Two days after the Mysuru couple drowned after their coracle capsized during a pre-wedding photoshoot, the police said the woman’s high-heeled sandals led to the tragedy. Chandru (28) and Shashikala (20), residents of Kyathamaranahalli in the city and distant relatives, had gone to Mudukuthore in Mysuru for a pre-wedding photoshoot earlier this week. They got engaged on November 22 last year and their marriage was due to be held on November 22 this year. The engaged couple reached Jaladhama Resort at Mudukuthore for the photoshoot.
According to the police, since the motorboat of the resort was not available they summoned Moogappa, who owns a coracle, and asked him to take them in the water. The coracle was taken about 20 meters away from the river bank with the engaged couple in it. The photographer and Shashikala's brother, Abhi, were standing on the bank and asking the couple to pose like actors in the Hollywood movie, Titanic, the police said.
At the time, Shashikala, who was wearing the high-heeled sandals, lost balance and leaned towards one side. In the process, the coracle turned turtle and all the three fell into the river. While Moogappa, the coracle operator swam to safety, Chandru and Shashikala drowned and were swept away due to the swift current.
The photographer went to Talakad Police Station and informed them about the incident. Immediately, the police along with the expert divers went to the spot and retrieved the bodies.
Before coming to Mudukuthore, the engaged couple tried for the photoshoot in Talakadu, but they were sent back by the Forest Department personnel. Their request for shooting near the Talakad Temples was reportedly turned down, the police said. A large number of people visit Mudukuthore spot, especially during the weekend. Many of them take darshan of Mudukuthore Mallikarjunaswamy and then go for boating.
Commonly found on the river Cauveri, these coracles are primitive, light, bowl-shaped or saucer-shaped boats with a frame of woven grasses, reeds, or saplings covered with sheets of plastic. "These are the most unstable modes of water transport systems that have been available since prehistoric times and are a major tourist attraction here,” said Superintendent of police CB Rishyant.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, the official said that he was mulling over writing a letter to the irrigation department to make it "wearing life jackets" mandatory in all tourist spots wherever tourists go for coracle rides.
“We need to relook into allowing such rides in tourist places. Even a slight imbalance can lead to a disastrous accident like this. We need to make life jackets compulsory in these coracles, hence, I am writing such a letter to the Irrigation Department," he asserted.
According to the police, places in and around Mysuru have become a hotspot for photographers to do pre-wedding photoshoots of engaged couples at various water spots including backwaters of KRS dam, Srirangapatna, Chunchangiri Falls, Cauvery River near Arkanateshwara Temple in KR Nagar, Tiramakudalu in T Narasipur, Mudukuthore and Talakad. At most of these places, coracles are operated illegally.