The Noyyal River

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The Noyyal River rises from the Vellingiri hills in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, southeastern India and drains into the Kaveri River. The river’s basin is 180 km (110 mi) long and 25 km (16 mi) wide and covers a total area of 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi). Cultivated land in the basin amounts to 1,800 km2 (690 sq mi) while the population density is 120 people per km² (311/mi²) in the countryside, and 1000 people per km² (2590/mi²) in the cities. The area is known for its scanty rainfall and the development of the Noyyal River Tanks System to hold any overflow from the rains plus the water of the Northeast and Southwest monsoon season was ecologically important. The 173 km (107 mi) long tributary of the Kaveri River filled 32 tanks. These interconnecting tanks held the water flowing from the Noyyal



The township of Coimbatore once was surrounded by the Noyyal river and its canals, tanks, and rivulets. The Noyyal river and its interconnected tank and canal system, believed to have been originally built by the Chalukya Cholas kings, was then an efficient system that provided water transport, storage, and maintained stable groundwater levels. Surplus water from the Noyyal river spilled into the canals and were channeled to the tanks, preventing unwanted flooding. The tanks were a major factor in replenishing the ground water through percolation of the subsoil water. As urbanisation grew, the system was neglected and the number of functional tanks was drastically reduced until only eleven were left. Today the system no longer works and water is scarce. Agriculture has significantly decreased. Lacking irrigation water, lakhs of Coconut trees in the area have dried up.[2][3]


The “Noyyal” is a sacred river in Tamil history. Its original name was Kanchinadi but changed later to the name of the place where it drains into the Kaveri River in 1750 A.D.

The Noyyal village is situated at the banks of Noyyal and Kaveri (Ponni) Rivers where they both merge. An ancient temple to the goddess Sellandiyamman is also situated at Sangamam. This temple belongs to “Karadi” Kulam people of Kongunadu Vettuva Gounder community.

The Western region of Tamilnadu was known as the Kongunadu. Though during the supremacy of the Chera kings, Kongunadu was the heartland of the Cheras with Karur as their capital. Next came the Gangas (Kongas) with their capital in Dharapuram (Tarakapuri or Vijayaskandapuram). Then it fell under the later Cholas and was under their control for a short time of five kings from Veerachozha to Rajaraja (Ref: கொங்கதேச ராஜாக்கள்). The heirs to the Cholas settled in Coimbatore and continued to rule the country. The Kongu Cholas were soon defeated by the native Kongu vassals (கொங்கு பாளையக்காரர்) under the Hoysalas. Then Vijayanagara, Mysore, and Dheeran Chinnamalai ruled Kongu which in 1805 was annexed by the British East India Company.

Successive dynasties established trade links with the Greeks and the Romans. Many trade routes crisscrossed the basin. A number of temples and schools were established in the area. The Patteeshwarar Temple at Perur was built in line with Tamil architecture. Art flourished in the basin. Even today Natyanjali is held in Perur every year.


One of the major and critical issue is the of pollution of the rivers Noyyal and Nallaru originating and flowing in the Kongu region. Its a big menance troubling the people and the Kongunadu region as a whole. And also its disgrace with not just people all over India but all over the world constantly visiting Tirupur for industrial activity.

The river flows with natural antibiotic minerals. As like the many other hazardous changes due to the lifestyle changes and change in culture, the Noyyal is also down to the way to dead. The neglect of the government and the concerned people is making the Noyyal a drainage water channel like many other life giving rivers. The Nallaru another river in Tiruppur area is also facing the same plight due to the huge concentration of cloth dyeing factories dumping their industrial wastes into the rivers.The problem is similar to that of the Madras’ Koovam and if this menance is solved then the city also will be then Singara Tirupur much like Singara Chennai.[citation needed]

However from 2004 onwards, efforts by local volunteers organization Siruthuli have been trying to conserve the water resource.

Aggrieved by the pollution, a Writ petition was instituted in W.P.No.29791 of 2003 by Noyyal River Ayacutdars protection Association (NRAPA) now represented by its President A.P.Kandasamy. A interim final order was passed in this writ petition on 22.12.2006. And an appeal was preferred by Tiruppur Dyeing industries owners association before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in which an order was passed on 06.10.2010 granting three months time to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge status and payment of fine. And further three months time was granted to payment of fine in a petition filed by Tiruppur Dyeing industry owners association before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. And a Contempt petition was filed before Hon’ble High Court of Judicature at Madras in Cont.p No.1013 of 2010 by NRAPA, in which closure of all dyeing and bleaching units was ordered on 28.01.2011, till the units achieve Zero Liquid Discharge status and satisfy TamilNadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB)


Periyar River, the Cheyyar River and the Kanchimanadhi are the tributaries to the river. They all have their origins in the Western Ghats. Periar flows out of the Siruvani hills and the Kovai Kutralam, a landmark waterfalls. Chaadiaar or Cheyyar River flows through Chaadivayal and later along with the other rivers join up at Kooduthurai to become Noyyal River.

After running through a distance of 160 km (99 mi), Noyyal joins with river Cauvery at Kodumudi in Erode District. The place is also called Noyyal. Apart from these three rivers, there are numerous rivulets that also join Noyyal. But most of these rivulets carry water only during the rainy season and therefore are not perennial. According to the available sources, the number of rivulets are 34.

The river has a valley fill (made of alluvial kankar soil) over a stretch of 25 km (16 mi) and a depth of 198 ft (60 m). It extends from the origin of the river at Kooduthurai (in Madhvarayapuram, 30 km (19 mi) west of the city) to the Ukkadam Tank on the city border. The fill absorbs water like a sponge. Only when the absorption reaches a saturation point does excess water flow to the suburbs and the city.

The river has 23 check dams. Most are located between Kooduthurai and Tirupur, 52 km east of Coimbatore city. Decades ago, it irrigated 3,550 square kilometres (1,370 sq mi). Noyyal revival over 40 km (25 mi) will enable irrigation of 165 km2 (64 sq mi), according to Siruthuli.

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