We started from Bangalore on Friday night a 3-day weekend. The places we were planning to cover included Jog falls, Karwar and Kadra, Goa if time permits.
Jog is a well-known waterfall, the tallest in India where river Sharavati falls from an unbelievable 300 meters high. While the number looks big by itself, those who have managed to climb down to the base of the waterfall and hiked back know how tall and steep really it is.
On the way to Jog
The Jog waterfall is approximately 400kms from Bangalore. If you start on a Friday night, you can reach here next morning and spend a day. It is well connected by road and train. You can take bus or train to nearest town – Sagar and travel on local buses to Jog. If you are driving, the entire stretch of road is national highway in good condition but you may encounter a few rough patches. It takes 7-8 hours to reach Jog. You need to take Tumkur road(NH 4) from Bangalore and turn left to NH 206 in Tumkur, drive via Shimoga and Sagar towns. Shimoga is a good place to break for some refreshments if you are driving daytime. Continue for another 30kms on the highway from Sagar town. The waterfall is a short 2kms deviation from the highway.
Places to see
You can spend an entire day around the waterfall. If you are fit, climb down to the base of the fall. It takes around 20minutes to walk down, and may take an hour or two to come back depending on your fitness. You can take a dip in the water when you are in the gorge. Drive to the other side of the waterfall and you can get close to the falling water. In summer, you can even bend down from the fall to see it descending all the way down from up close. It is a great experience, but definitely not for the acrophobics. Drive further down the national highway into deep jungles and enjoy the views of the Sharavati valley.
We reached there around 9am and strolled around for sometime. It was raining on and off and many times the view of the fall would get completely blocked by fog. It was a good view to see so much water there after many long years. It comes down to a trickle in the summers, primarily owing to the dams built for the power generation that redirect all the water. Incessant rains this year have filled up the dams and hence there is plenty of water. It was fun watching the fall in the rains.
We moved on after staying for around 2 hours and reached Sharavati valley, a few kilometers down where river flows between the hills and offers amazing view from the top. I took a few photographs; none of them seemed to justify the beauty of the place. One of the lucky pals who had descended the valley a few years back described us the adventure and fun involved. They had gone into the jungle and descended the steep valley, and had camped by the river for a night a few years back! Boy! That must have been fun.
The beautiful Sharavati Valley
Further down, we encountered a stream by the road that tempted us to stop. We walked along the stream for a while and soon encountered a series of waterfalls. We were too tempted to take a dip, and did just that! It’s a great feeling to dip into a running stream and lie down against the running water. Even more fun is when you sit under a waterfall and feel the gush of the water. I would love to be doing that everyday!
Our next destination was Karwar, a beach town. We reached there around the time of sunset. The time did not matter because it was cloudy all through the day. It looked the same – dull and cloudy from morning to evening and you could never tell the position of the sun! After a brief stop at the small port, we hit the beach and stayed on till it was dark. Lovely beach it is! It started raining cats and dogs while we were there and we got wet. Thanks to rain gods, its absolute fun getting wet on a hot day. From here, we left the seashore and drove interior towards the village of Kadra where we were to stay with a friend for two days. Kadra hosts one of the 7 dams to Kalinadi and has a powerhouse. We had made plans to see the scenic Kali region the next day and return to Bangalore the day after.
The beauty around Kali river
Our friend, who worked for Karnataka Power Corporation arranged permissions for us to visit the powerhouses. They are enormous machinery with great level of automation. It houses huge turbines and various assemblies that needs no to day-to-day maintenance and management. Just 3 engineers will be working as stand-by in the powerhouse at any given point of time! While the powerhouse looked good, it was the river, hills and greenery that we were more interested in. We drove further into a 30km long private road that leads us to another reservoir and power station. The road crawls right along the banks of Kali and the river is surrounded by thick evergreen rain forests typical of the Sahyadri ranges. Out friend mentioned about people seeing leopards, Black Panthers and even tigers in the area! He had seen leopards himself! The place looked too good to be true. And it was drizzling all along, which gave a poetic romance to the entire atmosphere. I though – “Oh my god! I would like to spend rest of my life here!” My friends echoed my feelings. It all seemed too beautiful to be true!
We spent the entire day walking or driving around this road. Late in the evening, we saw some fishermen having a nice evening, catching a good lot of fish. We stopped, had a chat with them and took some photographs around the place. Every inch of the place was absolute beauty! A lot of people apparently go swimming in the river in summer. I decided to return for a swim myself, and I certainly will. It was evening and we ended the day’s journey in a very content state.
The next morning, we drove to Palolem beach in Goa for a short visit. The weather was good and the sea was calm and nice. After frolicking for a while, we drove back to Bangalore. We had moved so far away from the town, it took us 14 long hours to drive back. We returned to Bangalore around 4am.