The day dawned,cold and cloudy. Perfect weather for an outing. Too much sun just drains out the energy!
We were supposed to leave at 6.30AM from office but by the time everyone arrived, it was 7.30. And we still had people to pick up on the way. Finally we hit Mysore Road at around 8.30 and chugged along the smooth road. The final count was 27 people including family and friends. The 28-seater bus was just about filled to the brim. Though we found the seats a bit uncomfy in the beginning, we soon relaxed and started enjoying the journey. The bus had a surprisingly good speaker system. Usually, on buses, you find speakers either too high on treble which jars the eardrums or too low on volume which is again ueless! Here it was just great. Almost Bose-quality sound I should say (I could almost hear "give me blood, I'll give you freedom" ringing in my ears! Ok, ok...sorry for the PJ. For those who didn't get it, try connecting the quote and Bose :-p).
There was quite a bit of holiday traffic going towards Mysore so the speed was not great. And our bus wasn't going anywhere near 60kmph. Felt like Narain Kartikeyan in a Jordan against the Ferraris and Renaults.
Stopped for breakfast at Kamat Lokaruchi adjoining Janapada Loka at Ramanagaram. I guess people go from Bangalore to just have breakfast out there. It was more crowded than any of our Darshinis out here. After settling down, we had some yummy dosas and idli-vadas.
We also packed lunch from there in a humongous tiffin carrier. They charged a deposit of 1500 for the carrier. Wonder if it was made of silver or platinum ;-)
After driving through roads right out of the moon with its craters (that would give Koramangala roads a complex), we reached Shivnasamudra at around 1230. That was 4 hours from Bangalore including the 1.5 hour Kamat break.
Here let me give some trivia on Shivanasamudra itself. It was here that the first hydro-electric station in India was built by the great Sir M.Visverwarayya. It was the hydel power from Shivanasamudra (also called Bluff) that lit the first electric bulb in India at the K R Market in Bangalore!! And way back in 1905!! How many knew that??
Bluff comprises of 2 falls - Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. Cauvery divides itself into 2 arms and each of the arms fall into a gorge creating these two spectacular falls. Gaganachukki is the larger, voluminous one where one cannot get into the water (lots of lives have been lost there trying to be adventurous). When one comes from Malavalli, there is a deviation which says Shivansamudra/Gaganachukki. This will take you to the hydro-electric station and the viewpoint from which one can see the falls from the opposite side. Instead of taking this left, go further about 10kms, and then after passing a bridge, you will get another deviation that takes you to the head of Gaganachukki near a dargah. There are steps from near the dargah which lead right to the head of the falls.
1KM further down from the dargah, Bharachukki is the smaller, wider one which falls in a U-shape breaking into different small falls. You need to climb down about 900 steps to reach the base of the falls.Here, there are lots of places where one can sit right under the water.
We passed the dargah and went directly to the Bharachukki falls. After getting down the steps, we reached the base of the falls. No sooner we reached there, the water was too alluring and everyone strode off in a line to enjoy the falls. After changing into water wear (whatever that means :-D), we were all under the falls feeling the hard jet of water on our backs and ears. Was ultimate refreshing! The government should actually advertise this as a natural massage unit. Am sure it will be a hit. (Actually was quite surprised at the government apathy towards most tourist destinations in Karnataka. There is not one hotel/rest house/shops nearby and if one does not carry food and other essentials, it is quite painful!)
Shilu discovered a route by which one could go behind the waterfall, under a ledge, into a cave like enclosure. That was an awesome place to sit and enjoy the falls standing on the ledge and watching the water fall from behind over your head.
There were the customary snaps and videos that were shot. We played long into the afternoon and by the time we climbed the steps back to where the bus was parked, we were damn tired, and hungry to boot! After refreshing ourselves with coconut water and cucumber slices, we went to Gaganachukki near the dargah and had a great view of the majestic falls!
Even though the water was less, it was a breathtaking sight nonetheless! By now, people were restless with hunger. We drove to a meadow with lots of coconut and plantain trees where we had our lunch. The lunch tasted delicious and was consumed ravenously by all.
Finally, we were back on our way to Bangalore after an enjoyable time. We played some dumb charades and antakshari and before long, we were back in Bangalore!
There are 2 routes to Shivansamudra - the shorter but bumpier Kanakapura Road route or the slightly longer but excellent Mysore Road route. We took the Mysore road route. The road progressively become sbad after Malavalli, though.
From Bangalore, get on to Mysore Road. Drive past Bidadi, Ramnagaram and Maddur. Take the left fork at Maddur and proceed onto Malavalli. From here, take the road that goes to Kollegal. About 30km into it, you will find signboards annoouncing Shivanasamudra. Take the left if you wat to see the hydroelectric station and a far frontal view of Gaganachukki. Else, keep going straight for about 10km, cross the Forbes bridge, and then take the deviation that takes you to the dargah. From here, you can either decide to go to Gaganachukki or to Bharachukki which are just 1km apart.