Friday, August 06, 2010

Authorities’ bluff costs tourists

Authorities’ bluff costs tourists
Ramesh S Kebbehundi, Mysore, August 5, DHNS:

Although they receive thousands of tourists every year, the scenic Gaganachukki and Bharachukki waterfalls, popularly known as 'Bluff' are yet to have basic amenities for the visitors, such as toilets, drinking water, accommodation, bus service and security, despite repeated promises by various authorities.

The two waterfalls, are part of the Shivanasamudram system of falls which has the distinction of being the first hydroelectric generating station in Asia providing power to the gold mining operations in KGF in 1902, making the town the first in Asia to receive electricity.

Despite their hoary past and and undiminished beauty, there has been no effort on part of the elected representatives and district administration of Chamarajanagar and Mandya to improve infrastructure at the falls which receive oodles of visitors during monsoon. The falls have the potential to become major tourist spots but for lack of basic facilities.

Although a mere 1,5 km separaes the two falls, Gaganachukki is part of Malvalli taluk of Mandya district, while Bharachukki comes under Kollegal taluk of Chamarajanagar district.
Thousands of devotees from all over the country and abroad too visit Shivanasamudra as the Madhyaranga temple, the second of the three Ranganatha temple is located here, withthe first, Adiranga temple located in Srirangapatna of Mandya district and the Anthyaranga temple in Tamil Nadu.

Another temple, Adishakthi Shivansamudra Maramma temple too located just a few km from the Madhayaranga temple. Devotees from Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Chamarajanagar and other parts of the State sacrifice goats, sheep and chicken to appease Goddess Adishakthi Shivanasamudra Maramma. An estimated 600 to 800 sheep and goats are offered to this Maramma daily. Tuesdays, Fridays and weekends witness heavy rush.

The devotees come here in private vehicles, as there is no bus service to the area. There is no direct bus service to Gaganachukki falls and Shivanasamudra from Kollegal and Malavalli towns. The KSRTC buses from Bangalore to Kollegal drop off tourists near Satthegala of Kollegal taluk, where tourists are forced to hire autorickshaws and taxis that fleece the tourists. The road is in a bad condition and it has not been asphalted for many years.

There are other temples located in the region. Besides, thousands of Muslims flock this spot as a shrine, Dargah Hazrath Mardane Garib is located hear Bharachukki falls.
There are no toilets for tourists near the water falls. There is no organised sightseeing. The tourists, who wish to stay overnight, are forced to look out for rooms in Kollegal and Malavalli which are 16 km away from the falls.

With many adventurous tourists seeking the thrill of watching the waterfall from the slippery rocks at the top of the fall, there have been fatalities. There are no metal grills near the falls to protect visitors. The police outpost at Shivanasamudra exists in name, as not a cop is visible there.

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