Jog Falls

Sagara, Karnataka, India

About Jog Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-11-15
Date last visited: 2009-11-15

Waterfall Latitude: 14.22931
Waterfall Longitude: 74.81258

Jog Falls was perhaps the most famous waterfall in India.

It could’ve easily been the most spectacular waterfall in all of Asia as the massive Sharavathi River spilled some 253m in almost total freefall across its span.

Jog_Falls_016_11142009 - Jog Falls in low flow
Jog Falls in low flow

However, as you can see from the photo above (as well as on the rest of this page), Julie and I saw it in a compromised state due to the Linganmakki Dam further upstream.

The Impact of Linganmakki Dam to Jog Falls

The dam was said to be in use since 1949 and very important in the generation of electricity in the state of Karnataka [pronounced kar-NAH-tuh-kuh].

Given our understanding that the hydro scheme had essentially robbed some of the natural flow of the falls, we believe that Jog Falls was pretty much limited to a monsoon-only phenomenon.

The monsoon (which were characterized by sustained thunderstorms and tropical downpours) would typically occur during the Indian Summer from June through August and maybe September.

Barron_Falls_011_05202008 - The behavior of Jog Falls most resembled Barron Falls in Queensland, Australia, which was also regulated by hydroelectricity and struggled to flow outside the Wet Season
The behavior of Jog Falls most resembled Barron Falls in Queensland, Australia, which was also regulated by hydroelectricity and struggled to flow outside the Wet Season

Our visit came right after the end of the monsoon in November, and it wasn’t nearly as impressive as we had hoped (though it was still impressive).

Perhaps the unusually late and weak monsoon preceding our visit in November 2009 also didn’t help matters.

Thus, the bare walls you see in the photos on this page attested to the potential grandeur of the falls if seen during the monsoon.

In terms of the behavior and impression of the falls, I can think of the way Barron Falls in Australia on the Kuranda Scenic Railway behaved just outside the Wet Season thanks to a hydroelectric facility just upstream from it.

Another example that we could think of regarding the behavior of Jog Falls was the Voringsfossen waterfall in Norway where we witnessed a cluster of segmented waterfalls falling into the same ravine.

The Segments of Jog Falls

Jog_Falls_009_11142009 - The orphan waterfall
The orphan waterfall

The one thing about the low-flow state of the falls was that we were able to see its main segments distinctly, and each one had a name.

The names of the constituent parts (from left to right) were Raja (King), Roar, Rocket, and Rani (Queen or Lady).

I’m sure when the Sharavathi River would be in full flood during the height of the monsoon, these four constituent parts could blend together into an unimaginably crazy wide and powerful torrent.

Plus, we also noticed somewhat of an orphan waterfall way to the left of all the action that also appeared to be tall and picturesque (though I suspected it was on a different watercourse than the main river).

The Base of Jog Falls

There was a steep path that descended from the overlooks right down to the plunge pools deep within the depths of the gorge.

Jog_Falls_050_11142009 - Looking way down at a handful of people looking like dots swimming at the foot of Jog Falls
Looking way down at a handful of people looking like dots swimming at the foot of Jog Falls

I was told this walk took about an hour going down but two sweat-drenching hours on the way back up.

It also seemed like we were supposed to hire a guide in order to get down there (though I wasn’t sure if that was truly the case or if we were potentially being scammed).

We didn’t go down there, but apparently we noticed some people way down there swimming to beat the heat.

I would also imagine that had we been down there, we could gain a bit of an appreciation of just how big and overwhelming the waterfall could be.

Experiencing Jog Falls and Timing It

There was extensive infrastructure opposite the gorge of Jog Falls with broad overlooks (and even some with large stadium-like steps) along with a large car park (and unsurprisingly many touts).

Jog_Falls_001_11142009 - Context of people experiencing the overlook of Jog Falls
Context of people experiencing the overlook of Jog Falls

A separate road also led to the top of the falls, as evidenced by us witnessing other people being dwarfed by the falls in the distance, but we didn’t bother with this option.

Finally, in terms of timing, we had observed that perhaps the best time of day to see the falls would be some time in the afternoon when the sun would be more or less behind us.

We were here in the morning, but we ended up looking against the harsh frontal lighting that kept most of the falls in shadow while the rest of the scene was bathed in the bright sunlight.

All that contrast between light and shadow wreaked havoc on our photos.

Encyclopaedic Information about Jog Falls

Now before we end the general discussion about the waterfall, we do have to note that this waterfall was frequently said to be India‘s tallest waterfall.

Jog_Falls_019_11142009 - Examining the full vertical drop of Jog Falls in low flow
Examining the full vertical drop of Jog Falls in low flow

However, we were doubtful of this claim given that other waterfalls were claimed to have taller cumulative heights or direct plunges.

In terms of taller cumulative height, we can think of Dudhsagar Falls (which was claimed to be 300m according to local signage and not 603m as stated in our 2007 version of LP as well as other internet literature propagating the false information).

Now if we constrained the argument for only plunge type waterfalls, then it might be possible that tallest in the country could be Nohkalikai Falls provided its unofficial height of 335m wasn’t too generous either.

As you can see, all this encyclopaedic information contained all sorts of uncertainty.

So Julie and I would recommend that rather than worrying about all this trivia, just enjoy the spectacle for what it is and let Nature do the rest.

Authorities

Jog Falls resides in the Shimoga in the Shimoga District of Karnataka State, India. It is administered by the Jog Falls Management Authority. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can visit their website.

Jog_Falls_003_11142009 - A portrait view of Jog Falls from the main overlook
Jog_Falls_011_11142009 - Contextual look at that orphan waterfall way to the left and the lookout area devoted to it
Jog_Falls_016_11142009 - As you can see from this photo, morning wasn't the best time to see Jog Falls thanks to the harsh shadows creating light and dark areas
Jog_Falls_004_11142009 - More zoomed in look at the fearsome foursome of Jog Falls' segments called Rana, Roar, Rocket, and Rani
Jog_Falls_030_11142009 - Looking towards some building just to the topright of Jog Falls
Jog_Falls_034_11142009 - Julie checking out Jog Falls from the overlook
Jog_Falls_039_11142009 - Another look at the context of Jog Falls with some buildings on either side of its brink for a sense of scale
Jog_Falls_045_11142009 - You have to look real closely at this photo in order to even see people swimming at the plunge pool beneath Jog Falls
Jog_Falls_047_11142009 - A less hazier view of Jog Falls' full height within the morning shadow
Jog_Falls_057_11142009 - Sign leading to a viewpoint of what appeared to be the culprit behind the compromised state of Jog Falls. In hindsight, we probably should have explored it to get a better appreciation of its extent and learn more about the decision and impacts made as a result
Karnataka_010_11152009 - After visiting both Jog Falls and Unchalli Falls, we continued south on some very potholed roads towards Murudeshwar

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We came to the main car park and overlook area by car from Sirsi some 60km away from Jog Falls on pretty decent road.

It took us around 75 minutes due to dodging lots of cows as it wound through lots of agricultural land while passing through the town of Siddapur.

Karnataka_006_11142009 - Dodging lots of cows while driving through agricultural lands between Sirsi and Jog Falls
Dodging lots of cows while driving through agricultural lands between Sirsi and Jog Falls

Note: we hired a driver as you probably wouldn’t want to be self-driving in the country unless you’re very used to the chaotic traffic conditions here.

Thus, we can’t give exact directions.

For some context, we flew to Panaji (the main town of Goa) from Mumbai, which took us about an hour to traverse the 579km or so (10 hours drive). The drive from Panaji to Sirsi would have taken 5 hours to go the 230km. Mumbai was a two-hour flight from Delhi.

Brief bottom up sweep of the main section of the falls


Wide right to left sweep of the falls including the orphan waterfall on the far left


Focused on what I'm calling the orphan waterfall since it's technically not part of the main Jog Falls

Trip Planning Resources


Tagged with: shimoga, sagara, karnataka, india, waterfall, western ghats, sharavathi river, siddapur



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Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

Awesome place to visit for nature lovers May 22, 2015 12:00 pm by Aashika - Jog falls is a awesome place for Nature lovers, full of greenery and peace. Best period to visit Jog falls is August-December. We visited jog falls in September, the view was awesome. The best water falls which I saw. During the visit, we stayed in Sanjeevini homestay, Those who are planning to visit Jog falls… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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