It is the longest river in Kerala after Periyar and Bharathapuzha. Also called the 'Dakshina Bhageerathi' or the Ganga of Kerala, the significance of the river is associated with the Sabarimala temple. Legend has it that it was on the banks of this river that Lord Ayyappan (Sri Dharmasastha) appeared before the king of Pandalam as a child. Devotees believe that immersing oneself in the river Pamba is equivalent to bathing in the Holy Ganga to absolve oneself of any sins committed.
Pilgrims take bath in the river before commencing the trek through the forest to the Sabarimala Temple. The river originates in Pulachimalai Hill on the Peerumedu plateau of the Western Ghats. It traverses a distance of 176 kilometres through Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts before joining the Arabian Sea.