The Pykara river is sacred to the Todas – a small pastoral community who live in the Nilgiris. The river is referred to as ‘Kawlykeen’ by the Todas. The Todas have an interesting story. In ancient times, the priest at the highest grade of temple dairy committed a transgression of sacred rules. He then harvested some honey from a tree cavity and planned to stash it away without sharing any with his boy assistant. As he was walking down the slope, the creeper that was fastened to the bamboo vessel containing the honey and slung over his shoulder, snapped and the honey began to flow from the broken vessel. As the honey flowed, it turned to water and marked the source of this river. In the past, this river was held exceptionally sacred. A Toda crossing it could not be in a state of impurity and had to follow certain rules and guidelines while doing so.
(Source: Chhabra, T., ‘Toda Relationship with Nature as an indication of Ecosystem Health’, USDA Forest Service Proceedings, RMRS-P-49, 2007)