State Affairs

Kodagu mulls shutting down dangerous Chelavara falls

BENGALURU: Waterfalls and rivers along the Western Ghats in Karnataka have always been the crowd-pullers. But some of them are turning out to be too dangerous.

The scenic Chelavara falls in Madikeri taluk of Kodagu is in the centre of a fresh controversy because of the rising number of deaths in the last few years.

Alarmed by the casualties since the onset of monsoon this year, the Kodagu district administration is contemplating a ban on tourists at the Chelavara waterfall.

Two tourists were washed away at the falls on Thursday. Locals staged a protest demanding a ban on tourism around the falls. Sources in the Kodagu district administration revealed that this year so far about 17 people have died at the treacherous Chelavara falls while trying to negotiate their way through the gushing waters.

“On Thursday, the two tourists had slipped into the water pool at the foot of the falls. The discharge of water was so huge that they could not come up and were washed away by the undercurrents. Emergency personnel also found it hard to recover the bodies. This year alone, at least 17 people have died at the falls,” said Sujith Kuttappa, a local resident.

Located near Cheyandane village in Madikeri taluk, Chelavara falls is only 15 km from Virajpet. Due to its proximity to Thadiyandamol, the highest peak in Kodagu, tourists often flock here in large numbers. The falls are formed by a small stream, which is a tributary of river Cauvery, and can be seen from the main road.

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