My family and I visited Shivansamudra and Talakkad in October 2016. This was a one-day road trip that we had done from Bangalore.
This is one of the good day trip options for my fellow travellers from Bangalore.
Route: We had followed the Channapatna- Maddur route
Locally, Gaganachukki and Barachukki Falls are collectively called as Shivanasamudra Falls though Gaganachukki is most commonly represented as Shivanasamudra Falls.
A common misconception about these waterfalls are that the left segment is called Gaganachukki and the right segment is called Bharachukki. In reality the Bharachukki falls are a few kilometres(15 minutes drive) to the south-west of the Gaganachukki falls (approach roads are also different). This is due to the Kaveri river itself splitting a few kilometers to the south into western and eastern branches. The western branch results in the twin waterfalls of Gaganachukki, whereas the eastern branch results in the Bharachukki falls. The Gaganachukki waterfalls are best viewed from the Shivanasamudra watch tower. This is a segmented waterfall. Segmented waterfalls occur where the water flow is broken into two or more channels before dropping over a cliff, resulting in multiple side by side waterfalls.
We had visited the Gaganchukki falls in October when the water flow was very less.
Ideally Monsoon is the best season to visit this place as the falls looks gorgeous in its full swing. These waterfalls and surrounding hills fall into Cauvery Wild life sanctuary which provides a wide opportunity of excursion, trekking in the forest, rock climbing, bird watching, fishing and other activities for naturalists.
The Hydro electric power station here, is the first of its kind in Asia, installed in 1902, and is still functional. It was commissioned by the Diwan of Mysore, Sir K Seshadri Iyer. The first town to receive the electricity from this station was Kolar Gold Fields, hence Kolar became the first town in Asia to get hydro electricity. Much smaller power plants started functioning earlier in different parts of India like the one that was started in 1897 in Darjeeling.
Temples in Talakadu:
The route from Shivanasamudra to Talakadu is with a view of dense green fields and coconut trees. There are more than 25 temples in this region. Even though many temples are already excavated, we were told that many more temples are still buried under sand. This area is indeed a ‘Mini desert’. Many of the excavated temples are now open for Darshan. Many temples have the Hoysala Architecture. It will be a good option to hire a guide here, they will take you around the temples and explain interesting stories about the temples.
Locally, this place is also known as the Banaras of the South for a large number of old Hindu temples and their religious significance, Talakadu is an interesting place for the seekers and believers alike.
The most imposing temple here is ‘Vaidyanatheshwara’ temple.. Among the temples of Talakadu, the Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vydyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples are considered as the five Lingams, believed to represent the five faces of Shiva. In honour of these five Shiva temples, a fair is held once every 12 years called Panchalinga Darshana, last held in 2009.
For those interested in mythology and history, Talakadu should be a part of your itinerary.
But be prepared to walk a lot(in sand), in case if you wish to cover more temples.
There are some Udupi style pure vegetarians hotels. Even though the ambience might not be so appealing, the food was very tasty.
Coracle ride in Talakadu:
We ended the tour on a high note with a fun-filled coracle-ride in the river Kaveri.
There is enough parking space available in this area. The Sandy beach of Talakadu is very nice. You can play in the water near the bank. But be careful, if you are planning to swim in the river as there might be sudden depths due to loose sand pattern. You will also see coracles being rented out for rides. You can try at your own risk as these are not authorised and they don’t come with any life jackets. If interested, you can also have a dip in Kaveri river.
Don’t forget to ask them to spin the coracle, it’s a nice experience.