When you think of India, an enormous waterfall may not be the first image that comes to mind. But Jog Falls are one of the country’s major tourist attractions. Also called Joga or Gerusoppa Falls (Joga is a Kannada word that translates to “falls,” and Gerusoppa is part of the surrounding region) this plunge waterfall splits from the Sharavathi River in four distinct cascades.
Called the Raja, the Roarer, the Rocket, and the Rani, these powerful falls surge over densely-forested sandstone cliffs without interruption. Raja is the highest of the four, while Rani flows the most peacefully. The Roarer makes the most noise, and the Rocket is said to fall like a jet.
To visit Jog Falls, travelers should head to the border of Shimoga and North Kanara, in the Karnataka region of India. They’re situated in a lush evergreen forest, about 10 miles from the nearest train station, and there are numerous buses that leave from the city of Shimoga to Jog Falls. Tourists will also find the falls easily accessible from the highway. If you’re flying into India, the airport in Mangalore is the closest to the falls, and you can easily hire a taxi service to the Jog.
Since the falls are so powerful, they were harnessed for electricity in 1949 and are still one of the largest hydro-electric stations in India. Unfortunately, the upstream dam has greatly impeded their flow. For this reason, travelers may want to consider visiting during India’s rainy season (from August to December). During the winter months, however, photographers will enjoy especially clear, mist-free shots. Visit in the early morning, when crowds are thin and the sun illuminates the falls.
Upon arrival, tourists will discover multiple ways to reach beautiful viewpoints. At the bottom of Jog Falls, for example, you can climb around 1,600 steps to get an amazing perspective—and probably get showered with water vapor. Once you reach the base of the falls, feel free to dive in and cool off. There are outlooks on both sides of the walls, and even excellent panoramas from the parking lot.