The Cauvery is a beautiful river in South India. It is one of the important rivers in the territory. The river is also known as the Kaveri and is one of the holiest rivers among the followers of Hindu religion. The river is revered as a goddess by the Hindus.
About Cauvery River
Originally, the Cauvery River had its source at Talakaveri in the Western Ghats Mountain Range. Talakaveri is situated in the Kodagu District in Karnataka and the river usually runs in a southeastern itinerary across the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The river flows over the southern Deccan terrains across the plains in the southeast and pours into the Bay of Bengal through two major outlets.
The catchment area of Cauvery River has been calculated at 72,000 km2 or 27,700 square miles. The river generates a number of tributaries, which include the following:
- Hemavati River
- Shimsha River
- Honnuhole River
- Arkavathy River
- Kabini River
- Lakshmana Tirtha River
- Lokapavani River
- Bhavani River
- Amaravati River
- Noyyal River
Itinerary of Cauvery River
Once the Cauvery River moves out of the Kodagu Hills, the river generates two islands, namely Shivanasamudra and Srirangapatna. The river declines 98 meters or 320 feet at the Sivasamudra Island, creating the renowned Shivanasamudra Falls, also known as Bhara Chukki and Gagana Chukki. The oldest hydroelectric power plant in Asia (constructed in 1902) was situated on the left waterfalls and provided electricity to the city of Bangalore.
During its itinerary across Karnataka, the watercourse is cut off with 12 dams or anicuts for the intention of water supply. From the dam at Madadkatte, a man-made waterway has been redirected at a length of 116 km or 72 miles, draining a territory of around 40 km2 or 10,000 acres. In the end, the river gets down its discharges to the town of Mandya.
There is a channel close to Srirangapatana, and it is named as Bangara Dodi Nala. The channel was formed in the 17th century by the Maharaja of Mysore in Wodeyar, Ranadhira Kantirava, honoring his most loved companion. The Bangara Dodi Nala is regarded as the only channel where the flow from a river, barraged upriver, is transported by the channel on the very same river for a number of miles downstream. This channel also functioned as a drivable viaduct till 1964. Other than offering various old and contemporary channels carrying water from the river for irrigation use, the Cauvery also functions as the principal resource of potable water for various villages and townships. Cities like Mandya, Bangalore, and Mysore almost wholly rely on the Cauvery River for their potable water provision. Essentially, the river is named Jeevanadhi, which in Kannada language, refers to a river sustaining life.
The river moves into the state of Tamil Nadu via Dharmapur district moving towards the flat terrains where the river bends. The river plunges into the Hogenakkal Falls just ahead of reaching the Hogenakkal township of Tamil Nadu. The river has three small tributaries; Chennar, Palar, and Thoppar. They meet the main river on her itinerary, over Stanley Reservoir in Mettur, where the barrage has been built. The Mettur Dam meets the Pala and Sita hills across that basin over which the Cauvery runs, till the Grand Anicut. Not only the barrage in Mettur stores for bettering the irrigation procedures but also to make sure constant and adequate provision of water to the major hydroelectric power supply station at Mettur. Furthermore, the river flows across the span of Erode district where the Bhavani River, which flows through the width of the district, joins it. The meeting point of the rivers Bhavani, Cauvery, and Akash Ganga (unreal) is located at the precise spot of Tiriveni Sangamam or Kooduthurai in the northern end of Erode City.
When the river is moving across Erode, two other tributaries join the river. Amaravathi and Noyal meet the river in Karur district prior to arriving at the Tiruchirapalli District. In this area, the river gets broader with a sand-filled riverbank. Afterwards, the river runs according to an easterly itinerary till it divides into two at the higher Anicut region approximately 14 km west of Thiruchirappalli City. The northern arm of the river is known as the Kollidam or Coleroon and at the same time, the southern arm keeps the name of Kaveri and subsequently moves straight to the east into the Thanjavur district. These two streams meet once more and create the Srirangam Island, which is a portion of the city of Tiruchirapalli.
The Chola monarch Korikalan has been commemorated as he built the riverbank for the Kaveri completely from Kaveripoompattinam (Puhar) to Srirangam. It was constructed about 1600 years back. On either sides of the river, there are barriers extending to a length of 1,080 feet (330 m)
The Kallanai dam built by him on the boundary between Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur is an excellent work of engineering, which was constructed with soil and rocks and has suffered the changes of environment for a significant period of time.
The dam was revamped on a larger extent in the 19th century. From that time, the name of the famous dam has been altered to Grand Anicut and it is the main dam under a huge irrigation scheme in the Thanjavur District. From this area, the Kollidam or Coleroon River flows towards the northeast and pours itself into the sea at Devakottai, which is somewhat south of Parangipettai. From the Coleroon River, Uppanai and Manniar split at lower Anicut and drains a part of Sirkazhi taluk and Mayiladuthurai taluk in Nagapatnam district. Following Grand Anicut, the Kaveri splits into various tributaries and encompasses the entire area of the delta with a huge system of irrigation canals in Tiruvarur and Nagapatnam districts and goes astray in the broad stretch of paddy fields. The mighty Kaveri River is shrunk to an unimportant canal and moves into the Bay of Bengal at the famous site of Poompuhar, approximately 13 km north of Tharangampadi.
Utilization of Kaveri Water
The waters of Kaveri are primarily utilized for irrigation, household usage, and electricity generation purposes.
A ballpark figure during the first Five Year Plan places the overall discharge of the Cauvery at 12 million acre feet (15 km3). Out of this, 60% was utilized for agricultural purposes.
The pumping station at Torekadanahalli transmits 540 Mld (million liters per day) of water from Cauvery, which is 100 km from Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka.
The Kaveri waters are mostly provided by monsoon rains. Dams like the Mettur Dam and Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and the dams on the tributaries like the Banasura Sagar Dam Plan on a Kabini River tributary, hold water from monsoon seasons and discharge the water during the summer months. Nonetheless, during the months of February to May, the level of water is usually quite low, and in a number of distributaries and watercourses, the embankments may get dehydrated. The discharge usually starts to grow in June or July. Nevertheless, in a number of years when precipitation is small, the low level of water can result in farming loss in regions relying on the Kaveri for irrigation.
The hydroelectric power plant constructed on the left Sivanasamudra Falls on the Cauvery River in 1902 was the oldest hydroelectric power facility in the state of Karnataka.
The potential of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam is 49 tmc feet. The potential of Mettur Dam, which is responsible for forming the Stanley Reservoir, is 93.4 tmc ft (thousand million cubic foot).
In the month of August 2003, the influx into the reservoirs in the state of Karnataka was at a record low for 29 consecutive years, with a deficit of 58%. Water accumulated in the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam added up to just 4.6 tmc ft.
The Constitution of India has dealt with water allocation. The Government of India has established committees for water disputes. The Kaveri Water Disputes Tribunal was established in June 1990. Water allocation of Cauvery has been a significant matter of disputation between the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala and the union territory of Puducherry. A central government agency has been created to explore this matter.
As per a survey performed by the central government in 1972, the usage of water from Karnataka was 277 tmc and the usage of water from Kaveri in Tamil Nadu was 489 tmc. With the increase in number of inhabitants, Karnataka wants to raise its use to 465 tmc.
The Kaveri Tribunal, in its provisional grant of June 1991, decreed that Karnataka should discharge 205 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu throughout one water year. This will have to be done from June to May. The tribunal also set a monthly allocation for discharge/release. The Kaveri Tribunal has been exploring the matter for 16 years and ultimately, it emerged with the ruling on 5 February, 2007 with 270 tmc for Karnataka, 419 tmc for Tamil Nadu, 7 tmc for Puducherry, and 50 tmc for Kerala. This ruling has been challenged by both the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Importance in Hinduism
The Cauvery River has a lot of significance in Hindu religion. Talakaveri is an important religious hub, which is situated along the Brahmagiri Hills. The three temples near the origin of the river are visited by countless religious devotees. Other important religious hubs include the Mayavaram in Tamil Nadu, Talakad in Karnataka (famous for Panchalinga Darshana fest), and Bhagamandala in Karnataka. You will get to see statues of Lord Vishnu on the three major river islands. The three temples are named as Adi Ranga, Madya Ranga, and Anthya Ranga.
Important towns/religious spots on the Kaveri riverbanks
Given below are the names of important towns and religious spots on the banks of this famous river:
- Bhavani - Thirunana
- Tirumakudal Narasipur
Last Updated on 02 February 2011