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Bhadra Dam, the secret of Chikkamagalur!
Duration: 2 Days
Expenditure 1000

It was early in the morning when I got a call from my ajji (grandmother) who stays in Lakkavalli, Chikkamagaluru district, and asked me to come visit her. When your grandmother calls you know that it's time to get pampered with good food away from all the buzz in a metropolitan city like Bangalore. I immediately booked a train ticket and went solo to my native.

Here's a bit of info about my native: it is at the heart of Malanad of Karnataka, known for its beautiful wildlife, greenery, Tungabadhra backwaters, and the Bhadra Dam. The Tungabhadra is a huge river that flows between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The river eventually joins the Krishna river.


After a nice train journey, I reached the town and headed straight to my grandmother's place. After the usual pleasantries, I bugged my older cousin brother to take me around and show me the dam. We rode all the way to the dam.

Photos of Lakkavalli, Karnataka, India 1/1 by Anusha Nakshathra

Normally, during the rainy season, the dam is full and lively. It had been pouring all week and I knew I was in for some good shots. The Bhadra dam also has a lot of backwaters usually when the rains are good.

I soon spotted several crocodiles lazing around by the banks of the river. They were quite far and the sun was already setting, so I don't have any photos of them. However, on the other end of the backwaters, some people organize water sports such as sailing and kayaking to name a few.

Photos of  1/1 by Anusha Nakshathra

The Bhadra dam was built to help irrigation for the fields nearby. Not only does it help farmers, it helps generate hydro-electricity. The ecosystem is such that there is even a wildlife sanctuary nearby that is well guarded by the forest department. Not only are there several elephants, there are leopards, smaller cats, and a host of snake species that one can discover at the sanctuary. Let's not even start with the birds!

Photos of  1/1 by Anusha Nakshathra

For a dam that began its construction the same year we got our independence, it has stood the test of time and is one of the most successful dam projects in India.

With my cousin, we rode to the safe part of the backwaters where there is a watch tower. You can climb it and enjoy a beautiful sunset and a view of the waters itself.

The place is a little risky to get to since it's amidst the Bhadra forest and you may occasionally spot a leopard or a wild elephant nearby drinking from the waters of the dam. But, it's pretty adventurous if you're at a safe distance.

Photos of  1/2 by Anusha Nakshathra
Photos of  2/2 by Anusha Nakshathra

The place is not only about the dam and the backwaters, it's surrounded by a thick forest covered by various species of plants and trees. People travel all the way to these parts to discover new species of amphibians and insects. This place had been even documented by BBC and NatGeo photographers and videographers terming it one of the best places for bird watching.

What is underrated about this place is also the existence of tigers. While you would be considered lucky to spot one, you can be rest assured that they exist in relative abundance here, something that the forest department treasures and protects with continuous effort.

Photos of  1/2 by Anusha Nakshathra
Photos of  2/2 by Anusha Nakshathra

The best time to visit is between December to March. One of the very rare facts that not many people know about this dam is the fact that when the water level increases beyond a certain limit, the officials turn on a series of lights at the dam illuminating the extent and the grandeur of this dam. It looks spectacular from a distance and has been a rare occurrence for a while now.

Photos of  1/1 by Anusha Nakshathra

After a peaceful trip to the dam and the surrounding areas, I got back to my grandmother's place to sleep and discover another part of nature's beauty the next day.

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