Nothing beats the relief a shower in a waterfall gives; to a city breeder exhausted with snarling traffic, cut throat time schedules and rigorous commitments. And is not nature but a sensitive mother, because a city like bangalore which is full of such burdened proffesionals; happens to have waterfall spots quite close at hand.
Shivasamudram is a great place to be just after the monsoon clouds have cross over Karnataka. The Cauvery is at its majestic best at Shivasamudram. One should visit this place in October or early November when its not too cold for a skinny dipping. If you go earlier than October-November the water current is too strong to allow you to swim, and in summers you would be sullenly scraping dry rock.
There are two must visit spots at Shivasamudram: GaganaChukki and BharaChukki
GaganaChukki is where India's first HydroElectric plant was constructed. Little did we know that it is called BLUFF and ideally first timers misinterpret it correctly. Yes ironically this place is indeed a BLUFF because one can only see the waterfall in its majesty from this spot. No chances of cooling off in the water here. To do that one has to drive back 12 kms to Dargah or BadaChukki where the waterfall to soak yourself in the currents.
But, do not miss GaganaChukki. Its make up for wonderful photographs of the waterfall and offers quite a sight. There is watch tower and its bustling with photographers tempting folks to take printed pictures. I rank this spot "Wish I carried an SLR Camera"!
BharaChukki is another 12 kms from GaganChukki and is also called the Dargah area. Its bustling with muslim vistors who pay homage at this shrine and offers tasty fish and eatery stalls. Walk around the Dargah and you shall find you ways to get down to the waterfall.
[flickr-photo:id=6737176829.size=-] The steps are steep and take you to another viewing point. Be adventurous and take the tricky walk down the rocks to where the waterfall forms small pools.
Its worth every penny of the effort you take to reach these many pools. The water is cool and refreshing and currents running through the cracks make for the most wonderful spa experiences you've read in magazine or seen in films. These pools are well surrounded by high rocks and are definately safe to skinny dip.
Next from Shivasamudram one can drive down to Talakaddu. Its is about 35 kms and confirmation of route with locals is advisable. The road will be quite a bumpy ride but the treat of the Cauvery delta is worth the little pain in the backside. This is at the base of the waterfall. You can hire local puttu boat riders [bargaining a must].
Mysore Road: Move on from Kengeri, past Ramanagram (Gabbar Singh almost always come to mind seeing those familiar rocky features of Sholay) and continue untill you reach maddur. pack your food there and move onto Byrapatna. Remember to take a left onto SH17 towards Malavalli and continue straight on. You shall notice quite a vehicles moving this way onto Shivasamudram. Google Maps on android is very handy and accurate in these regions on Mysore Road.
Kanakapura Road: After a Left from Nice road onto Kanakpura Road, drive straight on and on and on untill you reach Malavalli. Take a left and this road meets the route from Mysore Road.
There are two routes to reach Shivasamudram from bangalore. The Mysore-Road and the Kanakpura Road. Recommended is Kanakpura road while leaving bangalore and Mysore Road while returning. This is because Kanakpura is sadly void of street lights and risky to drive in the night and Mysore Road is full of traffic in the morning.
Ideal is to leave early after breakfast so that you can cover the 130 km journey before noon. Pack yourself with munches along the away or dont forget to pick up lunch from KFC/Kamat on Mysore Road (Just befor Maddur). Shivasamudram does not have good restaurants. The little eatery at Gaganachukki or Bluff is not at all palatable. But ofcourse non vegetarians must try the fresh Hilsa/Rohu fish catch at Bharachukki/Dargah; roasted with spices on tandoor.
Try to leave early by 5:00 if you taking the Kanakpura road back home and cover substantial journey before sunset, else take Mysore Road. You should be able to make it back to the city in time for dinner.
Note: if you are planning a trip in Summers or in dry spells plan a trip of GaganaChukki plus Talkaddu. That way you can splash in the water at the Cauvery delta.
In season time prefer to get wet at BharaChukki (Dargah Area). It would be redundant and too tiring to make to all 3 spots in a day.
There is a nice hotel overlooking the GaganaChukki falls view. Gardens, play area and decent food could be a nice breakaway for one night. Rest people prefer going to Shivasamudram just for a day and rest peacefully in the comfort of their home.