Kodumudi and the Cauvery
weather, green surroundings, flowing river, sight of the young diving
and bathing, full bloom of colorful flowers, ready to harvest sugarcanes,
smell of earth and to-be-harvested paddy present a lively picture
of the countryside which is fresh and unpolluted. Besides this,
a touch of thick Bhakthi (devotional) culture is engulfed in the
From the Kodumudi
railway station, I walked down the feeder road to this temple.
The florist couple Subramanian and Susila, were eagerly waiting
for my arrival. They were the students of Pitchu vadhiyar.
Of course, Pitchu master had taught three generations. Subramani
narrated the mythology of Kodumudi while walking on the
banks of Cauvery.
Situated at an altitude of 482 feet, Kodumudi, called as the
Trimurthy Sthala and Kavadi Theerham is on the bank of the
river Cauvery (Ponni Nadhi) in the Periyar district. The river
dubbed as the Ganges of the South flows through several important
towns to propagate culture and irrigate lands.
In the ancient South,
Saivaite shrines have been predominantly higher. Kodumudi falling
within the zone of Kongunadu is a centre noted for devotion, tradition
and literary hymns. During the pilgrimage to Palani, the devotees
carry Kavadi, Cauvery water and Vanni leaves as part of tradition.
According to legend, in a duel between Vayu (the god of wind) and
Adhisesha (multi-headed serpent believed to be the couch Lord Vishnu
rests on) about mightiness, Meru hill was moved by Vayu and broken
into five pieces which were transformed into gems. The fifth part
fell here as diamond and the 'makuta' or cliff of the hill came
to be known as Kodumudi. On the cliff of the Meru is the Shiva Linga
worshiped as the main deity. It was here the legendary Cauvery was
contained in the Kamandala (container) by sage Agasthya and later
released by Lord Ganesha who took the form of a crow. Some inscriptions
on Agasthya Rock narrate the divine event of how the river regained
The famous poet-trio Gnanasambandar, Appar and Sundarar have sung
hymns on Lord Shiva of this shrine called as Makudeswarar and his
consort Vadivudai Nayaki. The stone tablets within the shrine premises
expose the direct contribution of grants by many Pandya kings in
the 12th century. Many of the 'panchaloha' (alloy of 5 metals -
gold,silver,copper, iron, brass) idols displayed were unearthed
during various periods. The temple surrounded by majestic walls
has tall towers with beautiful sculptures. It was King Malayadvaja
Pandya who designed this peaceful town and built structures around
Lord Vishnu in marvelous monolithic sculpture as Veeranaryana Perumal
is simply divine. One's soul will never be satisfied even after
fixing the eyes on the Lord for hours together. Brahma is seated
under an ancient vanni tree (Indian Mesquit) estimated to be around
2000 years old. It is said that this tree bears no flowers or fruits
and has no thorns. I collected a few fallen leaves as souvenirs.
It is believed the divine saint Sadasiva Brahmendra of Nerur who
lived in the late 18th century entered into a dark tunnel here at
the sanctum of Bala Dhandayudhapani temple and attained 'Nirvikalpa
Samadhi'. He demonstrated the concept of dematerialization and swift
transportation of body to distant places through yoga.
With the passage of time, several inscriptions have faded away and
very few are left to mention the glory of this temple. It is here
that the broad river takes a turn to the east. The day I visited
was cloudy and the rough weather did not dampen the spirit of pilgrims
dipping in the river. Though the meteorological department issued
a warning about the possible breach of the banks of Amaravathi and
its tributary Noyyal that flows into the Cauvery, the mighty river
showed no symptom of spate. The ever passionate Cauvery continues
to flow for a noble cause.
When the gates of the Mettur dam are open, the river swells up.
The bamboo lined coracle, thoni, is a perfect vehicle to reach the
other shore. I also noticed a small sized ferryboat at a distance
from the bathing spot. The bathing ghat is very long and steep.
The next day it was moderately hot and ideal to go around the town.
The eminent freedom fighter and actress K.B.Sundarambal hailed from
this tiny hamlet. The rupees one lakh remuneration for her acting
in Nandanar in the 1930s has always been the talk of this town even
today. Her theatre now screens mega films. Some nonagenarians recalled
that Gandhiji visited the town during his South India visit.
The town has a railway station, hospital, bus stand, market, century
old Sankara Vidyalaya High School, Sub-Registrar office, police
station, post office and a cinema theater. This helps to visualize
the small town description as narrated in the famous novel Malgudi
days of R.K.Narayan.
Except the current generation, the occupation of the people had
been predominantly agriculture. The fertile riverbed makes it suitable
for intensive farming to cultivate crops like paddy, turmeric, groundnut
On a brief stroll to the railway station at noon I noticed the station
master with folded colors in hand walking past the yellow board
KODUMUDI. No tension, no pressure and a life just enough to match
with nature. After dusk, seated on the steps of the river, it was
a wonderful experience to see the reflection of the dazzling lights
of TNPL on the swirling waters. A photographer would crave for it.
Selvaraj Chandrasekar © 2008
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Contributing Story Teller
A freelance copy/content/creative writer in English &
Tamil, for the past 3 years writes for Mudaleedu, Velaan vaniga
Ulagam, Travel & Shopp - Chennai /Bangalore edition, Nikitha
Ad agency. Currently working as Manager -HR with a epublishing BPO