Jog Falls, Shimoga – A nature’s home
Shimoga district is at the banks of river Tunga. Shimoga town is at a distance of 280Kms from Bengaluru (Karnataka State Capital).
Shimoga is a small quite town more like Mysore only smaller .Residing at Malnad area, the district has many green valleys. There is an old fort and some old monuments and temples in the city.
Shimoga is the closest city well connected with Bangalore to reach Jog falls.
It is an old city with a history.Shimoga is known as cultural capital of Karnataka.Previously known as Mandli. There is this legend about how the name Shimoga has evolved.
The name Shimoga is derived from the word Sihi-Moge which means sweet pot. According to this legend, Shimoga once had the ashram of the sage Durvasa. He used to boil sweet herbs in an earthen pot. Some cowherds, found this pot and after tasting the sweet beverage named this place Sihi-Moge.
Presently, Mangalore airport is the nearest airport. An airport in Shimoga is also under construction and would soon be operational.
The Shimoga town railway station is connected with Talguppa. The station falls under the Bangalore-Talguppa rail route. Bangalore-Shimoga Express regularly plies up and down the route. The nearest main railhead is Tarikere Junction Railway Station.
The best option would be the Mysore-Talguppa express which leavesw Bangalore at 10.30p.m and reaches Shimoga at 5 a.m in the morning.
Shimoga is connected by road to all of the important locations in the state. From Bangalore, one can take the NH 4 towards Yeshwantpur and Nelamangala. On the road to Tumkur, change to NH 206 via Gubbi. Continue on NH 206 and you would reach Shimoga, crossing Tiptur, Arsikere and Kadur.
We left Bangalore by the night train,The Talguppa Express from Bangalore Central Railway Station(SBC) to reach Shimoga early in the morning at 5 a.m.
You have plenty of autos waiting outside the railway station to take you to your hotel.
Visiting places in Shimoga district:
I was here for a 2 day visit only.Hence could not cover all that Shimoga offers as it as a lot of tourist places at a distance of 100-150 km from it in different directions.You can may be plan to come here twice or thrice to cover the whole region.
Sacred Heart Cathedral Church
The architecture of the church is in Roman graphic style. The church is said to be the 2nd largest church in India. The church is about 18,000 square feet in area with a big prayer hall. Which has the capacity of 5,000 peoples. The attractive statue of Jesus attracts tourists and pilgrims .
The cathedral is situated on the side of B.H. Raste (road). Being just 3 km from the central bus stand, it can be reached either by city buses or by auto rickshaw.
Shivappa Nayak Fort
Note that Nayaka were the vassals to Vijaynagar Empire and later after weakening by 2nd half of 16th century they declared their independence. Rani Chennama was one the last Nayaka and is credited to be first won to raise slogan of “Swarajya” against British Rule.
The summer palace of Shivappa Nayaka of Nagara is an archaeological monument situated right in the heart of the city at walking distance from the Sacred Heart Church.It is located adjacent to Kote Seeta-Rama Temple and takes hardly 10 min to reach on foot from the church.
The fort or what remains of it reminded me of the one in Bangalore .By this I dont mean the Bangalore Palace but the Summer Palace in , Chamrajpet, Bengaluru.
The palace is maintained by the Archaeological department, but more need to be done in order to preserve the artifacts.
The palace is entirely built of rose wood, which has a collection of stone carvings and antiquities of the Keladi period.
Gajanur dam on river Tunga is a picnic spot. Located 10Kms from Shimoga. Three is a facility to stay in the forest lodge. Doesn’t have much to offer if they don’t allow you to go on to the dam.
We were the unfortunate few here as it was raining and the road to the dam was closed due to security reasons.
You can take an auto from the city to Gajanur which is around 12 k.m. We were charged Rs.400 for the round trip and a hr’s stay, which I think was reasonable .
Sakkarebaylu-Elephant training centre
One km from Gajanur there is place called “Sakkarebaylu” which is an elephant training camp run by the government of India. You get to see the elephants train only in the mornings around 10a.m .So make sure you plan accordingly. As we only went to Gajnur in the evening there was no point coming here.
Mahatma Gandhi Park
Located in the center of the city.It is a nice place to relax and pass time.You may visit the place if you have some time on your hand.
Park however has nothing special to offer.
Jog Falls is created by the Sharavathi River dropping 253 m (830 ft), making it the second-highest plunge waterfall in India after the Nohkalikai Falls with a drop of 335 m (1100 ft) in Meghalaya.
Travelling To Jog Falls
You can hire taxis on spot in off seasons right outside the Gandhi Park for Jog falls.We had to pay Rs.2,200 for a round trip, no negotiation as the price seemed fair for a 220 km ride.
On the way to Jog falls just when you get out from the city you will come across the Tyarekoppa Lion Safari. I failed to visit the place as I was told by the locals that this wasnt much to see here. I however wanted to see that on my own.
Tyarekoppa Lion Safari(on way Jog falls)
This Safari is located at Tavarekopoa 10 Kms away from Shimoga on B.H Road (N.H 206), Sagar route. Forest department has set-up the Shettihalli Lion Safari, where we can see some Tigers, Lions, Cheeta, Bear, Deer and rare migratory Birds.The safari is spread around an area of 200 Hectares of dense forest.
Children recreation facilities are available. Timing 9 A.M to 5 P.M everyday except Tuesday is a holiday. Almost all buses to Sagar will stop here.
The next big stop would be Sagar.This a small town close to Jog falls and the Talguppa station. For people who only want to go to Jog falls ,can take the Talaguppa express from bangalore and stay at Sagar from which Jog is hardly 20-30km.
Sagar is 75Kms from Shimoga. Marikamba temple, Samadhi of Sridhara swamy at Varadahalli are important places to visit. Sagar has recognition as the best Sandal wood carving centre in Malnad region.
After Sagar we straight away headed to Jog falls.
Finally Jog Falls
Jog falls which drops 253m (830 ft) is the second highest falls after the Nohkalikoi Falls in Meghalaya which drops 335 m(1100 ft).
Four cascades, known as Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket merge to form the huge waterfall on the Sharavathi River. The falls are locally known as Geruoppe Falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi. Jog itself is a Kannada word, which means falls.
The falls perviously had poor safety measures which today have improved by installation of rail steps and a proper barrier preventing people from going very close to the falls which you could previously do. Some of my friends who did stay in Shimoga for the engg tell me that previously they could go the the very end near the falls, this though sounded scary would have been fascinating.
Climbing down the 1400 steps is a task for anyone coming to Jog but then trust me when you reach the bottom you will find it totally worth it.
However do carry water bottles which we some how totally forgot! It is also advised that pregnant women and older people refrain from the decent as it could prove to be an issue mid way.
We did’nt have much of an issue climbing down but the ascent was a huff and puff task for all of us.But then again what we did all this for was totally worth it.
All exhausted from your step climbing you can relax at one of the many eat outs setup near the entrance of the falls. You dont have much of an option here but you got to settle with what you have right. Most of these stalls sell maggi and south indian meals only.You also have the option of fish fry which we did not taste so cant really comment on that.
We then went to the British banglow which sits right on top of the falls. This is a little unsafe for adventurous people as there is little safety provided.However construction work was in progress to make the place secure and it should be complete soon.
On the way back from Jog falls after Sagar you take a diversion to Ikkeri. From where another 5 min drive(2-4km) you lead you to another spectacle of the Vijaynagar architecture of the time.
Ikkeri was once the capital of Keladi Nayakas. Aghoreshwara temple with a huge Nandi statue are worth visiting.
Simoga is a beautiful place to visit.
Some Excursion Destinations
You have a lot of places around Shimoga which are worth paying a visit.All of these are within the range of 100-150km from Shimoga. I will definitely visit Shimoga again as its a lovely place and cover some of the places posted below.
One of the peak point in western ghats, 825 mts from sea level, is famous for sunset view. Agumbe is 90 Kms away from Shimoga town towards South-West. I visited this place and is described in this blog.
Famous for Visweswaraya Iron and Steel company (VISL under Steel Authority of India (SAIL) Limited) and Mysore paper Mills. Located at a distance of just 10Kms. The town is located on the banks of Bhadra river.
A famous Jain Pilgrim centre. Located at a distance of 60Kms. Padmavati Devi temple, Lucky tree, Panchakuta Basadi with Mahavira Tirthankara images are important visiting places.
This is an historical place located at a distance of 5Kms from Sagar. Rameshwara and Veerabhadra temples (built by Keladi Nayakas), museum are main tourist interests. This place also has importance with Rani Chennammaji (one among two queens) and Keladi dynasty which had 16 Kings.
The main place of interest is the huge pond called Pushkarini. There is a building at the center of the pond with structures whose architecture resemble both Hindu and Muslim. Sante bennur has a long history with Palegars and is located at a distance of 50Kms.
Shiva temple, 50Kms from Shimoga town
This place is well known for the reason that the main language spoken here is Sanskrit (entire India). All the families speak Sanskrit. Situated at the banks of river Tunga, Mattur is 10Kms from Shimoga. There is a Sanskrit college in this village run with Gurukula system.
15Kms from Shimoga, confluence of rivers Tunga and Bhadra. Ancient Mutt of Shankaracharya is worth visiting
Kaitabeswara (Shiva) temple, 65Kms from Shimoga.
Sigandur chaudamma temple is also a famous temple located near Sharavathi river in the back water of Jog falls.