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Cooum River In Chennai – Old Photo 1880

This is an old 1880 photo of the Cooum River in Madras now Chennai. Once a clean and prominent river flowing through the heart of Madras. But now a filthy sewage carrier. Shown in this old 1880 photograph is a seemingly clean-looking river, with country boats plying on it. Also, notice a man fishing on the edge with scenes of fertile farm fields at the back a common sight once. But impossible to find these beautiful scenes today along the Cooum. It is unimaginable that this same Cooum was an artery of clean water.

It was a vibrant waterway for transportation and navigation and even for drinking. And 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 is self-explanatory of the looming disaster waiting to happen. Click on the photo for better view.

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

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, or stock photos or taken from other sources.




Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

5¼x4 inch

Photographer -

Nicholas & Co