Why Padmavati Temple near Jog Falls is exceptional

14th Sep 2015
Photo of Why Padmavati Temple near Jog Falls is exceptional by Krishna Kuya
Day 1

In mid-September of 2015, I started from Mumbai to explore Jog falls. As often as it happens, I traveled solo and chose Monday to avoid the weekend rush. I reached Honnavar on Tuesday at morning 8AM by Matsyagandha Express. Konkan railway trains are often late in monsoon. Honnavar station is located approximately 5 km from the Honnavar town. A local lady helped me to negotiate with Auto rickshaw who dropped me to bus stand for Rs.100. Honnavar town is not a great place to hang around, but a convenient transit to get transport for nearby scenic places. I had breakfast in an Udupi Hotel and went to inquire about buses. All the buses and sign boards were written in Kannada and this made my inquisition very difficult. I also missed a bus as I could not interpret the right bus. Later a Hindi speaking conductor showed me the right platform to wait and I got the bus at 11AM.

Road to Jog Falls

Photo of Honnavar, Karnataka, India by Krishna Kuya

Sharavathi River

Photo of Honnavar, Karnataka, India by Krishna Kuya

Wada with Onion and Chatni

Photo of Jog Falls, Karnataka, India by Krishna Kuya

Journey to Jog falls (also known as Gerosoppa Falls) was very scenic. Sharavathi river had turned the entire region into lush green landscape. The bus headed towards the town of Sagara dropped me right in front of the gate to Jog Falls at 1pm. Locals sell sliced Pine Apples and wada everywhere you walk around. Since it was Tuesday, everything was quick. 

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I got the tickets and entered the view point. 2015 was a year of very less rainfall everywhere in India and even Jog fall was not spared. The water to Jog Falls was restricted by Linganamakki dam and I could see very less flow in the waterfall. But it still had the charm to keep you hooked. The waterfall is divided into four distinct streams called Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roar. The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column to the depth of 830 feet. The area around the view point is very well maintained. You will easily find restaurants, washrooms, drinking water etc. There is a PWD rest house which is very well located and perhaps the falls is visible from inside. Nevertheless, such location is out of bounds for people without a strong political connections.

Jog Falls from bottom view

Photo of Why Padmavati Temple near Jog Falls is exceptional by Krishna Kuya

Jog Falls from the top view

Photo of Why Padmavati Temple near Jog Falls is exceptional by Krishna Kuya

By 3pm, I came out of Jog Falls view point area and started exploring the town of Jog Falls. It was much cleaner than the villages of Maharashtra. Trees of Supari were abundant. The only problem was that most of the local people didn’t speak Hindi/English. I spoke to some of the Homestays for my future trips with DarkGreen Adventures. By 4pm, my exploration was almost complete and I still had 24 hours for my return train from Honnavar station. I was wondering about my night halt location and ways to utilize this time. Possible options had been to just walk around the churches in town or return to Honnavar and explore the beaches before returning.

Then I opened Google maps and observed the nearby locations. The map was loading slowly and I could see only green patches around my location. I got curious of a temple amidst greenery in the map. There was nothing marked around the temple area except a narrow road. Without a second thought, I started walking towards the temple. After a km of walking, map had loaded fully and distance shown was 20kms. There was no way I could have walked to that temple before sunset. But I didn’t feel like giving up. I just hate leaving unfinished business. So I continued to walk without worrying about dinner or night halt or come whatever may. I hitchhiked in a passing school bus. The driver scolded me in Kannada after learning that I was headed to Padmavati Temple. He dropped me after 2kms indicating that it was the end point of that bus. A school boy of around 5 years age started walking with me and explained me in broken English that the temple is very far. Then a bike passed by and I again asked for a lift. The biker couldn’t speak Hindi/English and refused to drop me to temple indicating that he is going somewhere else. Fortunately the smart kid explained him in Kannada that he should drop me at some point where our path diverges.

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As I went on with the biker, nearby surrounding continued to become lonelier and greener. I was checking my distance continuously on the map. He dropped me at a forest check point and said that his village is towards right and I need to go to the left for the temple. A forest guard marched quickly towards me and I was scolded again for coming to forest alone in the evening. He could speak Hindi and told me to quickly walk to the temple and stay there. He sternly warned me not to come back at night. He told me that there will be a bus passing the checkpoint in morning at 10:30 AM.

Pine snake in the forest

Photo of Padmavati Temple, Hunsihadgil, Karnataka, India by Krishna Kuya

So I started walking through the last 3kms. The light was getting dimmer and I could not see a person around. There was no network in mobile and I suddenly started feeling cautious of the forest around. After reaching the temple, I breathed a sigh of relief and explored the place of worship. There were few people around - the pujari, the caretaker, etc. I was surprised when I learnt that there is an accommodation facility in the temple. I was given a room with a receipt of Rs.100. The room was very ordinary, but seemed like a luxury when I was actually preparing myself to sleep on the temple floor with my bedsheet (I carry it always). I later found a hand pump in the backyard of the temple. It was pitch dark there and I could take bath completely naked without bothering about anyone watching. Naturalist activities always thrill me. Now I prepared myself to sleep without food. For a trial I went to ask the caretaker if they had something to eat. For my second big surprise, dinner was included in 100 rupees receipt. I was offered rice and rasam. I am not a big fan of such food, but that night it tasted overwhelming. I had a deep sleep that night after the satisfaction of exploring this awesome place.

Padmavati Temple

Photo of Why Padmavati Temple near Jog Falls is exceptional by Krishna Kuya

But picture abhi baaki hai mamu…

Next day morning I woke up at 7AM. After thanking the caretakers, I walked towards the large water body visible in the vicinity of temple map. After walking 2kms in the forest road, I met another forest guard who told me that we are not allowed to walk on this path and this water body (a dam reservoir) is out of bounds for people. I decided to return back to forest check post where I would get bus at 10 AM. Since it was 3 kms from the temple, I had to walk 5kms now. It was 10AM and the forest guard (other than whom I met in the previous day evening) told me that all buses in Karnataka are on strike today. I was in checkmate situation. Jog falls was approx 17kms from this place and Honnavar was 70kms from Jog Falls. My train was scheduled for departure at 4pm. After waiting till 11:30, an ambulance appeared from the village side road. I desperately asked for lift and got it. It was a new and weirdest entry in my list of hitchhiking vehicles. It dropped me to Jog Falls and after some time a friendly biker dropped me to Honnavar. I reached the station just a few mins before time.

"Life is very satiating when your expectations are low. If you are prepared for the worst outcomes like sleeping on the floor, not getting dinner, missing trains, etc. then you will enjoy and show gratitude for whatever you get during your journey. That’s the true essence of backpacking."