Thursday, August 30, 2007

Colossal Kallanai!!!

There are a many great engineering structures that stand as a hallmark of civilisations. And to the Tamilian there are many great architectural wonders that are exemplary and still stand to this day. Those structures represent the efforts of the great kings and emperors who ruled this country and parts of the south east Asian countries. Those structures stood as a hub for commerce and well-being. For e.g. The Periya Kovil (Brahadeeshwara Temple) at Thanjavur represents the pride Tamilians can take, for the excellence of the great masterpiece. There are few ancient structures that provided well being, fertility and welfare to the people of the country. Those structures are pretty massive and stable that they stand in excellent repair for thousands of years.

One such construction is the massive Kallanai (The Grand Anicut). It is a massive dam across the river Cauvery built using unhewn stone and stands 329 metres long and 20 metres wide. It was built before 2000 years by the great Chola king Karikala Peruvalathaan (Karikalan), his other name is Thirumavalavan because of the fertility he brought to his kingdom. The name Karikalan for the great king has two legends. The first one being - When Karikalan was the apparent heir to the throne and crowned as prince. Due to some political confusions after the death of his father, Ilamcetcenni, he was ousted and exiled from the country. And later when the ministers chose him to be the king, the persons who opposed him, put him in prison and set it ablaze. Karikalan bravely jumped out of the fire and defeated his enemies and came back to power. When he came out of the prison fire, his legs were charred and hence the name Kari (Charred/Black) Kalan (Leg).

The other legend is that, Karikalan was a gigantic figure, muscular and powerful, that he could fight and kill an elephant. Kari meaning elephant, Kalan - means Yemen, the mythological character who is said to take lives of beings. So Karikalan means Yemen for an elephant. There are legends that say that he used to eat lavish food that he could eat the thigh of a goat in one course of his meal.

The Kallanai is one of the oldest existing water diversion systems for irrigation. The construction of Kallanai made the Cauvery Delta to be the fertile heartland of South India. Kallanai diverts the Cauvery River into six sub rivers that irrigated about 282 sq kms (69000 acres) and now more than 4000 sq kms with some modern additions like the regulators. Some of the pics of Kallanai and a short video at the end

The great view of the Kallanai

Kallanai - View from the front

Another front view of the Kallanai

View during sunset

View of the Kallanai from the South side

Kallanai from the top

The water that makes Thanjavur fertile

The sunset illuminating the Cauvery as if adorned with Gold

Another sunset view from the Kallanai

River Cauvery in all her glory at sunset

Sage Agastyar who is believed to have brought Cauvery to life

Another view of Sage Agastya

Nandi on top of the Kallanai

Golden waters of Cauvery at sunset

Waters that rushes from Kallanai to irrigate Thanjavur

Water let out from Kallanai

Another view of water rushing out of Kallanai

Sathiyaraj, Myself, Pradeep on the walls of Kallanai

Sathiyaraj, Kannadhasan, Pradeep on the walls of Kallanai

Vennar - Kallanai splits up Cauvery which is called Vennar after this point

View of the Kallanai at South West

Kallanai - with the modern regulators

River Cauvery in all her glory to make the land fertile

The great and the magnanimous king - King Karikalan Peruvalathaan

The great and the magnanimous king - King Karikalan Peruvalathaan

Statue of River Cauvery, the river Goddess that makes Thanjavur fertile

River Cauvery in her full force

The massive volume of water from Kallanai

A small video of the Kallanai

Building such a massive construction and embarking on such a great project requires a great vision and Karikala Perivalathaan had such a vision, that gave the name - "The Granary of South India" for Thanjavur. Let us hail the magnanimous King Karikala Cholan for giving us the Kallanai that stands to this day speaking his name and bestowing fertility for a great piece of land.More to come, until then...


Anonymous said...

A million thanks for that treat of the KallaNai. A great good job done Prabhu!. The pictures are lovely and a virtual treat to a nature-lover. The video captured the Mother Cauvery's roaring urgency to confer Her boons to the lands nearby. Thanks for enabling us to make this virtual tour of the Kallanai.

naDanthAi vAzhi cAvEri !!
KarikAlan kaTTi vaithAn kallaNai...

You must give this link to many Tamil groups across the Globe.


R.Prabhu said...

Thank you very much Subbu. Sure will do!

balar said...

Prabhu, Excellent post about Kallanai.

Pictures and video are wonderful..

You are absolutely right, Karikalan had a great vision..

Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu,

Just happened to see some of your bookmarks and was thrilled to find the variety of contents. I saved two of the very useful ones on usage of English and writing effective letters. Thanks for that. The idolsprice gallery too is a nice one.

Keep up the good work!!

Warm regards,

R.Prabhu said...


Thanks Balar! Yes I admire the great work Karikalan has envisioned 2000 years ago. Nowadays, people build their so called great building that don't even last a few years. Just to compare, imagine the engineering skills of the people during Karikalan's times


Thanks, and good to hear that the bookmarks were useful

Voracious Blog Reader said...

Hi Prabhu,

Romba nanna irundhadhu. Thanks a lot for the facts.

Voracious Blog Reader

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks VBR!

kvijayendran said...

Nice pics da

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks da Vijayendran!

Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,
Am Prabhakar and my native place is Kallanai.I really admire about your good work, that you shown kallanai architechture and good views to people.I am thanking you on behalf of our kallanai village people and our dam workers.
If you have a chance to visit kallanai once again please come to our home and let me introduce our village people to you for your great work.

Keep up the good work.


R.Prabhu said...

Hi Prabhakar,
Welcome to my blog! I am very proud of Karikalan and Kallanai that really makes me boast that we belong to one of the ancient and rich civilisations in the planet. Its very kind of you, I will surely visit Kallanai once again sometime soon and will surely let you know when I come. I would love the see the gifted people who have the gift of seeing this great piece of architecture every day!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Prabhu,
Nice to see your reply.You are always welcome to our place and please let me before you are coming to kallanai.Please share your mail id to contact.


R.Prabhu said...

Hi Prabhakar,

Will surely let you know when I plan a trip to Kallanai. My email id is rprabhu.mca (at) gmail [dot] com


Anonymous said...

Dear Prabhu,

Great work! I'd appreciate if you could upload the pictures in which would spread around the world about tamizhan's fame.

velga thamizh!
vaazhiya nin pugazh!


R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Senthil. Will surely upload the photo as suggested. Thank you very much for your inputs

shamanth said...

Thank you for the wonderful pictures.

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Shamanth