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Kodumudi and the Cauvery


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Kodumudi and the Cauvery

Cool 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 air.

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 its flow.

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 it.

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 and sugarcane.

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

Also Read : The Teacher Has Come | Krishnaveni

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 in Chennai. [email protected]

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