Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bike ride to Markonahalli Dam with sprinkles of monsoon rain!

13 July 2013

It has been raining quite a bit in Bangalore and we were uncertain as to travel during these rainy days or not. However the joy of travel during Monsoon is entirely different ;-) and unique experience. One of our colleague did inform us about the place few weeks back and we had noted it down for our travel. Due to certain reasons, Sudhir could not join us this time. Me and Rajesh decided to pierce through Monsoon rain on an overcast Saturday morning. There was sign of rain too!

The plan was to start as early as 7:30AM and reach early to beat the peak hour traffic. Also the Dam site is around 90kms from city and hence we wanted to reach early. As always we delayed by 90minutes :(. Some mandatory commitments made me to delay start by certain time. At last we started around 9AM from Marathahalli bridge. What a surprise! Not a single traffic jam. We had seamless journey towards gorugunte palya. The underpass at BEL circle & Kammanahalli, the flyovers at Kalyannagar & Nagashettihalli helped us a lot. The only bottleneck was the usual railway crossing near gorugunte paalya. Fortunately Railways have finally agreed to build a flyover across busy railway crossing. Foundation work has started and few pillars also have come up. But as per railway standard, it may take years to complete. Nevertheless it's good news!

We started our scinscilating journey along Jalahalli cross elevated highway and beautiful 6 lane thereafter (NH-4) till Nelamangala bypass. From Nelamangala bypass we took Mangalore National Highway (NH-75) which is also four lane. The traffic was very much less along NH-75. The major attraction was beautiful landscape all along. I handed bike over to Rajesh far early to capture some landscapes in between :-). All along journey, we experienced intermittent sprinkles of monsoon rain. It was really fun except for I had to guard my DSLR which does not have weather coating. Apart from enjoying the landscapes, I did some trial panning too along NH-75! The travelers were perplexed at what I was doing though! Some panning came out really well :-). Also no fee for bikes at both toll gates. I remember we have to pay 3 tolls till Bangalore from Mangalore one each in devihalli junction, nelamangala bypass and NH-4.



This came out very well but front portion of figo was cut out


I am happy with this too but not as frozen as previous one

We reached the Dam area around 12PM. There was not much water but landscape was too good. The storm at the distance was really eye catching with thick monsoon clouds. You can only have view from top of Dam. If you want to understand the engineering marvel behind construction of this site, there is entrance fee of Rs.20/- per head. One of the employee will take you to the interior of Dam site and explains how the trick works.

The main attraction here is the automated siphon designed by Karntaka's pride Sir M Vishweshwarayya. This is to prevent flooding of Siddalengeshwara temple of Yediyur town. When the water level in dam reaches upto a certain level (I feel 2.5feet less than danger mark), the siphons activate themselves and the extra water flows out. There are also manual crest gates. The total dam capacity is 90feet and spans into an area of 3.5hectares. The dam is basically built across Shimsha river however excess water from hemavathy river also stored here. The water in reservoir is meant for irrigation purpose and there are plans to extend facility for drinking water to nearby villages. Constuction of Dam started around 1938 and commissioned on 1940. It's cost was around 30lakhs during those days. The materials used for construction are lime, honey, sugarcane juice, jaggery, cotton-legume and one more which I forgot. The design of automated siphon is true engineering brain. One has to visit the dam site to feel it ;-).




The employee informed us that dam site would be crowded on Sundays and we did right job by visiting on Saturday.The crowd was very less when we visited. He also suggested us to visit after a month or two when reservoir will be full. Copious rains in Malnad may even fill reservoir far early. We also took his number to enquire before we could visit next time. After having peaceful 4hrs in Dam area we had lunch in Mayura hotel near Yediyur town along NH-75. The lunch was very good too! Later we visited Yediyur Siddalingeshwara temple for brief period before heading back to Bangalore.

Overall a wonderful experience. The rural landscape is so much enjoying and the rains decorate these area with lush greenery. The sugarcane and paddy fields are so much eye-catching. There was heavy breeze too blowing on the dam area. There were thick monsoon clouds at a distance with passing rain. I felt like riding all the way till Sakaleshpur which is still 130kms ahead watching those monsoon clouds. The western ghats are heaven to watch during monsoon rains.


How to reach:

Travel along NH-75 and just 2.5kms before yediyur, the sign board is crisp and clear to reach Markonahalli reservoir. From highway take left for about 6kms to reach dam site. Ask locals for help if you get lost. The roads are very good including the rural part. Only caution is to watch out for the uneven pavements at the periphery of bridges along NH-75. They can be really problematic for bike riders. Also watch out for the racing cars along this free highway :D


Mangalore-Bangalore NH is busy highway in terms of tourist attraction and routine passenger flow. There is no problem finding good hotel along this path. The Mayura hotel near to Yediyur town is good option.

When to visit:

Well there is a caveat here. If you want to see the engineering behind automated siphon, you need to visit when there is less water. Alternatively if you wish to see reservoir with full water, you have to visit during August or September end timeframe when hemavathy water is released to dam (provided we have healthy monsoon). If you want to see construction of automated siphon, April-July timeframe is better. Both cannot be visited at the same time [Either water or dam construction, Heisenberg's uncertainity principle ;-)]. I took number of dam staff to enquire about the reservoir water level. We plan to go again when reservoir gets full!

What's special this time ;-)

Two HDR images which are documented in my previous blogs.

1) HDR of Kunigal Bypass:
2) HDR landscape through siphon:

Whenever I see growing clouds and forming into thicker ones, I am tempted to capture timelapse. Even though, it is time taking, they give great results thereafter. Watching those clouds at horizon I was well aware that it would turn into a storm. I miss my tripod so much and feel jealous of it which is sleeping in my village under monsoon weather :-(. The video of time lapse of storm building up at a distance has come really good :-). Here is the video and hope you enjoy the same!

Here is some a video captured for fun along Kunigal Bypass in hurry. It is the KSRTC Mercedes Benz bus passing along NH-75. Watch and enjoy!

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