Shivanasamudra Falls is the sight for the very first hydro-electric power station in Asia. It was constructed in 1902. Found in the island-town of Shivanasamudram in the Mandya District of Karnataka, South India, this famous waterfall is formed by the Kaveri River as it drops after traversing the Deccan Plateau landscape. Shivanasamudram actually divides the river into two and therefore creating twin waterfalls. As a result, the Shivanasamudra Falls looks as though it is more than just one waterfall.
The Kaveri River forms two branches of waterfalls, the Gaganachukki falls (western branch) and the Bharachukki falls (eastern branch). Gaganakuchi falls is further split into two segments, the one on the left side and the other on the right, and these two segments are the ones referred to as the twin waterfalls. Bharachukki falls is found a few kilometers away from Gaganachukki since the Kaveri River splits a few kilometers back.
The Shivanasamudra Falls, therefore, is a segmented waterfall, which means the flow of water from the source breaks into two or more channels before plunging to a pool below, creating a number of channels that drop side by side. The average width of the branches and segments are a wide 849 meters, average height is 90 meters, and average volume is 934 cubic meters per second. It is observed that the best flow happens from July to October during the monsoon season. During the rains, it is extremely dangerous swimming below Gaganachukki. After the monsoon and when the weather is fine, tourists may trek down Bharachukki for a nice swim on the shallower areas of the pool.
The powerful twin waterfalls of Gaganachukki are best and most safely viewed from the Shivanasamudra Watchtower. Many have tried approaching the sight from behind and on top, but such attempts have resulted to several accidents with fatal consequences.
To visit and observe these majestic waterfalls, the nearest train station is found in Mysore, although still 60 kilometers away. The city of Bangalore is 139 kilometers away, and buses from there only go as far as Kollegala. From Kollegala, tourists may take a cab or an auto-rickshaw going to the falls. Buses on this route, however, are often crowded, which is why taking a cab is advised. Bangalore is the capital city and main thoroughfare in the state of Karnataka.
When driving, one may take the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway that leads to Maddur. From the Maddur bus station, travelers make a left towards Malavelli all the way to Shivanasamudram. A huge part of this route is unpaved, yet it is still the best way to reach the falls. A non-stop drive may take three hours. On the Bangalore-Mysore Expressway, one might want to make a quick stop at Channapatna town where local stores produce and sell rare wooden toys. Also along the way, there are popular restaurants and food joints in Maddur, Kollegala and along the expressway, specifically the Kamath Lokaruchi Restaurant for its traditional Karnataka food. It is good to grab a bite on the road since there is only one restaurant near Shivanasamudra Falls.