The 9th edition of the Chaliyar River Paddle, set to take place from October 6th to 8th, will span the Chaliyar River basin, encompassing the regions of Malappuram and Kozhikode. Organized by Jellyfish Watersports in collaboration with Kerala Tourism and the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society, this three-day paddling extravaganza seeks to reconnect people of all ages with our natural heritage through eco-friendly water sports. Its central message revolves around safeguarding our water bodies from pollution.
The event also strives to highlight the beauty of our rivers and showcase authentic Malabar cuisine, while providing a platform for like-minded individuals to come together. Local music bands will add a vibrant touch to the proceedings. Over 100 participants from India, Germany, Russia, Australia, and Singapore are expected to partake in this event.
The Chaliyar River Paddle is designed to cater to water sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, tourists, children, and individuals from diverse backgrounds. By promoting activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), and canoeing, the event aims to forge a deeper connection between people and their natural surroundings, transforming them into advocates for clean water.
Kaushiq Kodithodika, the Founder of Jellyfish Watersports, explains, “Chaliyar River Paddle has been focused on saving our rivers from urban pollution and promoting recreational kayaking for everyone. Recently, Kerala State has witnessed repetitive flooding, and most people aren’t very familiar with minimum safety precautions when it comes to water, so we aim to introduce more people to paddling in our rivers. Their connection to the rivers will help spread awareness about clean waters and solve many issues.”
Commencing at Nilambur, situated at the foothills of the Western Ghats near Nilgiris, the event concludes at Beypore in the Kozhikode district, where the Chaliyar River merges with the Arabian Sea. The Chaliyar River Paddle caters to all, from beginners and non-swimmers to seasoned water sports enthusiasts, spanning ages 10 to 70.
For those venturing onto the water for the first time, kayak lessons are available on the first day to prepare participants for the adventure. Stand-up paddlers are also encouraged to join the troop. In addition to the exhilarating water journey, the campsite offers a perfect setting to unwind and bond with fellow paddlers. Alongside camping, bonfires, and team activities, participants can savor authentic Kerala delicacies and immerse themselves in local tribal music, providing a rich cultural experience.
While people often enjoy exploring water bodies, what’s often lacking is a sensitivity toward sustainable travel. The event aims to shift the mindset from superficial appreciation to a genuine connection, from mere worship to respect, with a focus on curbing domestic and industrial pollution. It emphasizes that water adventure sports, such as rafting, predominantly occur in hill stations where water is relatively clean, but as one moves towards the plains, rivers often deteriorate into polluted waterways used primarily for commercial purposes.
From being a highly polluted and health-hazardous river, Chaliyar has transformed into one of Kerala’s most picturesque and serene waterways. This remarkable turnaround can be attributed to the relentless efforts of the Chaliyar Action Committee, supported by local villagers who advocated for the closure of a factory responsible for the pollution. This movement serves as a model for the conservation of water bodies across the country in dire need of protection.
This unique “source to the sea” paddling event will feature experienced kayakers, river guides, and lifeguards both on the water and on land, ensuring safety for all participants, including beginners. International safety standards will be maintained, with the involvement of Kerala Fire and Rescue, Kerala Police, and Port and Coast Guard officials as needed. The three-day paddle will cover a distance of 68 kilometers, starting from Nilambur in the Western Ghats foothills of Malappuram and concluding at Beypore in Kozhikode.
One of the event’s key objectives is to collect a minimum of 1000 kilograms of floating garbage from the river and explore recycling solutions as part of its river clean-up initiatives.
The organizers have assembled a team of highly experienced kayakers, river guides, and lifeguards to ensure safety both in the water and on land. Support vehicles will follow participants, providing logistical support, camping facilities, medical assistance, and safety and rescue services.
Over three days and two nights, the participants will cover a distance of more than 68 kilometers, paddling from Nilambur in the Western Ghats foothills of Malappuram to Beypore in Kozhikode, where the Chaliyar River flows into the Arabian Sea.
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