Deccan Herald, Thursday, January 29, 2004


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Deccan Herald » Metro Life » Full Story

It is an unlikely paradise

Not too far away from the city and yet a rustic delight, Kanva Dam is a lovely place to visit to unwind, fish or just watch the world go by



When any Bangalorean is asked if there is any dam nearby, the immediate answer is KRS near Mysore.

Few know that there is another dam at less than half the distance, with a large waterbody and good boating and picnicking facilities - the Kanva Dam near Ramanagaram, off Mysore road.

Kanva Dam is a minor irrigation project dam spanning 776 hectares and is about 15 kms in length; with five batteries of 17 x 8, it can hold upto 14,000 cusecs of water at full capacity. Built way back in 1946 across the River Kanva (a tributary of the River Cauvery), the dam is also a fisheries center with a number of trees and wooded hills surrounding it.

The river Kanva is named after the sage Kanva, who was believed to have been living in this region during the time of Ramayana. It is believed that the sage used to live in the caves in the mountains and forests around the dam.

When full, the dam is a stunning sight but due to paucity of rain in the past couple of years, the water level in the dam has receded to less than half its capacity. But it is still large enough to enjoy a leisurely boat ride and also for both adults and kids to splash around in the shallows. It is also an ideal spot for camping and birdwatching.

Alongside the dam is a fisheries training and research center, aimed at making the local villagers self sufficient through fish farming. Towards the far end one can get a glimpse of Savandurga and Kootagal Hills.

While at Kanva dam, it is worthwhile to trek downstream and visit an interesting cave- temple called ‘Purushotthama thirtha gavi’, which is about 3 kms away. There is a rough road (usually used by bullock carts), which runs along the dam’s outflow. Walk along the path till you sight a banana grove where a small board on a tree directs you to climb uphill to reach the cave. A climb of about 500 ft gets you there and you can enjoy a spectacular view of green fields, coconut groves and the countryside.

The cave, however, is full of bats and reeks of their peculiar smell. is an important pilgrimage center for Madhwa Brahmins, as it is believed that a saint performed penance here. A Statue of Lord Hanuman has been installed here inside the cave.

Travel Tips
Distance: 68 kms
How to get there by bus: Travel to Channapatna and then take a local bus to Kyasapura, get down at Kanva stop and walk across the bund of the dam to reach the headwaters.

By Road: Travel on the Bangalore-Mysore road across Kengeri Satellite town, Bidadi and Ramnagaram towns.

Three km after Ramanagaram on Mysore road is Janapada Loka a folk arts museum and training center. Kengal village famous for the Hanuman temple is a mere two km from here.

This is where one turns off to Kanva Reservoir. There is a signboard on the main road and eight kms down is Kanva dam.

Places to Stay: There is an Irrigation Department’s Inspection Bunglow at the Dam that has only two double rooms. To stay here, one has to book accommodation from office of the Executive Engineer, MP Division, Ramanagaram. (Ph : 72-71259). It costs about Rs 100 for a room per night but going through the official procedures is a big hassle.There is a cook and caretaker living here but he will prepare food for only if one provides all the essential items for cooking. It is advised to be self sufficient in terms of food. Borewell water is available plenty. A few petty shops at the dam sell biscuits and snacks.

Special Information: Kanva dam is sited in the middle of countryside and the nearest shop is around 5 kms away.

The dam is an ideal spot for a quiet weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One can camp on the banks of the river or stay at the Inspection Bungalow for a memorable weekend.

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