My friend, Kunjai has been staying with me for a little over two months. On Friday evening (15th Aug), we suddenly realised that we hadn't taken a trip to any of the spots around Bangalore. Our man was especially amazed because he is the kind who likes to take off with minimum planning, clothes and other essentials. So, we decided to go for a day trip on Sunday where the drive would not be more than 200 kms, we would spend around two hours there and head back. We short-listed
Bannerghatta National Park - ruled out cause it was too close
Bheemeshwari Fishing Camp - ruled out cause I had already seen Dodamakkali and was expecting Bheemeshwari to be quite similar
Shivasamudra Waterfalls - Okie dokie but we decided that we needed more info.
I called up a friend of mine who had been there with his mom. He said it was a good drive and the falls were very picturesque but there was nothing else to do there. Kunjai was of the opinion that without our respective moms to slow us down, we could go exploring hither and thither. I didn't exactly jump with joy at this proposition but decided to go with the falls sorry flow!!
On Sunday, we got up pretty late. After a hurried bath and breakfast, we packed a few frugal sandwiches, water and a box of chocolates and set out at around 12.00 pm. Shivasamudra falls on the same route as Doddamakali. It is about 125 kms from Bangalore. There are two routes which can be taken; via Kanakapura Road or Mysore Highway and turn off after Maddur. I decided to take the Mysore Highway as I was more familiar with it. The drive out of Bangalore was peaceful with virtually no bottlenecks. After heading out, I handed over the wheel to Kunjai. Well, I thought I had road rage but I can't hold a candle to this dude. After half an hour of listening to his abuses/rants/curses, we set some ground rules. If we were to have a peaceful trip, no more abusing the million other drivers on the road. Just after we crossed Maddur, we had to take a turn-off to Shivanasamudra. After about two kilometers, the road quickly turned bad and we had to negotiate through lots of potholes for about 15kms. Thanks to the slow pace, we made an amazing discovery - there is a New York in Karnataka. It's not a hoax - please look at the photo. I don't know what the significance of this is, so if anyone out there does do let me know.
We reached Shivasamudra at around 3.00 pm. On reaching there, we realised that there are two falls - Gaganachukki and Barachukki (which is about 13 kms ahead). We turned off to Gaganachukki. The approach is through the residential section of the dam officers. It was quite neat and had a channel passing through. About a kilometre ahead, there is a huge ground for parking and the attendants diverted us there. The weather was pretty hot and humid. Kunjai was extremely disappointed to see the hordes of families who had the same bright idea as us. We tried to stray off the beaten path but were stopped short by some vendors. They informed us that it was not allowed and that we would be fined. After a short walk with the rest of the herd, we reached the vantage point from where we could see the falls about two hundred metres away. As described by my friend, it was very picturesque. The falls are quite big and majestic. On the other side near the point of origination, we could see a huge ground where people had parked their cars and were walking up to the falls. On asking a vendor he informed me that was not Barachukki and that we would have to go further ahead to reach there. We clicked a few pictures and decided to head to BaraChukki. There was a restaurant near the vantage point but we did not partake of the food On the way, we found a turn-off that looked interesting. We found that it was beside the canal mentioned earlier. We stopped a bit ahead and beat a path through the bush. It was a pretty spot with lots of greenery on both side and hawks circling overhead. After Kunjai dipped his hand in the water and made like he had dipped in the Ganges, we unpacked the sandwiches and sat around for about half hour. At around 4.15 we decided to avoid Barachukki and head back to Bangalore. Overall it was a good break from the city and perfect for a short drive. We should have got there a bit earlier as we could have done some walking around and also seen Barachukki. It is also advisable to carry a picnic hamper so you can find a nice spot and sit around. Overall rating on the Mathew Rate-O-Meter - 2.5 out of 5 stars.
On the way, we first stopped to take pictures of the 'New York' marker. Then we stopped at Mysore Mylai Hotel and had some decent South Indian food at a very decent fare. We reached Bangalore at around 8.00 pm, really surprised that there wasn't too much traffic. I wonder where the rest of the city went.