws to a close, the rivers slowly subsiding into shallow and languid streams. In the larger rivers — the Periyar, the Ranni and the Kallada — there is always a considerable amount of water, due no doubt to the fact that the heavy forest at their sources does not allow the rains falling in the wet weather to run off too rapidly.

The Periyar. The Periyar is the finest, the largest and the most important of the rivers of Travancore. It takes its rise in the Shivagiri forests. As it first emerges from the dense forest the volume of water it contains is 30 yards wide and 2 feet deep even in the driest weather.

After a course of 10 miles northward it is joined by the Mullayar at an elevation of 2,800 feet. The Periyar then turns due west and continues so for about 10 miles over sandy bed. About seven miles below Mullayar Tavalam there is formed a sort of gorge by the hills rising to a considerable height on either side of the river and approaching each other very closely. It is here that a dam is thrown by the Madras Government to a height of 160 feet and a width of 1,200 feet to form a lake which greatly helps the irrigation of the land in the Vaigai valley. By the construction of the dam the river is caused to back up for a considerable distance as far as the Vazhukkappara Tavalam, and all the low lying land on the north bank of the river is submerged, the water extending up all the side valleys and reaching to within a mile of Kumili. From here a channel is tunnelled through the hill side over a mile long, by which the water is conveyed to one of the streams that go to feed the Vaigai river.

After a winding course of 8 miles from the dam, the river reaches Peermade and then passes through a narrow gorge, below which it is joined by the Perinthura river. Lower down, passing the Todupuzha-Periyar crossing, the Kattapanayar joins it and still lower the Cheruthoni or Chittar.

Lower down it is joined by the Pirinyankuta Ar and a mile later by the Muthirappuzha Ar, where the elevation is about 800 feet and there is a great fall of 800 feet in 4½ miles. There is also another fall called Kokkaranippara, where the river is said to tumble over a cliff 100 feet high, close to the above. The Periyar after receiving the Muthirappuzha river flows west-north-west for about 8 miles when it pours under a large rock which probably has fallen from the hill side on account of landslip. In dry weather when the volume of water is small, the whole of it flows under the rock. This has been exaggerated into a sudden disappearance of the river underground. The water is considered to pass into a chasm and emerge again only after a very long distance.

Ten miles below the junction of the Muthirappuzha river with the Periyar, at Karimanal, the river becomes navigable or suitable for the floating of timber. It is then joined by the Deviar and passes the once populous village of Neryamangalam. From this place it flows for about 8 miles when it unites with the Idiyara or Idamala river. From here as far as Malayattur, the river, now a grand one upwards of 400 yards broad, is fed by numerous streams. Passing Malayattur and after a winding course of 14 miles it reaches Alwaye, where it divides itself into two branches, which again subdivide themselves into several small ones before reaching the sea. The principal branch flows north-west and expands itself into a broad sheet of water. Another branch takes a southerly direction and is broken up into a number of small channels leading into the lake near Verapoly, while a third one flows to the south and discharges itself in the lake south of Tripunatora.

The Periyar flows through the Taluqs of Changanachery, Todupuzha, Muvattupuzha, Kunnatnad, Alangad and Parur. The chief places on its banks are: — Peermade, Neryamangalam, Malayattur, Cheranallur, Vazhakulam, Alwaye, Ullinad and Verapoly.

The total length of the river is 142 miles of which for the last 36 miles only it passes through inhabited tracts. It is navigable for boats for 60 miles above its mouth.

The Minachil River. This rises on the Peermade plateau a httle above Nallatannippara at an elevation of 3,500 feet. It runs first north-west and then west and after 7 or 8 miles joins the Kavana Ar which rises on the slopes of Melakavu. The combined stream after a course of 2 miles due south is joined by the Codamurutty river and passes by Punjar. After leaving the forest boundary at Erattupetta, its course is south-east and leaving Kondur and Lalam, it passes through Kitangur and Kottayam after which its waters, dispersed in minor channels, unite with the Vembanad lake by several embouchures. The length of the river is 35 miles and it is navigable for boats 26 miles.

The Muvattupuzha River. This is formed by the union of three smaller rivers, the Todupuzha, the Vadakkan and the Kothamangalam, which take their rise on the western slopes of the Peermade plateau and running in a westerly and north-westerly direction through a wild country unite at Muvattupuzha, thus getting the name. The combined river flows for about 8 miles in a westerly direction and then turns south and passes Ramamangalam, Piravam and Vettikkattumukku, at which point it forks, one branch running in the direction of Cochin and the other flowing into the Vembanad lake at Tannirmukkam. Total length 62 miles; navigable for boats 42 miles inland.

The Ranni or Pamba River. This is one of the finest rivers of Travancore and is formed by the junction of three rivers, the Kallar, the Kakkada Ar and the Valiya Ar, which last is made up of two other small ones — the Pamba and the Arutha. The original stream Pamba from which the river takes its name rises on the hills to the north of Pulicchimala and after running for a long distance is joined by the Arutha which rises on the Peermade plateau, and the two together form the Valiya Ar which after a course of 6 miles westward falls over Perunthen aruvi (height 90 ft) and is then joined by the Kakkada river. The Kallar which rises in the valley north of Chempazhakkara joins the main river a little above Eanni and the combined river now called the Ranni leaves the forest area as a powerful stream 200 yards broad. It then runs west for about 30 miles when it is joined by the Manimala river and 6 or 8 miles lower down the Kulakkada river joins it and after a course of about 20 miles the whole flows into the Vembanad lake.

The total length of the river is 90 miles. The chief places on its banks are: — Konni, Aiyrur, Aranmula, Chengannur, Mannar and Pulikunnu. The river is navigable for boats for 45 miles, and is specially useful for irrigation.

The Kallada River. This is the third largest river in Travancore. The union of five large streams issuing from the mountainous valleys of the Ghauts forms the Kallada river which flows through the Taluqs of Pattanapuram, Kunnattur, Kottarakara and Quilon. The main branch rises in the most southerly of these valleys and is formed by numerous streams that rise on the elevated plateau stretching from the Alvarkurichi peak to Chemmunji. Flowing west it is joined by several small streams and after leaving the Kulattupuzha valley proper and running 5 miles passes the Kulattupuzha village situated on its left bank. Here the river is about 80 yards wide and never gets dry even in hot weather. Three miles lower down it is precipitated over the Minmutti cataract, the water rushing with immense velocity. It is then joined by the Chenthroni and Kalduritty rivers. Passing Ottakkal where it pours over another cataract, the river then runs for about 10 miles in a west-north-westerly direction and leaves the forest area 3 miles above the town of Punalur. Turning north and bending a little north-west, it passes Pattanapuram and 2 miles below Punalur it is joined by the Chalakkara Ar. It then flows in a westerly direction and then south-west until it falls into the Ashtamudi lake, a little north of Quilon, by several mouths. Its length is 70 miles of which 25 miles are navigable for boats. The chief places on its banks are:—Punalur, Pattanapuram, Pattazhidesam, Kulakkada, Kunnattur and Kallada (East and West).

The Manimala River. The main branch of this river rises under the Mothavara hill and drains the valley to the west of Amritamala. After flowing for about 6 miles it is joined at Kuttukal by the Nyarampullar and then by several small streams before it joins the Ranni about 25 miles above its mouth. The length of the river is 62 miles. The villages of Peruvantanam, Mundakayam, Yerumakuzhi, Manimala, Kaviyur, Kalluppara, Tiruvalla, Talavadi, Kozhimukku and Chambakkulam lie on its course.

The Achankovil or Kulakkada River. This rises on the western slope of the Thuval mala (Coonumcal square rock) and Ramakkal peaks. It passes Achankovil village and, after receiving numerous accessions from small rivers and streams, leaves the forest area 4 miles above Konniyur. This river runs a course of 70 miles first north-west and then west and joins the Pamba river near Viyapuram. Konniyur, Omallur, Pantalam, Mavelikara and Kandiyur are situated on its banks. It flows through the Taluqs of Chengannur, Kunnattur, Mavelikara, Tiruvalla and Kartikapalli. Navigable for boats 40 miles and specially useful for cultivation purposes.

The Attungal or Vamanapuram River. This rises on the peak of Chemmunji north-east of Trivandrum and on the spur running out from the main range as far as the cliffs of Ponmudi. It then descends rapidly and runs at first in a north-westerly direction, then west for 23 miles between high banks and over a sandy bed when it passes the village of Vamanapuram. From here it runs south-west and empties itself into the Anjengo estuary after a course of 85 miles. Nelnad, Vamanapuram, Attungal, Kuntallur and Chirayinkil are the chief places on its banks.

The Itthikkara River takes its rise in the low hills situated near Madatturakani and those to the south-west of Kulattupuzha. After small accessions it leaves the forest area near Manarkoda and proceeding in a north-westerly direction is joined by a large stream. From here it flows south-west and west and falls into the Paravur backwater. Length 30 miles. Chadayamangalam, Pallikal, Kummallur and Nedungolum lie on its banks.

The Killiyar. This petty river rises in the Nedumangad hills. Its course is generally towards the south and after flowing for 15 miles it joins the Karamana river near Tiruvallam. This river irrigates a small tract of rice land by means of anicuts and channels taken off from it and supplies water to all the principal tanks of the Capital.

The Karamana River. This rises on the ridge to the north of the Agastyar Peak and an outlying spur terminating in the Sasthankotta rock. It flows over a partially narrow rocky bed confined by high banks through a comparatively wild, woody and uneven country. Its direction is first west, then south and finally south-west and it flows into the sea 3 miles near Puntora, at the foot of the head-land termed Covalam, after a course of 41 miles.

The Neyyar. This rises on the slopes of the Agastyar peak at an elevation of 600 feet and descends with great rapidity until it reaches the foot of the hills. It then runs in a southerly direction and passes downward over a cataract 300 feet high, visible from Trivandrum. From here it flows over a partially rocky bed confined by bold banks and discharges itself into, the sea near Puvar where a small lagoon is formed. Its length is 35 miles.

The Paralayar or Kuzhittura. This rises on the mountains north of Mahendragiri hills. Passing through a wild tract, it enters the plains at Tiruvattar and flows in a south-westerly direction. After a course of 23 miles from its source it is joined by the Kothayar. It flows through the two Taluqs of Kalkulam and Vilavankod and reaches the sea at Tengapatnam. The total length of the river is 37 miles. Tiruvattar, Munchira, Kuzhittura, and Arudesapattu lie on its banks. It is intercepted by dams at Ponmana.

The Kothayar. This rises on the southern extremity of the Muthukuzhi Vayal plateau and to the east of Valiyamala peak at an elevation of 4,500 feet. It descends slowly at first and then more rapidly. After flowing for 14 miles it reaches the Mottacchi valley (1,800 ft.) It continues to descend with rapidity tumbling over falls 30 feet high and eddying among huge boulders, until at last it reaches the elevation of 250 feet. From here it flows leisurely and is joined by two streams rising on the Motavan Potha and the Thacchamala hills. Proceeding south we find the remains of the Aryanad dam now in ruins. This dam was built with the intention of diverting the water into the Paralayar above the Pandyan dam and eventually into the Pazhayar whose stream is so largely used for irrigating the paddy lands of Nanjanad. After passing the Aryanad dam and about 4 miles lower down it is precipitated over the Triparappu fall (50 ft. High), a very sacred place where there is a large pagoda. From here it proceeds south and is joined above Kuzhittura by the Paralayar. Length 20 miles.

Project works on a large scale are now going on to divert the waters of the Kothayar to supplement the existing irrigation system of Nanjanad. A detailed description of the Project is given under ‘Irrigation’ in the Chapter on ‘Agriculture and Irrigation.’

The Vatasseri River. Also called the Pazhayar. This is the most southerly river in Travancore. Many small streams combine to form this river, one of which rises south of the Mahendragiri peak and passing down a steep gorge reaches the low country a little to the west of Anantapuram, another in the Kunimuthu Chola Estate and another drains Black Rock (Mr. Cox’s Estate). All these pass out of the forest before they unite to form the main river. This flows through the Taluqs of Tovala and Agastisvaram in a south-easterly direction and flows into the Manakudi estuary after a course of 23 miles passing the towns of Bhutapandi, Kottar, Nagercoil, Tazhakudi and Suchindram. This is a very useful river for irrigation.

These are the chief rivers of Travancore. The number of smaller streams is very large but as they are otherwise insignificant any detailed description of them is unnecessary here.

Canals and Backwaters

Among the many natural advantages possessed by Travancore, one of the most important and one which adds materially to its wealth and prosperity, on account of its affording great facilities for water communication from one end of the country to the other, is its extensive backwater system. The backwaters or kayals, as they are locally called, are inlets from the sea which run in a direction parallel to the coast. From Trivandrum as far as Ponnani in the District of Malabar, a distance of over 200 miles, there is a succession of these backwaters or estuaries, connected together by navigable channels constructed from time to time. The total area occupied by the surface of the lakes amounts to 2274 sq. miles of which 175½ are within Travancore. Their breadth is very unequal, in some places spreading into a wide expanse, at others diminishing to a small stream, presenting on the whole a very irregular and broken figure.

Formerly there was uninterrupted navigation only as far as Quilon. It was in 999 M.E that Her Highness Parvathi Bayi sanctioned the construction of 2 canals, one from Trivandrum to the backwater of Kadinangulam and the other to connect Quilon and the Paravur backwater, both of which projects were contemplated by Col. Munro; but the work was commenced only in 1000 M.E (1825 A.D.) and completed in 3 years under the supervision of Dewan Vencata Rao. The 2 canals measure in length upwards of 17 miles, which including 4 bridges cost about 4 lacs of Rupees. These canals bear the name of Her Highness Parvathi Bayi whose beneficent reign is still gratefully remembered by the people.

There were still the Varkala cliffs, standing as a barrier against direct and free communication from Trivandrum to Quilon. This was removed by the construction of two tunnels at an enormous cost in the reign of His Highness Rama Varma (Ayilliam Tirunal 1860 to 1880 A. D.) The length of one tunnel is 924 feet and of the other 2,364 feet. The first tunnel was opened to traffic on the 15th January 1877; the second tunnel and the whole of the Barrier works were completed and opened to traffic in 1880. They cost upwards of 17 lacs of rupees.

Many of these backwaters are not very deep, yet they are all navigable for boats of any size. Their bed consists generally of a thin layer of soft black mud, incumbent on a fine dark sand, often with some mixture of soil. On account of the large volume of water these backwaters receive during the monsoon time, their water, except in the immediate vicinity of their mouths, is quite fresh; in some places they are always so in the interval of the tides, while in others, they continue to be so from July to October. The places where these backwaters meet the sea are called Azhhis or Pozhis according as the opening is permanent or temporary. The chief Azhis are those at Quilon, Kayangulam and the mouth of the Periyar; and the Pozhis are those of the Veli, the Paravur and the Edawa. The flood during the monsoons leaves behind a slimy deposit which effuses an abundance of fertility over the lands exposed to it. The backwaters also foster the growth of many weeds and aquatic plants. The shores of the lakes are filled with houses and plantations of cocoanut trees and present the appearance of a perpetual garden.

Starting from Trivandrum there is first, at a distance of 3 miles, the Veli Kayal which looks like an expanded canal. On one side the shore is overhung by a high cliff and the other side is skirted on by an extensive range of cocoanut plantations. Passing the Veli backwater, by the Parvathi Puthenar canal above referred to, we come to the Kadinangulam Kayal. Here again both the banks are lined with the cocoanut palm and a low brushwood. This backwater is a little larger than the Veli. The water is not deep. Going by the canal, we next pass Anjengo, formerly a place of note on account of the English factory and the early commercial relations between the British Government and Travancore, but now a small port and fishing village. Here is the Anjengo Kayal. The length of this Kayal is 12 miles, breadth ¾ of a mile, and area 8 sq. miles. This receives the Attungal or Vamanapuram river and is formed chiefly by its waters. It is connected with the sea by a narrow bar.

A few miles beyond Anjengo, the Varkala cliffs are reached. Before the construction of the tunnels, travellers used to land at a place called Kozhthottam (the main line of communication ran by Kozhithottam to Edawaa distance of 12 miles), from where they walked to Edawa until the backwater is reached, the road used being by the sea-beach, at times climbing over the summit of the cliffs that stretched into the sea. The view from these cliffs is extremely beautiful end the whole landscape charming. Here stands the village of Varkala famous for its ancient temple dedicated to Janardanaswamy, to which Hindus from all parts of India resort.

Passing the tunnels, about 6 miles northwards there is the Nadayara Kayal. This again is of minor importance. Passing the Nadayara backwater a canal runs in a northwesterly direction for some 3 miles whence the Paravur canal and backwater lead to Quilon. The Paravur Kayal, though only a small one, is very deep and dangerous on account of its being very close to the sea and in the wet weather the bar opens of itself, sometimes suddenly. The Paravur and Quilon canals aggregating about 11 miles in length, were cut between 1826 and 1829, at a total cost of Rs. 90,929. Passing the Paravur backwater we reach Quilon by the Eravipuram and Quilon canals, a distance of about 5 miles.

On leaving Quilon the traveller enters the romantic and enchanting Ashtamudi Kayal. The name ‘Ashtamudi’ is derived from the fact that the lake branches off into 8 creeks, called by different names. One portion near the Quilon Residency is called the Asramom lake and the other close to the Cutchery is called Kureepuzha or Loch Lomond. On either side we see a laterite bank 50 or 60 feet high enclosing little bays with deep blue waters. The broken side and the fragments of rocks are filled with various kinds of small shrubs while on the summits there are thickly planted gardens. About 2 miles north of Quilon the water opens out into a very spacious bay into which the Kallada river empties itself. There is an outlet to the sea at the western end which is locally known as the Neendakara bar. It is of sufficient depth for small vessels and the barges built at Tuet in Quilon are safely launched into the sea at this point. It covers an area of 20 sq. miles, its extreme length and breadth being 10 and 9 miles respectively. The banks are covered with many kinds of plants. Five miles beyond Quilon the backwater ends and the Chavara canal begins and the scenery becomes monotonous.

We next come to a very small inlet called the Panmana Kayal. This is followed by the Ayiramtengu Kayal which again leads us to the extensive Kayangulam Kayal. The Kayangulam lake has an outlet bar of the same name which admits of small coasters from the Arabian sea. This made Kayangulam a place of considerable commercial importance in former days. This lake borders the two Tuluqs of Karunagappalli and Kartikapalli. Its extreme length is 19 miles and extreme breadth 4 miles; area 23 sq. miles.

Passing the Kayangulam Kayal we reach Karumadi near Ampalapuzha by a natural stream through Trikkunnapuzha and Thottapalli chera. Proceeding along on our way, we see extensive rice fields on either side, the country here being flat and almost submerged in water. From Ampalapuzha, Alleppey is 12 miles distant. There are no backwaters to be passed but only canals, which at these places are very broad and join the Pallathurithy river flowing into the Vembanad lake near Alleppey. Alleppey town is reached by a canal, before entering which there is a deep basin 40 to 50 feet in depth infested by alligators of enormous size, Alleppey is now the first commercial port of Travancore, its greatest advantage as an emporium arising from its singularly natural breakwater formed in the open roadstead and the long and wide mud bank which helps large vessels to anchor safely even in the stormiest weather.

Beyond Alleppey we come to the very large and spacious bay, the Vembanad Kayal. This stretches across to the east for a distance of over 10 miles. The waters of the Pamba, Muvattupuzha and Minachil Rivers are emptied into it. It borders the Taluks of Ampalapuzha Sbertallay, Vaikam, Yettumanur, Kottayam and Changanachery. Its extreme length is 52 miles and breadth 9 miles and the area covered by it is 79 sq. miles. It has a small beautiful island in the centre known as Patiramanal, or ‘the mysterious sand of mid-night’, filled with cocoanut plantations and luxuriant vegetation. According to tradition, it was brought into existence by the piety of a Nambudiri Brahmin, who, while travelling in a canoe, jumped into the lake to perform his evening ablutions. The waters, it is said, gave way and land arose from below forming a small island. Pallippuram and Perumpallam are two other islands in the lake.

There are many pretty places along the borders of this lake, perpetually clothed with beautiful groves of cocoanut and other trees and with an endless succession of houses, churches and pagodas. Midway between Alleppey and Cochin stands on its eastern bank the sacred village of Vaikam where there is a large Siva temple to which thousands of pilgrims resort in the months of Vrichigam and Kumbham for the Ashtami festival. From here to Cochin the backwater is of varying breadths and depths containing small patches of land here and there always adorned with cocoanut trees.

From Cochin the water communication is by backwater to the north of Cranganore whence it is continued by creek, channel and backwater via Chowghat to Ponnani, and across the Ponnani river to Tirur Railway station. Thus the system is complete for a distance of 213 miles from Trivandrum to Tirur.

Among other backwaters may be mentioned: —

The Kodungalur Kayal in the Taluk of Parur. Extreme length 9 miles and extreme breadth 5 miles; area 10 sq. miles. Has an outlet in the Cranganore bar which is always open.

The Sasthankotta Kayal in the Kunnattur Taluq. The Vellani Kayal in the Neyyattinkara Taluq.

And lastly the Manakudi Kayal in the Taluq of Agastisvaram. This is a small lagoon formed by the course of the Pazhayar before it discharges itself by a narrow mouth.

As early as 1860 the great Victoria Ananta Martandan canal was projected for connecting Trivandrum with Cape Comorin; but it had to be abandoned owing to several obstacles, though considerable sums of money had been spent on it.

Coast Line

The Travancore coast has been surveyed by the Marine Department in connection with the Coast Survey of the Madras Presidency and the following is extracted from their report —

“The Travancore coast, from Alleppey to Comorin, is generally low and sandy, fringed with cocoanut trees. Patches of red cliffs of slight elevation here and there break the otherwise continuous line of sand. The Travancore mountains, though generally spoken of by navigators as a part of the Western Ghauts, are indeed separated from the latter by a low neck of land, the Palghaut valley, which has proved a most useful feature in the railway communication between east and west coasts. The length of this southern mountain chain, extending from a few miles north of Cape Comorin to the valley of Palghaut, is nearly 200 miles.

The western brow, overlooking the coast of Travancore, is, with little exception, abrupt. On the eastern side of the culminating range the declivity is in general gradual, the surface in many places forming extensive table-land, sloping gently and nearly imperceptibly to the eastward. In the last half of the year many cascades of great height are visible from seaward, pouring down the steep declivity of these western ghauts, which present so vast and lofty a front to the violence of the south-west monsoon. The principal peaks of the Travancore Ghauts are: Mahendragiri between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, about 20 miles north of Comorin, and Cootchimulla, nearly 5,000 feet, the same distance north-east of Trivandrum. Between these peaks the culminating range has a north-westerly direction, but afterwards trends a little east of north, more away from the coast. Its highest mountains, though loftier, are not so often visible at sea. They form the boundary between the State of Travancore on the west, and the British province of Tinnevelly on the east.

To the east of Quilon there are broad, high peaks, estimated at 5,000 feet above, and more than 30 miles from the sea. The southern portion of the Western Ghauts, from Comorin to Palghat, run like a spine from south to north, thus forming the water-parting between the east and west coasts rivers. They are exposed to all winds from east, round by the south-west, and there is scarcely a day when rain-clouds may not be seen hiding for a time the summits of the high land. Towards the vernal equinox (after which the air gets saturated with moisture and is hazy the ghauts north of Quilon up to Calicut can seldom be seen. Midway between the ghauts and the low sea-coast, the country has several hills of moderate elevation, useful as landmarks. Beginning from the south, mention may be made of the isolated conical mount, in lat. 8° 8' N., and long. 73" 30' E., near Cape Comorin, which is taken for the cape by seamen when approaching the coast from the west. The next conspicuous peak is Maravattoor, nearly midway between Mahendragherry and the Crocodile Rock, and 10 miles north-west of the conical mount. On the south-east of Trivandrum, and again to the north of that capital, hills, averaging about 400 feet, lie parallel to the shore, some 4 or 5 miles off.

Near Anjengo there are a few low hills. Above this place extensive backwaters become the peculiar feature, overspreading great portions of the low tract of country. Vessels bound for any port on the west coast of Hindostan, and to the Persian Gulf during the north-east monsoon, from China, Australia, and the Bay of Bengal, or from Europe, should sight Ceylon, and make the coast of India somewhere near Cape Comorin, and thence hug the coast to profit by the land and sea breezes. The coast from Cape Comorin takes a general northwesterly direction for nearly 300 miles to Mount Delly.”*

NOTEs: * The Madras Manual of Administration Vol ii

Ports and shipping facilities*

NOTEs: * The information under this head is chiefly based on the results of the Marine Survey above referred to

ALLEPPEY (lat. 29° 48' N., and long. 76° 18' 46" E). is the principal seaport town of Travancore and the seat of the Commercial Agent. It is the chief depot of the Travancore Government for the sale of forest produce, chiefly cardamoms, and is a place of considerable foreign trade in teak, cocoanut, betel-nut, ginger, coffee, pepper and fish. Many European and American Firms have their representatives here and extensive industries are carried on. It is a safe roadstead all the year round being protected by a soft mud bank on which a vessel might ride at less risk than at any other part of the coast. A shoal bank of from 6 to 9 feet extends about 1½ miles off shore. During the south-west monsoon, although the surf breaks on the shore to the north and the sea is white with foam outside, there is at Alleppey a large extent of smooth water, on the outer part of which a vessel might conveniently anchor in 4 fathoms and keep up a communication with the shore. In the fine season, a vessel not drawing more than 18 feet water may anchor in 4 fathoms or a trifle less, the bottom being soft mud.

The anchorage in the roads during the south-west monsoon is with the lighthouse from N. E. to E. N., in 5 or 6 fathoms water. In the fair season from October to May, vessels may anchor in 3 or 4 fathoms with the lighthouse bearing E. by N., the soundings being very regular. During the south-west monsoon, trade cannot sometimes be carried on with Cochin, but the port of Alleppey is always available. Alleppey has a flag-staff and near it is a lighthouse with a revolving white light attaining its greats brilliancy every minute. The light is of the second order of the holophotal description elevated 100 feet above mean sea-level and is visible in ordinary weather 20 miles. It was first exhibited on the night of the 28th March 1862. Between Cochin and Alleppey the coast is very low, covered with trees, and may be approached to 6 fathoms in a large ship, the bank being very even to 5 fathoms, about 1 or 1½ miles from the shore.

PORACAD. (lat. 9° 91’25"N., long. 76° 23’E).. This is a village of considerable extent, coir, plank and timber for ship-building and pepper being exported from here and the adjacent places. The port has declined since the opening of Alleppey port. There is an extensive mud bank here. Steamers call in the worst part of the monsoon weather, when Alleppey is closed. A portion of the village was formerly submerged in the sea and the eastern gate of the pagoda which escaped destruction at the time is still seen standing. The coast here continues low and uneven and is safe to approach to 5 or 6 fathoms. The anchorage is opposite the village in 5½ or 6 fathoms, 1½ or 2 miles distant.

QUILON. (lat.8° 53½’N., long.76°34’E.). The coast between Alleppey and Quilon except near Tangasseri, is sandy and nearly straight, but 10 miles north of Quilon there is a slight indent which does not however amount to 1 mile from a straight line drawn between the two places. The shore is safe to approach into the depth of 5 fathoms mud.

During the early centuries of the Christian era, Quilon was a very important port trading with China and Arabia. Throughout the middle ages it was one of the chief seats of the Saint Thomas Christians. In 1503, the Portuguese established a factory and fort which was captured by the Dutch 150 years later. A considerable British garrison was stationed here until 1832, when it was reduced to one regiment. Till 1829 it was the principal town and head-quarters of the Travancore Government. It has still considerable inland and foreign trade. As a port it is next in importance to Alleppey. Steamers and ships call here. It is the chief entrepot of ginger and pepper on the Malabar Coast.

The beach near Quilon is steep and sandy as far north as Tangasseri cove, where rocky coast begins and continues to the northward for- 2 to 3 miles. Two buoys had been laid at Quilon to mark the safe passage to the anchorage. Vessels for Quilon should keep well out until the large factory chimney (of the Scottish Indian Company bears N. E., and steer direct for the chimney keeping between the buoys. The coast between them is low, covered with trees, and may be approached to fathoms till near the entrance of Ivica river (Azhimukam). Quilon bank of hard ground extends from the bay round Quilon point, a projecting part of the coast, where it becomes uneven and dangerous to approach under 12 or 13 fathoms.

Tangasseri. (lat.8° 54’N., long.76° 38’ 15"E.). Originally there was a fort built on a head-land of laterite jutting into the sea, portions of the old wall of which are still visible, as also the ruins of an old Portuguese town. The Tangasseri reef, a bank of hard ground, extends 1½ miles to the south-west and 3 miles to the west of the Quilon point, and 6 miles along the 6oast to the northward. The bank should not be approached under 13 fathoms water by day, or 17 fathoms at night.

To the south-east of the reef the coast forms a bight, where ships may anchor off the town and military station of Quilon in 5 or G fathoms sand with Tangasseri flag-staff bearing N. W., 1 mile distant. From November to April shipping vessels can lie close inshore with safety. When approaching Quilon from the northward, vessels should not shoal to less than 13 fathoms, as, off Tangasseri point, the foul ground extends westward to within less a mile of this depth. The most convenient anchorage and where a vessel will be close to the Port Office, is with the chimney of the Coffee Company’s factory bearing about N. E. at the extreme of Tangasseri point west-north-west in from 4 to 5 fathoms sandy bottom. Off Quilon point, there are 20 fathoms at 5 miles offshore; but further to the north, that depth will be found farther from the coast. A lighthouse has recently been constructed here for the guidance of mariners.

Anjengo. (lat. 8° 40' N., long. 76° 45' E.). Three miles to the southward of Quilon, the coast may be approached to 10 fathoms, which will be 1½ miles from the shore. Anjengo flag-staff is between 4 or 5 leagues to the west-north-west of Trivandrum Observatory. Anjengo was once a place of considerable importance and the earliest settlement of the late East India Company on the Malabar Coast, but now it has a forsaken appearance.

Four miles to the north of Anjengo there is a red table-land, which denotes the approach to it, in coming from the north. The anchorage off Anjengo, under 10 fathoms, is foul rocky ground; but outside of that depth, the bottom is sand and shells. A convenient berth is with the flag staff about N. E by E. and Brinjaul hill (Mukkunnimala) about S. E by E., in 11 or 12 fathoms mud, off shore 1 mile. A considerable surf, generally prevailing on the coast, particularly to the southward, renders it frequently unsafe for boats to land.

Puntora. Vessels communicating with Trivandrum should anchor off the coast here. There is a flag-staff on the sandy beach. It is 2 miles south-west of Trivandrum Fort. No boats should attempt communication with the shore when there is a heavy surf in the north-east monsoon. The coast is sandy with cocoanut and other palms. Vessels should anchor in 12 fathoms sand, ½ a mile from the flag-staff bearing N. E. and nearly in line with the Trivandrum Observatory which is distinctly made out in passing by its three domes.

Passing Puntora we come to Covalam (Ruttera point, a piece of low level land, terminating in a bluff cape higher than the contiguous coast. The coast here is low abounding with trees. It is bold to approach, having 12 or 13 fathoms at a mile’s distance, 25 or 26 fathoms about 2 or 2½ leagues’ distance.

VIZHINJAM. This is a small fishing village 11 miles to the east of Covalam, and is ‘’formed of steep bold land, or reddish cliffs, considerably elevated, having on the northern side a small river and village (Puvar at the northern extremity of the high land, that form the point.” The coast hereabouts is all sandy and fronted with cocoanut trees. From this point the coast takes a direction about S. E. by E. to Cadiapatnam point distant 6 leagues.

COLACHEL. (lat. 8° 10’ N., and long. 77°14’ E.) This is a very ancient seaport. The Danes once had a factory here with a Commercial Resident. Its safe harbour was well known to ancients. It has trade with the coast and Ceylon. The coffee produced in South Travancore is exported from here. The outlying rocks form a partial breakwater, within which landing is comparatively easy. Ships of good size can sail between some of the outlying rocks and ride at anchor to leeward of them in smooth water. It has a flagstaff, and a buoy which is used during the shipping season to mark the vicinity of a dangerous rock.

Cadiapatnam point, (lat. 8°11’N., and long.77°18 E.) This is 14 miles from Cape Comorin. A first order dioptric fixed whitelight, intended to mark the vicinity of the Crocodile rock, is exhibited here. It is visible 20 miles in clear weather. The column is 80 feet high and is built of granite and its focal plane is 135 feet above sea level. A heavy surf prevails all along the part of the coast, between Comorin and Cadiapatnam. Only catamarans are used by the natives and no ships’ boats attempt landing. To the south-west of this point there are two rocky islets, about 1¾ miles from each other and distant 1 and 2½ miles from the point, surrounded by rocks under water and foul ground.

The Crocodile Rock lies south-west at a distance of about 3 miles. A part of this appears above water sometimes; but it does not break at all times nor is it visible at high water when the sea is smooth. At night it should not be approached under 25 fathoms water. In passing between these rocks and Covalam from 22 to 26 fathoms, is a good track with the land wind. The coast may be approached to 18 or 20 fathoms occasionally. The coast from here as far as Cape Comorin is low and sandy close to the sea, rising in a gentle acclivity to the base of the mountains situated a few miles inland.

Manakudi. (lat.8°5’N., and long. 77°32’E.). This is a village port about 4 miles to the west of the Cape and stands on the edge of the lake of the same name.

Cape Comorin. (lat. 8° 5' N., long. 77° 36' E.). This, the southern extremity of Hindustan, is a low Cape with two bare rocks beyond the point. On the mainland at the water’s edge is a Hindu Pagoda, a low square whitewashed building, and beside the temple is the village of Kanyakumari. West of the temple stands the Residency. The shore to the west of it is bare of vegetation but to the east it is wooded. About a mile from the Cape and beyond the fishing village, a sandy spit ending in a line of locks runs out into the sea, and beyond this point is an anchorage with sandy bottom to which native crafts run for shelter when the weather hinders them from rounding the Cape. As the south-west monsoon at this locality blows from the north-west, this anchorage is sheltered. Ships anchor bearing N. E. of the rocks that are off Cape Comorin and S. W. of the Vattakotta Fort, a conspicuous stone fort on the beach. The Government of India have been moved to make a Hydrographic Survey of this anchorage and the Travancore Government have located a customs house on the shore and have constructed a road to the spot. A port has recently been opened under the name of the Sri Mulapuram Port.

Among other ports may be mentioned, Rajakamangalam, Muttam (where there is a lighthouse built on a head-land at an elevation of 105 feet above sea-level), Tengapatnam, Puvar, Paravur, Munampam and Kottur.