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Kuttanad

Kuttanad known as the rice bowl of Kerala covers the Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam Districts of Kerala, India. Kuttanad stretches for 75km from Kollam in the south to Kochi in the north and is nestled between the foothills of the Western Ghats in the east and the comparatively elevated plains of coastal Alappuzha in the west. The entire region is a mosaic of backwaters, rivers and numerous waterways and canals, extensive paddy fields enclosed by dykes and coconut groves.

History

Kuttanad has no recorded history on the origin of the land. But a blend of myths and legends is transferred from generation to generation orally among local people. Kuttanad was once believed to be a wild forest with dense tree growth which was destroyed subsequently by a wild fire. Chuttanad (place of the burnt forest), was eventually called Kuttanad. Until the recent past burned black wooden logs were mined from paddy fields called as ‘Karinilam’(Black paddy fields). This fact substantiates the theory of Chuttanad evolving to Kuttanad. Ramankary, Puthukkary, Amichakary, Oorukkary, Mithrakary, Mampuzhakary, Kainakary, Chathurthiakary and Chennamkary are some familiar place names in Kuttanad.

Thottappilli Spillway

Flooding of Kuttanad caused by rains and flooding of rivers was severely affecting the paddy cultivation of Kuttanad and a spillway was designed as a permanent solution to the flood situation in Kuttanad. Through this the flooded waters from Pamba, Manimalayar and Achankovil were diverted to the sea before it reached Vembanad lake. The construction of the Spillway ended by 1959. A bund (Dam) was made across the river so that seawater would not be allowed to come inside Kuttanad during summer, allowing farmers to cultivate an extra crop per year.