Friday, July 15, 2011

An electrifying affair with nature - Shimsha

Shivanasamudram in Mandya district is 120 kms from Bangalore via Bangalore – Mysore Highway( alternate route is Kanakapura road). In this Riverine Island formed by the Cauvery, the river branches off and cascades from a great height to form two segmented waterfalls, one the wider Barachukki and the other a kilometer away called Gaganachukki. Gaganachukki again has two views one from the darga(mosque) side and the other from the viewing gallery side. From the view gallery side you can view Asia’s First Hydroelectric power station cradled in the valley below which powered Kolar Gold fields in 1902 and Bangalore in 1905, thus making it the first city in Asia to get electrified. Currently there is no access to the station deep down in the valley but as school students when we went on an excursion, we were taken into the power station deep into the valley by a cabled wagon. No student of Kannada can escape a lesson on this place in their Kannada text.

It was to the above place we set out on a rainy May morning from my parents place in Bangalore. My husband got back to his work at Hyd leaving us at Bangalore for our vacation . My sister planned the above picnic in a hired tavera which accommodated my parents, sis, 3 children and me. We started at 6 in the morning with a food hamper on tow. The cloudburst which started the previous night did'nt deter us but played spoilsport till Maddur(famous for Maddur vada), so all we saw till Maddur was the hazy frames of the Bangalore-Mysore highway through the raised windows of the hired vehicle.

At Malavalli, where the road deviated and the rains drizzled we decided to have our home made breakfast. From here on the rains slowly faded out and we downed our windows to realize why most journeys are clichéd than the destination.

Emerald green fields of paddy,sugarcane and vegetables, drifting mists over the faraway mountains, swaying palms, A tree house( perhaps a watch tower for the paddy fields), quaint village houses with terracotta tiles, glistening leaves of trees washed by the rains, network of water channels, an old bridge like an ancient relic with pasi padinja(fungal) walls which looked steady and sturdy, Igglur dam, Madhyaranga(post coming up) were all the visual treats we had along with crisp fresh air till our vehicle suddenly slowed down on a new bridge which had the sign post ‘ Go slow, Bridge is weak’and treaded upon pot holed narrow road which were no not dusty but clean. (courtesy the rains). Sounds clichéd I know, but wait till you check the photos clicked by me.

The driver finally stopped after a 2.5 hour journey, outside the closed road to Barachukki, he showed us a trekker’s path to Barachukki. We trekked down the path for half a kilometer to hear the rush of Barachukki. Appa and amma could not walk further, not wanting to disappoint my son, my dad told the driver to escort the children up till the falls, I stopped midway when I saw the aerial view of the waterfall, but my sis, and the children continued till the point to capture the cascades.

Our next stop was Gaganachukki, 1.5 km away from Barachukki. This falls can be viewed form Darga side(mosque) and a few kms away is the view gallery side. This point is also called ‘Bluff. Here Shimsha, a tributary of Cauvery breaks into small channels and spreads widely making it a segmented waterfall. The rush of the water , the fresh rain soaked air and the stunning sights it makes with the smoke cloud can be viewed and felt from the cement chairs of the view gallery. Do mark this place when in Bangalore, this one spot is enough to transcend you to an heavenly world.

Adventurous people can trek down but there is a warning board which reads how a S/W engineer Kapil got killed in the water. The water force here is so powerful like an ocean that this place is called ‘Shivana samudra’(ocean of Shiva). The force of the Shimsha water was harnessed into hydroelectric power in 1902. thus earning the erstwhile Mysore state the glorius position of establishing the First major hydor-electric station as early as 1902 for commercial operation. This art was still at infancy, even in the advanced countries. The longest transmission line, with highest voltage in the world was constructed to meet the power needs of mining operations at Kolar Gold fields.

An electrifying place, Ain’t It?

My next stop was at Madhyaranga, a temple dedicated to reclining Vishnu.

Before you check the pics, some tips:

Plan it in your own vehicle than take a hired one. You can stop as you please. The whole route is a scenic delight. Take the Bangalore-Mysore highway, though this is the longer route the road is better till Malavalli. The alternate Kanakapura road is not advisable, unless they've repaired the road(this is the shortest route)

Bangalore- Mysore highway is a foodie’s paradise, you can enjoy the thatte idli at Bidadi and the world famous Maddur vada or dine in at Kamat Lokaruchi, Maddur Tiffany’s, MTR , café coffee house ,Mc D or the various dhabas and halli manes(karnataka dhabas)but beyond Malavalli at your own risk since there are no decent restaurant, so pack your food especially if you have children.

Avoid getting down into the falls since the currents are very strong.

When you are on a day’s trip you can cover the nearby Madhyaranga temple, Somanath, Talakad. If you still have a day at your disposal visit the nearby Mysore and its surrounding places like Srirangapattana, KRS, Balamuri falls( I call this Niagara), Ranganathittu, Kabini and many more. The list is endless………

Also on your return back visit Kanva reservoir and Janapada Loka, a folkvillage ( I missed seeing them)

I've translated all the above cliches into olympus moments. Click on them to feel the place.

From Malavalli to Shimsha, these were the scenes that travelled  with us making me feel I was travelling to a fairy land

                                         The meandering cauvery captured from the new bridge

The starting point of our 2km trek, the path was not smooth as it looks here, the barricaded grill on the right is the regular path which was closed for maintenance. It has a view gallery too. Also, Don't miss the drifting mists over the faraway mountains.

The faraway falls visible after a 1/2km trek, the other fragment hidden behind the bushes on your right will be visible after another 1km trek on a muddy terrain.

This segment of Barachukki, that was hidden behind in the above picture, During it's glory(july-oct), I was told this section looks like Niagara( wide falls)

This beautiful tree hut on our way out of Barachukki. Does'nt it look like a page out of Grimm's fairy tale book?

Th malavalli dam at Igglur on the way from Barachukki to Gaganachukki falls. The banks of the river dam is ideal for picnic. The river banks are very shallow and you can access the dam easily, but for the whirlpools. Ideal  to make your camp fire and food on a chulha. We just got down for some clicks.

The gaganachukki falls, Don't miss the horseshoe shaped landing between the two cascades on the left side.

Deep down in the valley,the blue shed you see is the Hydroelectric station and water is brought to the station through those green channels from Malavalli dam.(Info source: our car driver).

  The million $ expression(smile+fear) on my niece's face. She was scared to sit on the  barricade seat of the view gallery.


  1. Hi Asha,
    Came through from Bpotw...
    What a great Travelogue, why dont you give pics during your narration... That will be great... Lovely place, looks heavenly...never visited it!
    Do visit my travel blog when free...
    Have a wonderful day:)

  2. Beautiful narration, pics , loved the little hut.
    I am adding madhya Ranga on my list but that I believe is not listed among other Pancha Ranga kshteras. Am I right?

  3. Wow! What a beautiful journey. Thanks for sharing it with us. I found you through BPOTW and am so happy I did. -Lola from

  4. Well written travelogue and nice pictures. I am sure you enjoyed the tath idlis and Maddur vadas on the way very much.

  5. You bring the place to life, with the descriptions, useful tips and pretty pics. Thanks! Would love to visit these places.
    I haven't been back to Bangalore/surroundings for ages and ages, so reading this was great!

  6. @Arti -- inserting pics in between breaks the narration and moreover the info i left in the narration comes as a byline for the photo hence pics in the end. Thanks for the suggestion :)

    @chitra - You are the authority on temple info chitra, I came to know about pancharanga from you :)

    @Lola - Thankyou :)

    @Rama - packed homemade food so no thatte idlis though we enjoyed maddur vada :)

    @KalpanaS - Thank you :)

  7. wow..that was very well narrated and the pics added here just makes me feel like going thorugh all those places...:))
    Thanks for sharing about these.


  8. beautiful informative post

  9. mesmerising beautiful.. I WANT TO GO thereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    india has such vast beautiful places that we dont need to g oanywhere outside for holidays

    the waterfall OMG :)


  10. @Irfan - my pleasure :)

    @Ramesh - :)

    @ SM :)

    @Bikram - Absolutely,Incredible India :)

  11. Lovely images! I loved the tree house....very dream like. Enjoyed reading thru your blog.