Sathiya and Sarvavanan awaited me right in front of Bangalore university on Mysore road at 6, by 6:05 we were driving towards Mysore. The morning chill and serenity made the journey very pleasing, we crossed Kengeri, Bidadi, Ramnagara, Channapatna before we stopped for "Breakfast at (Maddur) Tiffanys" at 7, the choice of most people heading to Mysore. From there we had to deviate towards KoLLegala road which was wrongly shown on the sign-board and we did an extra loop of Maddur town before we hit the KoLLegala road. I noticed that the some of the yellow Karnataka tourism boards indicating the places of interest were also pointing wrong directions.
|Art work on bullock cart|
The scenery on KoLLegala road is beautifully rustic with farmers ploughing their lands, shepherds ushering their herd, bullock-carts painted with rich colours, women with hay-stock or fire-sticks on their head, colourful fields, small idyllic hamlets. Our initial plan was to start from Somnathpur and end at Shivanasamudra, but it worked just the opposite. We first reached Shimsha power station and being a son of an ex-KPCL employee and having some acquaintance there, we got an entry to the Shimsha power station. We were served tea at the inspection bungalow (IB) which overlooks the beautiful Kaveri river valley. The IB is well maintained with lush green garden housing few langurs; with a permission letter from KPCL one can even stay overnight in the IB, they charge `250 per bed in an air-conditioned room. After tea we took trolley to descend the steep leading to the power house which is operating since 1939. We were given a tour of the power house and were taken to the wire bridge near the power house.
|Leaves against the blue background|
We then took the reservoir road, which is restricted for public, to head to Gaganachukki falls a.k.a Bluff. It's a very picturesque narrow road which passes right along the reservoir and it's meant only for KPCL vehicles. We had to make an entry at the check-post and pass through Shivanasamudra colony to head to the falls, we were amazed to see two churches of similar architecture in that small a town. We paid `20 as an entry fee to the waterfall, the area around the view point is greatly commercialized with few restaurants and hotels. The area was crowded with tourists mostly from Bangalore and everybody was busy taking photographs as though they had come there not to see waterfall but to put it in the background. The waterfall was flowing profusely with multiple branches separated by vegetation and rocks. The blue sky with fleecy clouds complemented the entire scenery very well. It was a very picturesque place but I just hoped lesser crowd and lesser peddlers in the area.
|The Kaveri river valley|
From Gaganachukki, we head to Bharachukki the other waterfall in the region for which we had to retrace our path a bit and take the link road which joins to KoLLegala road. This road again is along a reservoir but it's not asphalted yet scenic. It took about half hour for us to reach the Bharachukki falls, the roads were quite bad after deviating towards the waterfall from KoLLegala main road. We skipped Darga point (2km before Bharachukki falls) where in one could reach the apex point of Gaganachukki falls and head straight to the fall. There is a breathtaking panoramic view of the fall from the parking, we took photographs and descended the stairs to reach the bottom of the fall.
|The cable holder|
Bharachukki fall has many cascades and branches spread across a wide span, definitely it's more beautiful than Gaganachukki fall. The bottom of the fall is heavily crowded by bustling peddlers selling fish fry and other sundry edibles and desperate tourists wanting to wade in the waters. The view from the below is not as great as the the one from the top, but coracles floating on the water make a good subject for photography. We took a coracle ride and the experience was wonderful - the boatsman took us all the way to the waterfall and we were wetted by the spray of fall and he also spun the coracle speedily which was a heavenly experience. We then wound up and came back to Shivanasamudra IB where lunch was arranged for us, after which we were shown few view points which is usually forbidden for other visitors.
|The patterns on the wall of Shimsha powerhouse|
Our next destination was Talakad, known for it's pacific Kaveri basin and many temples. We stopped about 3km before the town of Talakad, near Jaladhama resort and I couldn't resist the temptation of diving into the river and I didn't. In no time I stripped down to my swimming vest and off I was in the water, I swam for about 20min. The ambience was perfect for a romantic hand-in-hand promenade - mild evening sunshine glittering the limpid water surface, unclouded auriferous skies, cool breeze caressing the body, silhouettes of the coconut groove at the horizon, the seclusion from the noisy crowd. For the first time, I saw from the eyes of a seer and not photographer, it reminds me of Neruda's lines:
In my sky at twilight you are like a cloud
and your form and colour are the way I love them.
and your form and colour are the way I love them.
You are mine, mine, woman with sweet lips
and in your life my infinite dreams live.
The lamp of my soul dyes your feet,
the sour wine is sweeter on your lips,
oh reaper of my evening song,
how solitary dreams believe you to be mine!
We decided not to enter Talakad town since we would have miss out Somnathpura, it was already 5 in the evening. It took us 45 minutes to drive to Somnathpura via T. Narasipura and to our bad luck, the temple complex which falls under Archeological Survey of India (ASI) was closed. Remember this: SOMNATHPURA TEMPLE CLOSES AT 5:30PM. Three of us were involved in three different tasks - Saravanan tried his luck with the curators to let us inside, Sathiya enjoyed her tea and Rilke, I busied myself doing some street photography in the village. We started our return journey towards Bangalore via Malavalli, Saravanvan and myself swilled our beers while Sathiya was kind enough to drive us and put up with loads of drunken-men crap. One serious advice for people who booze, carry your booze from Bangalore; you don't find any bars around except in Malvalli, there is one on the way to Talakad but there's no refrigerator there, so you end up drinking warm beer. With a stop here and a tea there, we reached Bangalore at 9:30 in the night. Thanks Sathiya and Saravanan for accompanying me for such a wonderful trip and Mr. P.J. Lakshman for being a great host.
|Lines and angles|
About photography, I've tried to shoot more of art photographs this time. Everything was shot on 20D with either of 17-40/4L, 70-200/4L or 100mm/2.8 macro lenses. Post processing was done on a MacBookPro using Aperture and I've used the toy camera preset (greater saturation, contrast and vignetting) extensively on many photographs and filtered B&W effects. Pano was stitched using PS CS 5, HDRs were done using Photomatix.
|A worker at the powerhouse|
|Rails on water|
|Shadow of a farmer|
|The wire bridge near the powerhouse|
|Life and Death|
|Gaganachukki fall (HDR)|
|Life among the lifeless|
|Behind the scene|
|Wider view of Gaganachukki (HDR)|
|Coracles at Bharachukki fall|
|Bharachukki broader view (HDR)|
|3 shots panorama of Bharachukki falls|
|A kid busy with her toys at Somnathpur|
|Farm lit by the evening light|
|Sheshadri Iyer Powerstation|
|Empty coracles on the river|