Kaveri River

Kaveri River

The Kaveri River (Kannada: ಕಾವೇರಿ ನದಿ,Tamil: காவிரி ஆறு), also spelled "Cauvery" in English, is one of the major rivers of India, which is considered sacred by Hindus. The river originates at Talakaveri, Kodagu district in the Western Ghats in the state of Karnataka, flows generally south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the southeastern lowlands, emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths.

The Kaveri River basin is estimated to be convert|27700|sqmi|km2 with many tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati River, the Arkavathy River, Honnuhole River, Lakshmana Tirtha River, Kabini River, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani River, the Noyyal River and the Amaravati River. Rising in southwestern Karnataka state, it flows southeast some 475 mi (765 km) to enter the Bay of Bengal. East of the city of Mysore it forms the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls that descend about 320 ft (100 m).cite web
title=World Waterfall Database
] The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power.cite web
title=Shivasamudram Falls
] The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India.

River course

The river is considered to rise at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu, though there is not a flow at this point all year round. It forms the principal drainage of this district, and is already a major river when it leaves the Western Ghats near Kushalanagara. After the river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau, it forms two islands, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. It also drops into the Hogenakal Falls just before it arrives in the towns of Hogenakal (pughaiyum kal in Tamil which means smoking stone --the fall of the water on the stones creates a mist which gives the appearance of smoke) and Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. At Sivasamudra Island the river drops 320 ft (98 m), forming the famous Sivasamudram Falls known separately as "Gagana Chukki" and "Bhara Chukki". India's first hydroelectric plant (built in 1902) was on the left falls and supplied power to the city of Bangalore. In 1906, Bangalore became the first city in Asia to be fully electrified and to have electric street lights.

The river enters Tamil Nadu in all splendour through the great falls at Hogenakkal. From there, it meanders into the southern plains. It is in the composite district of Thanjavur that the rich, silt-laden river delta region is formed before it empties into the Bay of Bengal through its two mouths.

In Karnataka

In its course through Karnataka, the channel is interrupted by twelve "anicuts" (dams) for the purpose of irrigation. From the anicut at Madadkatte, an artificial channel is diverted at a distance of convert|72|mi|km, irrigating an area of 10,000 acres (40 km²), and ultimately bringing its water supply to the town of Mandya.

Near Srirangapatna, there is an aqueduct, the Bangara Doddi Nala, which was constructed in the 17th century by the Wodeyar maharaja of Mysore, Ranadhira Kantirava, in memory of his favorite consort. It is said to be the only aqueduct where the water from a river, dammed upstream, is carried by the aqueduct over the very same river few miles downstream Fact|date=February 2007. This aqueduct also served as a motorable bridge until 1964. In addition to providing many ancient and modern canals with water from the river for irrigational purposes, the Kaveri also serves as the main drinking water source for many towns and villages. The cities of Mandya and Mysore depend almost entirely on the Kaveri for their drinking water supply. In fact, the river is called Jeevanadhi which, in Kannada, means a river supporting life.

In Tamil Nadu

The River Kaveri enters Tamil Nadu through Krishnagiri district and along its course forms many gorges and waterfalls, famous being the Hogenakkal falls in Dharmapuri District. The three minor tributaries , Palar, Chennar and Thoppar enter into the Kaveri on her course, above Stanley Reservoir in Mettur, where the dam has been constructed. The Mettur Dam joins the Sita and Pala mountains beyond that valley through which the Kaveri flows, up to the Grand Anicut. The dam in Mettur impounds water not only for the improvement of irrigation but also to ensure the regular and sufficient supply of water to the important Hydro-Electric generating station at Mettur. The river further runs through Erode district where river Bhavani merges with it. While passing through Erode, two more tributaries merge. Noyyal and Amaravathi join it before it reaches Tiruchirapalli district. Here the river becomes wide, with a sandy bed, and flows in an easterly direction until it splits into two at upper anicut about 14 kilometres west of Thiruchirappalli. The northern branch of river is called the Coleroon or Kollidam while the southern branch retains the name Kaveri and then goes directly eastwards into Thanjavur District. These two rivers join again and form the Srirangam island near Tiruchirapalli.

The Chola king Karikalan has been immortalised as he constructed the bank for the Kaveri all the way from Puhar (Kaveripoompattinam) to Srirangam. It was built as far back as 1,600 years ago or even more. On both sides of the river are found walls spreading to a distance of convert|1080|ft|m. The Kallanai dam constructed by him on the border between Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur is a superb work of engineering, which was made with earth and stone and has stood the vagaries of nature for hundreds of years.

In 19th century, it was renovated on a bigger scale. The name of the historical dam has since been changed to “Grand Anicut” and stands as the head of a great irrigation system in the Thanjavur district. From this point, the Coleroon or Kollidam River runs north-east and discharges itself into the sea at Devakottai, a little south of Parangipettai. From river Coleroon, Manniar and Uppanai branch off at lower Anicut and irrigates a portion of Mayiladuthurai taluk and Sirkazhi taluk in Thanjavur District. After Grand Anicut, the Kaveri divides into numerous branches and covers the whole of the delta with a vast network of irrigation channels and gets lost in the wide expanse of paddy fields. The mighty Kaveri river here is reduced to an insignificant channel and falls into the Bay of Bengal at the historical place of Poompuhar (Kaveripoompatinam) about 13 km north of Tharangampadi. The river Kaveri flows the entire districts of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam in different names through its tributaries and branches viz., Grand Anicut canal, Adapparu, Arasalaru, Ayyanaru, Cholasudamani, Harichandranathi, Kaduvaiyar, Kattar, Kirtimanar, Kodamuritiyar, Koraiyar, Mahimalayaru, Majalaru, Mudikondan Aru, Mullaiyaru, Nandalaru, Nattaru, Noolaru, Odambogiyaru, Palavaru, Pamaniyaru, Pandavaiyaru, Pannaiyaru, Putharu, Thirumalairajanaru, Vadavaru, Valapparu, Valavaikkal Aru, Vanjiaru, Veerasozhanaru, Vellaiyaru, Vennaru, Vettaru, Vikaraman Aru and all these branch off into a number of small streams.


The primary uses of Kaveri are providing water for irrigation, water for household consumption and the generation of electricity.

An estimate at the time of the first Five Year Plan puts the total flow of the Kaveri at 12 million acre-feet(15 km³), of which 60% was used for irrigation. [http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/planrel/fiveyr/1st/1planch26.html]

The Torekadanahalli pumpstation sends 540 Mld (million liters per day) of water from Kaveri 100 km to Bangalore [ [http://www.bangaloreit.com/html/govtinformation/frms/bwssbfrm.html Bangaloreit.com ] ] [http://www.tce.co.in/infra/watersupply/bangalore.pdf#search=%22halli%20pipeline%20Bangalore%22] .

The water for the Kaveri is primarily supplied by monsoon rains. Dams, such as the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and Mettur Dam, and those on its tributaries such as Banasura Sagar Dam project on a Kabini River tributary, store water from monsoon periods and release the water during the dry months. Even so, during the months of February-May, water levels are often quite low, and in some channels and distributaries riverbeds may become dry. Fact|date=February 2007 Flow generally begins to increase in June or July Fact|date=February 2007. However, in some years when rains are light, the low river level can lead to agricultural distress in areas dependent upon the Kaveri for irrigation.Fact|date=February 2007

The hydroelectric plant built on the left Sivanasamudra Falls on the Kaveri in 1902 was the first hydroelectric plant in Karnataka.cite web
title=World Waterfall Database

The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam has a capacity of 49 tmc ft. [ [http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/26/stories/2006032614180300.htm The Hindu : Karnataka / Mysore News : Corporation urged to chalk out water policy for Mysore city ] ] and the Mettur Dam which creates Stanley Reservoir has a capacity of 93.4 tmc ft.(thousand million cubic ft)

In August 2003, inflow into reservoirs in Karnataka was at a 29 year low, with a 58% shortfall. http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/aug03/i3.asp] . Water stored in Krishna Raja Sagara amounted to only 4.6 tmc ft. .

Water sharing

Water is addressed in the Constitution of India. [cite web
title=Water in the Indian Constitution
publisher= Water Ministry - Government of India
] The government has set up tribunals for water disputes. The Kaveri Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in June 1990 and has not concluded adjudication. [cite web
title=Interstate Water Dispute
publisher=Water Ministry - Government of India
] Kaveri water sharing has been a major issue of contention between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Pondicherry. A central government agency has been formed to look into this issue.

According to a study conducted by the central government in 1972, the utilisation of water from Kaveri in Tamil Nadu was 489 tmc and Karnataka's utilization was 277 tmc. With the growth in the population, Karnataka wishes to increase its utilization to 465 tmc.

The Kaveri Tribunal, in its interim award of June 1991, ordered that Karnataka should release 205 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu during one "water year" - from June to May. It also stipulated a monthly quota for flow. [ [http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1919/19190040.htm The Cauvery Tussle ] ] [ [http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/aug/12flip.htm Rediff On The NeT: T V R Shenoy on Jaya's stand on Cauvery ] ] The Tribunal which had been investigating the issue for 16 years finally came out with the verdict on 5th of February 2007 of 419 tmc for Tamil Nadu, 270 tmc for Karnataka, 50 tmc for Kerala and 7 tmc for Pondichery, a verdict which both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are believed to challenge.

ignificance in Hinduism

Talakaveri is a pilgrimage site set amidst Bramahagiri Hills in Kodagu. Thousands of piligrims flock to the three temples at the source of the river, especially on the specified day known as Tula sankramana when the river water has been said to gush out like a fountain at a predetermined time.

During the month of Tula (Tamil month Ippasi), devotees take holy dip (tula snanam) in the Kavery in the pilgrim centers in its banks across Tamilnadu, most prominent of them being Mayavaram

The three major river islands at Kaveri have a strong Sri Vaishnava heritage, with sculptures of Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture on the legendary seven-headed serpent ("Sesha") as his celestial bed ("Sheshashayana"). These three temples are known as Adi Ranga, Madya Ranga, and Anthya Ranga.

On the banks of the Kaveri is the ancient temple town of Talakad where the holy festival Panchalinga Darshana is held every 12 years and devotees bathe in the Kaveri River. [cite web
title=Talakkad - Panchalinga Temples

Towering temples built by the Chola kings, then maintained and nourished by the Vijayanagara and Maratha kings, dot the Kaveri delta. Majority of the Vaishnava Divya desam temples (those having been sung by the Alwars) and Saivite 'Paadal Petra sthalam' temples (those having been sung by thevaram trimuvariate - Appar, Sundarar and Gnanasambandar) are in the delta.

The temple town of Kumbakonam is in the Kaveri banks.

The bathing ghats include
* Amma Mandapam in Srirangam
* Bhagavath Padithurai in Kumbakonam
* Chakkarai Padithurai in Kumbakonam
* Pushya Mandapa Padithurai in Thiruvaiyaru
* Thula Kattam in Mayavaram

Veneration as a goddess

The legend of Kaveri has its origins in Puranas. Kaveri is linked with three puranic icons [: saghttp://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/oct2002/0184.html] i.e Agasthya, King Kavera and Lopamudra, the earthly, feminine manifestation of Kaveri herself. It is held that Lopamudra was granted the form of a river, by Brahma, in answer to tapas performed by all the three, including herself.

Both saint Agasthya and king Kavera were independently performing tapas with salvation (Moksha) as the goal. Pleased by their tapas, Brahma appears before them only to deny both immediate Moksha. Instead, Brahma rules to Kavera that he shall beget a daughter who will lead him to Moksha; to Agasthya, Brahma says, he shall give him a divine wife; Agasthya is to live with her and enrich the world before eventually attaining Moksha. In the meantime it was said that Vishnumaya, the divine daughter of Brahma -- the impeccable feminine creation of the creator, expressing to Brahma her wish to serve the world. Being pleased, Brahma ordain her to be, in due time, Lopamudra, the daughter of Kavera, then the wife of Agasthya, and eventually the sacred of the sacred, the river Kaveri.

In a slightly different version, Kaveri is regarded as the outpour of sage Agasthya's Kamandala; it is said the Lord Ganesh, assuming the form of a crow, upset Agasthya's Kamandala to release the Kaveri.

After assuming the form river, Kaveri performed another tapas to become the sacred of rivers, more sacred than even the Ganges. Her tapas was answered and Lord Vishnu appears before her. On hearing her wish, Lord Vishnu says "Ganges is sacred because she originates from my feet; but you are infinitely more sacred to her as I adorn you as my garland". Upon this blessing, it is said that even Ganges is said to come underground, once a year, to Kaveri to cleanse herself. To this day, Vaishnavites regard Kaveri, the river that holds Srirangam in her bosom, as the most sacred of rivers. Vaishnavaites lovingly regard Kaveri as the mother of Ranganayaki, the divine consort of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam.


External links

* [http://www.cauvery.com/ Cauvery.com website]
* [http://www.gocoorg.com/talakaveri.html Talakaveri Coorg]
* [http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/jun82006/metrothurs131836200667.asp For some moments of solitude]

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