Kaveri or Cauvery (both: kôˈvərē) [key], river, c.475 mi (760 km) long, rising in the Western Ghats, Karnataka state, and flowing SE across a plateau, through Tamil Nadu state, to the Bay of Bengal, S India; the Bhavani and Noyil are its main tributaries. In Karnataka the river is divided by Sivasamudram island and drops 320 ft (98 m), forming Kaveri Falls. On the left falls is India's first hydroelectric plant (built 1902). At its mouth is a great, fertile delta that is irrigated by an extensive canal system, one of the oldest in India; the Grand Anicut dam and canal were built in the 11th cent. by the Chola kings. The Kaveri, India's second most sacred river, is sometimes called the Ganges of the South. According to Hindu legend, Vishnumaya, daughter of the god Brahma, was born on earth as the child of a mortal, Kavera Muni. In order to bring beatitude for Kavera Muni, she became a river whose water would purify all sins.
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