Monday, August 12, 2013

Solo bike ride to Shivanasamudra and Talakaadu (Part 1)

03 Aug 2013

Pretty lengthy write-up. May conclude in one or two more parts. Not a mega serial but lengthy travelogue ;-).

It has been raining very heavily in Malnad regions from quite sometime. Almost everyday, Bhagamandala is receiving more than 10cms of rainfall. 2days back, it was whopping 25cms. When it rains heavily in catchment areas, reservoirs regain their glory and waterfalls come alive again. I wanted to enjoy waterfall landscape after reading news reports (I read only monsoon reports in newspaper and nothing much). Thought of visiting Jog however it is too far from Bangalore and requires planning. If I commute from hometown to Jog it is hardly 4hrs. Consequently dropped the plan of visiting Jog. Next, what would you imagine when 1.5lakh cusecs of water is let out of KRS Dam? Yes it's Shivanasamudra falls which is 120kms from Bangalore! OK thats fair enough and reachable in a day but how? Public transports are not present to this place. Only option was bike but it was 120kms. I thought of giving it a try! This time my team mates had personal work so I was left alone. I have many experiences of traveling alone and this one is no different. Only difference was I was riding bike for such long distance for first time. Never lose enthusiasm even if you travel alone, who knows you may find lone travelers like you and have nice gathering :-).

Finally I decided to ride my Honda Shine (which I call Airavat) all the way to Shivanasamudra falls :-). It was serviced just a day before travel with brand new break shoes, engine oil and of-course Teflon coating ;-). The bike was really shining and energetic too! Got up early around 4:30AM, prepared wheat flour doses(3), prayed god and started my journey. I had cleared 32GB SD card and charged both batteries fully too! Finally not to forget water and food packets which are very much essential for me. Long ride/drive makes you very hungry which I have experienced while driving car for long distance. Also weather guards are very much necessary (like jerkin, umbrella etc..).

There are two routes; one via Kanakapura and other via Maddur. Both lead to Malavalli which is junction and both routes are equiv-distant. I decided to take the Maddur route since it is 4-laned highway. My journey started around 7:45AM and what a surprise! The city road had already come alive. The roads were clogged with vehicles and lengthy signals delayed reaching Mysore road early. It was frustrating to hear honking vehicles at the back wanting to break signals. I decided to take NICE road to avoid further congestion. The toll for bike is Rs.22/- from PESIT college to Kengeri. Immediately after reaching the Mysore State highway, there was pathetic traffic jam nearby Bidadi. A long truck had broken down in middle of highway and vehicles were struggling to get through it. That added almost 30minutes of delay again :-(. Vehicles were seen lined up for few kms. Also the desperate drivers wanting to get through the heck early added more fury by traveling in opposite lane which clogged the roads at both ends. It would have added some more delay if the vehicle was four wheeler. After so much obstacles, the journey started to get smooth. I was maintaining steady speed of 50-60kmph to gain control of vehicle. The rushing people, sneaking vehicles, wrong siders (especially bullock cart) and of-course recklessly laid unscientific humps make it miserable to travel with good speed. The sudden turning of tractors without indication was really horrible. I guess we can call this Highway as Humpway. So many humps especially at Channapattana.


Enough of cribbing ;-). Despite of poor start, it was delightful to watch the wooden toys in Channapattana. Also I observed signboards of Kanva reservoir just before Channapattana which I noted to visit during return journey. I reached Kamat Upahar near Maddur at around 10:30AM which is 3hrs tight for mere 80kms :(. Even though I had breakfast at home, I was very hungry. As mentioned earlier, long drives lead to too much hunger if you are rider/driver. I had hefty breakfast again :D. The breakfast was delicious and tasty with little bit more cost. They provided Moode Idli [Udupi special ;-)] which was very good. Few minutes after having breakfast, I reached Maddur. After Maddur town, you can find a junction which leads to Malavalli. From Maddur, Shivanasamudra is around 44kms. The signboards are properly laid. I was very much relieved after entering the interior roads since there was very feeble traffic. Unfortunately the roads are only patched and not even. However, few sections were really good with fantastic pavements. Anyhow it was only 20 odd kms. From Maddur to Malavalli the road is State Highway and expect humps. From Malavalli to Shivanasamudra cross, it is NH-209 which runs via Kanakapura. From Malavalli, the road is absolutely gorgeous with less traffic. I could easily ride my bike without any hesitation. Good thing about National Highways is no humps. It is not possible to unscientifically lay a hump in National Highway. Unless it is truly necessary (like toll booths, steep curves), one can safely assume hump free roads. Only problem is cattle crossing and crazy dogs. NH-209 is beautifully re-surfaced and straight enough too! Enjoy the beautiful rural landscape all along!




From Malavalli, Shivanasamudra is around 18kms. There is hiding signboard where travelers have to take deviation to reach Gaganachukki falls. From NH-209 deviation, the falls site is around 4kms distant. After traveling along interior roads for few kms, you will notice signboard near by channel directing to right. The signboard is in Kannada and hence ask guards nearby area for directions if you cannot read it. The guards seem to be employees of power station located in Shivanasamudra.

Around 12PM, I reached the wonderful site. Despite of huge crowd, I could hear the roaring Gaganachukki falls from distance. The gushing water could be seen from a distance itself and the excitement increased as I neared the majestic waterfall. What a sight to watch :-). Absolutely wonderful nature. It is really amazing to see how monsoon season transforms parched lands into ultimate beauty. As expected, everyone was adamant to photograph this gorgeous site at varied angles. Even I took lot of videos and images too ;-). One can have good view of water falls from the view point by stepping down. However it was difficult to grab some space since the sight was heavily crowded. Everyone was thrilled to take self-portraits along with water falls :-) (I also took mine with help of visitors!). Somehow managed space for myself and did not give-up until I took some snaps closeup! After having taken so many pictures with full circus, I returned to main area and had 2 full glasses of tasty Sugarcane juice with lemon mix. Many people had DSLRs so I was no different. In fact a visitor was trying a long exposure with ND3 and a canon L lens :D. When enquired, he said ND3 was bought in UK for 300 pounds (I was about to faint!).




Not much monkeys here. This monkey snatched food from one of the visitors and enjoyed atop of tree :)



There is Mayura shop and restaurant nearby area but not many people were seen having food here. There is nominal fee of Rs10/- for two-wheeler parking. The sight of waterfall energized my soul. Now it is time to move towards Bharachukki falls.

Read part 2 here: Shivanasamudra Part 2

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