Bbasin eastern parts of the basin are covered by alluvium and contain a relatively thicker and more complete sedimentary sequence. Statewise Drainage Area Km 2. About the Cauvery Basin Over the main basin, the peninsular granites and gneisses comprising of biotite granitic gneiss, hornblende granitic gneiss geoolgy widely found. Red soils occupy large areas in the basin. The Cauvery basin extends over an area of 81, km 2which is nearly The depocentres were mainly due west.

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The fourth largest river of southern region, begins its km long journey from the Western Ghats; traverses through Mysore plateau and finally forms a delta on the eastern coastline of the subcontinent before falling into the Bay of Bengal. The point of origin of Cauvery, Talakaveri is in the Brahmagiri ranges of the Western Ghats at an elevation of m.

Geologically, the basin forms a part of the South Indian Shield. The shield areas of the world are considered to have preserved early-formed crust prior to Ma. The rocks in the entire basin are predominantly metamorphic and igneous; however sedimentary rocks are exposed along the eastern margin. The eastern deltaic area is the most fertile areas in the basin and the soil type is alluvial in this region. The principal soil types found in the basin are red soils, black soils, laterite, alluvial soils, forest soils and mixed soils.

Red soils occupy large areas in the basin. The basin is characterized with a unique forest with some of very distinct fauna and flora and is home to many sanctuaries and National Parks. Average density in the population is around persons per sq km. Historically important urban centers were Mysore, Thanjavur and Madurai whereas Bangalore, Mysore and Tiruchirapalli are the major urban centers of today.

An average annual surface water potential of Out of this, Cultivable area in the basin is about 5. Present use of surface water in the basin is Cauvery Basin: Culture and places of historical significance The river Cauvery has been the inspiration for various civilizations who have thrived on the banks of the river.

This can be seen manifested in the various forms of art, culture and philosophy that have originated along the course of the river.

From its birth in Talakaveri till it merges with the Bay of Bengal, a journey from western ghats to the deltas of eastern coast of India, is beautifully captured by Clare Arni and Oriole Henry in this section. Please click on any place that interests you to read about its history and cultural importance.

You can click on the links right here. Click here for more information Cauvery Basin: Birth Place and first sangam At Talakaveri, in the south west corner of Karnataka, the cauvery,the Ganga of the south, is born high up in the green Brahmagiri Mountain.

Between October and November, depending on the calculation of local astrologers, the cauvery bubbles up in rebirth. From peak of the Brahmagiri I saw shimmering in the west the golden line of the Arabian Sea,but the Cauvery does not run down to it, instead she turns her back and races in a steep drop to Bhagamandala,the first sangam.

Here the river Kanaka joins the cauvery swelling her waters and to commemorate this union there is nearby a temple dedicated to Shiva with copper roofs curving up at each corner into the rearing heads of cobras. It is a much grander Kerala style temple than the shrines dedicated to Ishvara and Ganapati at Talakaveri. In a large courtyard are several shrines with tiny brass rimmed doors leading into the darkness that cloaks the gods. On the ceilings are painted carvings of birds, demons, men dragging chariots, Krishna playing his flute as his women dance and bows with arrows drawn for battle.

From here the cauvery runs down, meandering more as she grows when other rivers join her, feeding the plains and then out at the east coast into the Bay of Bengal. Cauvery Basin: Srirangapattana, The capital of Tipu Sultan Everywhere I looked in Srirangapattana, on the island created by the Cauvery splitting and joining again, there were the ghosts of history. As a strategic site, with a natural moat, centuries of rulers fought over the land but it is most famous as the capital of Tipu Sultan the ruler of much of southern India.

Srirangapattana has also always been an important religious site on the sacred island where the goddess Cauvery herself asked Ranganatha to come and stay. The Sri Ranganatha temple and the Jami mosque were left untouched by the British and everywhere there are ghats leading down into the Cauveri. At the Kings bathing ghat I noticed a large cage half in the water and another story danced out of the reflections of the river.

It was built so the kings could bathe without being sucked away by the currents but, unfortunately, only after one of the royals drowned. All his entourage were with him but as commoners they were forbidden to touch the king, so they stood by, letting him drown.

The complex was built in by Somanatha Danayaka the commander of the Hoysala army. Such projects, financed by the king or military figures, were common in the Hoysala period and were often a political statement.

It was a way of declaring a royal presence, particularly when the Hoysala kingdom had become large and difficult to control. If friezes carved on a star shaped temple were how the Hoysalas showed power, then the Keshava temple is carved so exquisitely it is easy to forgive the statement of supremacy.

Hidden behind a high compound wall is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture, a small gem of a temple covered in astoundingly well preserved sculptures, where no two friezes are alike. They are carved in panels of high relief so at points I could curl my finger around the back of a small figure and, despite the flattening light of the midday sun, every scene from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and life of the Hoysala kings stood out with dark shadow outlines.

I walked around the temple, following each story as warriors and elephants marched into battle, Vaishnava deities sheltered under a thick canopy of foliage and Arjun pierced with his arrow the eye of a fish high up on a revolving wheel. Around and around I walked and like a great book it gave me something new each time I looked again.

Cauvery Basin: The desert of Talakad Large dunes rise up at the end of a street in the village of Talakad as if they had been made for a movie set. A sudden desert in the lush Cauvery basin. These shifting sands have covered the fifth to tenth century Ganga dynasty capital, which was later an important centre for both the Cholas and the Hoysalas. Its political significance was due to its location in both a rich agricultural basin and on the trade route linking Karnataka with the Tamil plains.

The geological explanation for the dunes is that Talakad is set on a sharp bend in the Cauvery and, because the river flow is hindered, sand has built up on the inner bank blowing up into dunes. I prefer the mythological explanation surrounding the seventh century queen Rangamma, who had gone to meet her husband in Talakad where he was battling with the king of Mysore. She arrived to find her husband had been killed and threw herself into the Cauvery cursing that Talakad be buried in sand, for where she jumped into the river to become a whirlpool and for the Mysore dynasty to end for lack of an heir.

All are still true. The Maharaja of Mysore has not had a direct line of descendants and successive archaeologists dig up buildings, only for the sands to cover them again. The Vaidyeshvara temple an important pilgrimage site, where Panchalinga, a bathing festival is held and the Kirtinarayana temple remain uncovered largely due to concrete walls that keep the sand at bay. Cauvery Basin: Sivasamudram falls After the island of Sivasamudram, the cauvery narrows and falls rapidly in a series of waterfalls.

Standing near a green domed mosque I watched the river plunge from such a height that the spray wafted up like mist and rainbows danced in the droplets. This waterfall was the first in India to be harnessed into electrical power in by engineers from the General Electric Company of the United States.

The British needed to supply the Kolar Gold mines one hundred miles away. It is thought the gold was discovered as long ago as 77AD when a Roman historian mentioned gold and there is a legend that a herdsman during the Chola period created his own kingdom in the area after discovering treasure. These were only surface mines, the gold seams the British discovered in the nineteenth century required deep shaft mining and therefore power to light and dig.

In these were the longest lines of high tension electric transmission in the world and Kolar is still the deepest mine in the world. Eventually the mines were nationalised in and then closed in , and they say little England is now a ghost town but the hydro plant continues to supply power to Mysore and Bangalore.

Cauvery Basin: Hogenkal waterfalls At the quiet village of Hogenakal nestled in the forested Melagiri Hills is a waterfall where the Chinnar River meets the cauvery.

Despite its remoteness the place was buzzing with people who had come to bathe in the curative waters. Apparently properties from the forest the Cauvery travels through, in what was Veerappan territory, are what make the waters healing. To get to the falls themselves I had to cross one fork of the river by coracle and then walk down into the gorge along a slippery path where the river had, in the monsoon months, moulded the rocks into smooth sculptures.

We pushed off from a small sandy cove and rowed up stream towards where the second fork of the river plunged down in frothy, bubbling cascades, its spray glistening into ephemeral rainbows that appeared and disappeared as the river buffeted our coracle.

I could see both why films used this location as a backdrop for love scenes and how real life tragic lovers could easily end their lives here. The boatman, puffing and straining, continued to bring us closer to the thunderous falls, until a fellow passenger, shouted out to him. There seemed to be only uninhabited forest stretching into the distance as far as the eye could see and so I was surprised to see, up on the bank, a solitary drinks shack. I thought it an odd place for a bar until I remembered that one side of the river was Tamil Nadu and the other Karnataka.

As I watched, a man staggered down from the outdoor bar into his coracle, stopped a passing boat, a mobile tobacco shop, bought a smoke and, with a loud, tuneless song, made his way in meandering circles back to the Tamil Nadu bank.

Cauvery Basin: The temple town of Kumbakonam and Darasuram Everywhere in the temple town of Kumbakonam, at the heart of the cauvery delta, worship was noisy and social not like the whispering of the dark, cold churches of my childhood. Around the sacred Mahamakam tank, where every twelve years the nine sacred rivers of India come to cleanse themselves of human sins, there were kum kum, fresh coconut and tea sellers nestled under the shade of ancient temple carts.

The scent of garlands sweetened the air and shops selling glass bangles twinkled rainbows of light onto men making bronzes by burning wax effigies into the shapes of gods. In the pillared hall of the eighteenth century Sarangapani temple college students meandered between huge rearing papier-mache horses, endlessly revising out loud from textbooks.

Amongst the sculpted pillars in the seventeenth century Ramaswamy temple were groups of old men playing games on the floor with tamarind seeds and chalk outlines. Even the sculptures came to life with a wife carved on either side of the pillar, both gazing lovingly at their husband, neither able to see the other woman. At the Nageshvara temple with its exquisite ninth century Chola figures a man was washing his cow and priests sat reading prayers out loud in singsong rhythms. As I watched the mahout returned and the elephant exploded into a paroxysm of pleasure curling his trunk around and around the man, ruffling his hair, buffeting his body and screeching with joy.

I was, though, beginning to feel I had had my fill of temples but was told of a Chola masterpiece I must see, about three kilometres outside Kumbakonam, in Darasuram. The twelfth century Airavateshvara temple was an archaeological site with no one there at all but me and an old priest bent double with age. I am told that sadly he is no longer with us as it was through his tricks and stories that the sculptures and reliefs came alive.

There the women are helping their friend give birth. Around the pillars watch the goddess Parvati prepare with joy and dancing for her wedding. It was not until I reached the island that I realised this was only the first of twenty one in the massive sixty hectare site.

Several dynasties had a hand in constructing this complex, but what now stands are largely reconstructions by the Vijayanagars and Nayaks in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries after devastating Muslim raids. The mythical origin of the temple is that Vibhishana was on his way back to Sri Lanka with a Vishnu shrine given by Rama as a reward for helping him defeat Ravana. He stopped to greet the Chola king at Srirangam but when he tried to leave found that he could not lift the temple because Lord Ranganatha wanted to stay.

Seven concentric high stone walls encircle the main shrine. The first three hold priests houses and shops selling everything from brass and steel kitchen utensils to guide books and brightly painted pottery animals. In the next four enclosures are shrine after shrine; the Venugopala with its high-relief sculptures of Krishna and female musicians and another where I thought I could see the eyes of the Deity, red and bulbous peering out at me until two priests beckoned me in.

I had only been looking at its torso. There were also tanks, the thousand pillared hall and the beautiful Sheshagirirayar Mandapa with its eight pillars sculpted into almost three dimensional rearing horsemen trampling tigers and European warriors. In the centre under a gilded roof Ranganatha lies on the serpent Ananta facing out across the mango topes to Sri Lanka as he had promised Vibhishana. It is a vast construction for its time, spanning a thousand feet across the Cauvery and sixty feet wide.

The Chola monarchs needed the dam to tackle the problem of using the flood waters of the cauvery for irrigation to create more consistent food and wealth. The Grand Anicut stands just after the Srirangam Island diverting water into a network of channels that feed the Cauvery delta to the east. This was part of an agrarian system that the Cholas founded, which remained largely unchanged till the nineteenth century, based on a skilful use of river channels, wells and reservoirs.

This irrigation technology was part of the system of authority and governance of their vast empire during the ninth to twelfth centuries.



The depocentres were mainly due west. Cauvery Basin: Geology The Closepet Granite of the upper reaches of the Cauvery basin is a pink granite consisting mainly of quartz, plagioclase, microcline, perthiteand subordinate hornblende. The geoloyg area of the basin is about 58, km 2 which is about three percent of the culturable area of the country. Mahadevan Endowment Lecture R. The important tributaries joining Cauvery in the Coorg district are the Kakkabethe Kadanur and the Kummahole. The results show that at many places, the quality of water was quite poor compared to what was the desired class.


Cauvery River Basin: An Overview






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