Sunday, August 26, 2018

Chasing Waterfalls: A Memorable Road Trip to Jog Falls

Last week, I was left feeling disappointed when my plans to visit Jog Falls fell through. However, as they say, when you truly desire something and your intentions are pure, the universe conspires to make it happen. And true to those words, the following week, I was invited by GB to join them on a trip to Jog Falls. Who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to explore the second-highest waterfall in India? Known by multiple names like Gerosappa Falls or the Joga Falls, Jog Falls is an absolute must-visit destination.

We set out for Jog Falls at 7:00 AM from Bangalore in a Renault KWID. Unfortunately, GB slept in and we ended up leaving a little later than planned. After stopping at Kamat Upachar, Yedehalli for breakfast, we resumed our journey. Despite the restaurant's reputation, the food was not up to par, but we didn't have any other options at that time. The cleanliness of the place was also below average, and even the Pongal didn't taste good. However, the washrooms were clean, which was a relief.

During our journey, we were greeted by the breathtaking view of Chitradurga windmills. The sight of the hills was truly awe-inspiring. As we entered Chitradurga, the fort walls on both sides of the road welcomed us as a symbolic representation of the fort. We made a quick stop at Hirekerur bus stand and Shirakoppa bus stand before continuing on our journey.

Keladi Rameshwara Temple
In the evening, we arrived at Keladi Rameshwara Temple. We took the time to talk to the priests to learn more about the temple's history, legendary stories, and the kings associated with it. Interestingly, the entrance of the temple building did not look like a typical temple. Instead, it looked like an old-fashioned Mangalore-style tiled roof gateway. It was a unique and intriguing sight to behold.
Parking Space  : Yes. 
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : No

Restaurants And Hotels :No

Ikkeri Aghoreshwara Temple:
Don’t rely on google map for the location , since it was guiding the  wrong location.

Duration of visit     : 30 Minutes
Timings                  : 9 AM to 5PM
Entry Fee               : No
Parking Space  : Yes. Ample
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : Yes. But closed. 
Restaurants And Hotels :Nothing 

Reached home stay around 6.30. The home stay was the best.

Day 2:
8.20 AM:
Jog falls:
After spending some time at Jog Bridge, We reached Jog Falls view-point where all the four falls (Raja, Roarer, Rocket, Rani) can be seen from a distance. There are some interesting reasons behind the names of Raja, Roarer, Rocket, Rani. Raja falls, pours from  850 feet, since its magnificent among all the other 3 falls, it takes the pride of king. Next to Raja is Roarer, as it makes huge sound. If you observe closely you can see that water is coming from the middle of nowhere! The middle one resembles like a rocket, domed shape/conical shape at the bottom. And finally, the Rani Falls, which is mild and silent.

Toilet and bathing facilities are available and its quite clean. Napkins as well as hot cold bath facilities along with locker facility is available.

There is a Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa Jogfalls opposite to water falls. You can book your stay here, since you get good water falls view. Don’t forget to book in advance. Hotel Mayura restaurant is available here but only Idly vada and Rice bath is available for morning. Hdfc atm is available near falls. Dont replay since its always closed.

Taking 1400 steps would take to the base of the falls, but during monsoon its restricted and the gate was closed. It was misty hence we could not see the jog falls clearly. We were patience by orderning maggi, Bread omlet to get you the awesome and full view of Jog Falls.

Dont just stick around the view point. Take a stroll around the view point, to see the beautiful valley all around. The view of hydroelectric power station is mesmerizing,where you can see River Sharavati valley.

Timings                  : Open All Hours
Parking Space  : Yes. Ample. But crowd will be equal. 
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : Yes. Neat and Clean
Restaurants And Hotels :Yes. 

11.45 AM:
After spending 4 hours, we drove another 2.4 kilometers from the Jog bridge to a place called Hotel Prakruthi Yatri Nivas lodge. From here one can get view of Rani falls cliff. After spending 10 minutes, we drove another 2 kilometers to a place called Jog management authority/British Bungalow Where Raja, Roarer and the Rocket top can be seen.

From here below are the near by places.
  1. Must try pineapple. They are extremely tasty here. Choose the once that has orange color layer. One full pineapple can be brought for 40 rupees
  2. You can actually plan a solo trip for one day. 
How to Reach Jog Falls by Train:
You have direct train to SAGAR JAMBAGARU – SRF from Bangalore. Its just an overnight journey. From Sagar Bus stand, the jog falls is just 30 km away and you have direct Bus to Jog Falls. You can also hire car/taxi from Sagar. Cab charge about 300 rupees to falls. Once you reach Jog falls, You can walk to the near by places. Talagapu railway station is the nearest railway station. From there also you can hire a cab to Jog Falls.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Discovering the Natural Wonder of Shivanasamudra Waterfalls

The beauty of waterfalls magnificently proliferates when there is either a heavy rainfall or release of water from a dam. If both happens simultaneously? The beauty is far beyond imagination right? Since the water has been released from KRS Dam and Kabini reservoir, the Shivanasamudra falls would be a glorious treat for eyes now. As per the plan, we all gathered at 5:00 AM at Banashankari. We were people of 5 and took Baleno and choose Kanakapura road.

The drive to Shivanasamudra is scenic with lot of old bridge alongside. Since its flooded at few places, the water was in full swing. Throughout the way we were shocked to see the sheer force of the Kaveri. This sight cannot be seen in the near future, because the discharge of water is enormously huge due to the excess rainfall during this monsoon season. Close to 1,20,000 cusecs of water has been released from KRS dam.

Shivanasamudra waterfalls
What's so special about Shivanasamudra waterfalls? The Kaveri river splits into two and falls into a valley in two separate places namely Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. There is no separate waterfalls called "Shivanasaumdra falls", together these Gaganchukki and Barachukki falls are called known as Shivanasaumdra falls, since it lies in the town "Shivanasaumdra". The "Shimsha" Hydroelectric plant is situated here and this was the first and oldest Hydro-electric power plant. 

We reached Shivasamudram by 8.30 AM. The gate was supposed to be open only at 9:00 AM, hence we waited for 30 minutes. 

Distance                  : 3 Hours (132 kms from Banashankari Bus station.) 
Duration of visit    : 30 Minutes
Timings                   : 9 AM to 5PM
Entry Fee                : 20 per vehicle. No Tickets were provided by the forest officer. 

After paying the forest officer, we drove for 1 kms to reach Bharachukki Falls View Point. There is no walking/trekking required. Get down from car, take 1 minute walk the water falls is in front of you. Taking 100 odd steps will take you to the bottom of the waterfalls. But due to heavy water-flow, the path and the Coracle ride has been blocked. 

Parking Space  : Yes. Ample
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : Yes. Not clean and no waters. 
Restaurants And Hotels :Lot of snacks shops at the top.

Gaganchukki Waterfalls:
After driving 2 kms (5 mins) we reached Hazrath Syedina Bibi Fathima Batul Dargah. The Gaganchukki Waterfalls view from Dargah is good, but the Dargah is not clean. We found a huge crowd on the other side, and realized the Gaganchukki water falls can be viewed from that point as well. Another 10 kms drive would take to that view point, but we decided to start as that view point was heavily crowded.

On the way we had a stopover and enjoyed the panoramic view of the huge lake with heavy whirlpools. I personally felt, we had a good time in this place. We played with banyan tree prop roots and took lot of boomerang pictures. we plugged few tamarind from Tamarind tree. It suddenly remembered my childhood...!

Prasanna Meenakshi temple
While returning, we visited Prasanna Meenakshi temple near Shivanasamudra. There is 2 lord inside the temple. The Lord Prasanna Meenakshi and lord Someshwara.
In the temple, we met the priest who kept telling stories that, he has traveled with Modi in helicopter and the Swachh Bharat Mission idea was suggested by him to Modi. Kumaraswamy become CM since he did pooja with him. So, guys, if you have any plans to become CM, PM, president you can do a pooja with this priest, in another 24 hours, you will be whatever you want to. 

You can request the priest to show the Sri Chakra which is the specialty of Prasanna Meenakshi temple. The Sri Chakra is considered very auspicious.

Parking Space  : Yes. 
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : No
Restaurants And Hotels :No. Laddu is available at temple. 

After that we decided to visit MM Hills.

Male Mahadeshwara Temple or M M Hills: 
Male Pronunced as Malai has to be reached by driving few hair pin bends ascending and descending. After taking 27 hair pin bends, we reached the Male Madaheswara Temple. The roads are not that good. Since there are lot of hair pin bends, ensure only if you are an experienced driver. The temple is in a Serene place and it has very spacious campus.

Parking Space  : Yes. Ample. 
Drinking Water : No
Restrooms : Yes 
Restaurants And Hotels : Yes. Laddu is available at temple. 

Anna Santarpane/Annadhanam is performed daily at the temple Dining Hall. The devotees can have a quality food served in leafs. (Timings 12.30 PM to 3:00 PM). Click here to check the AnnaDhanam timings. 

Around 3.30 PM, we departed to Talakadu to visit the temples in Talakadu. There are close to 30 temples and Some of the temples are buried under sand. I was curious to visit the place. But we could not visit the place, since the Cauvery-Talakad Bridge was submerged in overflowing Cauvery river. We saw the police jeep crossing the bridge by risking their life. When Venkatesh went to click pictures with his DLSR, people were curious and asked whether he is from press. Hah! what a proud moment he had! 

While returning we decide to visit Somanathapura to see the famous  800 year old Chennakesava Temple build by Hoyasala kings. I think this is the same ditto of Belur temple. By the time we reached, the temple was closed. We glued to the gates and requested the gate keeper to let us in, but since CCTV was installed he didn’t let us in. 

Finally, we decide to return to Bangalore. We took the Maddur road. After reaching home, I realized that Shivasamundram Falls is the second largest waterfall in India(first one being the Kunchikal Falls, Karnataka) and the sixteen largest in the world, 

  • Start Early to avoid traffic. That's the Mantra. The drive to Male Mahadeshwara Hills is tiring and roads are not good. Hence, I would suggest:
9AM Reach Shivanasamudra ->Barachukki Waterfalls -> Gaganchukki Waterfalls -> Talakad -> Somanathapur Temple.

Note the Somanathapur gets closed sharp by 5:00 PM. so plan accordingly. The above route can be easily driven by car/bike. The route has no Hairpin or uphill driving. 
  • Carry Breakfast, Lunch & lots of water. Food's are not that great. 
  • Everywhere the sign boards are written in kannada only. So, rely on google maps/the local people, if you cant read kannada. 
  • The best time to visit Shivanasamudra waterfalls is during the monsoon season that is from June to September as there will be more water due to rain and also when water is released from KRS or kabani dam.