Giant of the Western Ghats
One of many wonders of India is Western Ghats – an exotic mountain chain, or rather, escarpment near the western coast of the Indian subcontinent. Few other places in the world have such a well-pronounced cycle of monsoons: every year around June – September here come heavy rains from the Arabian Sea, while the rest of the year is drier. Along this escarpment has evolved an interesting tropical forest with a multitude of unique species of plants and animals.
Abundant rain brings a lot of water. As a result in the Western Ghats have formed countless interesting waterfalls. The biggest of them all is Jog Falls.
Description of Jog Falls
This giant waterfall has formed on Sharavati River. During the monsoons, this river turns into a torrential stream which is several hundreds of meters wide and is bracing towards a seemingly bottomless abyss… and disappears in it with grand noise and a giant cloud of spray, if it is possible to see it through the rain and mist of monsoons.
Waterfall at its full force is heard long before reaching it. As one is approaching it, falls become louder and louder, the ground is trembling and the man feels small and insignificant before this spectacle.
Jog Falls have formed in a thick layer of gneiss, throughout many thousands of years creating in this rock an impressive canyon which is up to 290 m deep. During the monsoons, the waterfall is up to 580 m wide. Add to this the impressive height of 253 meters and this easily is one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls!
In the dry season of the year though it is much smaller. Then Jog Falls divides into four streams, which slide down along the cliff. These four streams from north to south are:
- Raja (King) Fall – a spectacular fall, which plunges down some 250 m without interruptions;
- Roarer in its upper part disappears in a smaller ravine and then reappears near Raja Fall, near the base almost reaching it. Yes, it creates a lot more noise than the others!
- Rocket hits the cliffs several times, creating impressive jets;
- Rani (Queen) is the calmest – it slides down along the cliff.
During the monsoon, the waterfall, for the most part, is hidden in mist and rain clouds. The best time to see the falls is between November and January when monsoons have ended but there still is a lot of water.
Waterfalls are known to people for many thousands of years and around them have evolved and disappeared ancient cities. Though in the 19th century, when Europeans learned about this wonder of nature, the area around the waterfall was covered with jungle and it was even hard to find a spot to look at the falls.
Earlier the falls often were called Gersoppa Falls after a large village fairly far downstream. Now the waterfall is called Jog Falls after the nearby village of Jog… which in turn has been named in local Kannada language after the falls.
A new trend – to harness the power of rivers for electricity production – took the world by storm throughout the 20th century. The legendary Indian engineer Visvesvaraya visited the falls around 1900 and exclaimed: “What a waste!” – meaning the waste of nature’s energy.
Such views led to the demise of this magnificent landmark. In 1949 there was built a hydropower station (Linganmakki dam) which takes a major part of the water away. Only during the monsoons, the floodgates are opened and the waterfall is at its full force.
Now the area around the falls has been arranged for tourists. There have been developed tourist trails to allow better visibility from different viewpoints, step by step is evolving tourist industry.
There are also constant discussions about the future fate of the hydropower plant – many locals dream about the time when the water will be returned to the falls and one of the world’s greatest waterfalls will return to its former glory.
Jog Falls are included in the following list:
- Jog Falls, World Waterfall Database. Accessed in 9 January. 2019
Jog Falls (Gersoppa Falls) on the map
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|Location, GPS coordinates:||14.2293 N 74.8126 E|
|Where is located?||Asia, India, Karnataka, Shimoga district, Sagara taluk, on Sharavati River|
|Meaning of name:||In Kannada language “jog” means “falls”|
|Alternate names:||Gersoppa Falls, Gerosoppa Falls, Gerusoppe Falls, Joga Falls, Jogada Gundi|
|Width:||470 – 580 m|
|Average flow during monsoon:||153 m3/s|
|Average flow during the dry period of the year:||1 m3/s|
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