April 10, 2016

The Origin of Cooum

Site Name: Kesavaram Dam
Site Type: Dam, River
Location:  Kesavaram , near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The origin of Cooum river
Nearest Major Railway Station: Chennai 
Nearest Airport: Chennai 
How to reach: Reachable by road; public transportation is not dependable; it is a little known remote place and the roads are not in good condition
Hotel: Only in the nearby Chennai city
Restaurants: Go to Chennai city for various options

When anyone talks about Chennai, it is unavoidable to talk about Cooum river that runs through the city. It is a river that was turned into open sewage by the citizens of Chennai many years ago. It is unfortunate that the word 'Cooum' has become the synonym to stench. It is not the river's mistake, but the blunder of the people living on the banks of the river, who turned this river into sewage. Let me briefly talk about the origin of this river Cooum.

Unlike the citizens of Chennai, people at the outskirts of North Chennai and Tiruvallur district have comparatively kept the river clean. (Of course, whenever there is water in the river, which has become rare in the last few years).

Cooum is supposed to be a holy river like any other river. Many ancient temples of Lord Shiva were built on the banks of this river. Skanda Puran talks about the temples of Cooum. Nowadays, few historians have come up with a theory that the name of the river could have been derived from the word 'coopam', which means deep pit. I do not agree with this theory. Even in the olden days, the river was called as Cooum river and the truth is that no one knows the reason behind this name.

The river Kosasthalaiyar originates near a village named Pallipet in Tiruvallur district. In the Kesavaram village, it branches out into two rivers namely, Kosasthalaiyar and Cooum. Hence, Cooum become the branch river of Kosasthalaiyar and Kesavaram becomes the origin of the river. In 1942 CE, a dam was constructed at this site for the purpose of diverting the water to Poondi reservoir, a major drinking water source for Chennai. 

Happy travelling.

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