Jog Falls, Karnataka - A Travel guide
Jog Falls is the second-highest plunge waterfall in India (the first being Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji, Meghalaya), with a drop of 830 feet. It is by far the best waterfall we have been to. The mighty waterfall compelled us to think that the water and rocks have so much persistence that they keep working uninterruptedly all day long. In this article, you will find complete information to travel to Jog Falls, guidance on how to reach, description of the various viewpoints of Jog Falls, places to see nearby Jog Falls and places to stay near Jog Falls. If you plan to travel to Jog Falls, Karnataka you can easily combine it with trips to Gokarna and Places to visit near Gokarna.
Location of Jog Falls, Karnataka
Jog Falls is tucked amongst natural setting in the Western Ghats of India in the northern part of state of Karnataka. It falls in the Sagara taluka of Shimoga district. Jog Falls is formed by the waters of Sharavathi river which originates at a place called Ambuthirtha in Karnataka state. From this point, the Sharavathi river flows north-westerly for about 130 kilometres to join the Arabian Sea at Honnavar in the Uttara Kannada district. On its way, the water of the river drops down from a height of 830 feet forming Jog Falls.
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How to reach Jog Falls, Karnataka
Air: Hubballi airport is the nearest airport to Jog Falls (about 130 kilometres away from Jog Falls). From Hubballi airport you can either hire a taxi to Jog Falls or catch a state-run bus to Jog Falls from Hubballi bus stand.
Rail: Talaguppa railway station is the nearest railway station to Jog Falls (about 14 kilometres away from Jog Falls). The Talaguppa rail line is well connected to Bengaluru (Bangalore), Mysore, Shimoga and Sagara. The meter gauge rail track between Shimoga and Talaguppa was laid by the British in the late 1930s. The Sagara railway station at 30 kilometres away from the Jog Falls is second closest railway station. If you are coming from northern parts of India, you can catch a train to Hubballi railway station in Karnataka. From Hubballi, Shimoga can be reached via road, from where you can take a train or taxi to Talaguppa.
Road: Jog Falls is nicely connected by well-laid smooth roads from both the sides – Honnavar and Shimoga/ Sagara. Jog Falls is located 85 kilometres away from the temple town of Murudeshwar and 111 kilometres away from the beach destination Gokarna. Gokarna, Murudeshwar and Jog Falls make a wonderful combined road trip. Jog Falls also makes for an amazing road trip from Bengaluru (Bangalore), which is located at a distance of about 410 kilometres from Jog Falls.
We drove on a rented 2-wheeler from Gokarna to Murudeshwar and then to Jog Falls. The roads from Murudeshwar to Jog Falls are excellent in condition and gradually ascend around the hills of western ghats. As we visited Jog Falls during end of monsoon in early September, we saw plenty of pretty rain-fed waterfalls on the way. Driving through the beautiful Sharavathi valley, we stopped at many viewpoints – best being the Sharavathi suspension bridge over the ragingly flowing Sharavathi river. We drove through foggy roads surrounded by dense forests with picture-postcard gorgeous views. It was an adventure to drive through low visibility (just a couple of metres) due to heavy fog and rain.
The Jog Falls, Karnataka
Jog Falls plunges from a height of 830 feet into a deep gorge in four different segments/ streams. Each of these segments/ streams is given a separate name. Raja (King) pours in a single continuous stream to the base. Rani (Queen) has a stream that is curvy and zigzag just like a female dancer. It has the most fascinating milky flow just like a sheet of foam. Roarer crashes on a lot of rocks during its fall and violently rushes downwards to meet the base making a lot of loud noise, hence the name. Rocket streams out of a small opening at lightning speed and shoots downwards in a series of jets. Jog Falls is mostly rain-fed and you can see it in its complete glory during monsoon (from May to September). In dry-season, two out of the four streams of Jog Falls dry out and the waterfall is tapered down to a pair of thin streams trickling down the cliff. In 1964, Karnataka's biggest dams – Linganamakki dam was built across the Sharavathi River. Since then the water inflow of the falls decreases considerably every summer as the gates of the dam are closed during summer months.
Best time to visit Jog Falls, Karnataka
Monsoon season is undoubtedly the best time to visit Jog Falls. We heard from locals that usually the gates of Linganamakki dam are opened on 15th of August (Independence Day in India) every year. So, August to October is the best time to visit Jog Falls. The weather will remain rainy, foggy and misty during this time, so keep your raincoats and umbrellas handy and be patient for the clouds to move away from the waterfall. You may find only a thin stream of water trickling down the hill if you visit the waterfall in any of the other months. We would not recommend anyone to visit the Jog Falls during summer months due to hot and humid weather and thin stream in waterfall.
Tourist places near Jog Falls, Karnataka
1. Jog Falls Viewpoints:
The best thing about Jog Falls is that it offers stunning views from different viewpoints. Here, we have listed the 3 best viewpoints to Jog Falls, Karnataka.
A. Jog Falls viewpoint near Hotel Mayura, Gerusoppa:
This is the main viewpoint that offers a fantastic view of Jog Falls. You will need to pay an entrance fee of INR 10 per person and INR 20 per two-wheeler or INR 50 per four-wheeler at the entrance to this viewpoint campus. The Hotel Mayura, Gerusoppa run by Karnataka Tourism Department (KTDC) is situated here. The parking lot inside the campus is huge and easily accommodates hundreds of vehicles. The viewpoint is wide and big with plenty of tin-roofed sheltered area in case it rains (which is mostly the case!). The viewpoint is a semi-circular concrete platform providing a stunning view of the waterfall from various angles. You will find plenty of shops nearby selling umbrellas, raincoats, towels, food packets, beverages, freshly prepared Maggi, tea, coffee and small meals. Mayura restaurant is also located in the campus. Common toilet and bath facilities are available inside the campus. If you catch a bus from Talaguppa railway station or Sagara to Jog Falls, it will drop you at this particular viewpoint.
We were able to hear the roar of Jog Falls from far away while approaching the Hotel Mayura viewpoint. The entire area of the falls was covered with mist and clouds as we neared the waterfall. The winds cleared the clouds and mist every now and then and the falls kept playing hide and seek the whole time. It drizzled or rained for few minutes after every 20-30 minutes. But the sight of the Jog Falls kept us captivated and awed. The water was at its maximum flow during September and we weren’t able to keep our eyes off from the majestic falls even for a second. It is said that 3.4 million tonnes of water falls down the cliff every second! Can you imagine?!!! We also walked to the other end of the semi-circular viewpoint where there is one of India’s largest hydroelectric power stations which has been operational since 1948. You can easily spend about an hour or two at this viewpoint admiring the waterfall and photographing.
B. Viewpoint at the base of the Jog Falls:
Right inside the campus of Jog Falls viewpoint near Hotel Mayura, is a flight of around 1400 steps leading to the base of the waterfall. The steps are neatly made of concrete. The descent is easy and takes around 30-40 minutes, however, you would require decent amount of fitness to climb back. It generally takes tourists about an hour and a half to ascend back. The authority opens the way to the base at 9 AM and closes it at 4 PM. Do remember to carry your water bottles, energy bars and snacks if you opt to stroll down to the base of Jog Falls. This viewpoint to the base of Jog Falls is closed during monsoon or when the gates of Linganamakki dam are opened due to heavy inflow of water in the falls. Since we wanted to see maximum water, we were not able to venture down this viewpoint as it was closed.
C. Viewpoint from the Inspection Bungalow:
This viewpoint is right opposite to the Jog Falls viewpoint near Hotel Mayura. It can be accessed through British Bungalow (also called PWD – Inspection Bungalow) and gives the best view of the point where the water from Sharavathi river starts falling down the hill into the valley.
The view of the Jog Falls was quite different from here. We observed that this viewpoint was seldom covered by mist and clouds and hence provided us with an unobstructed view of the waterfall. There was so much water in the Jog Falls during our visit that it was almost scary to venture very close to the viewpoint. The water fell with such great intensity, it made a loud roar. The heavy wind carried sprays of mist along with it making the surrounding atmosphere extremely humid. We highly recommend visiting this viewpoint.
Note: Look for ‘Jog IB’ in the map to locate this viewpoint.
2. Linganamakki Dam
The Linganamakki Dam is located in the Sagara town which is about 11 kilometres away from the Jog Falls. The dam was constructed in the year 1964 across the Sharavathi River. The reservoir receives water mainly through rainfall and the other tributaries of the Sharavathi River. The dam is approximately 3 kilometres long and has 11 gates. Boating facilities are available in one part of the reservoir. Special permission is required to visit the main dam, however, all visitors are allowed to see the dam from the viewpoint. The entire surrounding area of the Linganamakki dam is full of lush green plantation and incredible natural beauty. When the dam overflows during peak monsoon season, the gates are opened and all that water then flows down the Jog Falls.
Honnemaradu is a place located atop a hill that overlooks the Linganamakki reservoir. It literally means ‘A Golden Lake’ and is known for the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It is situated about 25 kilometres away from the Jog Falls. Right in the middle of the Sharavathi River’s backwaters, there is an island that is popular amongst campers and tourists. The island offers a variety of water adventure activities like kayaking, canoeing and rafting and is a good spot for a picnic. Honnemaradu is famous amongst the trekkers and birdwatchers who can spot rare species of attractive birds here and indulge in trekking nearby peaks.
4. Sharavathi Valley and Suspension Bridge
Sharavathi valley viewpoint and suspension bridge lie on the way from Honnavar to Jog Falls. It is situated in the Honnavar taluka, Uttara Kannada district which is 35 kilometres away from the Jog Falls. The bridge is built over the ferociously flowing Sharavathi River and connects two nearby villages. The locals often use the bridge to cross over to the other village. The locals even ride 2-wheeler vehicles on the bridge.
Hotels near Jog Falls or Places to stay near Jog Falls, Karnataka
1. KSTDC Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa, Jog falls
Karnataka Tourism's Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa is hands down the best place to stay near Jog Falls. It is by far the best hotel managed by KTDC that we have stayed at. We had a wonderful stay with Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa and would rate our stay as luxurious. They have 10 double rooms and a separate 10-bedded dormitory. All the rooms overlook the mighty Jog Falls and we were able to view the waterfall from our room’s big glass window.
The hotel’s campus was open to tourists during the day but post-sunset, when the tourists left, the whole campus was ours and we were able to enjoy the beauty of Jog Falls till it got dark. Also early in morning, you have the whole campus to yourself till tourists start arriving. The heavy roar of the waterfall was audible in our room as well but it was like music to our ears. They have a restaurant and though the menu is limited, they serve mouth-watering food and provide room service.
2. Prakruthi Yatri Nivas Lodge, Near Rani falls
Prakruthi Yatri Niwas is the second-best place to stay near Jog Falls, Karnataka. It is a budget hotel located right next to Jog Falls. The hotel premises does not provide any great view of the waterfall. The image on the right is what you will see from here. You can see the point where water falls but the actual waterfall is not visible. However, you will be able to hear the loud roar of the fall. They have an in-house restaurant that serves good food. Image below shows the location of Prakruthi Yatri Niwas.
3. Sharavathi Adventure Camp, Jog falls
Sharavathi Adventure Camp is located about 6 kilometres away from the Jog Falls, Karnataka. It is a nature camp along with adventure activities. It is located on a hillock overlooking the Talakalale Reservoir near the Linganamakki Dam. Their tariff is a complete package including accommodation, meals and adventure activities. The nature camp is a property of Jungle Lodges and Resorts and provides excellent hospitality.
4. PWD Guest House, Jog Falls
This guesthouse is located on an elevated portion near Hotel Mayura and offers a breath-taking view of the Jog Falls. However, it can be booked only if you have any contacts with the Public Works Department or if you could visit the PWD office personally. There are no online bookings possible.
If any of the above-mentioned accommodation is not suitable as per your requirements or is unavailable, you will find plenty of hotels and homestays in the nearby town of Sagara which is 30 kilometres away from Jog Falls.
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Have you been to Jog Falls or any such majestic waterfalls in India? How was your experience? Do let us know in the comment section below.