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They remember royal couple with gratitude

S Murali


Asia's second largest irrigation tank was constructed by Krishnadevaraya's wife Varadrajamma in the 15th century at Markapur


Photo: Srinivas Kommuri

A man with his children enjoying the beauty of the Cumbam tank at Markapur in Prakasam district.

ONGOLE: As the State, joined by President Pratibha Patil, celebrates the 500th anniversary of Sri Krishnadevaraya's coronation, people in Markapur division of Prakasam district are remembering the great king for his yeoman's service.

The Asia's second largest irrigation tank was constructed by the king's wife Varadrajamma in the 15th century by damming a gorge of the Gundlakamma river, to store 3.3 tmc water.

Local people fondly remember the royal couple, says Cumbum Tank Project Committee chairman A Nageswara Rao as the celebrations got under way in various districts associated with Sri Krishnadevaraya, whose rule is considered golden era. Every year, celebrations are organised during Dasara by local people who offer special prayers at the statue of Varadarajamma on the tank bund.

The significant aspect of the tank spread over an area of 9 square miles and irrigating 6,944 acres is that it has not suffered any major breach in the over 400 years of its formation though the network of canals required repairs now and then, said Executive Engineer V Jalachandra Rao while talking to The Hindu.

This is first tank across the Gundlakamma river originating in the Nallamalla hills and is main source of water for Markapur town. Elephants were used then for treading for stabilisation of the tank bed.

“Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been approached by the State Government for improving the distributary canals,'' he said

“'We have also submitted a Rs 10-crore proposal to the State government to promote tourism by introducing boating and developing lawns'' Deputy Engineer T M Raghunath said.

The State government had taken up modernisation of the canal system at a cost of Rs 70 lakhs under the World Bank-aided Andhra Pradesh Economic Restructuring Programme in 2002, he added.

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