Digital Dimdima
-By Jayanthi Mahalingam
The Kaveri in Mythology
The Kaveri in Kodagu
Meet the Kodavas
The first Tributary
The Kaveri Enters Mysore
An Ancient Dam
Visweswaraya's Dream
A Dream Fulfilled
Mysore's Guardian Angel
In Tipu's Domain
The Great Temples
The Shifting Sands
Sand Covered Temples
Shivasamudram
The Goat's Leap
The Kaveri in Tamil Nadu
The Last Island
An Outpouring of Music
The Temple Trail
Journey's End

 

An Outpouring of Music

Some distance away from the Grand Anicut, is Gangaikondacholapuram, the ancient capital of Rajendran, the son of Rajaraja Chola. He built a magnificent temple there with a 3.9 m-high shivalingam in the sanctum sanctorum. It was to commemorate his military victories in the north. His troops had marched right upto Bengal and brought the sacred waters of the Ganga with them. This is why Rajendran is also known as ‘Gangaikondacholan’ — ‘the Chola who brought the Ganga to the south’! For reasons unknown, the gopuram of the temple was left incomplete and the city itself was abandoned after some time.
After passing through the Grand Anicut, the Kaveri branches out into smaller streams — the Vennar, Vadavar, Kannanar, Bamani, Kudaramutti and the Arasalar — forming the marvellously fertile delta system in the Thanjavur district. There are only verdant fields as far as the eye can see. Perhaps this prosperity set the mind and heart free from the worries of eking out a living. It led to an outpouring of dance, music and poetry. Thiruvaiyaru is the cradle of Carnatic music. Thyagaraja is the foremost of the trinity comprising his contemporaries, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syamasastri. Thyagaraja was born in Tiruvarur, some kilometres south-east of Thiruvaiyaru. He made the latter his home and it is here that his samadhi is located. It is said that the music of the sparkling Kaveri inspired the divine music of Thyagaraja.
An aradhana festival is held here on the river bank every year in January on Thyagaraja’s birth anniversary in which a veritable Who’s Who of Carnatic musicians participate. The well-known singer, Bangalore Nagarathnamma was instrumental in restoring the samadhi and building a mandapam over it. As a result of her activities, women were accepted in the festival celebrations. Her samadhi can be seen opposite Thyagaraja’s shrine.


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