A journey along the Kaveri…
She stands testimony to centuries of music and culture, embellished time and again, on her very fertile banks. In fact, she is like a raga in her own right- taking off with a majestic start she flows ever so mellifluously- sometimes trickling down, like short crisp phrases and at others gushing down showcasing every aspect of her ‘gambhiram’ and force, but all the way embodying the beautiful ‘karuna’ and prosodic ‘bhava’ in every aspect of her manifestation.
The River Kaveri, the culture lover’s pride, has an intricately woven set of cultural experiences and stories to tell, paralleled only by her equally complex system of tributaries spanning two states, multiple islands on her path and varied topographies as she finally makes her way to the mighty ocean via two points of entrance.
The origin of the river is at the Brahmagiri Hills in the Western Ghats, in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. Talakkaveri, as the source of the river is referred to, is considered very holy for its Ishwara and Ganapathi temples as well. An Agastheeswara temple is also located in this region, emblematic of the belief that Kaveri was sage Agasthya’s wife, but flowed out of his divine flask, the Kamandalu when it was upset by Lord Ganesha in the form of a crow.
While most rivers just empty themselves into the ocean at the very end, legend has it that Kaveri had roots with the ocean right at her inception! During the ‘Samudra Manthan’, the churning of the ocean by the Devas and Asuras, Lord Vishnu created ‘Mohini’ to distract the Asuras and to ensure that the Amrita (divine nectar) was obtained only by the Devas. Lopamudre, an incarnation of Parvathi was also sent along to assist Mohini. With their task of restoration of the Amrita to the Devas completed, Mohini and Lopamudre retired to the Brahmagiri Hills- the former turned into a cave while the latter was brought up by Brahma as his daughter.
Years later, Brahma entrusted the child with Kavera Maharishi, a sage whose prayers to the Lord gave him the lovely Kaveri for a daughter! Even in her youth, Kaveri prayed fervently for the happiness and prosperity of all around her and yearned to turn into a river and pour blessings onto all and everything that she touched. In a turn of events, the Sage Agasthya fell in love with her and Kaveri obliged the sage and remained his dutiful wife until ‘the crow’ flew past!