What is your first thought when you hear of tracing a river from source to sea?
Mine? I was beyond excited! As you already know, Rivers are one of my favorite things about nature and I love watching the waters flow freely, giving life along the way. And following the entire length of a river in monsoon in Kerala? In theory, it must be magnificent.
Unfortunately, on the very first day of the journey I was told Nila was a dying river. Also known as Bharatapuzha, Nila is Kerala's second longest river flowing from the hills of Annamalai in Tamilnadu that meets its end at Ponnani on Kerala's west coast. With a meagre running length of 209 kms, it may come as a surprise that this once-majestic river, now past the point of no return due to human greed, is an ancient behemoth that has vastly influenced the culture of Malabar region. I was hoping to see gurgling waters and meandering views but I got something else instead. A river that was dying physically but was being kept alive metaphorically. This story is a paradoxical diptych of human greed and tenacity, playing tug of war. Follow along as I bring you moving snippets from the banks of #RiverNila.
Also, be sure to pick up the July 2018 issue of @natgeotravellerindia to read the full story.