High up in the Brahmagiri hills, along the Western Ghats, is the origin of the Kaveri river. A tank has been constructed at this place and a small temple, which is the worship place of the Kodavas (Coorgs).
We saw people wade across the tank to the other side, duck thrice into the waters of the spring, after which the priests then splashed more holy water on them. What amused me was that the ladies were fully clad in saris or salwar suits, while the men went in mostly bare-chested. It couldn’t have been easy to walk in the water with all those layers of fabric but they did it anyway.
The water is then directed into a little outlet from where it is allowed to find its way down the hills and across the plains, till it finally pours into the Bay of Bengal.
We met the river again on our way down from the hills, this time at the town of Bhagamandala. It had now grown from a spring into a stream and flowed in a leisurely manner towards the Triveni Sangam where it met up with another river- the Kannike, and the mythical river Sujyothi.
The third time we encountered the Kaveri was when we visited the Elephant Camp which is situated on its banks, thus providing the inmates with a convenient spot for taking a dip.
Now the river had widened considerably but was still flowing peaceably along. There were forests on either side, greening the waters, while the sky above found its reflection in the blue depths. One could sit for hours by the water’s edge and listen to the waves lapping at the shore.
We filled our minds and senses with the beauty of the river. Any river, big or small, has a live-giving bounty that deserves to be worshiped. It saddens me how thoughtlessly we can desecrate and exploit our rivers, when we so devoutly worship them at their origin.