India has innumerable spots of natural beauty. Until a few years ago, movies played a large role in popularising beautiful destinations in the country. Today, social media has overtaken movies in this regard. A lot of these places had remained relatively unknown until they were brought into the limelight. Once they caught the fancy of the general public, there was no dearth of visitors, which has its own pros and cons. Thanks to a super-hit Kannada movie, almost everyone in Karnataka, if not India, has heard of Jog Falls.

Jog Falls is situated in the beautiful Sharavathi Valley, a region that is at its best during the monsoon. The river Sharavathi originates in the Western Ghats in a small town called Ambutheertha, in Thirthahalli taluk. It flows in a north-westerly direction to meet the Arabian Sea at Honavar, after travelling 100 km. Jog Falls is 29 km downstream from Sharavathi’s point of origin.

A large hydro-power project is present downstream of the falls, part of a cluster of power projects collectively known as the Sharavathi Hydel Project. The water flowing to Jog Falls is controlled by dams upstream, so unfortunately the water level drops in the drier seasons. Even during the monsoon, the amount of water flowing down Jog changes dramatically depending on the schedule of the dams. The hydel project may have reduced the glory of Jog Falls, but the fact that it is one of the highest waterfalls in the country is a matter of pride to the people of this region.

Jog Falls, with a height of 253 metres, ranks amongst the ten highest waterfalls in India. The locals have named the waterfall’s distinctly segmented cascades as Raja (aka horseshoe), Roarer, Rocket, and Rani, based on the unique characteristics of each cascade. Seen in this image are Raja and Rani.

If you are lucky, you may experience the sheer force of Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket as they unite and become a formidable coat of white. Don’t be surprised if your excited screams go unheard: the falling water can get quite loud, especially in the monsoon.

Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the falls from the viewing platform on the western side of the valley. During the afternoons, the sun sometimes creates rainbows on the falls.

Many smaller waterfalls make an appearance in this area. Even if the main waterfall is completely hidden by mist, which does occur, you are likely to catch a glimpse of the other seasonal waterfalls. The nearby district of Uttara Kannada has plenty of waterfalls too.

Sharavathi Valley Viewpoint, Linganamakki Dam, and Muppane backwaters are a few other attractions near Jog Falls. Seen in this image is the Lakavalli Dam near Shimoga, yet another attraction.

It is also possible to see the flow of the Sharavathi River in the area near Jog Falls.

The town of Sagar, easily accessible from Jog, maintains its charm in spite of its popularity with visitors. The region also has some ancient temples, like this Ikkeri Aghoreshwara Temple.

The green paddy fields, tree canopies, and undulating terrain in and around Jog provide an experience which no movie can recreate.

Travel and Accommodation:

Jog Falls and Sharavathi Valley can be conveniently visited from Bangalore.  Most tourists visit Jog over the weekend. However, if you extend your stay, you can visit a few other places of natural beauty in this area. From boat rides to bird watching, Sharavathi Valley has a lot to offer.

People are allowed to visit the bottom of Jog Falls via stairs that have roughly around 1400 steps; exercise caution while climbing. It is only when you stand right under the falls here that you realise how tall it is.

To experience the most of this region, it is best to stay close to Jog Falls, rather than in Shimoga. Sharavathi Adventure Camp, run by Jungle lodges and Resorts, is an excellent choice. Sagar is a town located 26 km from Jog and also has hotels.