When Madaga tank brims over...

When Madaga tank brims over...

Sight for sore eyes : The Madaga tank

The tank and the cascade nearby all make for a pretty picture. There are many stories of human sacrifice made to ensure that the tank, built hundreds of years ago, survives for years to come. These songs have been immortalised by way of folklore.

There are heart-wrenching stories of a daughter or a daughter-in-law being sacrificed for the sake of a tank’s longevity, in many instances across the state.

There is one such story behind the construction of Masur Madaga kere as well,  immortalised in a well-known Kannada folk song. Several years ago, there was severe drought in the area where the tank is now situated. There was hunger all around.

Folklore has it that goddess Ganga appeared in the dream of the daughter of Masur’s Mallanagouda and instructed her to get a tank built in the town in order to solve the crisis.

By the time the tank was constructed, the goddess is said to have appeared in the dream of Gouda and ordered him to offer his daughter-in-law in sacrifice to ensure that the tank lasts. A distraught Gouda finally offers his daughter-in-law in sacrifice to ensure the well-being of the community. Kenchamma, the daughter-in-law, eventually offers herself to the river. 

Folklore has it that the moment she steps into the waters, sheets of rain cover the tank, which begins to overflow.

A great tourist spot

Today, Masur Madaga kere is a well-known tourist spot. On the day of Sankranthi, the people of the taluk visit the tank area. Now, because the tank is full, people throng the area to feast their eyes on the sight. Madaga Masur tank is nearly 16 kilometres from Hirekerur and is situated on the Haveri-Shimoga border.

The Kumudavathi river which is near Shikaripur joins the tank. The tank is built between two hillocks. It had gone dry and was buried at one point in time. In the mid-late 1800s the then British government took a lot of interest in the tank and took up its repair. Apart from ensuring that the bund of the tank and the canals on either were in order, the then government also put into place a system that would irrigate 3000 acres of land.

There is a Gazetteer record that mentions that the work was completed in 1889. The Bachawat Commission has allocated 2.71 TMC of water to the tank. The State government had, in 1974-75, chalked out a plan to raise the bund by 11.27 feet and build 36.4 kms to the left bank canal and 38.2 kms to the right bank canal in 1974-75.

This would have irrigated 21,000 acres of land across 45 villages in Hirekerur, Ranebennur and Harihar taluks. However, this plan was not implemented. Later on, the government did not pay further attention to the project.

The plan by the Tourism Department to develop the tank area has also stopped mid-way. If adequate facilities are provided, the region has all the possibilities of turning out to be an excellent tourist spot.

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