If you are in or around Bangalore, and wondering what to do over a long weekend, then here’s something that can get you going. Take a ride through the wondrous Western Ghats and explore some of its cascading treasures. Why waterfalls, you might wonder. Because waterfalls are probably one of the most underrated natural wonders. The frothy streams of water cascading down rocky terrains can be such a delightful sight to behold. And yet, only a few are explored and over explored, while some still stay hidden, oblivious to the human world.
You can plan a 3-4 day trip from Bangalore through Agumbe, Jog Falls, Sirsi, and Belgaum. Book an Innova cab in Bangalore and head towards Agumbe, your first destination. You can leave your car in this rainforest district and use local transportation to explore Shimoga, Sirsi, and Belgaum, all of which are in close proximity.
Here are what you will discover at every pit-stop:
One of the last surviving rain forests of India, the landscape of Agumbe can give any tropical rainforest a run for its money. With its 7640 mm of rainfall every year, this lowland forest area is aptly nicknamed the Cherrapunji of South India. The highlight of Agumbe, however, is its five prominent waterfalls that make all the difference to the wilderness. The Kudlu Theertha Falls, Kunchikal, Barkana, Onake Abbi, and Jogigundi Falls, collectively define the real beauty of Agumbe. The natural color-play of the milky white streams the dark, rocky hills and the lush evergreen forests, is an ultimate sensory treat.
The highest waterfalls in India, the Jog Falls, or the Gersoppa Falls are created by the Sharavathi River is the crown jewel of Karnataka’s landscape. The perennial stream cascades down from a height of 829 feet, resulting in the highest and most impressive plunge. The Jog Falls is not one but a collective unit of four waterfalls- The Raja, Rani, Rover, and Rocket come together as a thundering torrent. Head to the Watkins Platform or the Bombay Bungalow for the best views of the falls. You can trek through the surrounding forests and visit the Sharavathi Valley, Dabbe Falls, Linganamakki Dam, Tunga Anicut Dam, or the Koppa Lion and Tiger Reserve, in the neighborhood.
One could easily call this district an ultimate ‘Waterfall Destination’ and for all the right reasons. You can find at least 10 waterfalls- both perennial and rain-fed, within an area of 40 sq. km. Of all, the prominent ones are-
Unchalli falls- Located near Hegganur, about 35 Km from Sirsi, this is the most popular waterfall in the Uttara Kannada district. This magnificent cataract is fed by the Aghanashini River and drops from a height of 380 feet, in the middle of a dense forest. You need to walk for half an hour or so from the entry point to reach the waterfall. This tiered waterfall comes alive during monsoon and winter when the water source increases.
Benne Hole Falls- A spectacular natural wonder of North Karnataka, this waterfall is fed by the Aghanashini River and drops from a height of 200 feet. Also a popular trekking route, you can trek through a 2Km nature trail to reach the waterfalls, while enjoying sightings of exotic birds on the way. Benne Hole waterfall area are grey jungle fowl, wooly necked stork, jungle owlet, coppersmith barbet, orange minivet, black headed oriole, common kestrel, or plum-headed parakeets.
The Godachinmalki Falls is one of the largest and most popular waterfalls of this region. It is a two-tiered waterfall fed by the Markandeya River, which gushes down 25 meters, takes a break into a rocky valley, and then takes the second plunge from a height of 20 meters. You can rent a car in Belagavi and explore the region. The cascades of rain and river water spreading a misty veil are indeed refreshing to the sore eyes. And an after a tour of the best waterfalls on the Western Ghats, you are sure to come back rejuvenated!