Friday, January 1, 2010

Jog Falls

Jog Falls are the highest falls in India. Located in Uttara Karnataka (north Karnataka), they are a spectacular sight to behold. They can be seen from two sides, and the view from both sides is a sight. To behold. The flow of water in the winter months is vastly reduced when compared with what's there during the monsoons, but that also allows you to see the four falls there more clearly. Each sight has something unique to offer.

The Jog Falls are created by the Sharavati River that plunges down from a height of 829 feet, though some figures put that height at over 900 feet.
Per the Wikipedia entry on Jog Falls (accessed Jan 1 2010)::
Jog Falls (Kannada: ಜೋಗ ಜಲಪಾತ), created by the Sharavathi River falling from a height of 253 meters (829 ft) is the highest plunge waterfall in India[1] Located in Shimoga District of Karnataka state, these segmented falls are a major tourist attraction. It is also called by alternative names of Gerusoppe falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi.[2]
There are many waterfalls in Asia - and also in India - which drop from a higher altitude. But, unlike those falls, Jog Falls is untiered, i.e., it drops directly and does not stream on to rocks. Thus, it can be described as the highest untiered waterfalls in India.

Also see:Jog Falls | World Waterfall Database: World's Tallest Waterfalls
The World's Most Spectacular Waterfalls- Slide 10 - Slideshows - Travel + Leisure

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This is NH206, heading westwards. In the background you can see the bridge that takes you over the Sharavati river and towards the south side of the Jog Falls.

This milepost is actually as you approach Jog Falls from Honnavar. This is also milepost marker 333, which means you are 333 kms from the start of NH206 at Tumkur.

And five kilometers later you can see milepost marker number 328. This is the standard for milepost markers on national highways - a stone marker, with a yellow semi-circular top, and a white cuboidal base. The text is in black. The signage, the text and the numbers, alternate in English, Hindi, and Kannada.

This is the bridge that takes you over the Sharavati river. An old bridge, it looks even more picturesque from afar.

From the bridge you need to drive some 2.4 kms before you actually get to the falls. The drive curves through the Ghats before landing you at the entrance to the Falls, where you pay an entrance fees. The fact that the Falls are not very near any major city also means that there were no more than a hundred tourists there. Which means you can spend time viewing the falls from the viewpoints without having to jostle with hordes of tourists. The preferred mode of transport for the majority of tourists is to take one of the several buses that ply to Jog Falls - tourist or otherwise.

And this is the view from the south side. During the winter months the flow of water is reduced to a trickle, but the sound of these four falls plunging down almost 900 feet is still an impressive roar. The spray however does not reach up. It may, during the monsoons. Each view has its beauty.

There is a walkway, comprising 1600 steps, that you can take to trek down to the base of the falls. Got to try it the next time. Per the guide, the trek down and up and spending some time down takes generally three hours or so.

Lots of people do that, walk down, choosing to bathe in the waters there.

This is the Rocket fall below. The name is derived from the fact that there is a large volume of water that falls down at high speed.

A closeup reveals that there is a large volume of water; in fact of all the four falls, this one seems to have the most volume of water.

And a further closeup reveals that water seems to be rushing out at great speed.

Raja Falls and the view from, shall we say, suicide point?
All of this brings me to the highlight of our visit to the falls. Our intrepid guide, very helpful and cheerful, took us to the north side of Jog Falls, and then past the view point, where a five minute trek, not strenuous at all, took us to the point where a small stream of water forms a small pool of water that then makes it way through a small opening and plunges down as the Raja Falls. To the left right of this point is a huge boulder strategically placed so that it overlooks the Raja Fall. Almost completely over the falls.
Now, you do not clamber over the boulder, walk over to the edge and peer over. No sir. Do not try that. Do not. Because the body's gyroscope is quite likely to err.

So what do you do?
You clamber over to the rock. And then you crawl. On all fours. And your belly. Till you can peer over the precipitous ledge.

And this is what you would see.
The Raja fall is the one at the top left corner.
And the small white mass of water that you see at the bottom is 829 feet below.

Needless to say, the first time I peered over, I peeked and then immediately peeled myself back. As far back as I could. The mind has a tough time coming to terms with heights as stark as this. At first. You get the feeling that if you were to peek long enough, you may just, somehow, find yourself tipping down. You won't really, because the ledge does not have a downward slope. But tell that to the mind.

After collecting my wits, I ventured again, this time armed with a camera. And shot off two shots, rapidly, one in portrait and the other one in landscape mode. And peeled myself back.

These two photos are, I believe,  the first ever taken from this vantage point. Till I am corrected.

So let us get mathematical and do some calculations. We want to calculate the time it would take for a person so deciding to take the final plunge to hit the water below. We will ignore the effects of wind resistance. And take the value of 'g' as 9.8 meters per second per second, i.e. g = 9.8 m/s2

Now, the height can be taken as 829 feet, which is 248 meters.
The initial velocity, u, is 0.
So, plug these values into the equation s = ut + 1/2 at2
248 = 0 + 0.5 (9.8 x t2)
or, 50.6 = t2
which gives us 7.11 seconds.

The bridge, as seen from the north side of the falls.

The Linganmakki dam.
Per the Wikipedia entry on Jog Falls (accessed Jan 1 2010):
Associated with the waterfall is the nearby Linganmakki Dam across river Sharavathi, and the hydro-electric power station that it serves[4]. The power station has been operational since 1949, and is, at 1200 MW capacity, one of the largest hydro-electric stations in India and a significant source of electric power for Karnataka. The power station was previously named Krishna Rajendra hydro-electric project, after the King of Mysore at that time. The name was later changed to Mahatma Gandhi hydro-electric Project. It was served by Hirebhaskara dam until 1960. After 1960, thanks to visions of Sir M. Visvesvarayya, Linganmakki Dam, built across river Sharavathi is being used for power generation.

© 2009, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.