The Great flood of ’99 occurred when the River Periyar in Kerala state of India flooded in the month of July, 1924. This is the year 1099 ME in the Malayalam Calendar. As the Malayalam Calendar was popular in Kerala, this flood is generally called the flood of 99.The rain continued for about three weeks. Many districts of the present day Kerala were deeply submerged in water by this flood – From Trichur, to Ernakulam to Idukki, Kottayam even up to Alappuzha and Kuttanad. Even a huge mountain called Karinthiri Malai was washed away by this flood and the road to Munnar also went along with it. As the road to Munnar was lost by this flood, a new road from Ernakulam to Munnar became necessary – the present day road from Ernakulam to Munnar was constructed after this. Kundala Valley Railway which was the first monorail system in India was also completely destroyed.
It is a widespread belief in the old generation of Kerala that the cause of this great flood was a major breach of the Mullaperiyar Dam. That is why the flood was so powerful, even at Munnar, and tore apart even a mountain as big as Karinthiri. Old generation in the affected areas of Kerala – who are still alive – is the source of this information. There is no evidence to prove this as Kerala had seen floods even before the construction of the dam
The breach of Mullaperiyar occurred 29 years after the dam was constructed. At that time, there was no other Dam in the region and there is no other possible reason that can cause such a devastating flood. Also this dam has a history of getting completely washed away twice in the flood waters during its construction.
The destructive flood claimed thousands of lives, animals and birds, and caused severe damages to the crops and property in Kerala. Most of the areas in the east while Travancore and Cochin states, parts of Malabar region were submerged under the floodwater. In Munnararound 485 cm of rain fall was reported during the flood and wide spread destruction happened. Kundala Valley Railway the narrow gauge railway line at Munnar was completely destroyed by the flood waters.
This flood is still a fearful memory with the old generation still alive in Kerala – most of them were kids then.
“It is astonishing that the Munnar region, located about 6000 feet above the sea level was also submerged under floodwater…” – reference from the website of Kerala Government –
“As Trichur Town center was planned well, during the flood of 1924 A.D( the biggest flood thrissur have ever seen),the locals of thrissur town went to neighboring places to see the “flood” as per the elders..”
“The flood of 1924 (ME 1099) ruined the road to Munnar due to the catastrophic landslide at Karinthiri. During the flood in the year 1924 AD (23 July 1924), the route was damaged due to landslides at Karinthiri near Munnar. Since then, the road was not trafficked and an alternate route from Kothamangalam was conceived and constructed.
The new route was constructed through the alignment recommended by the then British surveyor, Mr. Valetine through Neriamangalam, Mannamkandam, Pallivasal to Munnar. This route was the elephant route at that time. This road was completed in 1931 and inaugurated by Regent Queen Sethulakshmibai on 31 March 1931. The inauguration ceremony was organized at Ranikkallu near Neriamangalam. The general manager of Kannan Devan Tea Estate, Mr. Wallace invited the queen to declare the road open and Mr.Tariathu Kunjithomman, Elenjical, Kothamangalam made a long speech in this occasion…”