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Holy Dip in Kaveri River

After pushing me for months over the phone, my friend eventually got what he wanted, a couple of days from my calendar. I decided to pack my things and visit my friend at the temple town of Srirangam.

For me, Srirangam, a neighborhood of Trichy city, is all about the massive Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple (Perumal Kovil) and nothing else. Oops, I missed one, yup, the term Srirangam simply reminds of river Kaveri aka Cauvery to the Tamil speaking people all over the world.

Srirangam Temple Tower

There is no contrary to the fact that Srirangam is a religious hub of Tamil Nadu. Being a small town in Trichy district, Srirangam is actually an island bordered by the Kaveri River on one side, and the Coleroon (Kollidam) on the other. The spiritual aura of Srirangam attracts people to this small town during most of the Tamil months.

Rather than calling my friend again for my itinerary, I simply googled it. Apart from the innumerable temples I checked, one thing seemed different to me which is - holy dip in Kaveri River. That straightway triggered off my curiosity which led me to search more about it! Woefully, I ended up with same information in different words all over.

Tiruchirappalli Central Bus Stand

The following day I woke up under the hot Sun of Trichy, with my friend waiting and delivering the same old priceless dimpled smile for me! Pleasantries done and dusted! Our next step is towards Srirangam. Our 30 minute bike journey from Trichy Central Bus Stand to Srirangam was all about the holy dip in Kaveri.

Goodness me, again I heard the same old story, this time from my friend! Half way through, the long Kaveri Palam (Kaveri Bridge) made my jaw drop for a good couple of minutes. The same day, with the help of my friend, we met a archakar (temple priest) and finally the mystery unfolded! Holy dip in Kaveri River is as important as visiting the Perumal Kovil itself.

Srirangam Amma Mandapam

The soft spoken temple priest explained a lot about the significance of a holy dip in the Kaveri River. A dip in Kaveri River is considered as Punya Snana as per the beliefs. The Kaveri River is regarded as one of the seven holiest rivers in India. Originating in the Brahmagiri hills (Karnataka), the Kaveri River reaches its full flow only at the spiritual hub of Srirangam.

Though, Trichy has many Ghats, a holy dip at the famous Amma Mandapam Ghat is considered to be the most special one. Thousands of devotees visiting Srirangam throughout the year consider a dip in Kaveri, a top priority.

Jestabishekam Ritual in Srirangam

He further added, the dip has to be taken in Amma Mandapam Ghat before visiting the Perumal Kovil as the holy waters have the ability to remove the impurities of both mind and body. It is also believed that the holy water in Kaveri is equivalent to the holy Viraja Nadi at Vaikuntam. The association between the Kaveri River and Sri Ranganathar Swamy is so special.

Amma Mandapam Ghat Fencing

Perumal himself visits the river for Aadi Perukku and offers silk saree, bangles and other auspicious items to the holy river. Also, the holy waters are filled in a golden pot by Andal - the temple elephant and carried back to the temple for Perumal's use (Jestabishekam). 

Festivities at Amma Mandapam Ghat

Here is the best part - It is widely believed that “Thula Snanam” (Tamil month Aippasi/Oct-Nov) is a month hallowed for the Kaveri River. A dip in Kaveri, in the Tamil month “Aippasi” is considered to cleanse human beings of all sins.

Kaveri River Holy Bath

It is in "Aippasi" that all the other holy rivers come to the Kaveri River and bathe and sanctify themselves! Also, a holy dip in Kaveri River before offering Tharpanam (rituals) to forefathers on “Aadi Amavasai” (No Moon day in Tamil month Aadi) is an important activity too.

After giving hearty thanks to the priest, I and my friend were on our way, straight to Amma Mandapam Ghat in complete silence. I did not want to delay washing away my sins - committed unintentionally!

Santhosh Kumar from Bengaluru shares his experience of visiting Srirangam, a neighbourhood of Trichy and taking a Holy Dip in Kaveri River with his friend

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