Saturday, Oct 01, 2022 21:00 [IST]
Last Update: Saturday, Oct 01, 2022 15:20 [IST]
How could a humble crow be the cause for the grand Cauvery River to flow? Remember the saying ‘Never estimate (or underestimate) one by the size’? If it was King Bhagiratha who brought River Ganga to flow in North India, here in South India it was a humble crow that helped River Cauvery to flow again. But there are two versions.
River Ponni (as Cauvery was known historically, meaning Golden Maid) was disrespectful to Sage Agasthiyar who was short in stature. So as to punish Ponni he captured Ponni River in his kamandal (water pot). As the land dried up people prayed and Lord Ganesh was requested to help ease the situation. He transformed into a crow and toppled the kamandal, thereby causing Ponni to flow again. So she was called Kaveri; Ka (Kakagam in Tamil is crow), viri (wide spread). The name also means ‘(river) with wide spread banks’. Cauvery is the anglicized name.
In the other version also it was Lord Ganesh in the form of a crow who caused the flow of River Ponni. To put it shortly, Lord Shiva allowed some water of River Ganga to flow from within his matted hair into a kamandal and gave the kamandal to Sage Agasthiyar; then, Agasthiyar was sent to South India to counterbalance the tilting of Mt. Kailash due to the heavy crowd of participants gathered there to witness the celestial wedding of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvathi. Here again, Ganesh’s help was sought to let the river flow in South India. Ganesh changed Himself into a crow and tilted the kamandal of Agasthiyar and River Cauvery started flowing down in South India. The crow now changed into a little boy and started running away. Agasthiyar chased and caught hold of that boy and was about to strike that boy’s head with his knuckles but then it was Lord Ganesh who stood there! Shocked that he was about to strike Lord Ganesh, Agasthiyar struck his forehead with his knuckles and thus started the practice of worshipping Lord Ganesh by striking one’s forehead with one’s knuckles!
Kaveri/Kaviri starts flowing from Talakaveri (Tala=head) in Western Ghats in Kodagu (Coorg) District in Karnataka at a height of 1341 meters. Then it flows 800 km and merges in Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar in Mayiladuthurai District, formerly part of the composite delta district of Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu. Poompuhar was an important seaport during the Chola dynasty rule. It was probably devoured by tsunami long back. Flowing down from Karnataka, it enters Tamil Nadu at Hogenakkal (part of Deccan Plateau) which is a tourist spot. From this spot it is a smooth flow in the plains of Tamil Nadu. Kaveri is one of the sacred rivers of India. It is the third largest river in South India after Godavari and Narmada. Some 12 tributaries add to the might of Kaviri at different places. Hydro electricity is generated with the waters of Kaviri.
Kaviri has been irrigating Tamil Nadu since centuries. Cauvery waters the vast delta region of Tamil Nadu which is hailed as the rice bowl (though this has been administratively bifurcated into three districts). Kaviri river basin covers three states – Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – and the Union Territory of Puducherry. Hence it is also a much disputed river among these riparian states. After prolonged litigation, Supreme Court at last decided over the distribution of Kaveri’s water among the four riparian states, though not to the satisfaction of the parties involved. Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee have been constituted by the Centre as follow up actions.
Kaveri Crater – Scientists have recently discovered a unique feature of Kaviri Basin. It has a huge crater of the diameter of 120 km. that was formed some 800 to 550 million years ago by an asteroid! It was so long back when very few primitive life forms only were there. So this asteroid did not impact much on life on earth like the asteroid that hit some 65 million years ago causing the extinction of dinosaurs. The scientists estimate the size of this asteroid as 5 km diameter in size. This crater could be the fourth largest in the world; it is so large that it can be visualised only through satellite images. It lies between the Nilgiris and Kodaikanal hills in Tamil Nadu.
Another salient feature of Kaviri is the Grand Anaicut / Kallanai (Stone Dam) built across the river some 2000 years ago by Karikala Chola King in 2nd century AD. This is one of the oldest dams in the world that is still in use. The Srirangam Island near Trichy in Tamil Nadu that is formed by Kaveri river and its subsidiary Kollidam has a township and the sacred Ranganathar temple; it is an important Vaishnavaite shrine among the holy 108 Divya Desham shrines of Vaishnavisim. Quiet flows Kaveri for the benefit of all forms of life!
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