Shivanasamudra is the location of a hydroelectric project in Karnataka, but more pertinently it is also home to a few lovely waterfalls.
The Shivanasamudra falls are formed on the Cauvery river. A little distance before the falls, the river splits into two, forming an island. The two streams fall down to the same point and flow downstream. The two falls are called
- Gagana Chukki (90 metres)
- Bhara Chukki (69 metres)
The two falls are really majestic during the monsoon season.
The nearest airport is in Mysore.
The nearest railway station is in Mysore, at a distance of 60 kilometers.
The two falls are not well connected by bus. Buses ply regularly to Kollegala from Bangalore as well as Mysore. From Kollegala, one can hire a cab or autorickshaw to reach the falls. However, the buses to Kollegala can be crowded and hiring a cab from Bangalore or Mysore is advisable.
There are two ways to reach Shivanasamudra from Bangalore. From Bangalore, you can drive along the Bangalore Mysore highway till Maddur. Immediately after Maddur Bus station, take a left towards Malavalli. Keep going further straight from Malavalli and you'll reach Shivanasamudram. This route would take around 135 kilometers and the road is good up to Maddur, after which, the road condition deteriorates. However, this is the best road to reach Shivanasamudra from Bangalore. A non-stop journey would take approximately 3 hours from Bangalore.
Alternately, one can reach Malavalli from Bangalore via Kanakapura. Take the Kanakapura road from Bangalore which is in good condition. Immediately after Kanakapura, the road branches into two. Take the road which is slightly to the right to reach Malavalli. The left branch leads to Sangama, Makedattu and Chunchi falls. The stretch from Kanakapura to Malavalli is not in good condition and road repair work is in progress at some places. After reaching Malavalli, take a left turn to go to Shivanasamudra. It is advisable to avoid this route and take the Bangalore-Maddur-Malavalli-Shivanasamudra route instead, as the roads in that route are in better condition.
Gagana Chukkii falls can be seen from two sides. If you reach Gagana Chukki from the side which does not have a Dharga, then go to the Malavalli Kollegala road, cross the bridge over Cauvery and take a left deviation to reach Madhyaranga. Madhyaranga has a Ranganatha Swamy temple.
At every point where the river Cauvery splits to form an island, there is a Ranganatha Swamy temple - the first one at Srirangapatna (referred to as 'Adi Ranga'), the second one here at Shivanasamudram (referred to as 'Madhya Ranga') and the third at Tiruchi (referred to as 'Antya Ranga').
A couple of kilometres from here you can find 'Darga' and you can see Gagana Chukki from the other side, with Cauvery to your left. Bhara Chukki is with in a kilometer distance from here.
There are 2 falls about a km apart. The first one is Gagana Chukki and has a Dargah near it. The water flow here is quite rapid and it is dangerous to swim here, especially during monsoon season when the river is in its fullest.
The second falls is called Bhara Chukki. If the conditions are right (not too much water) then you can walk/trek all the way down to the falls and have a nice swim. Locate a nice shallow area and wade in.
Enroute, on the Bangalore Mysore Expressway, you'll pass through Channapatna, the town famous for wooden toys.
At Gagana Chukki falls there is a small restaurant called Jala Darshini. There are lot of restaurants in Maddur which also serve the famous 'Maddur Vadas'. The Bangalore Mysore highway also has a lot of eateries and dhabhas. The Kamath Lokaruchi is one such restaurant famous for variety of traditional Karnataka food.
You could also take a deviation to Kollegala, which is a town with reasonably good eating places. Kollegala is around 15 kilometers after you cross the bridge on Cauvery on your way to Bhara Chukki
There are a lot of local wine shops enroute to Maddur from Bangalore.
Apart from a couple of homestays, there aren't any private hotels and lodges to stay.
- Gaganachukki mayura stands right next to the Gaganachukki waterfalls. The food is good with more than 10 rooms.
- A private home-stay called Georgia Sunshine Village is a nearby option to stay.
- Nandana Organics farm , is another option to stay. Small single home facility at an active agricultural site. They are known to organize star gazing sessions with telescopes and cameras.
In Gagana Chukki, the river flows over a lot of rocks and the water flow is quite rapid. It is best to avoid the temptation of getting into the water here as the flow can be deceptive at times.
At Bhara Chukki, select a safe place as there are no lifeguards around.
On the way to Bhara Chukki (just after the Sri Ranganatha temple) some cheats try to illegally collect parking fees for vehicles. This parking fee is actually for the near by temple and not for the falls, hence you do not have to pay. Also, this point is almost 6 km ahead of the actual Bhara Chukki falls! Just ignore them and zoom past. The roads to these places are in extremely bad condition.
- Talakadu is around 30 km from Bhara Chukki falls.
- The famous Chennakeshava temple of Somanathapura is 20 km from Talakadu.
- Biligiri Rangana Hills (BR Hills)
- Male Mahadeshwara Betta (MM Hills)