A state full of splendour and natural beauty, Karnataka is located in southwest India where some of its parts lie along the Arabian coastlines. Flanked by the hills of the Western Ghat range, Karnataka is home to magnificent hills, verdant forests, lush green coffee plantations and breathtaking waterfalls, which adorn its glory as a famous tourist destination down south. The gushing waterfalls falling from the hills are some of the popular tourist attractions which offer sights to behold while road tripping through Karnataka between August and January.
Some of the most popular waterfalls in Karnataka
- Jog Falls
- Abbey Falls
- Alekan Waterfalls
- Bandaje Arbi Waterfalls
- Dondole Falls
- Gokak Falls
- Hebbe Falls
- Iruppu Falls
- Kalhatti Falls
- Lalguli Falls
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To name a few, one of the best waterfalls to visit in Karnataka is definitely Jog Falls. It originated from the Sharavathi River on the border of the Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts. This famous waterfall is the highest in Karnataka and the second-highest of its kind in the country and always stands atop the list of must-visit places in the state. Jog Falls cascades from 253 metres height on the rocks and divides into four streams named Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer. Proudly referred to as the ‘Niagara of India,’ Jog Falls is one of the most popular getaways from Bangalore, Mysore, Chikmagalur, Coorg and other nearby cities. Other than the Jog Falls, you can visit so many other beautiful waterfalls in Karnataka.
Inspired by the name of a British lady, and originally called the Abbey Falls, this waterfall has intrigued many travellers over the years. It is located at a comfortable distance of almost 10 km from the resplendently green Madikeri. Ferocious torrents of water, moistening the lush green landscape from over 70 feet, never fail to stop surprising onlookers. The unending stretches of coffee plantations, cardamom, pepper, and other spice estates, as they trail along, and the path dotted at every inch by the trees, densely covered by the slender pepper vines, along with an over bridge hanging opposite the falls, present forth a landscape whose beauty needs to be seen to be believed.
The waterfalls, which are located inside the Sahyadri mountain range, can be reached after climbing 200 steps, while their ultimate destination is the River Kaveri. It is open to visitors 24/7, from 9 AM to 5 PM. A fee of INR 15 is levied per head. July to October is the best time to visit it, although you should watch out for the slippery road. Carry water and light snacks up to the falls area, as you won’t come across any stalls throughout the journey. Leeches are a common problem, and hence, you are advised to wear closed shoes, and keep some salt sprinklers handy, in case you get too close to them.
Alekan waterfalls are extolled as the crown jewel of the Charmadi portion of the exquisitely sylvan expanse spread over the Western Ghats. It descends blissfully oblivious of its mind-blowing majesty from almost 90 feet. Lush greenery around it sets it apart from the rest of the tiny waterfalls that shower the Charmadi ranges. It forms a small pool at the base of its waterfall, which is great for taking a dip or simply enjoying the views.
The splendour of the waterfalls can be enjoyed in its entirety during the monsoons. The path can be slippery though, because of the high currents. It is dangerous to take a dip in the pool during this time. Hills, slapped generously by layers of mist during monsoons, present the enchanting cascade of waterfalls, with a dreamy feel. The light mist created by the waterfall at dawn and dusk, stimulates your fancy and imagination to the maximum. The monsoon months between June to August are the most opportune time for a weekend sneak in.
Bandaje Arbi Waterfalls
A 16 km, yet enjoyable 8-hour trek along the serpentine route of the Charmadi Ghat rain forest, leads you to the much-awaited spot, where the sight of Bandaje Arbi Falls visit you from dizzying heights of 200 feet approx. While the streams swell to their zenith during the winters, they thin down to a thread, during the summers.
To reach the waterfalls though, you will have to trek for about 7-8 hours. It is best if you carry your own food, water and bedding. The road to the waterfalls is dotted by grasslands, streams and thick forests. It is also believed that it is situated about 700 meters above sea level, although there is no official data to corroborate this. While the falls are as beautiful as they can be, it is the vistas that surround them that enhance their appeal considerably. It is also advisable to hire a guide, as it is easy to get lost in the thick forest.
The prized possession of Belthangady taluk, Dondole waterfalls is located at a short distance of 20 km from Kakkinje, and 3 km before Charmadi, in Ujire. The waters cascade from almost 50 feet. The entire scene, which unfolds dramatically before the onlookers, is a sight to behold.
The forest area that leads to the waterfalls also offers exciting sightseeing opportunities, as you will be able to spot a bison or two, along with birds and butterflies. At least half, or almost the entire distance of 20 km can be covered by jeep, while the remaining can be covered by foot. Birds and flowers, of the most scintillating colors and varieties, surround the waterfall. Although this place is located close to the main road, you can carry snacks and other eatables and enjoy a picnic.
Gokak Falls is located almost 10 km from Gokak and 60 km from Belgaum in district of Belagavi. This waterfall is created when the River Ghataprabha takes a ferocious plunge of almost 170 feet. Resembling the Niagara Falls with respect to its height, shape and speed, the Gokak falls differs from it only when it comes to its width and color. You can hear the Gokak falls long before you can see it, as the dull roar of the thunderous streams invite you to explore the landscape in a detailed manner.
The river can be crossed via a hanging bridge that measures up to 200 meters, above the bedrock. At a time, it allows a batch of 30 to cross the bridge. A very old-fashioned electricity generation station built probably around 1887, draws your attention to its rustic style architecture. The monuments from the age old Chalukyan era on the bank of the gorge deserve a detailed glance.
Mahalingeshwara, situated near the riverfront, and built in Chalukyan style, draws visitors and pilgrims at regular intervals. The thick reddish-brown hue of the water of the falls, is a sight to behold. July to September is the best time to visit. Belgaum fort and Godachinmalki village are located just a few km away from the Gokak falls. This place is especially notable for its ambience that rejuvenates and compels you to overstay your trip to this place, and enjoy hours of uninterrupted peace and silence amidst its loveliness.
Situated at a distance of 240 km from Bangalore, Hebbe Waterfalls, located in Mullayanagiri in Chikmagalur, has always attracted tourists year after year. During summer, the water flow is not very aggressive, although it feels extremely cold to touch.
You need to hire a four-wheeler to reach the base of Hebbe. The bumpy ride, that feels more or less like a roller coaster, is roughly of 30-minute duration, after which you need to trek 1.5 km approx to get to the falls. Each tourist batch is guided by a guide dog up to the falls. Rocks are slippery and hence bathing in this area cannot be taken seriously. The entire stretch is owned by the forest department which provides its own transport. As you start from Chikmagalur to Hebbe, watch out for the narrow roads circling upwards towards the top of the mountain.
Hebbe Falls is fondly called by locals as “buttermilk falls”. It takes exactly an hour for the up and down drive that winds through the national park, where you can get to see some sambar deer, if you are in luck.
You need to cross three streams, each of which are about ankle to knee deep, before you get to see the cascades about 550 feet high. It is best visited between September to February, as the sight during that time is simply spectacular. It pays to carry salt and antibiotics to help ward off the leeches and protect yourself in case of emergencies. Don’t use sports shoes. Carry water bottles.
Nestled peacefully inside the lap of Brahmagiri hills, the Iruppu falls, is also known as Lakshmana Theertha. The waterfall is located 50 km approx from Nagarhole National Park and almost 50 km from Madikeri. It is formed when the river falls from a height of around 170 feet. It is closed during the monsoons due to increased water levels. On the banks of the river, lies the Rameshwara temple, widely known and visited by devotees seeking inner cleanse and contemplation. Built in the Kerala style of architecture, it attracts a huge number of pilgrimage enthusiasts every Shivratri. There is a naturally formed forest trail leading from the falls up to the Brahmagiri peak.
The first fall of Iruppu is a 500-meter uphill walking stretch from the stream. Although slippery and enveloped by thick greenery on either sides, it has never failed to impress photographers and camera novices who zealously capture the view in its breathtaking angles. The second tier of the falls is very steep and restricted only for brave hearts amongst us.
Kalhatti Falls provides the best of spiritual, natural, and adventurous experiences. Kalahasti Falls, more commonly known as the Kalhatti Falls, can be spotted 10 km away from the ethereal Kemmangundi hill station, inside the naturally beautiful Chikmagalur. A little away from this spot, lies the famous Veerabradeshwara Temple, distinguishable from the greenery that abounds it. It is thrilling to walk through the slippery and tiny walking tracks to reach the temple premises. On the other side is the ChandraDrona Hill, whose streams gracefully glide downwards. Every year, a large number of pilgrims visit this place to attend the annual fair.
Trekkers can spend quality time amidst the luscious greens here, and later, rest overnight at the Tarikere camp, located about 35 km from it. The only company you have here is of the rich flora and fauna, and if you are lucky, you can find bears, elephants and monkeys. Cardamom trees are spread all over the area, and lend their aromatic uniqueness to the ambience. This place is ideal largely for the children, who can safely prance around near the two small waterfalls.
Originating from the famous Kali River, Lalguli Falls is located about 13 km away from Yellapur of Uttara Kannada district. Its name is taken after Lalguli Village which lies close by. The waterfall cascades from an altitude of 250 km against a peaceful naturally green backdrop. It can be reached through a series of rocky steps which lie at different altitudes, from 61 m to 91 m. The wildlife-rich, beautiful setting leaves the first-time visitor completely surprised, and he keeps visiting it again and again. The best time to visit it is between October to December.
Monsoon is a different story altogether as you can expect some unpredictable landslides. If you have a liking for trekking, river rafting, and a few other water sports, you can try them at River Kali and Lalguli falls. A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman lies in close proximity. Bird watchers have a wonderful opportunity of getting to watch interesting specimens of birds. Anytime between 8 AM to 7 PM is the best time to be one with the tranquillity of this place.
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