Hulikere Tunnel located in the village called Kalenahalli of Mandya district is found in the path flown across by KRS dam’s V.C canal (Vishweshwaraiah Canal). Looking at this tunnel, it seems like the technological civil engineering in the so-called ‘olden days’ actually looks far better, modern and skillful, than the collapsing dams and bridges of today’s so-called ‘highly technical’ world. Let’s explore more about this tunnel which actually looks scary when you visit due to its deserted location and darkness as it’s deep down with dense greenery above and all around.
#1 The First Irrigation Tunnel in Asia
Yes, the Hulikere Canal in Mandya district is said to be the first irrigation tunnel in entire Asia. There were just railway underground pathways at the most but not an irrigation tunnel underground. Until this came up nobody even thought of or could imagine such an advanced irrigation engineering aspect.
#2 All Credits to Sir M V And Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail
This lesser-known tunnel flows 2.80 km which was constructed in 1928 November under the governance of KrishnaRaja Wodeyar IV by Sir M Vishweshwarayya and Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail. The tunnel since then only witnessed renovation in the year 1931 October. The contributions of both the scholarly personalities to this project are immense and certainly not to forget the significant inputs of the entire team of engineers and all the renowned great men involved in this venture.
#3 Men Behind The Construction Of Tunnel
Sir M Vishweshwarayya was a born engineer, a god gifted intellectual. He was honored by the London ‘Institution of Civil Engineers’ then, which gives us an insight of his legendary and remarkable projects looked upon by the entire world.
Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail shares great contributions to the tunnel ‘s implementation as well. He served as Asst Superintendent of Police with the government and was considered as “one of the cleverest men in India” and known for his keen sense of human and cultural values.
#4 Boon to the Land Of Mandya
This initiative of Viswesvarayya is helpful beyond our guesses. The Hulikere tunnel provides irrigation facilities to 2,00,600 acres of land in Mandya. The tunnel is indeed a boon to the land of Mandya and is one of the greatest attributions of the historic engineer.
Among his various offerings to the wellbeing of society, this tunnel is no surprise for the tremendous intelligence he holds. He was an Engineering school himself and an incalculable technologist and unbeatable civil science expertise.
#5 Way back in the 1920s
The overall cost of the tunnel was a lump sum of 4,56,000 rupees. This amount way back in the 1920s is actually a big deal. In order to the construction of the tunnel, more than 4000 laborers had come over from Tamil Nadu. The women laborers were paid 4 anna and men labourers were paid 6 anna as everyday wages.
#6 2000 Pathans from Punjab
In order for the tunnel construction, America’s YarnEnd company’s machines were used. 20HP 6 compressor, 2 Haisheng machine (30HP) were used to clear the tunnels stones and sand. For this job, 2000 Pathans from Punjab had come over whose daily wage was 1.50 anna. There were 1000 Keralite Mapillai’s as well who were paid 1.50 anna daily wages.
#7 It was a Feat indeed
Apart from this, 2000 people from Maharashtra joined the venture bringing along the equal number of donkeys as a chief means of labor load carrier. Also, the bullock carts were of great use as it was one of the primary means of transport then. Each bullock cart was paid a rent of rupees 2 each. Hulikere had owned its own treasury unit and the contractors and the laborers were paid from the money released right there.
#8 It took the lives of 18 People
Likewise, Hulikere owned its own workshop, hospital and police station. During the construction of the tunnel, the number of laborers who died was 18. During then Hulikere witnessed the epidemic cholera disease which victimized 80 laborers to death, claims a report. What a selfless service they have rendered to Mandya land! Let’s truly salute them.
#9 A Praiseworthy Construction
The tunnel along with Sir M Vishweshwarayya’s and Diwan Sir Mirza Ismail’s leadership included great contributions of various other contemporary engineers. Some of them are K.R Sheshachar, B Ramarao, M.K Narasimha Iyer, M.R Krishnamurthy Rao, B.S Narasimha Rao and many other eminent civil engineers and scholars of those times. Their endless efforts towards its success are truly praiseworthy.
#10 Pride Of Karnataka
The 2.8km stretch canal is 20 feet in height and 15 feet in width. And the important fact is that this tunnel is the main channel of the KRS dam Cauvery river. The Hulikere tunnel is filled with lush green fields above the tunnel. Before the construction of the tunnel, the place underwent a huge, massive rock excavation.
This amazing innovation of Sir M Vishweshwarayya today has actually become a tourist spot, with especially young people hanging around for some lovely scenic view of nature and some true adventure.