The untold riverside stories

Trails of Tamirabharani unravels the many aspects of ‘porunai’ landscape

A book titled ‘Trails of Tamirabharani’ co-authored by Collector V. Vishnu, a wildlife enthusiast and trekker, and four others was released here on Saturday.

It captures the myriad hues of the landscape, the travails, heritage and prosperity of the region. Ainthinai captures the five landscapes of Tirunelveli from the mountains to the shores, while Panpadu reminisces the symbols of past glory. Varalaru offers a glimpse into the transition from Tinnevelly to present Tirunelveli and Vazhviyal is a narrative of its people, culture and livelihood.

“When we speak of history of Tirunelveli, one can refer only to Bishop Robert Caldwell’s ‘History of Tinnevelly’ published in 1881. In ‘Trails of Tamirabharani,’ the many aspects of ‘Porunai’ (Tamirabharani) landscape have been portrayed through old and new pictures,” says Mr. Vishnu.

Replete with photographs from contributors, ‘Trails of Tamirabharani’ has borne out of people with a strong connect to the river and landscape. “Tamirabharani evokes an emotion that binds people. Meandering its way through the lush green paddy fields of Ambasamudram to the marshy Punnaikaayal near Thoothukudi where the river meets the sea, Tamirabharani drains out a thousand untold stories. Every monsoon heralds a new hope for the land and its people, and the river continues its journey carrying along memories etched in time,” Mr. Vishnu says.

For posterity

The coffee table book format would grab the attention of the youth and kindle an interest to act as stewards to conserve the nature, culture and livelihood of this unique landscape and cherish the rich history, says M. Soubadra Devy, one of the five authors and a scientist working in this landscape since 1990. “Agasthiyamalai landscape is my second home,” she says.

Senior Research Associate of ATREE M. Mathivanan, volunteer Vinod M. Kumar and nature educator P. Maria Antony are the other authors of the book, which has been published by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) with the support of Sundaram Finance and Brakes India.

Mohan Ananda Venkatesan, senior vice-president and Head, Sundaram Finance; G. Sivaraman, Managing Director and Chief Siddha Physician, Arogya Health Centre, Chennai; Vamsidhar Pothula, Chief Operating Officer, ATREE, Bengaluru; Rev. Fr. Mariadoss, Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai, spoke at the book release.

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