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

 

Mysore's Guardian Angel

A canal, appropriately named after Visvesvaraya, was cut out of the reservoir at the Krishnarajasagara Dam at a height of 18 m . It transported the water over a distance of 45 km. When finally finished, the project had the potential of irrigating 36,000 additional hectares. A score of engineers had supervised over 10,000 labourers in this immense task. Once, when a flood threatened to burst through freshly-laid masonry, the engineers and workers toiled throughout the night by the light of lamps to build a temporary channel to divert the floodwaters.
But Visvesvaraya was not the only man to think of damming the Kaveri at that point. Workmen clearing the ground for laying the foundation of the dam, uncovered a stone slab dated 1794. A Persian inscription on it read: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful, Hazrat Tippoo Sultan, the Shadow of God, the Lord Bestower of Gifts, laid the foundation of the .......Dam across the river Kaveri to the West of the Capital....... The start is from me but its completion rests with God."
Sir M. Visvesvaraya
Sir M. Visvesvaraya (1860-1962), the dewan of the former Mysore state, can rightly be called Mysore's guardian angel and guiding spirit. He was instrumental in setting up the Bhadravathi Iron and Steel Works, the Mysore University, the Government Soap Factory, and many more industries and institutions. The number of schools in the state more than doubled during his tenure as dewan, a post he held from 1913 to 1918. He was chief engineer for three years before that. He believed that India's progress lay in its industrialisation. His slogan was, "Industrialise or perish!" Sir Visvesvaraya wrote books on planning much before independent India's ambitious Five-year Plans.
He was so agile and active, that even at the age of 86, he could climb a staircase 75 feet high, totally unaided, a feat that daunted men half his age!


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