Scenic beauty by the Karanja

GETAWAY

Scenic beauty by the Karanja

The park being built at the dam site. Photo by the author

he Hyderabad-Karnataka region is well known for its arid terrain. The district of Bidar has earned the tag of a drought-affected area. But it is a matter of consolation that this dry belt has a river flowing across, though it is not perennial. The dam built against the flow of this river has resulted in a huge water body. We are referring to the Karanja dam on the river of the same name in Humnabad taluk.

The primary objective of the Karanja project was to irrigate acres and acres of dry land in the villages around, apart from ensuring that the entire Humnabad taluk gets drinking water.  

About 15 kms south of Bidar, this dam that rests close to the Gulbarga-Bidar highway makes for a pleasant holiday spot. A rather insignificant looking entrance leads to a path that climbs up the grassy bund in a smooth gradient. At the top, the vast river comes into view. Th sheer vastness makes one wonder if it is indeed a sea we are looking at.

Swells after the monsoon
Though fed essentially by rainwater, the slow flowing Karanja river swells to its limit especially after the monsoon. It is precisely this attribute that makes the dam a loveable spot. The dyke goes along the water body for about three kms and has six sluice gates.  
Visitors can sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the beauty of the wide but shallow river. While the southeastern end has a storage tank for potable water, the far southern end is marked by the Hallikhed sugar factory, as the river merges with the horizon in the east. The lack of facilities has meant fewer visitors and it is a blessing in disguise that the dam surroundings have remained fairly litter-free.
The serenity that prevails is further enhanced by the cool breeze and a quiet atmosphere. There is not much of a birdlife either. A gentle walk along the bund would surely be rewarding.  

A park under development
Below the dam, on the other side is a yet-to-be-developed park with a few tall trees, bushes and flowering plants all adding to the  variant shades of the green foliage. The velvet-like grassy humps look fresh and full of life.

The tiny pond with a stony embankment and a lump of rock in the middle is another attraction as also the profusely blossomed blue flowers nearby.
A rectangular pool in another corner brims with lotus flowers. With not much infrastructure around the place, the dam area largely remains unspoilt.
A miniature temple dedicated to Shiva is visited by many devotees from nearby  hamlets. One laudable service the handful of staff here offers is to provide free food and beverages to the umpteen pilgrims trekking upto Tuljapur in Maharashtra during  Dasara every year. 

If the proposed boating facility gets underway, the Karanja dam with its pristine surroundings, has all the potential for being developed further as a fine picnic spot of Bidar district.

Getting there
At 28 kms beyond Humnabad on the Gulbarga-Bidar highway, Karanja dam can easily be reached by road/bus. The nearest railway station is Gulbarga, 85 kms away.

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