Kaveri River - Informative & researched article on Kaveri River
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Home > Reference > Geography of India > Resources in India > Water Resources in India > Indian Rivers > Deccan Rivers > Kaveri River
Kaveri River
The Kaveri River or Cauvery River is one of the most important rivers in southern India.
 
 Cauvery River is one of the major rivers of southern India, which is considered sacrosanct by the Hindus. The river rises at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. It flows in the south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and then across the southeastern lowlands and finally surrenders in the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths.

Cauvery River at ThiruvaiyaruCauvery River at Thiruvaiyaru. The river basin is estimated to be 27,700 square miles. It has many tributaries namely, Shimsha, the Hemavati River, the Arkavathy River, Honnuhole River, Lakshmana Tirtha River, Kabini River, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani River, the Noyyal River and the Amaravati River. As the river flows in the Deccan Plateau, it forms two islands, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. The river also joins the Hogenakal Falls before arriving in the town of Hogenakal and Srirangam in Tamil Nadu. It then meanders in the southern plains and in the Thanjavur district rich, silt-laden river delta is formed before it falls into the Bay of Bengal.

The river water is the source of extensive irrigation project and for the generation of hydroelectric power. Dams constructed across the river are Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and Mettur Dam and the Banasura Sagar Dam on the Kabini River, which is the tributary of the Cauvery. This sacrosanct river has been mentioned in Tamil literature. A large number of temple towns are situated in the lower course of the Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu.

The origin of the River Kaveri is at the Talakaveri (Western Ghats) of Karnataka. River Kaveri originates in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu. This place is called Talakaveri or the head of Kaveri. The river starts its journey from the small pond called as Kundike pond, the two tributaries known as Kanake and Sujyoti joins it later in the course. All these three rivers meets at the point called Bhagamandala. It lies at an altitude of 1350 meters and generally flows from the direction of south to the eastward direction. The river has an approximate length of 760 km. It flows in the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and finally merges into Bay of Bengal. The major tributaries of the river Kaveri include Shimsha river, Arkavathy river, Honnuhole river, Hemavati river, Lakshmana Tirtha river Kabini river, Bhavani river, Lokapavani river and the Amaravati river.

The history of Kaveri River dates back to its origin. The Kaveri River is one of the sacred rivers of the country. Kaveri or Cauvery is among the most sacred rivers of India and though to be the Dakshina Ganga or Ganga of the South. The Hindu Mythology says several versions about the descent of River Kaveri. The most popular one is that a king by the name of Kavera lived in the Brahmagiri hills and prayed to Lord Brahma for a child. He was blessed with a daughter whom he named Kaveri. She was the water manifestation of the human form. The great sage Agastya married her and kept her in his kamandalu or the spouted jug. When a terrible drought trounced the land, Ganesha in the guise of a crow, tipped the kamandalu and out flowed Kaveri.

The geography of River Kaveri starts at its origin and reaches upto the fertile plains at its lower course. The source of the Kaveri lies in the state of Karnataka, and the river flows in the direction of southeastward. The waters of the river have been an important source of irrigation since primitive days; as early as the early 1990s. Survey shows that around 95 % of the Kaveri was used for agricultural use before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The delta of the Kaveri is so mature that the main river has almost lost its link with the sea, as the Kollidam, the distributary of the Kaveri is seen to possess most of the flow.

The geology of Kaveri River accounts for the floodplain sediments in the river basin. The soil produced by the tide and flow of River Kaveri is rich and best for agricultural purposes. The floodplain sediments of the Kaveri River in the southern India are derived from Archean gneissic and charnockitic source regions, thus revealing the inter-bedding of silty and sandy units. The geochemistry of silty beds is amazingly uniform at a given location and over a tangential distance of almost 250 km. The sandy beds have more inconsistent chemical compositions, yet are comparable to those of silty beds; the only limitation is the diluting effect of quartz. Silty sediments possess the geochemical signature of prominently exposed source rocks for almost all elements and provide proofs of tectonic unsteadiness in the primary source region.

The Hindus consider the religious importance of Kaveri River similar to that of Ganges.The Kaveri River is believed as one of the holy rivers by the devout Hindus and is often known as Dakshin Ganga or the `Ganges of the South`. The river is embodied as the Goddess Kaveri Amman, who is worshipped at several shrines along the course of the river. According to Hindu legends, Vishnumaya or Lopamudra, daughter of Lord Brahma, took birth on the earth as the child of the Kavera Muni and later was married to Sage Agasthaya. Later, she took the form of the river Kaveri in order to serve mankind.

River course of KaveriThe river course of Kaveri starts from its origin and ends at the mouth of the river, when it empties into the Bay of Bengal. The river starts it journey at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu, however there not much flow at this point all round the year. This region forms the principal drainage area of this district, and is already a major river when it leaves the Western Ghats near Kushalanagara. River Kaveri in Karnataka has several channels with dams. In its course through Karnataka, the channel is broken up by twelve "anicuts" or dams for the reason of irrigation. From the anicut at Madadkatte, an artificial channel is diverted at a distance of 72 miles, irrigating an area of 10,000 acres and ultimately bringing its water supply to the town of Mandya. River Kaveri in Tamil Nadu features lovely waterfalls and gorges, which serves as great tourist spots. The River Kaveri enters the Indian state of Tamil Nadu through Krishnagiri district and along its course structure many gorges and waterfalls; among them the most famous is the Hogenakkal falls in Dharmapuri District. The three minor tributaries of River Kaveri, flowing in this state are Palar, Chennar and Thoppar above Stanley Reservoir in Mettur , where the dam has been constructed.

The usage of river Kaveriis widespread across the sectors of irrigation and household consumption. The use Kaveri River is primarily done for providing water for irrigation, water for household consumption and the generation of electricity. An estimate at the time of the first Five Year Plan puts the complete flow of the Kaveri at around 12 million acre-feet, of which 60% was used for land irrigation. The Torekadanahalli pump station sends 540 Mld (million liters per day) of water from Kaveri 100 km to Bangalore.

The tributaries of River Kaveri are responsible for the water resource in southwest India.

The water sharing of Kaveri River has undergone several disputes over the year. After the water disputes related to the water sharing of Kaveri River, water is addressed in the Constitution of India. The government has set up tribunals for water disputes. The Kaveri Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in June 1990 and has not concluded negotiation. Kaveri water sharing has been a major issue of contention between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Pondicherry. A central government charity has been formed to look into this matter.

The Kaveri River Basin is the entire region featuring the tributaries of River Kaveri. The Kaveri River basin is probably 27,700 square miles (72,000 kmĀ²) with several tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati River, the Arkavathy River, Honnuhole River, Lakshmana Tirtha River, Kabini River, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani River, the Noyyal River and the Amaravati River.

(Last Updated on : 07/10/2010)
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