Trip – 12 : Shivanasamudra – Talakad – Somnathpura (7.30 AM – 7.30 PM)
We covered a lot of ground and were almost 30 kms from Mysore. As usual we started at 7.30AM from Koramangla and reached the Nice Road by 8 AM and hit the Kanakpura Road by 8.15. Our breakfast stop was at 9 AM at a place called Mandarathi garden – a 45 minute drive from the Nice Road Kanakpura junction. Fast , efficient , economical with functional rest rooms – lunch was to be at 1.30 / 2 – so we had a heavy breakfast of Idlis. Dosas , Vadas and Coffee.
Our first halt was at the town of Shivanasamudra – which is 120 Km from Bangalore. You can reach Via the Kanakpura Road or Mysore Road – we preferred Kanakpura road – less traffic , scenic with more greenery , even if its a single road you can travel comfortable at 80 – 100 km / hr.
The town of Shivanasamudra is famous for its twin waterfalls Gaganachukki & Barachukki. River Cauvery splits into two forming a small island – which is also home to the famous Madhya Ranga temple of Reclining Vishnu – a 4000 year old temple which is part of the threesome on Cauvery – the Vishnu temples at Srirangapatnam and Srirangam.
We reached Ganganchukki View point at 10.45 AM – its empty on a week day , walk down a few steps and you reach the viewing gallery for a very impressive massive waterfall. The best time to do this trip is in Sep – Oct after the rains when the waterfalls are gushing – and we were there on Oct 3rd after heavy rains. Roads are excellent – Google maps gets you to the right spot – search for Gaganchukki View point and not Shivanasamudra. The place has a small restaurant , rest rooms , a few shops selling coconut water – budget 30 minutes here.
From Gaganchukki we headed to Barachukki and on the way visited Madhya Ranga ( the 4000 year old reclining Vishnu temple) – a small temple under renovation and a Shiva temple where the Sri Yantra was consecrated by Adi Shankara. These temples have mythological significance but are not architectural marvels. Ganganchukki to Barachukki is 14 Km – a 30 min drive thru small village roads in excellent condition. The View from Barachukki is equally good – the place is cleaner and there are steps that can take you right down the water body where the waterfall crashes down – sadly the step are closed and not accessible.
We left Barachukki at 12.30 and reached our next destination the Submerged / Excavated temples of Talakad – 31 kms from Barachukki – a 40 min drive and were there by 1.10 PM. Talakad has 5 temples – that date back to the Ganga / Chola dynasties over 1000 years old, the town on the banks of the Cauvery was submerged under sand on account of the curse of a Chieftains wife who was harassed by a Wodeyar king. Its a 30 – 45 min walk to cover the 5 temples , the whole place is full of sand so you may find it easier to walk by removing your sandals or shoes.
This where we had lunch at a local villagers house – its a Udupi mess , excellent tasty food served on plantation leave – normally they charge Rs 75/- but we had requested for a special meal with sweet , curd , unlimited servings – and we’re charged Rs 120 / person. The meal was a feast – Roti , Rice , two sabjis, salad , sambar , rasam , papad, curd , butter milk and sweets – and on a nice sunny day the mood was to take a nap – but we had to move on.
Before leaving Talakad we spent a few minutes at the banks of the Cauvery – you can take a dip or venture out for a Coracle ride if you have time. Water is very clean and the river is peaceful here.
We reserved the best for the last – Somnathpura is a small village 30 kms from Mysore that is home to a beautiful Hoysala temple from 1100 AD. The Hoysala Architecture is unique with its intricate carvings and this is one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture at its prime. A well preserved temple – sadly it was defaced by the muslim invaders and is not a temple where prayers are offered.
Talakad to Somnathpura is 26 kms – a 30 min drive – again excellent roads thru the rural hinterland of Karnataka. This is fertile Cauvery basin so the landscape is lush green , lots of lakes and ponds. We reached Somnathpura by 3.15 PM.
We engaged a guide for Rs 350 – who did an excellent job of detailing minutely all the intricacies of the temple. The start shaped temple with 3 tiers of intricate carvings is a treat for any history lover.
We left Somnathpura at 4.15 PM. We could have come via Mysore Road or by Kanakpura Road – Google Maps advised that the Kanakpura road route would be shorter by 20 min – so we zipped back the same way we had headed out in the morning – a ten min tea break at 5.45 and were at the nice road by 6.10 PM and at Hosur Road by 6.30 PM – unfortunately it was peak rush and it took us 70 minutes to cover the last 10 kms reaching home at 7.40 PM.
We had accomplished a lot in the last 12 hrs – driving almost 350 Kms. The per person cost was Rs 1025/-.
One last thought I am left with after driving in the rural heartland of Karnataka. There is a lot of development in Rural Karnataka – its only Bangalore ( specifically Koramangla) that sucks – if the Govt can build rugged roads in rural Karnataka that has survived well this years rains ( we did not encounter a single pot hole as we zipped at 80 – 110 km / hrs thru the villages) wonder why our roads in Bangalore need surfacing every year. Maybe thats the game plan of the Siddaramaiah government – focus on the villages and ignore the City that provides 80% of the states revenue – after all 25 seats from Bangalore don’t make or break the Government.
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Some more photos