Deccan Herald,  Friday, October 17, 2003


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 No longer enchanting

P MANJUNATH comes away from Sangama, disheartened by the gross neglect of a potential tourist destination

Nestled amidst a forest 90 kilometres from Bangalore, Sangama is a very expansive picnic spot. Tourists flock here in large numbers to enjoy the beauty of nature and the refreshing weather.

Sangama is the meeting point of the two rivers, Cauvery and Arkavathi. Here, River Arkavathi with its sandy bed offers a contrast to the rocky bed of Cauvery. There is a tiny shrine of Lord Shiva locally known as Sangameshwara. The temple, built in Chola style of architecture, consists of only a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) with a shikara (cupola) over it, and a mukha mantapa. It is unfortunate these ancient structures are in dilapidated state. The Nandi idol lying near the dwajastambha (flag post) has been damaged. With a number of ashramas mushrooming on the banks, hardly a few tourists visit this temple.

A pathway leads from the Sangama to a spot called Mekedatu. This is accessible by a 4-kilometre walk or by a private vehicle. There are two private operators who use the country mud road to carry the tourists back and forth. This narrow road is in a very bad shape. At Mekedatu, Cauvery passes through a very narrow rock valley of hard granite hills. In one place a rock projects over the stream almost to its middle from the left bank. It was said that even goats could leap across them and hence the name Mekedatu. The view of the river from here is absolutely breathtaking. The bracing climate and the rocky terrain enhance the exhilarating experience.

Climbing down on steep, slippery rocks and swimming in the river is very dangerous. The water, which flows here with a great speed, has drilled pits and holes in the hard rocky bed, transforming in into a garden of sculptures. Despite the warning boards, this place continues to be a death trap. With many people resorting to drinking here, it has caused serious inconvenience to other visitors. The police are posted only on Sundays. No hotels or rest places are available. Owing to all these factors, most visitors return not refreshed but with horrible imprints in their minds. 

Sangama is a potential tourist place. It is time to the concerned authorities took notice of the fact and adopted measures to transform Sangama into a happy and enjoyable destination.


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