Historians have always linked the rise and fall of a civilisation to the presence of a vibrant river and its demise.

But in modern times, when humans can get water delivered where and when he wants, people’s innate connection with rivers has been lost. So much so, that even if a river is dying, people fail to take note.

In Tripunithura, the Padinjare Puzha (the western river), which has played no mean role in the history of the town, is gasping for breath with overgrown weeds and pollution choking the vital water body.

The late M. Raman Namboothiri of the Archaeological Survey of India, who was an expert in the history and heritage of Tripunithura, in one of his writings, has stated that the Padinjare Puzha is actually the historical Poorna river. His work titled “Poornayude Puravrutham” explores the origin, the course and the flow of the Periyar’s tributary till the great flood of 1341. The flood changed the course of many rivulets.

Raman Namboothiri has described how the eastern jetty of the Poorna, right at the back of Sri Poornathrayeesa Temple, played the role of an important trading link for Tripunithura.

Though the British built the iron bridge, another heritage structure, right next to this jetty, boat services from the jetty to the rural interiors continued till some 40 to 50 years ago. All these historical aspects have been strung together by the Poorna Nadi Samrakshana Samithi and it has asked the government to take an earnest role in preserving the heritage of the boat jetty and also save the river from pollution.

Samithi secretary K.G. Sreekumar said the river was mentioned as the Poorna river in the literary work Sukasandesam composed in the 14th century by Lakshmidasan. It is called Porunai in old Tamil texts and Poorna in Sanskrit texts. The Poornathrayeesa temple, during one of its festivals called the Para Ulsavam, takes the deity across the river on a boat from the jetty. This ritual has been practised for centuries.

Mr. Sreekumar said the irrigation department had initiated a project to preserve and protect the boat jetty, but expressed his concern that the effort might not be sustained.