Students were entertained and educated by the study trip to the river banks.

The truth that civilisations have their origin on the banks of great rivers was understood in a telling manner by a group of 40 students and six staff members of Sri Sivananda Balalaya, Tiruchi, when they went recently on a study trip from Srirangam to Grand Anaicut on the banks of the Cauvery and Coleroon.

Students saw the riverine ecosystem of the Cauvery at Srirangam where still a few tree groves have survived, while most of the coconut groves and mango orchards of yesteryear have given place to concrete buildings. The crystal-clear water of the Cauvery, green paddy fields, banana plantations and coconut groves en route were a refreshing sight to the students.

V. Ganapathy, Advisor, Exnora International, who was the resource-person of the tour, explained to the students how agriculture flourished in the Cauvery delta centuries ago, and how almost 2,000 years ago Karikala Cholan tamed the river by constructing the Grand Anaicut, the oldest anaicut in the world. Even today, the anaicut serves lakhs of farmers on the delta.

With the help of several maps and models of the Grand Anaicut, the students were told of the origin of the Cauvery at Thalacauvery at the foothills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka and its dynamic journey, ensuring prosperity to people on its 805-km-long journey to its confluence with the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar, the Chola Port city of the Sangam Age.

Fine arts

The students evinced interest in knowing about the great temples of Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and Gangaikondacholapuram. The Cauvery had also provided an ideal environment for promoting fine arts like dance, drama, folk arts, paintings as is witnessed today in many towns in the Cauvery delta.

Sathish and Namitha, both of Std. IX, said that it is sad that sewage and industrial effluents were polluting the river along its course. Pradiksha asked how come the Government authorities allowed sand quarrying on the river bed, as it seriously affected the riverine eco system.

“It was an exhilarating and highly educative trip even to the teachers,” observed teachers Vidya and Mangai, who were part of the entourage.