Cooum River In 19th Century Madaras, 1880 Photo

Cooum River In 19th Century Madaras, 1880 Photo

An 1880 photo of the Cooum River in 19th-century Madras (Chennai). Once a clean and prominent river, flowing through the heart of Madras. But now a filthy sewage carrier. Shown in this photo is a purportedly clean looking river, with country boats plying over it. A man seems to be fishing from its edge on the left. With fertile farmlands seen along the river, once a common sight, but now an impossible to find. Since every inch of the land has been either taken over by slums or by some development.

It was a vibrant waterway for transportation and navigation and even perhaps for drinking. Unbelievably teeming with fish. By the 1950s, there were around 40-50 varieties of fish in the Cooum and by the late 1970s, it dropped down to 20 species. Unfortunately, no living organisms can survive in its waters now. Many feeble attempts were made to revive this waterway but each time it failed to kick off. The city faces an ecological disaster if no action is taken, the flooding in each rain is in itself self-explanatory of the looming disaster waiting to happen.

Read more On The Trail In Chennai. See post Buckingham Canal In Chennai – Old Print 1922. 

Did you know- the Cooum derives its name from a village of the same name from where it originates 70 km away from the city. 

From the collection- Raja Ravi Varma’s “Birth of Shakuntala” Oleograph of c1894., Carpentry In British Era Malabar – Old Postcard 1910., Mumbai Suburban Railway Electrification – Old Print 1926., Rare Nilgiri Mountain Railway Steam Locomotive Blueprint




Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

5¼x4 inch

Photographer -

Nicholas & Co