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.
of the river is traditionally placed 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.
River basin is estimated to be 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
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).
river is the source for an extensive irrigation system
and for hydroelectric power
.The river has
supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the
lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India
is considered to rise at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu, though
there is not a flow at this point all year round.
Kaveri – one of the seven sacred rivers (sapta sindhu) of India –
is one of the most important rivers in south India. The source
occurs at a point where the Western Ghats join the Bengunad range.
The Kannike, another stream which rises nearby joins Kaveri at the
foot of the hill in a village named Bhagamandala. A third river,
the Sujyothi, is also said to join Kaveri here, unseen.
forms the principal drainage of Kodagu, and is already a major
river when it leaves the Western Ghats near Kushalanagara.
river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau,
the Kabani River joins the Kaveri River at Tirumakudal Narasipur in
Karnataka, it forms two islands, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. At Sivasamudra Island
the river drops 320 ft (98 m), forming the famous Shivanasamudra
Falls known separately as Gagana Chukki and
Bhara Chukki. Asia's first hydroelectric plant (built in 1902) was on the
left falls and supplied power to the city of Bangalore.
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 , irrigating an area of 10,000 acres
(40 km²), and ultimately bringing its
to the town of
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
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 . 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 irrigation
purposes, the Kaveri also serves as the main drinking water source
for many towns and villages. The cities of Bangalore, 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.
Hogenakkal Waterfalls in Dharmapuri
district, Tamil Nadu
The river enters Tamil Nadu through Dharmapuri district
leading to the flat
plains where it meanders. It drops into the Hogenakkal Falls
just before it arrives in
the town of Hogenakal
in Tamil Nadu.
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 the
length Erode district where river Bhavani, which running through
the breadth of the district, merges with it. The confluence of the
rivers Cauvery, Bhavani and Akash Ganga (imaginary) is at the exact
place of Bhavani
or Tiriveni Sangamam
Northern a part of Erode City.
passing through Erode, two more
Noyyal and Amaravathi join it before it
. Here the river becomes wide, with a sandy bed, and
flows in an easterly direction until it splits into two at upper
about 14 kilometres west of
Thiruchirappalli. The northern branch of the river is called the
Coleroon or Kollidam
while the southern
branch retains the name Kaveri and then goes directly eastwards
into Thanjavur District
rivers join again and form the Srirangam island near Tiruchirapalli.
Kallanai / Grand Anicut
king Karikalan has been immortalised as he
constructed the bank for the Kaveri all the way from Puhar
(Kaveripoompattinam) to Srirangam.
Kallanai / Grand Anicut built by
Karikala Cholan, near Tiruchirappalli
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 .
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 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
mighty Kaveri river here is reduced to an insignificant channel and
enters the Bay of
Bengal at the historical place of Poompuhar about 13 km north of Tharangambadi (or Tranquebar).
Stanley Reservoir formed by Mettur
The primary uses of Kaveri are providing water for irrigation,
water for household consumption and the generation of
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.
The Torekadanahalli pumpstation sends 540 Mld (million liters per
day) of water from Kaveri 100 km to Bangalore .
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
may become dry. Flow generally begins to increase in June or July .
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.
The hydroelectric plant built on the left Sivanasamudra Falls on
the Kaveri in 1902 was the first hydroelectric plant in
The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam has a capacity of 49 tmc ft. and the
Mettur Dam which creates Stanley Reservoir has a capacity of 93.4
(thousand million cubic ft)
In August 2003, inflow into reservoirs in Karnataka was at a 29
year low, with a 58% shortfall.. Water stored in Krishna Raja
Sagara amounted to only 4.6 tmc ft..
A dry section of Kaveri during a
drought at Tiruchirapalli
Water is addressed in the Constitution 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.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
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. 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, which both the governments of Karnataka and Tamil
Nadu have contested.
Significance in Hinduism
Talakaveri is a pilgrimage site set amidst Bramahagiri Hills
Devotees throwing coins at
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
There are several legends about how the river Kaveri came into
being. Chapters 11-14 of the Shanda purana (also known as the
Kaveri purana) 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 created 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 incarnation of Parvathi, to
assist Mohini. After the elixir was successfully restored to the
devas Mohini retired to Brahmagiri and turned into a rocky cave.
Lopamudre 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
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 peopleand 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
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 she 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 Bhaganda Kshetra 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
There is yet another interesting belief according to which the
river ganga 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 ganga 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 Kakkabe, Kadanur, Kummahole,
Hemavathi, Lakshmanatirtha, Shimsha etc, it flows into the Bay of
Bengal in Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu.
the month of Tula (Tamil month Ippasi), devotees take holy dip
(tula snanam) 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.
The cult of the river Goddess began in
Kodagu and was centered in Bhaganda Kshetra(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
). These three temples are known as Adi
Ranga, Madya Ranga, and Anthya Ranga.
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.
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.
Veneration as a goddess
The Kaveri as river goddess
The legend of Kaveri has its origins in Puranas
. Kaveri is linked with three puranic icons
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
Both saint Agasthya and king Kavera were independently performing
tapas with salvation
) 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
assuming the form river, Kaveri performed another tapas to become
the sacred of rivers, more sacred than even the Ganges.
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
Bathing Ghats ("Padithurai") in the Banks of River Kaveri
River Kaveri, A View from Ayyalamman
Padithurai, Tiruchirappalli (just other side of River Kaveri from
Amma Mandapam, Srirangam)
The bathing ghats include
- Amma Mandapam in Srirangam
- Ayyalamman Padithurai, Tiruchirappalli
- Bhagavath Padithurai in Kumbakonam
- Chakkarai Padithurai in Kumbakonam
- Pushya Mandapa Padithurai in Thiruvaiyaru
- Thula Kattam in Mayavaram
“Aadi Pathinettam Perukku” and Kaveri worship at
River Kaveri worship at
Pooja Materials Floating on the River
Tiruchirappalli is located at the banks of River Kaveri. Every year
the “Aadi Pathinettam Perukku” festival is being celebrated on the
18th Day of Aadi, Tamil month (August).
In the South Bank of River Kaveri, the “Ayyalamman Padithuri” is
there and it is just opposite to “Srirangam Amma Mandapam”, which
is in the North Bank of Kaveri.
Here at “Ayyalamman Padithuri” thousands of people assemble and
worship the River Kaveri. On that day Police protection is provided
to manage the crowd.
At the Banks of River Kaveri, 5 to 6 family people form a group and
they perform Pooja in the traditional methods, with Flowers,
different kinds of Fruits, Banana, Coconut, Sugar Cane, and Rice
with Sugar/Jaggery mix etc, by keeping them on the Banana
After the Pooja, the Pooja materials, flowers etc being kept on the
Banana leaves and floated on the River Kaveri while praying for the
welfare of the people.
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Presentation on the Cavery River