The Gaganachukki Falls on the Cauvery river is supposed to be the second highest waterfall in India falling from a height of 322 feet. But, when I was there last Sunday, it didn’t look mighty at all. Instead, I could see just a faint trickle of water.
This is extremely surprising as we are in the middle of the monsoons and there is still hardly any rain in the catchment areas of the Cauvery. No wonder, Bangalore and the rest of Karnataka are reeling under a severe power crisis.
But, keeping the water out of the waterfall, the place where the Gaganachukki falls is situated is definitely a treat to the eye. The wide rocky cliffs, the dense greenery around, the wildlife it supports and the pristine nature all make for a great spectacle.
This is also the place of the first hydro-electric power plant in Asia. The plant is called Bluff and was setup in 1902. This hydro plant still functions well and one can see the huge penstocks from the top of the view tower near Gaganachukki. One can also see the Darga Hazrath Mardane Gaib from this view tower.
Gaganachukki Falls is situated about 120 kms from Bangalore. One can either take the Kanakapura road or the Maddur-Malavalli road to reach here. A small, but decent hotel and other small vendors form the tourist infrastructure here.
There are a couple of view points from where one can admire this natural wonder. The area below the view towers is cordoned off with barbed wire fences as it is not safe to venture down. In the past, a lot of people have flaunted this rule and have lost their lives here.
But, if you do want to go into the water for a dip, a swim or a coracle boat ride, then you can visit the Barachukki Falls on the same Cauvery river that is situated about 14 kms from Gaganachukki.
Actually, a lot of people do not know that, the Cauvery river splits into two branches prior to this place and flow through deep ravines and plunge in two different places to form the Gaganachukki and the Barachukki waterfalls.
The island that is formed in the middle of these two streams is known as Shivanasamudra and hence both the falls are collectively known as ‘Shivanasamudra Falls’.