Tuesday, May 08, 2007


5th - 6th May, 2007

About Mudumalai: The wild life sanctuary in Tamilnadu which adjoins Bandipur in Karnataka. It is about 250 kms from Bangalore.

The plan was to spend relaxing 2 days at Mudumalai and spot some wild animals, if lucky. We booked Bear Mountain resorts at Masinagudi. Mudumalai boasts of a big list of resorts when compared to the neighboring Bandipur.

Four of us (Myself, Sankara, Ajay and Chitrai) started on Friday evening. After stops for tea at Maddur Tiffanis and dinner at Kamath Madhuvan at Mysore, we reached the resort at 11:30 in the night. We spotted a lot of deer and couple of elephants on our journey. Sad part was that we had to pay “entry fees” (bribe) at Tamilnadu just because we crossed at midnight. Any question would mean that our Car would be fully searched and unnecessary harassment.
Saturday, we just relaxed. The resort was at the backdrop of some mountains and looked great. It rained in the evening, after which we decided to go for a Safari. The resort people organized it. But it turned out to be a total flop. These private resorts don’t have the permission to enter into the forests (which, we came to know later) and chances of spotting wild animals on the village roads is very bleak. It would be better to take safari organized by forest department at Teppakadu.

Sunday morning was spent by playing sometime in a nearby stream and playing cricket. We started off from the resort after lunch. We did spot a good number of wildlife in Bandipur.

These Langur monkeys actually posed for us!!

The spotted dear appeared brave and was not bothered by our presence.

Then we found an elephant with only left tusk. He appeared mild and I took a photo from a very close distance. (Later, I heard that the elephant was quite infamous and has had some bad encounters with the tourists).

The next point was Gopala Swamy Betta. It is the highest point in Bandipur range and provides a panoramic view of the sanctuary. The place used to be normally deserted in my previous visits. But this time it was filled with tourists. There is a temple built by Cholas at the top.

The rest of the journey from Gopala Swamy Betta to Bangalore was uneventful with only busy Mysore-Bangalore traffic to watch.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Madenur dam and Pataguppa bridge

30 April, 2007
Madenur dam was constructed on Sharavathi river during 1930’s for the generation of electricity. The water stored was used by Mahatma Gandhi Hydro electric station near Jogfalls. But this could not sustain the increasing demand for power. So, Linganamakki dam was constructed in 60’s and Madenur dam was submerged by the backwaters of Linganamakki. The dam is still in a good shape and is visible during summer months when the water level in Linganamakki dam drops below 1780ft. But to see the Madenur dam in full, the water level should drop below 1740ft.
I planned to visit the dam when I was in my native place last week. I was told by the locals that due to good monsoon last year, the water level was still high and only a portion of the dam is visible. But I decided to visit the dam as it was difficult for me to make one more trip to my native place before monsoon.
I and my uncle started on Bike on 30th April at 7AM from my native place Talavata. From Sagar, we took the route towards Holebagilu. Holebagilu is about 32 km from Sagar. Just before Holebagilu, there is a forest department gate, where we need forest department permission to enter. Madenur dam is about 5kms from the gate. The careless forest guard had gone on a long leave with the gate keys!! It was not good at all as we were not prepared to walk for 5 kms in the hot sun. But a villager passing by told that there is an opening at the fence created for grazing the cows and a bike can pass through that small opening. That was a nice idea and we did the same. The mud road was through acacia and bamboo plantations. After four kms, we were at a junction. This was the place where Madenur “santhe” (weekly fair) used to be held. It was also written that “Bellenne backwaters” is around 3kms. I was surprised because Bellenne to our native place (near Jogfalls) is just 7 kms and we had traveled nearly 60kms to reach this place!! I feel that some patch of Linganamakki backwaters might come in that path. I decided to explore that sometime in future. (Later, I found out from elders who had stayed there before the construction of dam, that there was indeed a route earlier but was not sure of the distance).
Another km on bike, we were at the Madenur dam. As expected, the dam was not fully visible. Some 30ft of the dam was still under water. But still it looked great.
The siphon system used to pump the water out of the dam was amazing. Care was needed to walk on these siphons as any mistake would be fatal and we would fall into water. We could not get into the siphons as 3/4th of the siphon was under water. We could also see a barge moving from Holebagilu.
There is also another way to Madenur Dam. One has to cross the backwater from Holebagilu on barge and go to Valagere. From Valagere, there is some path to the dam. Also, forest department permission is not required in this path. I heard that the road was rough and more isolated. But currently, this approach is not clear as the water still covers the path.
We spent nearly an hour and started back. The next point was Pataguppa Bridge. Not many people have heard about this and we came to know about it from locals. It is about 7 kms “Hulidevara Bana” where the road from Sagar, Holebagilu and Kollur intersects.
This bridge was constructed before Madenur Dam. When Madenur dam was built, the height of the bridge was increased by using pillars on top the existing one to avoid submersion from the backwaters. But Linganamakki dam built later submerged the bridge. It was used during summer months by vehicles. The bridge collapsed some 20 years ago.

Madenur dam can be found on Wikimapia here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sri Ramachandrapura Math

28 April, 2007

Last Saturday, I had been to Vishwa Gou Sammelana at Sri Ramachandrapura Math, near Hosanagar town of Shimoga district. It was a 9 day festival on Indian breed of cattle. I am not a believer or follower of the Math, but the cause of the event was close to my heart and I decided to visit for a day. The math has a Goushala which has some 30 breeds of Indian cattle.

Dangi breed


For more information click here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


27 April, 2007
Gundumane, my Surname was a place in Sagar taluk. This was the place where my ancestors had stayed for nearly two centuries. That was until 1965, when the Linganamakki dam built across the river Sharavathi submerged this place. The joint family had to split and move to different places provided by the Government as compensation. The remains of this place can still be seen during summer months when the water level of the reservoir falls below 1780ft.

I had the desire of seeing this place from long time. This desire increased after reading a novel “Mulugade” written by Naa. D'souza where he explains about the pains, sufferings and agony of the people who were uprooted from their place to provide light to the rest of the state.

Last Friday, 27th April, I and my uncle started from our place Talavata (near Jogfalls) on bike. We passed Kargal, took the Bhatkal route, and at Aralgod, took the diversion to Nandodi and reached Kanchikai village. The priest at the temple told that the route to Gundumane was still under water and advised us to take a diversion at Nandodi and cross a hill to reach the place. We took that path and reached a forest checkpost. The gate was locked and we parked the bike and started walking. After some 20 minutes of walk through the forest, we reached Gundumane.

There was no photo taken before dismantling the house and we had to only depend on the description given by the people who had stayed in the house some 50 years ago. We could make out the steps leading to the house, pond and plantation. We found a “Beesuva kallu” which the people had left while leaving this place.

This is the place which was once an areca nut plantation.
The fate of the big banyan tree.
This tree had seen better days.
The place where a hundred people use to stay under one roof (used to be several hundred during Navarathri) is now totally deserted. I could not imagine the feelings of the people who had to leave their abode where generations lived.

A view of Sharavathi backwaters from Kumari gudda, highest point in this area.

The exact location of Gundumane can be found in Wikipedia here.