Malabar River Festival

Nestled in the foothills of green Western Ghat mountains, tempestuous water stream called Chalipuzha courses swiftly stroking stones and pebbles, attracts adventurous kayakers all over the world. Malabar River Festival, also known as white water kayaking championship is an adventurous sports in the turbulent waters of Iruvanjipuzha and Chalipuzha near Kodanchery. Began in the year of 2013, the championship is attracting massive participation from the kayakers from national and international arena. This adventurous sport used to obscure its  potential in both rivers for a long time, until it was emended by Kerala State Tourism Department, Kozhikode District Tourism Council and Kayaking lovers of this hilly area through setting up of this new world-class championship in this rural area. Kayakers from national and international level participate in the championship which is held annually in the month of August when the southwest monsoon turns into vigorous over Kerala western Ghat. Malabar River Festival is a major triumph for the Kerala Tourism, accomplished by very few states in India.


Chalipuzha and Iruvanjipuzha in Kodanchery panchayath and Thiruvampady panchayath of Kozhikode district are the location for the kayaking and Pulikkayam near Kodenchery town is the major hotspot of this adventurous sport.

Adventurous People

Kodenchery and Thiruvambady are the major settlements of migration from Central Travancore in 1940’s and 1950’s who were the adventurous people who fought with wild animals, venomous snakes, malaria for survival and livelihood. People from central Travencore state, especially people from eastern parts of Kottayam district commenced  large scale migration to Malabar region in the early twentieth century. Unavailability of land, due to huge plantations by Europeans and forest reserves of Government, forced people to seek cheaper fertile land in Malabar region. Most of the migrants are great patrons of sports and adventurous activities, the spirit of sports and adventure still carry through the blood of second and third generations of migrants. Great initiative of the locals in uplifting the kayaking championship is noteworthy along with geographical pros for the event. Pulikkayam is the major venue for this sport where Government of Kerala are setting up a permanent academy for adventurous water sport to promote adventurous water sports. Already an International Kayaking Centre operates at Pulikkayam. All these bolster Kerala Tourism as well as economic prosperity of locality where hundreds of people are employed directly or indirectly and showcases new adventurism to the youths rather than traditional trekking and mountaineering activities.


One kilometre long down river kayaking is the most interesting and adventurous of all competitions and unique titles of “Rapid Raja” for fastest in men’s category and “Rapid Rani” is delivered to fastest women kayaker. Along with Malabar River Festival, International Kayaking Championship is also held in the site. In 2023 Malabar River Festival, candidates for Paris Olympics 2024 were also selected from festival.

Boosting Tourism and Hospitality

Kerala Government and Tourism Department has strengthened infrastructure and bolstered safety measures for this daredevil sport to prevent any accidents which might occur in monsoon season. Landslides and floods are common scenes in Kerala during heavy rains of south west monsoon. Usually monsoon season especially August is off season in Kerala mountains due to fear of landslides and floods, but kayaking has given a promising future for a new tourism in monsoon. Homestay villas and apartments are the types of accommodation which can offer for the kayakars and families . The area lacks presence of major big hotels except a few in Kodenchery town. The homestays offer affordable prices, homely feelings and farming which is dominant in the hilly migrant regions.

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