Madenur dam and Pataguppa bridge

30 April, 2007
Madenur dam was constructed on Sharavathi river during 1930’s for the generation of electricity. The water stored was used by Mahatma Gandhi Hydro electric station near Jogfalls. But this could not sustain the increasing demand for power. So, Linganamakki dam was constructed in 60’s and Madenur dam was submerged by the backwaters of Linganamakki. The dam is still in a good shape and is visible during summer months when the water level in Linganamakki dam drops below 1780ft. But to see the Madenur dam in full, the water level should drop below 1740ft.
I planned to visit the dam when I was in my native place last week. I was told by the locals that due to good monsoon last year, the water level was still high and only a portion of the dam is visible. But I decided to visit the dam as it was difficult for me to make one more trip to my native place before monsoon.
I and my uncle started on Bike on 30th April at 7AM from my native place Talavata. From Sagar, we took the route towards Holebagilu. Holebagilu is about 32 km from Sagar. Just before Holebagilu, there is a forest department gate, where we need forest department permission to enter. Madenur dam is about 5kms from the gate. The careless forest guard had gone on a long leave with the gate keys!! It was not good at all as we were not prepared to walk for 5 kms in the hot sun. But a villager passing by told that there is an opening at the fence created for grazing the cows and a bike can pass through that small opening. That was a nice idea and we did the same. The mud road was through acacia and bamboo plantations. After four kms, we were at a junction. This was the place where Madenur “santhe” (weekly fair) used to be held. It was also written that “Bellenne backwaters” is around 3kms. I was surprised because Bellenne to our native place (near Jogfalls) is just 7 kms and we had traveled nearly 60kms to reach this place!! I feel that some patch of Linganamakki backwaters might come in that path. I decided to explore that sometime in future. (Later, I found out from elders who had stayed there before the construction of dam, that there was indeed a route earlier but was not sure of the distance).
Another km on bike, we were at the Madenur dam. As expected, the dam was not fully visible. Some 30ft of the dam was still under water. But still it looked great.
The siphon system used to pump the water out of the dam was amazing. Care was needed to walk on these siphons as any mistake would be fatal and we would fall into water. We could not get into the siphons as 3/4th of the siphon was under water. We could also see a barge moving from Holebagilu.
There is also another way to Madenur Dam. One has to cross the backwater from Holebagilu on barge and go to Valagere. From Valagere, there is some path to the dam. Also, forest department permission is not required in this path. I heard that the road was rough and more isolated. But currently, this approach is not clear as the water still covers the path.
We spent nearly an hour and started back. The next point was Pataguppa Bridge. Not many people have heard about this and we came to know about it from locals. It is about 7 kms “Hulidevara Bana” where the road from Sagar, Holebagilu and Kollur intersects.
This bridge was constructed before Madenur Dam. When Madenur dam was built, the height of the bridge was increased by using pillars on top the existing one to avoid submersion from the backwaters. But Linganamakki dam built later submerged the bridge. It was used during summer months by vehicles. The bridge collapsed some 20 years ago.

Madenur dam can be found on Wikimapia here.

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