Water at Jog Falls plunges down without touching any surface on to the bottom bed of rocks from a height of 829 feet (253 mts.). It’s the second highest waterfall in India, debated at times it should be the first – because of the free fall!
However the first highest waterfall in India is attributed to the one at Meghalaya called Nohkalikai waterfall (1,100 feet or 335 mts.). Jog Falls ranks 314 amongst the world circuit of waterfalls. Apart from the high fall, it averages a width of 1550 feet or 253 mts. The average flow of water is 5,387 cubic feet of water per second (153 cubic metres). Just Imagine!
Jog Falls is the most thrilling spectacle in the western region of Karnataka. The location borders Shimoga & North Kanara – the Sahyadri Mountain Range. River Sharavati takes this spectacular leap harnessing power and irrigating farm lands of the region, finally pouring itself to the Arabian sea at Honnavar. During monsoon the waterfall is Voluminous. The best season to visit is between August & December. A winter day with clear sky is a spellbound sight. The luxuriant vegetation around the falls compliments the scenic natural beauty.
In 1939 the Mysore Wodeyar King – Maharaja Wodeyar IV conceived the idea of power generation at Jog Falls and at a 20 kms away upstream village called Hirebhaskara implemented it. It was named after him. Mahatma Gandhi was supposed to visit this site, unfortunately he was assassinated and couldn’t do so. So in 1948 in the honour of the ‘father of the nation’ this power generation plant was named after him and is called – Mahatma Gandhi Hydro Electric Project (MGHE). In 1960 on the advice of Sir M Visvesvaraya Linganmakhi Dam was used for power generation. Jog Falls generates about 67 lakhs W of power and Linganmakhi one of the largest hydro-electric station generates about 120 MW. Public are not allowed into any dams or power generation stations as a security measure in Karnataka. The Wodeyars have built a beautiful Chamundheswari temple with a single idol back to back of two devis. Please visit the temple for her divine blessings.
Jog Fall looks good from any angle. One can walk down to the bottom of the falls by the steep rock cut 1400 steps. The misty water spray is exhilarating. It would take about 4 hours up & down. Physically fit and young ones can do it. Otherwise the old & the not so challenging persons can enjoy the view from any place. The best view is from ‘Rajakallu’ – this was the favourite spot of the Wodeyar King and used to spend a lot of time there when visiting Jog. Watkins platform & Bombay Bungalow (also known as British Bungalow) too have spectacular different perspective views. Front view of the Jog Fall is good from PWD Building, it’s open to public and one can stay in these rooms too. It’s basic mass tourist accomadation. KSTDC Gerusoppa is adjacent to the PWD lodging facilities, the accommodation is average, they have basic rooms – a/c, non a/c & dormitories. The location is opposite the falls, added to that they have a nice brook flowing just outside their property where one can wade around with care & caution. They also have a restaurant with limited cuisine.
Booking is on-line ‘www.karnatakaholidays.net’ you can also reach them on 0818-6244732 or contact their friendly manager Sanjeev Poojari on +91 9448522314. Accommodation at Jog Falls runs full in season and is packed on weekends & holidays. There are a lot of Home-Stays & small resorts away from Jog Falls. The route is littered with their advertising signages! Food available is basic, it’s better to carry your own snacks! Avoid going to Jog Falls during summer, it’s disappointing.
Alternately one can stay in moderate comfort at the neighbouring town called Sagara, which is 30 kms away, a 45 mins drive. Local transportation is good. Shimoga can find you accommodation in luxury and is about 100 Kms – a two hour drive. One could make Shimoga the base and tour this region, there are lots of tourist locales – More of the tourist locales around Shimoga in my future articles. Shimoga is about 285 kms a 6 hour drive from Bangalore by road, it is also well connected by road & trains. Transportation systems are good. Jog Fall’s railway station is Talaguppa (14kms away). Sagara too has a railway station. Both these places are connected from Bangalore & Mysore. Bus Services are present from Bangalore & Mysore too. Honnavar is about 70 kms from Jog Falls. Bangalore to Jog Falls is a 8 hour drive – a distance of 415 kms.
Nearest airports are Bangalore 340 kms. Mangalore 200 kms. Hubli 130 kms. and Goa 250 kms. Having your own transportation does help you in these areas.
‘Joga’ means ‘fall’ in Kannada hence the name. It’s also known by the following names – Jog Falls, Joga Falls, Gerusoppa Falls and Jogana Gundi. It’s a segmented falls – major 4 are . . . Raja – the greatest and the grandest unbroken sheet of water fall.
Roarer – a thunderous rush-gush waterfall. Rocket – a waterfall leaping down in great speed in a series of cascades. And finally, Rani – a waterfall gliding down with feminine grace.
The view to watch in season is Never enough! The climb down to the bottom and the view up is spectacular. There are number of brooks in nooks & cranny. This place is a nature’s delight. An Artists & Photographers dream location.
A word of caution. Please don’t wander around this place. It’s dangerous and slippery. Guides are available to take you around safely for a small fee. Jyothi Raj, the maverick climber from Chitradurga has climbed the face of the Jog Falls eight times. On one occasion he slipped 20 feet and disappeared behind the cascading waterfall and was presumed dead, but survived with eight stitches on his head. He was dissuaded from his family, friends and onlookers but this guy refuses to listen to anybody and insists on climbing often, attributing his life & death to fate!
The government authorities have used his services in rescuing tourists stranded in and around Jog Falls & removing dead bodies from inaccessable heights. This is just to say beware nature can be cruel. Admire Jog Falls and it’s natural beauty with care and caution. Be responsible for yourself, friends & family. Intoxication can lead you to bravado behaviour.
Jog Falls I would say is one of the places one should see in your lifetime. Plan well, book places in advance, travel in comfort, this could be an in-expensive holiday. Enjoy with your friends & family. Include lot of tourist places around the area – a long weekend is enough! More about the surrounding areas will follow in my future articles. They are historical places or places of natural beauty in and around Jog. Stay in touch!
Jagdeesh Laxman Singh
aka Jugie Singh
Text & Photography