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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kadra and Kodasalli dams

30th September 2009

These twin dams are built across the Kali River by KPCL for generating electricity.

It was during our Western Ghat trip that we visited these dams. 37 km from Karwar is a small town of Kadra. The township is constructed for employees of KPCL. The road here splits into three. While two roads lead up the Western Ghats, the third road goes to Kodasalli dam.

Kadra dam is just next to the road. One is allowed to take snaps from outside the gate. Entry into the dam is not allowed. This dam also provides water to nearby Kaiga Atomic plant.

(Photo courtesy: Krishna)

Kodasalli dam is 37 km from Kadra. The drive is best, I must say. The winding road passes alongside the backwaters of Kadra reservoir with dense forests on the other side. The road is smooth and absolutely no traffic. The only vehicle we say during our to and fro journey was a KPCL bus!!


While one can take snaps of Kadra dam from outside, there is no such opportunity in Kodasalli. Few km from Kodasalli, the boards mentioning about private vehicles not being allowed further greets the visitors!! The people at check-post do not entertain tourists. We were allowed inside as a local person was with us!! But his sphere of influence was not enough to take us to the top of the dam. But since no one watching us, we managed to go to the front of the dam.


These two dams were constructed two decades ago. It caused large scale destruction of forests. While dense evergreen forests were submerged by backwaters, the high tension wires from power stations cut through the thick forests that many people never dared to enter.


Many villagers were submerged and people are fighting for compensation till date. KPCL claims to generate 270MW of power from these dams but reality may be different.

Kali River is the most abused River in India. There are now six major dams across Kali River. A nuclear plant and paper mill along its shores adds to the pressure of eco system. All this within a distance of 100km!! Also, few dams built by KPCL are generating very less electricity than expected.

In spite of all this, KPCL is ready to build more dams in the remaining free stretch of Kali. Only the opposition from environmentalists is preventing them to complete the destruction of Kali River.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hogenakkal

13th February 2010

The beauty of Hogenakkal falls can be best enjoyed at two different periods. During monsoon the huge volume of water provides a panoramic view of the falls. It’s a different show in winter season when the water levels are down; one can experience the ride to the bottom of the falls.

I had seen the monsoon magic with my family before, and this time it was with my Office friends for the coracle ride to the bottom of the falls.


The route we took was through the towns of Hosur, Denkanikota and Anchetty. This short route reduces the distance to Hogenakkal by 70 km!!

At Hogenakkal, we simply ignored the guys who were pestering to have an oil massage and directly went for the coracle ride. The ride into the gorge was an amazing experience.

There was one person who was busy selling eatables in a coracle. What an idea!!


Our major activity of that day was to play in water. The Karnataka side of the river was inviting. The crowd was less and the water was clean. So, we asked the coracle guy to take to that side. We then spent quite an amount of time in water.

Yet another weekend that was nicely spent!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A day in spider valley

24th January 2010

My interest in forest and wildlife was triggered by Kenneth Anderson novels, which I started reading during my high school days. Most of his adventures were in the forests near Hosur. That was long ago. The forest still remains while the wild animals now exist in very few numbers.


Being so near to Bengaluru, I and Krishna decided to visit that place for a day.

The route we took was Bengaluru->Hosur->Denkanikota->Aiyur. The 14 km road from Denkanikota to Aiyur was bad but manageable.


After Aiyur, we entered into the forest. It was a fun drive as the road had become smooth and traffic almost nil. After some four km into the forest, we reached a small pool. The area was silent and we spent some time near the pool. There is also a watch tower near the pool.

We proceed further on the road. The tar road turned into a mud one and started to climb up. We had no serious plans for that day, so we just thought of driving on the road till we reach a dead end!!

We reached Bethamugulam, a tribal village. We didn’t find anything special or different in this tribal village. The “external” influence has turned the tribal village into a normal one.


We decided to follow a small track that went to a hill. After parking the car at a suitable place, we started to walk. Few people who came across told us that Elephants frequent the place very often.

After climbing the top of the hill, we found that the path went down to another hamlet (I think it is Kempekarai). We spent some time there and returned back to the car.

We had heard about a view point which offers the view of Spider valley. The exact location was not known but was told that we had to walk on a narrow path for a km. This path was somewhere near the pool that we had visited before.

The problem was there were several paths into the forest!! We tried all of them!! Many of them led to a dead end. After some trials, we found the right path that took us to the view point.


The watch was showing 2PM and we were hungry. It was time to return back!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Chitradurga

9th January 2010

The first trip of this year was to the fort town of Chitradurga. Even though it is 200 km from Bengaluru, it can be easily done in a day thanks to the good roads. It was a family trip with my wife, mother and daughter.

The journey started early in the morning and at 10AM we were in front of the fort. The first expression that I had when entered into the fort was it was “huge”. It may be the biggest fort in Karnataka. Also, a well maintained one with steps constructed at many places, directions marked at several places in the fort and beautiful parks.

It was my daughter’s day out. She happily started climbing the steps and kept her enthusiasm at high level throughout the trip.


Monkey man
One of the attractions in the fort is the actions performed by “monkey man”. While the tourists held their breath in tension, he quickly does the act of climbing in a jiffy. He does it everyday. And he does not do it for money!! Many people tried to give him money but he staunchly refused.


Other places
We reach the mid point of the fort where the path splits into three. One takes through Akka Tangi honda (a pool) to Onake Obavana kindi. It was here the great lady “Obavva” fought with the enemy soldier single handedly using a masse. Surprising part was how human beings could enter through such a small hole.

While others rested at Akka Tangi pond, I climbed up to see Gopala Swamy Temple. The pond by the same name looks good from the Temple.

The Hidimeshwara Temple is at a nice location with some good views of the fort.

The Muruga Math has some good “landmarks” of the fort.


We did not feel much tired as it was a cloudy day. Else, it will be a tough task to climb the fort.

Chandravalli
We spent some four hours in the fort. After having lunch at a hotel, we went to Chandravalli, three km from Chitradurga. I was not sure what to expect there but there was a surprise. There was a lake which was stunningly beautiful. What a silent place!! It was so cool that I would have spent the rest of the day just sitting next to the lake.


There is also a Temple and a cave near the lake which can be visited.

Jogimatti
It is a forested area 10 km from Chitradurga. One can see the windmills on the road to Jogimatti. There is a view point but forest department permission is required to visit it.


A small zoo is a good place especially for kids. My daughter was excited to see many animals live there. Till then she had seen them only in the books.

Vanivilas dam
The evening was spent at Vanivilas dam. Also called as Mari Kanive, it is at a distance of 20 km from Hiriyur. Hiriyur is at a distance of 30km from Chitradurga on the way to Bengaluru.


It is one of the few dams in Karnataka where public is allowed to enter. A very nice place to spend the evening. There is also a garden near the dam.


A day that was nicely spent!!

The photos of this trip can be viewed here.