Go to content Go to menu


Kaveri (also known as Cauvery, the anglicized name and Ponni), is an Indian river flowing through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It is the third largest river – after Godavari and Krishna – in South India and the largest in Tamil Nadu which, on its course, bisects the state into North and South. The Kaveri is sacred to the people of South India and is worshipped as a goddess. The Kaveri is also one of the seven holy rivers of India. The Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 square kilometres (31,334 sq mi) with many tributaries including Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini, Bhavani, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal and Arkavati. The river basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows: Tamil Nadu, 63,856 square kilometres (24,655 sq mi); Karnataka, 14,273 square kilometres (5,511 sq mi); Kerala, 2,866 square kilometres (1,107 sq mi), and Puducherry, 160 square kilometres (62 sq mi).[3] Rising in Talakaveri in Kodagu, Karnataka, it flows southeast some 800 kilometres (500 mi) to enter the Bay of Bengal. In Chamarajanagar district it forms the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls that descend about 100 metres (330 ft).[4] The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power.[5] The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India. Access to the river's waters has pitted Indian states against each other for decades. It was profusely described in the Tamil Sangam literature and is held in great reverence in Hinduism.