It is Monsoon period and a trip this time anywhere in the Western Ghats region would be a rainy affair. So, many would say this may not be the best time to travel in Western Ghats Region now, however, travelling in the monsoon has its own charms, it is fresh, cool and nice. No one is going to stay in the room and do nothing just because it is raining, if you go to any region that has greenery, you can walk with umbrella and enjoy the day and atleast BR Hills and Jog Falls region which is in Shimoga Dist. was ok in monsoons and should be for nature lovers, who are content with mountain roads and greenery, we are happy even if we see nothing more.
Well, Jog Falls comes to the picture because, the falls gets water in the monsoon season so July to Setempber are good times to go to that place. Rain has its inconveniences but one has got to forget that when we visit this region this time, also the falls is ok, but it’s the greenery and height that is the main nice thing about the place. It will be mostly plain sighting of the falls no going near it these days, so not much of physical activity in walking down to see the falls atleast that holds true for this year, there are only set viewpoints to see the falls.
Ok, now… the speciality of the falls is the height from which the falls fall, I don’t know the full story as it can be googled but the heroin of the Jog Falls is the Shravathi River, it flows around the forest region and falls. Each of the fall stream has name and I guess it has characteristics based on which it was named… (Raja, Rocket, Rani and something). During the monsoon the water fills the river up and there are dams like Tavankare and Linga something that store the water. The falls can be viewed from two places – the main area and the backside. Right now this July the falls has just got some water, medium level not huge, next month by August it will have more water, plus excess dam water will be released on a date and that time the Jog Falls will be humongous or so I have heard.
Well then… the main Jog falls area is more like a hangout place, it has big campus with restaurant, and guest rooms along with viewpoint area to view the falls. Right now, or I guess always the falls is misty misty, and this mist is curtain that opens and closes the view of the falls. According to me there is not any nice view of the falls from here in early July atleast because there is less water, so the falls has thin stream flows but thick white outlines of water falling. What is interesting is that the falls region is all surrounded by green trees. Local crowd mostly men always block the best view point and that poses slight inconvenience to occupy that view point from where nice photographs can be taken.
This did disappoint us a lot as the falls did not seem so impressive from here. However it is ok, if popular opinion seems to say that the view is good and falls looks great then well they might have their reasons. One can’t walk down to the falls for a better view, but if you look well you can see brown water, the river formed because of the falling of the falls.
After this Jog falls can be viewed from the British bungalow region. The way to this view point is right now slushy, so it involves a bit of crossing the slushy paths and getting your shoes muddy brown shamelessly, by now one is accustomed to the surroundings and one enjoys the process with a bit of excitement finding the way through the slush, of course walk carefully, there are points in the slush where feet go down deeper, small inconveniences.
From here the view of the falls is comprehensive and lovely making up for the dismal view from the main here. One can see from where that water falls down and many streams falls here and there and it is nice view, more closer than one got from the main view and the best part there is less crowd here, so the area is peaceful as well.
Other than this there might be lot more to see… we were lucky to get a boat ride on the Tavankare dam on the rain with umbrellas and wind. The dam looked like a river and was surrounded by small green hills or islands, it was exhilarating(: … to be on water enjoying the landscape and the brunt of nature… the area is not open to public, our Autodriver got us to ride here, though it is better to refraim from it as the ride is given without life jacket and well so it is not 100% safe but we decided to be stupid and go ahead anyway and are lucky we back on shore safely.
Other than this there might be other things to explore after few kms drive.
Jog Falls is ok, but not as great as it is said. The auto driver who was also our guide told us that Mugaru Male was made at the Jog Falls Region.
Going here, is best I think with vehicle, the highway ride should be good and it will be 6 to 8 hour journey as Jog falls is atleast 360kms far Bangalore.
Then bus of course, the stop would be Sagara, from there Jog falls is still about 45 kms away. Then there is the train, Shimoga and Talagupa Exp would bring you to Talagupa which is the last railway station stop after Sagara. On the way there are so many green fresh looking trees that are perfect!!
Please if boarding on train from Bangalore, know the train comes late by 12:30 midnight and if your waiting on platform there will be restless roachs running to and fro, it is not possible to ignore these giant roaches. They are unpredictable enough and climb on luggage and seating area, just well deal with them, after all they are a pest.
We stayed at Stay@Matunga, which is a homestay and is ok, priced reasonably but perhaps cheaper accommodation is there at the main Jog Falls area. Please carry an umbrella, else get stuck helplessly in the rain. The home stay has cottages on its land among trees and vegetation and also rooms on the main building area. I think it is slightly costly because apart from room rent they charge for food, and beverages as well, but they were hospitable enough and accommodation is clean, safe and the staff there are helpful.
It is peaceful in greenery, drinking tea in the varenda and doing nothing. Out the Home Stay it is nice as well with greenery again, any point out is interesting with the freash eco pleasant charm.
A friendly dog or other comes inside with its wet head till the varenda, friendly creatures but since it is wet their fur is not soft, but still they are nice enough.
The home stay arranged their auto driver to take us, and we were happy with him as our guide, he was informative and that Tavankare dam ride he arranged for us was awesome if not the Jog falls. The driver being proactive, makes business also getting customers for the guy who takes people for Tavenkare dam ride which is not open to the public, he also delivers gas cilinders to residents and gets groceries for the home stay. Over all I am happy with the experience.
Since it rains a lot here the autos have doors at the back, so the ride is comfortable, one is protected from outside elements. The auto driver said the national highway road takes one to Karwar etc which means if you drive on there will be more places to explore – Murudeshwar is only 80kms or 2 hr drive from here.
Another point Jog falls is pronounced as Joke falls by many, I thought it was Joy falls(: … also even though this area in Shimoga Dist. is green it was even greenery earlier it seems.
Now that Home stay will be busy, as when we were there we encountered two families who came from Bangalore, then day two more parties came to the area to see the falls, so it is a happening place with tourist frolicking in for sure. So must be worthwhile place to visit, though I won’t say the falls is spectacular. Will need to watch Mungaru Male for sure now(: