Shivanasamudram is the domain of Mother Nature. Gentle sloping foothills seduce with their freshness, the woods are pristine and the experience is sublime. These hills are home to wild boar, peacocks, partridges, elephants and even the occasional marauding panther. Bands of elephants have been known to venture as near as the village outskirts in these regions.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Shivanasamudram, a possible day-trip from Bengaluru, is an ideal weekend break thanks to the country home of the Hatherell family, Georgia Sunshine Village. Anyone who is looking for peaceful holiday is welcome.

Gaganachukki and Barachukki Falls

The Cauvery splits into two streams here – Barachukki and Gaganachukki. About 9 km by road from Georgia, turn left at Panditahalli and drive to Shri Vishveshwaraya Hydroelectric Plant, labelled as the ‘Bluff’. From Bluff, it is a 5-minute drive to the falls.

Beautiful cascades of water spread out over two vast hillsides will greet you. The water is being diverted to feed what was the first hydroelectric plant in Asia (built in 1902 by the maharaja of the erstwhile state of Mysore).

Gaganachukki also boasts a fall-side dargah on the opposite bank, a short drive across to the other hillside. A word of caution though – in these regions, the falls represent a literal Xanadu for boisterous local revellers and their ilk. The falls are, therefore, best avoided on public holidays while being quite acceptable on weekends. Don’t swim here as it is quite treacherous.

Courtesy Georgia Sunshine Village
Barachukki Falls, Shivanasamudram
Barachukki Falls, Shivanasamudram

A couple of food stalls and a few vendors selling fresh coconut water and locally grown gooseberries generously spiced with red chilli powder complete the experience.

Barachukki is just beyond the dargah, a few kilometres away. The falls here form a sylvan, deep pool. You can swim here or even catch a coracle ride (50-100). The falls are great all year round.

Trekking

The forests here are lush, which also means that traditional walking trails do not exist and that a trek is what it is meant to be – rough and challenging. The Hatherells will organise a guide who’ll chart out a route and also accompany you through the forest. Routes are customised to the energy levels of trekkers and can vary from a simple two-hour amble to a day-long trip, complete with food, water and supplies thrown in. However, animal sightings are rare on these treks.

Village Visits

You can still find farm implements made by hand and actually have a market for cow bells or simply get lost in time in the villages of Malavalli, Manchanahalli, Hebbani and Panditahalli and Shimsapura. Don’t miss the traditional Friday market when you can encounter a plethora of sound and colour, and bag some unusual buys in an undeniably rustic location.

The Forest at Night

A forest by daytime is exciting, by night it becomes mysterious. A drive at night is a great way to indulge in some post-dinner thrills and spot some wildlife. Do take your car out; the Hatherells will provide a guide, on the house.

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Georgia Sunshine Village (Tel: 08231-247646, 247783, Cell: 09845754661; Tariff: 7,000-9,000, with meals) is a good place to stay in Shivanasamudram. The cottages and rooms here retain a homely atmosphere and personalised charm. Facilities offered here include a swimming pool, games room, lounge and library. Book in advance.

Riversedge Resort (Bengaluru Tel: 080-42127333; Tariff: 1,500 per person, with meals) near New Hydel Power Station offers lot of outdoor activities.

When to go The best time to go is in the post-monsoon months, from June till January. February to April might be too hot for some. Barachukki Waterfall is good any time of the year Location Shivanasamudram, in eastern Mandya, skirts the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary Air Nearest airport: Bengaluru Rail Not suitable for Shivanasamudram

THE INFORMATION

Tourist Offices

Department of Tourism

Government of Karnataka

No. 49, Second Floor, Khanija Bhavan

Race Course Road, Bengaluru

Tel: 080-22352828

W karnatakatourism.org,

KSTDC

Central Reservation Office

Badami House, NR Square, Bengaluru

Tel: 43344334/ 37

Cell: 08970650070

W karnatakaholidays.net

KSTDC

A One-Stop-Shop

No 8, Papanna Lane

St Mark’s Road

Bengaluru

Tel: 43464351/ 53

Jungle Lodges & Resorts

GF, West Entrance, Khanija Bhavan

Race Course Road

Bengaluru

Tel: 40554055

W junglelodges.com

Tourist Information Counter

Bengaluru International Airport

Devanahalli. Cell: 08970650072

Kempegowda Bus Station

(Majestic) Bengaluru Tel: 22356246

Cell: 08970650075

Department of Tourism

Govt of Karnataka, KSTDC Hotel Complex

Ramdurgi Road, Badami

Tel: 08357-220414