Shivanasamudra Falls

Though we’re big proponents of experiencing the outdoors in all seasons, most people go through stretches when they cannot travel or don’t have the time to be in nature. In these spells, encountering the beauty of the physical world virtually can benefit one’s mental health or take the edge off of bubbling wanderlust. Watching videos of others in gorgeous locations or listening to realistic sounds can stimulate our connection to the planet, even when stuck inside.

Just a photograph might be enough to spark curiosity.

On my Windows computer, a revolving array of landscapes graces lock screens and backgrounds. Whoever curated these photographs chose some stunning locations. One such image recently struck me as particularly resplendent, prompting an investigation into its origin.

I present to you Shivanasamudra Falls:

Technically, the image above is a specific section of Shivanasamudra Falls, which is a cluster of constituent waterfalls. The portion in the photograph is called Gaganachukki Falls, itself comprised of twin drops. Nearby, another major portion is known as Bharachukki Falls.

These majestic chutes form part of the river Kaveri, which snakes from west to east across southern India. Shivanasamudra Falls sits in the state of Karnataka, forming the border between the districts of Chamarajanagara and Mandya. An eponymous city rests between the major falls.

Shivanasamudra is a prototypical version of segmented waterfalls, a group formed by distinct flows. From the highest point at Gaganachukki Falls to the bottom of the drop measures nearly 300 feet, good enough to rank 36th on the list of highest waterfalls in India. The breadth is rather long, coming in at 1,000 feet wide. Geologists also term the system perennial, a subset of ephemeral waterfalls. These types do not feature continuous water but are prone to seasonal neaps and springs. Monsoon season occurs in India between July to October, during which Shivanasamudra becomes a torrent.

Bharachukki Falls - photo by Quantumquark
The river Kaveri with the waterfall's location - graphic by NaanCoder
A close look at the geography near the falls - wiki maps

The Kaveri carved out several islands in this region, as displayed in the map above. On the island near the falls, over the centuries, people constructed multiple Hindu temples. Looking at the scenery, it’s easy to imagine why this spot was chosen for Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, an ornate building in the Dravidian style.

The temple is dedicated to Ranganatha, who is a manifestation of Vishnu. Sri Ranganathaswamy, sometimes called “Madhya Ranga,” is one of three major temples constructed on islands in the Kaveri devoted to Ranganatha.

Inside the temple - photo by Wkacnt

In 1902, India’s first hydroelectric power station popped up at the Falls, which is just 85 miles from Bangalore, a city of 8 million people. When the water gushes in full spirit, one can only imagine how much electricity Shivanasamudra can provide:

From a computer screen half a world away, though, the power of this location is a different form of electricity. It can light up the inner spirit of one glued to a monitor, wishing for a change of scenery.

Shivanasamudra in full flow - photo by Naadapriya
Rainbow over the falls - photo by Primejyothi

Further Reading and Exploration

Shivanasamudra – Wikivoyage

Sivasamudram Falls – World Waterfall Database


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