Tungabhadra Dam - Come Fall in Love!

15th Aug 2017
Photo of Tungabhadra Dam - Come Fall in Love! by Karim S A

It can very well be compared to R K Narayan's fictional town of Malgudi. I am talking of Tungabhadra Dam in Karnataka. But this is not fictional, unlike Malgudi, it is as lively, and as beautiful as Malgudi.

It's nestled under the wings of Hampi, the World UNESCO Site. One reason, for its obscurity, but nevertheless, a very beautiful piece of place on earth. It is just 14 kilometers away from Hampi and only 3 kilometers from Hospet. So, the next time you are Hampi, don'g give it a miss.

As the name speaks for itself, this place has a Dam built here during the year 1953. It is indeed one of the most beautiful dam constructed across the river Tungabhadra, a tributary of River Krishna which is worth visiting. It has a beautiful garden below the Dam with light and sound show and facilities for boating.

To see this place, simply get into a Bus to Hospet, which is on the way to Hubli. There are a number of buses, both private and State Run buses from Hyderabad and Bengaluru and other cities. You have trains from both these cities too.

If confused, just follow me from Hyderabad:

Day 1

I very much wanted to take the 20.15 KSRTC AC Sleeper Bus (Hyderabad-Davanagere) which goes via Hospet, but it would drop me at Hospet at a very odd hour of 03.20 AM, and I didn't wanted to be disturbed from my slumber at such an odd hour. So I booked the Non AC Sleeper Bus which leaves Hyderabad at 22.15 and reaches Hospet at 07.30 AM, when the Sun is on my head. The ticket to Hospet from Hyderabad by this KSRTC Bus is 641/- One Way.

Day 2

My friend Ramu was waiting at the Bus Station to receive me and take me to his home. Friends are really God Sent Angels on Earth. Hot water was waiting for my tired bones. Whether it is AC, Non AC, Sleeper or Volvo, bus journeys always are very tiring. But frankly, I still prefer buses to trains. I find train journeys boring.

Having met Ramu after a gap of 4 years, we had so much to share over breakfast and piping hot south Indian coffee. We shared our childhood memories and our school stories. At 11.00 AM, we left for the Dam site. The view from the top is ....what do I say? (I am short of words)...Come here, and see the beautiful landscape for yourself, and you will also be awe struck and mesmerized.

There is a lot of history about the construction of this Dam which was completed during 1953. But what I can never forget is, that a lot of villages were submerged to construct this Dam. I wonder to this date, where did all these uprooted villagers resettle? How painful it must have been for them.

There is a lone canteen up there at the Dam site, where we had some Tea and Biscuits. Climb the Vaikunt via the curvy road or take the thousand steps to reach the lighthouse. Yes you read it right, I wrote lighthouse. Normally you find lighthouses only on the sea shores to guide the ships. But they built a lighthouse here. The actual purpose is not known but may be it was used as a view point. Or maybe it guided the boats that plied here many years ago. There is an anchoring point here with a parapet wall for the passengers to walk up to the shore. But this place is now a restricted zone and no one is allowed to enter. Remnants of a couple of long disused boats lie here even today which you can see through the barbed fence. Sometime during the 70's there were boats which took you round the Dam. There is a beautiful inspection bungalow up there where you can stay, but it is restricted only for the Government officials. You find a Temple too here. The view of the valley from here is breathtakingly beautiful. Green Valley interspersed with tiny bright yellow flowers. From there, we got down to the Garden below. This Garden called the Pampavana Garden was built on the lines of Brindavan Garden, Mysore. Light and Sound show is held daily in the evenings. You can do boating here. You have an aquarium too. You can stay at Hotel Mayura in Tungabhadra Dam which is near the Tungabhadra Dam circle.

Day 3

The next day, we went to Munirabad, which is on the other side of Tungabhadra Dam to see the Japanese Garden there. You don't have much to see here except this Garden which you can cover in one hour. So we went to Hospet, had our lunch at Hotel Shanbagh.

If the beauty of this place holds you back and you wish to stay back, I suggest you visit the Fisheries Department on the Munirabad Road and see the different school of fishes in the ponds there and learn a bit of fish breeding. Rent a bicycle/bike and take a stroll on the banks of basavanna canal and reach Hospet by this road. The landscape on this route will enthral you with swaying sugarcane fields on one side and the canal with trees lined up on the other side, with bird nests hanging on the branches. It looks like a picture perfect canvas of an artist's imagination.

Day four we had planned to visit Hampi. But, about Hampi, I can go on and on and write a full thesis, which I will do sometime later. So, I will conclude this blog here with my description of only Tungabhadra Dam.

When you are done with the silent rocks and the screaming history of Hampi, come to Tungabhadra Dam and talk to the little yellow flowers that adorn this place. Immerse and get lost in this sweet little heaven on earth.