New Delhi: Sharing of its waters may be a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but the Cauvery river has been for centuries regarded as a symbol of prosperity and as one fostering unity among races.
The river is the central theme of legendary Tamil writer Kalki Krishnamurthy's seminal novel Ponniyin Selvan.
In his book, Kalki has nimbly dovetailed historically known facts into a grand fictional setting in the glory days of the Chola kingdom that rose and prospered on the banks of the Cauvery.
Ponni, which means "she who showers gold", is the other name for the Cauvery, the Tamil region's lifeline and most important river both culturally and economically, says upcoming Tamil writer Selva Puviyarasan.
"It is this river that has given the people on its banks a taste of prosperity for centuries," he says.
It is interesting to note that at the back of the temple tradition and consequent flourishing of culture has been the invisible bounty of the Cauvery. The river's banks on the either side are dotted with Shaivite and Vaishnavite temples next to each other.
"Without the river sending its waters to the farm fields, there would have been neither prosperity nor the cultural exuberance we have attempted to capture here," Puviyarasan writes in the latest edition of The Equator Line magazine.
Most of the contemporary Tamil literature also draws its sustenance from the Cauvery culture; it is nestled in the milieu of the riverbanks, he says.
Even the cuisine from the river's banks which has travelled to many parts of the world speaks of its people's fine taste, he writes.
Such has been the influence of the river on people that many families have named their daughters Kaveri, Puviyarasan says.