Now you see her, now you don't!

Now you see her, now you don't!

RIVER NOTES The splendid Cauvery has a lovely fable. Read on...

Loved and revered by all, she brings plenty and prosperity wherever she goes. Her source is a spring in the Brahmagiri mountains in Coorg at a height of 1320 metres above sea-level. These mountains are a part of the Western Ghats.

The gifts that Cauvery gives us are many. The spring from where she flows is a great attraction. On a particular day every year, people trek to Brahmagiri to witness the Cauvery gush up in the middle of a small tank. All along the way, one can see Nature at her breathtaking best.

It is said that Tipu Sultan once looked up and glimpsed the gushing stream. So awe-inspiring was the sight that he bowed his head in salutation. Since then, this spot is known as ‘Salutation Stone’.

As the Cauvery leaves Coorg, she is joined by two other rivers, Hemavati and Lakshmana Theertha. She now turns into a large river, broad as well as deep, thus making it possible to build dams that will provide water for cultivation. The oldest is the Stone Anicut built about 1600 years ago. It is believed to have been built by Karkala, a Chola king who ruled at the end of the first century AD. The first of the modern ones is the Kannambadi dam, built by the engineering genius, Sir M Visvesvaraya. The reservoir that it created was named Krishnaraja Sagar, after the king who ruled Mysore then.

On its banks is one of the most beautiful gardens in Karnataka called the Brindavan after the legendary garden and woodland in which Krishna is said to have played. Beautiful by day, it turns into a fairyland at night with twinkling lights and gurgling fountains.

Fascinating lore

It is no wonder that such a splendid river has an interesting and lovely fable behind it. The story goes that Kaveri was a beautiful girl given as a boon to the childless king, Kaveran. When the sage Agastya set eyes on her, he fell in love and wanted to marry her. The king agreed but laid down one condition— Kaveri was never to be left  alone.
One day the sage was teaching his pupils a difficult lesson in philosophy and did not return home at the usual time. Kaveri felt that something terrible had happened to him.
Not wishing to live without him, she jumped into a tank. She did not die however. She sank to the bottom, disappeared underground and re-appeared as a spring in the mountains. The sage hunted for her high and low. He finally reached the top of the mountain and immediately recognised his wife in the spring. He begged her to return home. Kaveri however found she could grant only half his wish. “Half of me will live in the hermitage,” she said. “The other half will enrich Mother Earth as a river.”

Her promise to the people was that she would reappear every year at the spot where she had risen. It is a promise she fulfils faithfully on the day that is called Sankramana in the Hindu calendar.

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