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The Kaveri, also written Cauvery in English, is a large river. The origin of the river is traditionally placed at , in the in Karnataka, flows generally south and east through and Tamil Nadu and across the southern through the southeastern lowlands, emptying into the through two principal mouths.

The Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 km2 with many tributaries including the , the , the , , , , , the Lokapavani, the and the . The river's basin covers 4 states and Union Territories - (43,856 km2), Karnataka (34,273 km2), (2,866 km2) and (160 km2). Rising in southwestern Karnataka, it flows southeast some 800 km to enter the Bay of Bengal. East of it forms the island of , on either side of which are the scenic that descend about 320 ft (100 m). The river is the source for an extensive and for . The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of .

According to legend a girl called Vishnumaya or Lopamudra, the daughter of was born, but her divine father allowed her to be considered the foster daughter of sage Kavera-muni . In order to obtain the beatitude for her adoptive father, she resolved to become a whose waters would have to purify all the sins. This river came to be known as "Kaveri", the daughter of Kavera.

River course
After the river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau, it forms two islands, and . First comes the which forms the sangam and then comes .At Shivanasamudra the river drops , forming the famous known separately as Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki.The Cauvery Trail : Kaveri has many religious and tourism spots between KRS and Mettur Asia's first plant (built in 1902) was on the left falls and supplied power to the city of .

In its course through Karnataka, the channel is interrupted by twelve "anekattu" (dams) for the purpose of irrigation. From the Anekattu at Madadkatte, an artificial channel is diverted at a distance of , irrigating an area of , and ultimately bringing its to the town of Mandya.

Three kilometers away from , the Kaveri is the basis for the . Near Srirangapatna is also an , the Bangara Doddi Nala, which was constructed in the 17th century by the , 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 . 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, BWSSB 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.

The river enters Tamil Nadu through leading to the flat plains where it meanders. It drops into the just before it arrives in the town of in Tamil Nadu. The three minor tributaries, Palar, Chennar and Thoppar enter into the Kaveri on her course, above in , where the dam has been constructed. The joins the Sita and Pala mountains beyond that valley through which the Kaveri flows, up to the . 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,Salem .It then flows through the western parts & cities of .It then flows further through the length Erode district where river Bhavani, which running through the breadth of the district, merges with it. The confluence of the rivers Kaveri, Bhavani and Akash Ganga (imaginary) is at the exact place of Kooduthurai or Tiriveni Sangamam, Northern part of Erode City.

While passing through , two more tributaries merge. Thirumani Mutharu join it in a village called Kududurai in Namakkal District. Noyyal and Amaravathi join it in before it reaches . Here the river becomes wide, with a sandy bed, and flows in an eastern direction until it splits into two at upper Anicut about 14 kilometre west of Tiruchirappalli. The northern branch of the river is called the while the southern branch retains the name Kaveri and then goes directly eastwards into . These two rivers join again and form the island which is a part of city of . From Tanjavore the river will split and goes to few place, that place is known as Delta kauveri.

(2,637m) is the highest point of the Kaveri basin.


The Chola king has been immortalised as he constructed the bank for the Kaveri all the way from (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 . The 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 runs north-east and discharges into the sea at , a little south of . From river Kollidam, Manniar and Uppanai branch off at and irrigates a portion of Mayiladuthurai taluk and Sirkazhi taluk in 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 and districts and gets lost in the wide expanse of paddy fields. The Kaveri here is reduced to an insignificant channel and enters the at the historical place of about north of .

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 puts the total flow of the Kaveri at , 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. Bangaloreit.com"halli pipeline Bangalore"

The water for the Kaveri is primarily supplied by rains. Dams, such as the and , and those on its tributaries such as project on a 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 some channels and riverbeds 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 of Sivanasamudra Falls on the Kaveri in 1902 was the first hydroelectric plant in Asia.

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.

Water sharing

Significance in Hinduism
is a pilgrimage site set amidst Bramahagiri Hills in . 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 Skanda 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 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 devas 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 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 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 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 (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 in Karnataka and in Tamil Nadu. 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 heritage, with sculptures of in a reclining posture on the legendary seven-headed serpent ( ) as his celestial bed ( Sheshashayana). These three temples are known as Adi Ranga, Madhya Ranga, and Antya Ranga.

On the banks of the Kaveri is the ancient temple town of where the holy festival is held every 12 years and devotees bathe in the Kaveri River.

Prominent towns / religious sites in the Kaveri banks

Veneration as a goddess
The legend of Kaveri has its origins in . Kaveri is directly linked with three puranic icons: sag 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 performed by all the three, including herself.

Both saint Agasthya and king Kavera were independently performing tapas with () 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 , assuming the form of a , 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 . 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 the Ganges is said to come underground, once a year, to Kaveri to cleanse herself. To this day, Vaishnavites regard Kaveri, the river that holds in her bosom, as the most sacred of rivers. Vaishnavaites lovingly regard Kaveri as the mother of , the divine consort of Lord of Srirangam in .


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See also

External links

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