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

 

The Last Island

Tirichirapalli is the Kaveri's next port of call. According to legend, it was here that a three-headed demon, Trisiras, was killed. It was the capital of the Cholas for many years and the decisive Carnatic Wars between the English and the French were fought here. Trichy's famous Rock Fort has a temple to Ganesha at its summit. About 3 km above Trichy is the third and last island on the Kaveri's course: Srirangam or Antyaranga. The reclining idol of Sri Vishnu here is similar to the ones in Shivasamudram and Srirangapatna. Though the original temple was small, succeeding rulers added to it and now it is a vast complex, with a number of entrances and gopurams. The Hoysala rulers of Mysore bestowed a number of gifts and endowments on the Srirangam temple in the 13th century. In 1371, the armies of Vijayanagar liberated Srirangam from Muslim occupation. Its rulers restored the temple and showered generous grants of land and wealth on it. Inside the temple is a shrine to Ramanuja, the great Vaishnava philosopher who settled in Srirangam but later made Karnataka his home. At Srirangam, the Kaveri divides into two branches, encircles the island and rejoins further east.
But instead of merging fully, one branch has split away, carving a new path for itself northwards. This is the Coleroon or Kollidam. One of the great Chola rulers, Karikalan, built the Grand Anicut across the Coleroon about 1600 years ago, to divert its waters for irrigation. Called Kalanai by the Tamils, the dam is a marvel of engineering going by the primitive technology available then. The Lower Anicut was built by Arthur Cotton in 1836 and a second dam was added later.


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