In Photos | Going with the Flow of the Nila | Nat Geo Traveller India
Going with the Flow of the Nila 2

In Photos | Going with the Flow of the Nila

A photoessay goes into the heart of the art, music, and lives nourished by the river in Kerala's southern Malabar region.

Periyar may be Kerala’s longest river, but it is the Nila that rules the hearts of people in southern Malabar. Originating in Tamil Nadu’s Annamalai Hills, it meanders over 209 kilometres through Thrissur, Malappuram, and Palakkad districts.  
Centuries-old temples, villages that come alive with traditional performances of the women-only dance, Nangiarkoothu; the last living artist carving wooden Kathakali accessories; young musicians breathing life into ancient Nila folklore with bamboo instruments–all life along the Nila’s banks is nourished by the river. Unlike the Kerala that hosts millions of tourists each year, only a select few seek stories of the Nila. A monsoon drive, that traces the river from source to sea, reveals heartwarming snapshots of its art and people.

Go here to read about how a monsoon drive along the Nila (Bharathapuzha), Kerala’s second largest river, reveals centuries-old art forms and the sentinels who safeguard them.


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  • Neelima Vallangi is an itinerant freelance travel writer and photographer who enjoys purposefully getting lost in the mountains and going to faraway corners where Google Maps fail. She tweets as @i_wanderingsoul.

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