Chunchi Falls: The Pearly White Necklace
Fed by the Arkavati river, Chunchi Falls is a beautiful cascading waterfall set amidst a rocky terrain, 90 KMs away from Bangalore. The milky white water flowing through the lush green patches almost feels like a pearly white necklace laid over a green velvet cloth. It’s a perfect spot if you’re looking for a peaceful getaway. But be mindful of the crowded locations near the waterfalls. Just 13 Kms from Chunchi Falls is Sangama where River Arkavati meets the Kaveri river. This confluence is a holy place and a beautiful one at that. Here, I’ve shared everything you need to know to plan a bike trip or road trip to Chunchi Falls from Bangalore. You can also choose to add Sangama and Haro Bele Dam or any of the recommended places below along with this trip.
How to reach Chunchi Falls from Bangalore
Chunchi Falls is about 90 KMs from Bangalore. Only a few options are available as the place is very secluded.
Personal Transport: By far, personal transport is the best mode to reach Chunchi Falls. From Bengaluru, take the NICE road and exit at Kanakpura Road. The maps route will get you there comfortably. There’s a small entry fee levied by locals at the entrance to the falls area. Support the local community by paying it up. I rode to Chunchi Falls on my bike, I will talk more about the ride below.
Public Transport: If you’re opting for Public transport, it is recommended to reach Kanakpura from Bengaluru, there are buses available from Kalasipalyam starting at 8:30 AM. Once you reach Kanakapura, you can either hire a rickshaw to reach Chunchi Falls. The other option is to get on a bus that goes to Sangama, frequency (unsure) and get down near the arch at Elagalli and from there the falls are about 6.5 KMs.
So personal transport certainly trumps Public transport as the default choice to reach Chunchi Falls.
Best time to visit Chunchi Falls and Sangama
The best time to visit Chunchi Falls is from August to February. During this time, there’s enough water in the Arkavati river and the waterfalls will be in its full glory depending on the water released from upstream dams. I went in August and the flow was moderate. I was able to sit down right in front of the waterfalls, watching each water drop trickle down the rocks.
What to pack for your road trip to Chunchi Falls
If you’re traveling to Chunchi falls during monsoons, i.e during the months of July-September. It is highly recommended to take rainwear with you. During the other months, carry more water than usual and sunscreen.
Where to eat on your trip to Chunchi Falls
There are a lot of roadside Dhabas on the way to Kanakapura. Once you cross Kanakapura, there aren’t any. You can only have snacks at either Chunchi Falls parking area or at Sangama if that’s part of your plan.
How much would a trip to Chunchi Falls from Bangalore cost
A trip to Chunchi Falls should definitely cost you under INR 1000/person. The total distance during the round trip would be roughly 220 km. So you can calculate the costs depending on the mode of transport.
Let the ride Begin: Bike trip to Chunchi Falls from Bengaluru
So this happened in July 2018 for friendship day. Although I published this travelogue back in August 2018, as part of making trailsofinju.com as a complete travelogue repository, I’m repurposing the content. Read on to join the ride 😉
Firstly, I wish you all a happy friendship day!! Friends are an integral part of our lives irrespective of the stage we are in. So be thankful to all the people who make it a point to put a smile on your face.
I and a few of my friends have planned to go to Hogenakkal Waterfalls which has been slipping for many weeks now. Finally, we thought today was the day but unfortunately, a friend dropped off due to some emergency. So the slipping continued. But being a Program Manager, it would be a failure to not have a plan B :P, so I made another plan yesterday evening as soon as I came to know about my friend’s emergency.
I have a weird habit of marking places on my map and tag them as “want to go” if I found them interesting enough. So I went through my map lists and found that “Chunchi Falls” was around 90 Kms. My eyes were caught by a huge water body in the upstream of the waterfall. That was the “Haro Bele Dam”. Since I was planning to start early in the morning, I thought a Hilltop for sunrise would be perfect, and another close look at the nearby places, I found “Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta(BRB)”.
And my planning was done.
The Failed Plan
Sunrise at BRB, Ride to Haro Bele Dam, spend some time at Chunchi Falls and be back to Bangalore by afternoon.
Perfect isn’t it? But fate had other plans and I slept off without setting an alarm for waking up early that morning.
Luckily, I woke up at 7:30 AM. I somehow managed to get ready and left by 8 AM.
It rained last night and the drive was damp and peaceful.
Stop #1: Chunchi Falls, Kanakapura
The first stop was Chunchi Falls(I chucked BRB since it was already sunny by the time I left Bangalore), a secluded waterfall set amidst rocks. While the route presented by Google was accurate until the parking lot, people were all over the place thereafter.
There are primarily two spots, one is just rocks and little water here and there. However, during peak monsoons, you can see a lot of inflow in this area. Second being the Waterfall itself, which is a little further away from the first spot. Sun was shining bright by that time and since getting to each spot involves a small but steep hike, I wouldn’t recommend to go further away and hike down to see the falls unless you have more water with you 😉
Soon after descending, I observed that the rocks in front of the falls were free. So I grabbed a selfie with the falls before it was occupied by others. I drifted towards the right of the falls which didn’t have any crowd, So I had the falls all for myself ;).
After clicking some pics and multiple failed attempts at sketching the waterfall, I left the place.
Ride to Sanagama from Chunchi Falls
During my ride to Chunchi Falls, I have never seen a single board up until the last left turn after which the falls were about 5 km away, but I saw “Sangama-‘x’ Km” many more times. I knew Sangama meant combine/coalesce, but it never occurred to me that it could also be the confluence of two rivers.
Sangama was a place where the River Arkavati meets the mighty Cauvery. I haven’t seen the confluence of rivers before, So I was excited about visiting that. Added to that, Sangama was only 15Kms away. So I raced to Sangama riding through hairpin bends and reached the place.
It was a beautiful sight to watch but it was too crowded. I wanted to witness the river after the confluence, a quick glance at maps and I found there was another route by road to reach the other side. I left this place and just when I almost reached the other side, I was stopped by a guard and told me I can’t take this way( A way to restrict the folks willing to go to the other side to use the coracles. Lobbying?)
I took a final glance at the bachelorette River Arkavati 😛 from a bridge and turned back to reach Haro Bele Dam
Haro Bele Dam: Arkavati Hydroelectric Project
I thought I had to do some bargaining to get entry into the dam but fortunately, they had a visitor policy. I just had to enter my name to enter the premises. The place was beautiful with “zero people around”.
The upstream side of the dam had a beautiful landscape. The river flows between the two hills and the downstream had rocks which is the case with most dams. But the peculiar thing was that those rocks in the dry season were accessible to common people.
In the picture below you can see people fishing by sitting on the rocks.
I left the dam at around 2 PM as the sun was shining bright & mercilessly.
The road to the Kanakpura-Sangama Rd from the dam passes through a lot of small villages, I found a peaceful place (which also had a place to sit and rest) by the roadside near one such village. I stopped there to have a quick bite.
One last click and I was riding back home!!
All throughout my trip, starting from Chunchi to Sangama I didn’t realize that I was just following the River Arkavati. I found this only when I saw that the dam’s actual project name was “Arkavati Hydro Electric Project” and opened maps to realize that the same water flows to Chunchi falls which then finally meets Cauvery at Sangama.
So, here’s a tribute to the beautiful river Arkavati who accompanied me this Friendship day. To sum it up, it was a beautiful day out with Arkavati 😉
Sericulture: Near Kanakapura, Bangalore
I was lucky to get a glimpse into sericulture on the way back. The route was through a lot of small villages. More details in the video attached below.
I know it’s shitty video editing, but deal with it, bro!
P.S: Lucky for me he understood my difficulty conversing in Kannada and started speaking in Telugu. And here’s my concluding present for getting here 😉
Activities and places to explore around Chunchi Falls
Sangama-Mekedatu from Bangalore
Mekedatu along with Sangama are two holy places. With a mythological reference and the beautiful rock formations alongside the river flow is what makes Mekedatu a good inclusion for your ongoing riverine journey.
Adventure Activities Around Ramanagara
Ramanagara & Kanakapura has a lot of resorts offering various adventure activities. I had personally visited the Q Mango forest during my ride to SRS Hills, and it offers Kayaking, rock climbing, mud volleyball amongst others.
About 70 Kms from Chunchi Falls & about 140 Kms from Bangalore are the twin waterfalls of Gaganachukki & Barachukki Waterfalls at Shivasamudra. The beauty of these falls can’t be described in words but my complete ride experience is written here
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Thanks a lot for the read!