Continuing our journey from Bangalore to Coorg and moving on from Maddur leads you to the prosperous town of Mandya also known as Sakkara Nadu, which translates into Sweet land.   But before that, it is a great idea to take a detour from Maddur to witness the magnificent beauty of the Gaganachukki and Bharachukki falls. Located at a short distance from one another, this spectacle of nature is a treat for the eyes especially during and post monsoons.

Nature’s glory

Also known as “Bluff” and Shivanasamudra falls, Gaganachukki is located about 55 km from Maddur.  Accessible via a scenic drive amidst lush greenery and pleasant rustic scenes, these segmented waterfalls are a result of the river Kaveri flowing through ravines and rocks of the Deccan plateau.  The town of Shivanasamudra in fact divides the river into twin waterfalls and it is a common misconception that one of them is Gaganachukki whilst the other is Bharachukki.  The latter is in fact located about 12 km from Gaganachukki and has a height of about 69 m as opposed to Gaganachukki which falls from a height of 90m.  The sight of the milky white waters cascading down in all its splendour coupled with a gushing sound and verdant greenery all around, this one is sure to be an experienced that you will cherish for a long time to come.

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Gaganachukki Falls – Photograph: Rashmi Gopal Rao

 

Ethnic weaves and offbeat sights

Moving onto the fertile belt of Mandya, the sight of tall green sugarcane plants is very common.  A highly fertile region, this part of the state is watered by as many as four rivers namely, Hemavati, Kaveri, Shimsha, and Lokapavani.  Apart from paddy and sugarcane, the bustling city of Mandya is a rapidly developing one and is home to a number of educational institutions and businesses alike.   If you are looking to explore something off the beaten track, head to the interiors and into the weaving village of Kodiyala.

Inhabited by the Padmashali community who originally hail from Andhra Pradesh, Kodiyala is famous for handloom sarees.  The history of weaving in this town dates back to the days of Tipu Sultan and it is widely believed that the royal family of Mysore were major patrons of Kodiyala weaves.  Traditionally, the village has been into the making of cotton, silk cotton and silk sarees in a variety of designs and patterns.  While the tradition of hand weaving is slowly dying, there are still about 150 families who have looms in their houses which they operate by hand.  The village that was known to supply sarees to several politicians ranging from Indira Gandhi to S M Krishna’s family, today, has a number of saree manufacturing units that operate using power looms. 

If you are in a mood to explore some more unconventional sights, the paddy field strewn village of Pandavapura in Mandya district is a wonderful option.  It treats you to some picturesque sights like the Kunti beta which is not only a spiritually significant place but also a popular trekking spot as well.  The Thonnur lake which is a stunning water body is also noteworthy. 

Historical vibes galore:  Srirangapatna

Moving away from Mandya and back on the highway, leads you to the green board indicating the temple town of Srirangapatna.  A town of high cultural and religious significance, Srirangapatna is located about 18 km from Mysore.  The town is synonymous with the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple which is arguably the most important site in the town.  Dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is found in a reclining position on his snake Anantha, this temple is highly popular and one of the largest in the state. 

The town has an indelible connection with Tipu Sultan and one can trace the famous rulers’ footsteps by visiting key monuments like his summer palace called Daria Daulat Bagh and his mausoleum aka the Gumbaz.  The summer palace that was constructed in 1784 is built in teak wood and in Indo-Sarcenic style.  A part of it is now converted into a museum and houses several treasures in the form of paintings, coins and weapons of the Tipu Sultan era. 

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The Gumbaz – Photograph: Vikram Nanjappa

 

Close to the palace, Gumbaz is the resting place of Tipu Sultan and his family members.  The tombs built in Persian style are replete with intricately carved pillars and doors.  Bailey’s Dungeon which was the place used by the ruler to imprison British officers as well as the place where Tipu was actually killed are yet other sites of significance in Srirangapatnam.

If you are a fan of avifauna do not miss the renowned Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary known for its migratory and resident birds.  A whopping 170 species of birds including the painted stork, spot billed pelican, heron, oriental darter and woolly-necked stork have been recorded here.  A boat ride on the tranquil waters amidst the heavenly and serene setting is a perfect way to end your highway adventure before you reach the city of palaces aka Mysore.