When the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam was constructed over the Kaveri River in 1932, water supply to the small agricultural village of Hulikere in Kalenahalli, Mandya district was limited. As a solution, Sir. M. Visvesvaraya designed the Hulikere tunnel.
This tunnel would transport the KRS dam backwaters to the Hulikere village. Though the tunnel is almost 100 years old, it is still what farmers in the village depend upon for irrigation.
- Address: Kalenahalli, Karnataka 571434 (MAP)
Hulikere Tunnel, Mandya – Highlights
- It was constructed at a cost of Rs 456,000
- Designed by Sir. M. Visvesvaraya
- The tunnel is the main source of irrigation for 200,600 acres of land in Mandya
- It took the lives of 18 People to construct the tunnel
- Machines from YarnEnd company in the USA were used
Hulikere Tunnel Design
The Hulikere tunnel is believed to have been the first tunnel for irrigation water in Central Asia. This tunnel is part of the Visvesvaraya canal. It is 2.8km long and was constructed by digging land from both ends.
What is commendable is the fact that given the rudimentary surveying equipment available at the time, both ends of the tunnel met perfectly. The tunnel has a width of 15 feet and an arched ceiling with a total height of 20 feet.
The People Behind It
The Hulikere Tunnel was the brainchild of Sir. M. Visvesvaraya. It was developed under Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail’s leadership and incorporated contributions by several other eminent engineers and scholars.
Notable amongst them were B Ramarao, K.R Sheshachar, M.K Narasimha Iyer, B.S Narasimha Rao, and M.R Krishnamurthy Rao.
Construction Of Hulikere Tunnel
The tunnel was constructed at a total cost of 456,000 rupees. Laborers for the project came not only from the areas nearby but also from other states. 4,000 people from Tamil Nadu, 2,000 from Maharashtra, 2,000 from Punjab and 1,000 people from Kerala worked on the construction of this tunnel.
These workers were paid daily wages ranging from 1.50 annas to 4 annas. Bullock carts and donkeys were used as the main form of transportation. Along with manual labor, machines such as 20HP 6 compressor and 2 Haisheng machines were also used.
The Hidden Treasure Of Mandya
The entrance to the tunnel is hidden by tall grasses and lush greenery. When water is not being released from the KRS dam, it is possible to walk through the tunnel and admire its architecture.
Its recent depiction in a fight scene from the Kannada hit movie Rathaavara has made it a popular spot with the local youth.