Vani Vilas Sagara

Vani Vilasa Sagara is a dam across the river Vedavathi in Chitradurga district of Karnataka. Vedavathi rises from the Bababudanagiri Mountains of Western Ghats and joins Tungabhadra. There is also a famous temple dedicated to Goddesses Devi called Kanive Maramma Temple right next to the temple.

Vani Vilasa Sagara dam was built by the Mysore Maharajas pre-independence. It is the oldest dam in the state and was constructed from 1897 to 1907. The dam is an exquisite piece of architecture, an engineering marvel for that time. The main object of the dam is to provide irrigation facility in the drought prone areas of Chitradurga district.

Vani Vilasa Sagara is located about 180 km from Bangalore. The place is around 20 km drive from Hiriyur on a deviation from NH4 (Bangalore – Mumbai National Highway).

I had visited this dam twice, the first time I had visited a friend of mine had got permission to do night rafting and kayaking in the dam. We reached the dam backwaters by eight in the night. To reach the base camp setup in the backwaters of the dam, we had travelled a few kilometers of unmetalled road with no habitation around. It was pitch dark with almost no light around.

The travelers bungalow/hostel was really neat. I was wondering how a government run institute can have such a beautiful structure. It was well maintained by the government.

After a small dinner, we started getting ready for the adventure. The instructors were so clear about the safety. Everyone was asked to wear a life jacket regardless whether one knew swimming or not. The jackets checked, head lights checked. We started rowing into the dam backwaters.

The night sky was clear with few stars and no moon. The whole area was pitch dark. Hills with windmills was in one direction. The other side had few lights from a nearby temple. The dam was visible after we went to the mid of the catchment area. Imagine yourself the location we were. No moon day, pitch dark, in the middle of the water body in a raft. Horizons with a hill, windmills, dam, temple, few scattered lights. It was like a dream come true. I have always wanted to go on a canoe in some water body like Three men in a boat.

The rafting crew
The rafting crew

We started in a raft and two kayaks. We communicated with each other using the head light as signals. Rafting is a good team building sport. Everyone on the raft needs to paddle in sync to get the maximum effort. We had our target set to the reach a piece pf land. Midway everyone in the raft were tired and people started singing songs to motivate themselves. Might be this is something like a war cry(famous tamil war cry movie scene).

Our target was to reach another side of the catchment area and return back. Once we were done with that, we had a good nights sleep. As usual woke up early in the morning, to discover no one else was up. So I took a walk around the place with my camera. The place was serene. I spent time alone watching the place. Last night when I entered the place, didn’t have any clue how it looked.

The backwaters @ Vani Vilas Sagara
The backwaters @ Vani Vilas Sagara

After an hour, we decided to trek the close by hill. The geography of the hill was completely different from what I had seen till date. It did’t have bigger rocks. All the rocks were small in size, and had thorny vegetation. The view from the top of the hill was amazing.

View of the backwaters from one of the hill in the catchment area of Vani Vilas Sagara
View of the backwaters from one of the hill in the catchment area of Vani Vilas Sagara


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