Shivanasamudra in monsoon – The glorious Gaganachukki & Barachukki waterfalls

Monsoon rains had cast its magic! What’s more fascinating idea than a short ride in monsoons?  To witness the blooming greenery and showers. I was craving for a bike ride to refresh my mind from the chaos of urban life. A swift thought on visiting Shivanasamudra struck and I was like get set go! 150kms ride from Bengaluru did not seem far for me. Planning on a Friday evening, I called up my friends for a ride the next day [Too late, I agree to it :P]. Many did not turn up, it was indeed a last minute plan. However, I knew that it would be the best time now to visit the glory of the falls as the water was released from KRS dam, just a week before. It was a Do/Die situation for me 😛 (Happens to me always! :P) I did not back off and the next morning four of us were all set to hit the road.

Brief on Shivanasamudra

Shivanasamudra literally means Shiva’s sea.  The river Cauvery divides into two branches that flow around the island of Shivanasamudra. The western branch is Gaganachukki waterfalls and the eastern branch is Barachukki waterfalls [a 15 mins drive connecting them]. The best time to visit Shivanasamudra is during monsoons where the volume of the water is extreme and the falls will be in fully plunge. Meanwhile, Shivanasamudra is known for India’s second hydro-electric power station that was set up in the year 1902 and is still functional. That’s a proud moment!

Journey to Shivanasamudra

A gloomy morning, clearing the tiredness of the week, I got up bright to explore a new place. Since the day was not sunny, we took it petty slow and by 7:30 am, we were all set on Mysore road. The climate was fantastic, not sunshiny (It had been many days since I saw the scorching sun), opt for a bike ride. With mediocre traffic already, by 8:30 am we stopped at for popular Bidadi thatte idli at Shivadarshan Thatte idli hotel. The supple soft Idlis and vada served with sambar and chutney tasted so divine. We resumed the journey traversing through Channapatna – the city of wooden toys sighting the glimpses of the toys on the roadside.

The Mysore road – the morning ride vibes
Bisi bisi coffee and supple soft Bidadi thatte idli – Must!

As we entered the countryside

Taking left to the Madduru Malavalli highway, the countryside beauty unfolded at every stretch. The sprawling green lush paddy fields, sugarcanes, and hard-working people – and that’s the vibe I get when I enter Namma Sakkare Nadu – Sugar land Mandya. The beautiful countryside scenery and cloud loom accompanied us the whole time. The heavy downpour since a week the lakes were abundantly filled reflecting the skies and filled with infinite sprawling blooms of lotuses. Looking at the lakes, the excitement to see the falls increased at every moment.

The countryside roads unfolding – Malavalli Maddur route
The enriched paddy fields to lighten up the day
Just countryside things and innocence
The panoramic views of paddy fields in progress
The infinite lotus pond awed me :O
The birds as I shooed them to flew over the farms 😀

Shivanasamudra touchdown

Almost at 11:30 am we had reached the entrance of Shivasamudra. An old big arch stating- “Shivanasamudra hydroelectric power station” welcomed us. As we entered it was a bliss to ride this stretch with huge trees along the roadside and age-old guest houses passing the rustic vibes. On the way, we stopped at a small bridge on the river canal where I spotted a stone building looked like a fancy castle. On looking closely, That’s India’s second hydroelectric power plant (1902), where the power is generated and transmitted to parts of the state. One of the masterpiece works of K.Seshadri Iyer for installing the powerplant – many salutes to his great ideas and vision that has made this power plant still functional. It might require special permissions to enter the power plant so we resumed the journey. In another 5 minutes, we were near the Gaganachukki waterfalls viewpoint. It was a weekend and thus the heavy crowd as usual. We parked the vehicle in dedicated parking and started to walk to the viewpoint.

The welcome arch of Shivanasamudra
Blissful roads meant for a rural ride
Ancient guesthouses/government offices standing strong
Get set go !!!
The Shivanasamudra powerplant – the building which looked like a mini stone castle

Gaganachukki waterfalls

The waterfalls seemed silent from the walkway and a stream over the hills. As I neared the mighty waterfalls of Gaganachukki was gushing in full plunge. It had two major segments with steep waterfalls tumbled with heavy force from the cliff. The white water created an ambient mist surrounding the flow. Few steps down we had a much nearer viewpoint, which gave the breathtaking views of the falls. The majestic waterfalls with clouds looming above and greenery all over is a sight to behold. Stood there for few minutes and captured the bliss through my eyes. The crowd was increasing, so as the interference and we took a leave from the place after a last glimpse. Sipping the tender coconut from a pitstop we headed back and started to drive towards the Barachukki waterfalls, which was just 15 minutes away from there.

The first sight of the Gaganachukki waterfalls
As we stepped down to a closer viewpoint
The left stretch of Gaganachukki plunging in glory
The right stretch of Gaganachukki – looks like a horsetail
Shiva’s sea indeed!

Wesley bridge

On the way, after passed many river canals and we stopped at a beautiful spot over a newly constructed bridge. From here we could spot the oldest stone bridge – Wesley bridge also called “Kaveri Kallu sethuve” across the river. This is a magnificent engineering marvel dated back to centuries, built with stone pillars and rock bed and is purely an Indian construction. I remember my mom used to refer to this stone bridge, in her childhood, she and her cousins used to take a walk and enjoy the river ambiance. This bridge used to be the hotspot for movie shootings during her time. Currently, with the force of the river increased, the stone bridge has been detached slightly due to which it is not allowed to reach the bridge. However, I was happy to enjoy the moments from a distance and relate to my mom’s memories. After a few minutes, We resumed our journey to reach Barachukki.

As we drove to Barachukki – narrow clean roads
The Wesley bridge – stone bridge across Kaveri dated back to centuries
The river canals here and there

As we turned towards Dargah

We were just reaching Barachukki, then we saw a huge crowd at a place mostly Muslim community and at a distance, I spotted a Dargah tower. There could be some occasion, though it felt overcrowded, I thought to take a turn towards Dargah. The narrow paths led us to Dargah, the messy roads can be really disgusting, I felt little uncomfortable that somehow I felt not at the right place as I was the odd one out there. Nevertheless, being a traveler, this is not the first time I have felt this. With quick steps, I just walked down to the meshed fence and a magical view was waiting for me. Another viewpoint of Gaganachukki waterfalls, this was so close I yelled until I figured out another small fence behind through which people walked. I was curious and followed them and that led to the beauty of the day.

The Dargah 

Dargah viewpoint

The upstream of the Gaganachukki waterfalls much closer, much roaring and definitely I was much happier. The whitewater cascaded down a series of rocky levels, giving the effect of many waterfalls rather than just one. The gushing upstream levels of Gaganachukki waterfalls before it falls off the cliff was breathtaking. I was spellbound and I felt that taking this turn to Dargah was worth it and the best decision of this trip. As this was the closest view, the uproar had increased steadily, we could no longer even hear to one another over the deafening rumble of the water. The mist created by the white water rush awed me totally. There was no bound to my happiness, I sat there happily just staring at the beauty of the falls and losing myself to the roar of it.

As Kaveri whitewater cascaded through the rocks with force
The upstream of Gaganachukki just before the cliff

After a while with the scorching sun, I realized that it was 2 pm already and we had still seen only Gaganachukki. Believe me, this was the best view of the waterfalls, though the place looks unpleasant, it is worth the watch. We gotta head to Barachukki waterfalls so we took a leave from there.

Barachukki waterfalls

In 10 minutes we were at the Barachukki waterfalls. I had expected less crowd here as many people would return back after watching Gaganachukki and mostly miss this. To my surprise, the crowd here was pretty much. We parked and started to walk toward the falls.

Barachukki waterfall is the segmented waterfall and more popular among the two. This waterfalls is more spread out than the earlier and gives beautiful panoramic views. The gushing of the waterfalls looked vibrant with the onset of monsoons. The water tumbled down the hillside in a series of mini-waterfalls. Earlier, there used to be another way to enjoy the beauty of Barachukki is through the coracle rides at the base of the falls. Unfortunately, due to fatal accidents, the coracle ride has been banned now. A force of nature, both beautiful and brutal. Well, I stood at the higher viewpoint to capture the scenic stretch of Barachukki plunging at a wider stretch. The sight was spectacular and relaxing as I stared at the glorious waterfalls. From here, we had lunch in Mayura hotel and headed to Somanathpura which is renowned for its amazing architecture – stay tuned for my next post 😉

The panoramic view of Barachukki – The segmented and popular 
Flowing mighty the left stretch of Barachukki – Check for the coracle ride if you are lucky
Trips ending with a sunset like this <3
Lunch at Mayura and timelapse in action

The Last Note

Shivanasamudra is definitely one of the best one day trip in monsoon from Bangalore. I literally felt amazed with such beautiful waterfalls at the vicinity of 150kms from the city and this should be on your monsoon travel list. Dargah viewpoint is must visit to behold the best view of Gaganachukki.  Apart from the falls, the countryside things are just pleasant to be with. I always love exploring the culture & lives of people outside the city and this is something which can be a good chance as we drive through remote stretches of the state. Overall an amazing one day trip!

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Visiting tips

  • Cost of the trip – Rs.500 to 1000 per head. It was a bike ride, so full tank petrol and food were the only major costs. I normally do budget traveling so I check out decent Udupi hotels than expensive restaurants during my travel.
  • How to reach Shivanasamudra waterfalls – Marking 150kms from the city, the best way is to drive own vehicle so as to cover both the falls and other nearby places.
  • Timings of Shivanasamudra6 am to 6 pm
  • Entry fees to Shivanasamudra – No entry fees. Only parking fees collected at Barachukki.
  • Best time to visit Shivasamudra – Monsoons! From mid-June to September just drive here. Believe me, That would be the best time than any other time in the year.
  • What to must visit/todo in Shivanasamudra
    • First, visit Gaganachukki and then drive another 15mins to reach Barachukki.
    • The Dargah viewpoint of Gaganachukki upstream is must and not to be missed although the place could seem messy.
    • Hop into a coracle ride at Barachukki if you are lucky unlike me.
    • Take a moment at Wesley bridge and enjoy the view of the flowing river
    • If you like to explore ancient architecture, then pay a visit to Madhya Ranga temple on the way to Barachukki.
  • Where to stay – If you would like to stay overnight, there are small resorts coming up. Nevertheless, there is Mayura at Barachukki and Lakshadweep at Gaganachukki – accommodation from the Government. It would be very basic stay and food.
  • Where to eat – Again if you are looking for lunch in Shivanasamudra only, then you would get only Mayura restaurant, where the food is basic south Indian. Few stalls selling snacks and fruits can be found at the falls. You would get good restaurants when you enter Mysore road. Otherwise, get packed food as I saw few families carrying food and enjoying a picnic here.
  • General tips
    • Parking is available at both the falls.
    • Hats / Umbrellas for sunny/rainy days.
    • Please don’t dump trash anywhere. Be a responsible traveler.

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