Thursday, 21 August 2014

Cauvery / Kavery :The river more significant to me!!!!

My perception of the River –Cauvery( Thanks to Wikipedia for technical info) The journey down to my native – Karaikal/ Nagapattinam.during kids days(late 60s ). you can say that it used to be a mixed bag feeling with a multiple source of transport.. might be wondering while I mention what is it ? Ah!!! My beloved Dad working in Indian Railways..we were privileged to travel by train in first class.. in a coupe!!!! With all royal attention from all the bearers all across the major stations!!! May be we were pampered to an extent that I detest travelling in a sleeper, or rather avoid travelling by train! In any other class other than 1st class or a/c.then you move onto a bullock cart from Nagore to Karaikal an enjoyable gruesome 2 hours journey!!!!
To know about the river: The origin of the river is traditionally placed at Talakaveri,Kodagu in the Western Ghats in 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 basin is estimated to be 81,155 km2 with many tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati, the Arkavati,Honnuhole, LakshmanaTirtha, Kabini, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani, the Noyyal and the Amaravati River. The river's basin covers 3 states and Union Territories - Tamil Nadu (43,856 km2), Karnataka (34,273 km2), Kerala (2,866 km2) and Puducherry(160 km2).[3] Rising in southwestern Karnataka, it flows southeast some 800 km to enter the Bay of Bengal. East 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).[4] The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power.[5] The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India.
The days when we travel my grand mom a very pious person would always have a few coins ready for paying her tribute and respect to the river, by throwing the coin into the river whenever we cross it. It would be an adventure: the railway track on the river bridge with flood barricade..train gushing with a thundering noise as if the whole world is falling down.. it would be invariably late night and we as kids would be deep sleep.. My mom would close my ears with both her hands so that I should not wake up from my sleep. Besides my granny offering her prayers..opening the train window and showering the coin into the dark assuming she has offered her respect. The short moments despite being a first class coupe the sudden gush of chill air filling the coupe is an experience that only river Cauvery could offer.!!!! The river in the dark would swirl around the pillars of the bridges that culminates the froth around . The white froth with hissing sound of the flowing water is always a frightening pleasure for a kid sometimes allowed to be awake and sitting by the window and eagerly watching through the dark not knowing what is there!!!! I have never seen the river bed dry or the sand pits!!!! When we used to visit our Aunt who lives in Srirangam – The island between the river and its tributary- Cauvery &Kollidum during the month of December, there always used to be an anecdote by my cousins relating that some kids getting drowned in the river near the banks – AMMAMANDAPAM.. I always see that spot with a note of fright for no reasons. There was another reason for us to get awe struck by the river bank was this famous mango groove- THATHATCHARYAR GARDEN , there you get most of the good varieties of Mangoes with natural and hybrid varieties.. the hybrid concept was just beginning.. the erosion of nature…
There was a boarding school on the banks of the river – THIRUPLATHURAI! My brother always used to threaten me while I throw some tantrums or get naughty beyond control for my brother & Sister..the magic spell for them to tell me:” Mind your behaviour, if you are not going to behave properly, your admission in Thiruplathurai is confirmed.. We always had a mythical frightening assumption until I went on an excursion while I was in my 4th Standard. That was a such a serene place with Cauvery river flowing..the school was on the bank of the river amidst the mango groove and the accommodations for the kids were under palm leaves thatched shelter, a chill weather that never gets you feel lazy, The kids who were studying seemed to me were very happy and content with the facilities. While I asked one of them about their schedule I was a bit bewildered. He casually said;” We get up at 5 in the morning take our bath in the river, wash our clothes, then a session of veda class. At 8 we have breakfast, wash our own plates, set it in the dinning room, after an hour again class in the open till noon. We go for lunch . Then after an hour we are allowed to nap for an hour then again class for couple of hours and later we are allowed to play whatever we want. Evening again we take bath attend the prayer and study for an hour finish the day with dinner and go to bed,The environment with the chirping birds, the slapping baby waves of the river, beautiful aroma of those assortment odour of flowers in the garden. The chanting of vedas by the teachers was a divine feeling!!! I was chiding myself for not having made my way to the school by throwing enough tantrums. Talakaveri is a pilgrimage site set amidst Bramahagiri Hills in Kodagu. Thousands of pilgrims 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. There are several legends about how the river Kaveri came into being. Chapters 11–14 of the Skandapurana (also known as the Kaveripuranam) relate many of them. According to the most well known version, when the great ocean was churned by the devas and the asuras in order to obtain amrita, the elixir of life, Lord Vishnu turned into Mohini, a non-pareil of infinite charm and appeal, to distract the asuras and restore the elixir to the devas. Goddess lakshmi also sent along Lopamudre, an apsara to assist Mohini. After the elixir was successfully restored to the devasLopamudre was brought up by Brahma as his daughter. After some time Kavera, a sage of renown, came to the Brahmagiri to meditate. Kavera was lonely and prayed to Lord Brahma that he might bless him with a child. Brahma was pleased by his devotion and gave him Lopamudre for a daughter. Lopamudre was renamed Kaveri after the sage. Kaveri was very keen that her father should have every happiness and prosperity in life and a blessed land full of good and happy people. So she went to the Brahmagiri too and prayed to Lord Brahma that she might turn into a river and flow through the country, pouring her blessings on the people and turning the land green and fertile. She also prayed that her waters might be so holy that all those who took a dip in it might be absolved of all their sins. Brahma granted her both the boons readily and Kaveri was really happy. But something else was to happen to her first. Sage Agastya happened to see Kaveri when she was deep in meditation on the Brahmagiri. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. Although her heart was set on turning into a river of blessings, Kaveri could not refuse Agastya. But she made him promise that if ever he left her alone too long, she would have the right to forsake him and go her way. Agastya promised and kept his word faithfully for some time. But one day he got busy in a theological discussion with his disciples and lost track of time. Kaveri waited patiently for a while but after some hours had passed she jumped into agastya’s special holy tank and flowed from it like a river. As soon as the disciples of agastya saw what had happened they tried to stop her from flowing away. But Kaveri promptly went underground and appeared again at BhagandaKshetra and flowed on toward Valambari and finally into the Bay of Bengal. And it has been worshipped as a sacred river – throughout its course – ever since. There is yet another interesting belief according to which the river Ganges also joins Kaveri underground once a year, during the Tulamasa, in order to wash herself free of the pollution caused by the crowds of sinners who bathe in her waters all the year round. Kaveri is considered to be as sacred as the Ganges throughout its course, with the same power to wash off all one’s sins. But Bhagamandala, where the three rivers meet, is considered to be the most sacred spot of all. There are temples all along its banks visited by thousands of pilgrims. Kaveri is joined by several rivers, the most important ones being Kummahole, Hemavathi, Lakshmanatirtha, Shimsha etc., it flows into the Bay of Bengal in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. During the month of Tula, devotees take holy dip (tulasnanam) in the Kavery in the pilgrim centers in its banks across the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, most prominent of them being Bhagamandala in Karnataka and Mayavaram in Tamil Nadu. The cult of the river Goddess began in Kodagu and was centered in BhagandaKshetra (Bhagamandala). The three major river islands at Kaveri have a strong 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 AdiRanga, Madhya Ranga, and AntyaRanga. On the banks of the Kaveri is the ancient temple town of Talakad where the holy festival PanchalingaDarshana is held every 12 years and devotees bathe in the Kaveri River.[13] I was not sure how come that the river sprawls down particularly during specific month and occasions. The wisdom was widened that July – August, the dams across the river would be opened up. A season to celebrate when there never use to be water sport!!!! kids would board the train at the earlier station and when the train chugging, huffing and puffing crossing the bridge would dive into the river, I would look at it with a note of shock and surprise the depth should be around 30-40 feet with the flowing river, I shuddered with dreadful thought imagining one getting drifted away in the water currant. It would be an invariable presence in the local newspaper about the kids getting drowned while jumping from the train into the river..
While I had just changed school from Railway mixed Hihg school to St. Joseph’s College Hihgher Secondary School, it had a custom of annual picnic.The location was Mukkambhu- The point were the river splits in tributary ( Cauvery – Kollidam)!!!! At the junction it used to so lovely with huge construction of water gates to control the flow and the watching tower above the gushing water that has a cool presence. The point where the water diverts is an awesome panoramic view. The stretch of walkway with lovely greenery and the mango grooves you never get tired. A place to enjoy for all!!!!There again you had a barricaded spot for swimming, I always used to wonder, when you are forbidden to go beyond certain point yet the aspirations / stupidity lets ones to go that one extra inch into the vortex of described danger and drowning into the oblivion, leaving back the beloved ones to spill there tears for the loss.!!!! The batch of students went after us 3 of the senior kids go drowned and it was declared that no more Picnics to Mukkambhu!!!!! While you visualise the city standing by the banks , the lovely towering Rockforton oneside and the blissful temple of Sri Renganatha that used to be a divine feeling. There used to be a fable that the temple had its tower unfinished for a peculiar reason that if it is to constructed that the tower should be visible to the hill top in Srilanka around 1500 Kms. Away should be visible. If it is not done so the island is doomed to catostrophy!! The state government completed the main tower of the temple not respecting the historical data, the chief Minister had a stroke and the island - Pearl of Indian Ocean started with the local civil war The historical significance of the river: 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 1,080 feet (330 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 the 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 Kollidam River runs north-east and discharges into the sea at Devakottai, a little south of Parangipettai. From river Kollidam, Manniar and Uppanai branch off at lower Anicut and irrigates a portion of Mayiladuthuraitaluk and Sirkazhitaluk in Nagapatnam District. After Grand Anicut, the Kaveri divides into numerous branches and covers the whole of the delta with a vast network of irrigation channels in Nagapatnam and Tiruvarur districts and gets lost in the wide expanse of paddy fields. The Kaveri here is reduced to an insignificant channel and enters the Bay of Bengal at the historical place ofPoompuhar about 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Tharangampadi.
I happen to visit the town after almost 2 decades the first sight of it the sprawling river bed resembled like a rape victim let to lay back exposing!!! asoreful vision with scorch sandy expanse with bore wells dug to hit the water table for local use.!!! The cattle grazing on the river bed and the dhobhi washing the clothes and drying on the river bed!!!! And in the remotest places the SAND MAFIAs digging the sand way using their political clout to weave away any criminal proceedings. The govenrnement is fighting with the neighbouring state for want of water to provide to its farmers to sustain the agriculture whereas the canals, culverts, the tributaries having completely covered with weeds and lacks those basic clean way to reach the desired. In some places these tributaries have facilitated the gutterway for the local habitants in the town as the town planners ignored the basic civic planning.. The govenrnement claims in the literacy rate but the people who adore the seat of power have only ambition of filling up their personal creed and bury down the social causes.. NATURAL RESOURCES IN THE HANDS OF THE ADMINISTRATORS / POLITICIANS IS A NATIONAL JOKE!!!!!!

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