Saturday, October 24, 2015
August 15, 2015: Talk on "History and heritage of the Coovum River" by R. Venketesh and T. R. Shaswath at the Madras Literary Society
Attended presentation on "History and heritage of the Coovum River" by Mr. R. Venketesh and Mr. T. R. Shaswath. It was trivia-filled as the team which has been researching the Coovum River and its banks for some years now finally briefed us on the result of their investigations. Mr. Ramakrishnan listed the firsts that have taken place on the banks of the Coovum. The first airplane flight (1910), the first medical certificate to be issued by a hospital, the second oldest hospital in India (next to Calcutta's GH by only four days), the first Indian to write a will, one of the oldest universities, the oldest library in India are the ones which I remember. In the midst of the interesting trivia, Mr. Ramakrishnan spoke of temples on the Coovum banks. Would you not be surprised if someone tells you that the town of Koyambedu had a Ramayana connection and that atleast one popular legend connected it with the birth of Kusha, the younger son of Rama and Sita. Yes, Koyambedu was Kushanagar (Another legend gives the place of Kusha's birth as the town of Kasur, in present-day Pakistan near the Indian border. There are many other candidates as well all vying for a share of pilgrim traffic). But then, there are many places on the Coovum with divine associations. Many of these temples did not have priests, Mr. Ramakrishna said and devotees had to unlock the gates and minister to their needs themselves. It was interesting to learn that there is a Koova Purana in the Skanda Purana under the Sanathkumara Samhita.