Twin cascading wonders

Twin cascading wonders

Twin cascading wonders

 B V Prakash describes the unparalleled beauty of the Shivanasamudra Falls, shedding light on its intriguing mythological background.

It is that time of the year once again when the clouds take over the sky to drench the earth with the invigorating elixir of life.

After the renowned Jog Falls in Malnad, one other waterfall that is fondly visited is the Shivanasamudra. It is in fact, not one, but two different falls with two different names,  spread across two adjoining districts.

Often called by names such as Gaganachukki, Bharachukki, Shimsha and Bluff, the Falls formed in the course of the River Cauvery encircles an island.

As the river bifurcates, the western branch flows over the sudden drop in the terrain and cascades into two segments as Gaganachukki Falls. Contrary to popular opinion, these two cascades are not Gaganachukki and Bharachukki.

The Bharachukki Falls is a part of the eastern branch of the river, also in two major segments. During monsoons however, countless number of streams and miniature falls cascade into the valley, creating a panoramic view.

As part of the state government’s plan to develop the place as a major tourist hub, a Jalapathothsava is held in August with a plethora of cultural events apart from extravagant lighting and decoration. To beat the noise and crowd of the festival, we chose to visit the place before the festival, to spend some quiet moments amidst nature.

Leaving Bangalore early, we drove off towards Kanakapura. Passing through Malavalli, we reached a junction with the road to left leading to Gaganachukki Falls. But first, we headed southwards to the farther Bharachukki Falls.

The long bridge across the river connects to Chamarajanagar district. Before Bharachukki, a diversion led us to a point from where another view of Gaganachukki Falls can be savoured. The dargah of Hazrat Mardan-e–ghaib here is visited by people belonging to all communities.

Awe-inspiring sights

A short drive from here took us to Bharachukki Falls. We were excited to view the vast green valley with innumerable white cascades and gentle, green hills in the background. As the inflow is high and forceful, the steps leading down to the Falls have been fenced. If the flow is moderate, one can enjoy a coracle ride in the river.

At Shivanasamudra, apart from waterfalls, a couple of ancient temples are worth visiting too. We stopped by the temple of Someshwara built in the 12th century. This temple is a unique blend of Chola and Hoysala styles of architecture.

According to the priest, Nagaraj Dixit, this is a confluence of Hari and Hara with the image of a fish on the ceiling representing Vishnu and the linga in sanctum, Shiva. Unlike other Shiva temples, here we see the Nandi seated inside the sanctum. The adjacent shrine of Prasanna Meenakshi has a srichakra installed by Adi Shankaracharya. Renovated recently, the structure has an aesthetic ambience.

Might of the gods

Two kilometres down is a temple dedicated to Jaganmohana Sri Ranganathaswamy, reclining on Adishesha. Known as Madhyaranga, this is the second of the triad of Ranganatha temples, the other two being Adiranga at Srirangapatna and the Anthyaranga at Srirangam in Tamil Nadu.

Legend goes that in Krutha Yuga, when this place was consecrated by Devendra, Cauvery river encircled the location around like a garland. But a demon in the form of a colossal boulder obstructed the flow of the river. Lord Shiva came to the rescue and destroyed the boulder. The resulting crevices enabled River Cauvery to flow like a sea. Hence the name, Shivanasamudra.

After visiting the temples, we drove back to Gaganachukki Falls on the Malavalli side. Approaching the viewpoint, we were blown away by the spectacular beauty of the Falls.

The main Falls roars down with an unbridled force while the free flowing cascades at the right tumble down gracefully into the lush green valley. The cool and pleasant monsoon weather made it all the more enjoyable. This place is a must visit for all nature and monsoon lovers.

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