These don’t have direct access from the main road but you’ll have to walk down on a narrow lane overgrown with shrubs and highly infested with leeches, but at the end of the day it’s fun and let me tell you one more secret – you can get to swim with King Cobras! Exciting, right??!!
You must be familiar with Malgudi days and Swamy? Well, then you would definitely remember Swami’s house in some of the episodes. Don’t be surprised when I tell you that the house still exists! Yes, it’s currently run as a home stay called Dodda Mane, managed by Kasturi akka. The house boasts of the rustic architecture from the old times and is a perfect place to stay. Not posh unlike many hotels, but akka’s hospitality makes you anchored to this place and that was the reason why we decided to go to Agumbe.
Kasturi Akka makes a very special tea called ‘Kashaya’ made out of Milk, Cumin seeds, Black pepper, Cinnamon and Cardamon, yes and no tea leaves! It’s supposed to be very good for cough and cold and if you happen to get it somewhere, taste it! It’ll give you a great feeling.
After having met akka, we proceeded towards Jog falls. And that was when we met with astonishing beauty. I had heard from people that Western Ghats is one hell of a drive, the beauty casts a spell on you and you are stuck there forever. I always used to think of this statement as a fairytale notion, but that day, I was proven wrong. As the raindrops caressed the serpentine roads and lush green valleys, the ghats looked even more serene and en-capturing. Clad in fog, the misty mountains welcomed the clouds and I was literally on cloud 9!
If you want to enjoy the beauty of this drive, then start early morning because there are many view points where you can witness a beautiful sunrise and sunset. You can stop by at one such point, have tea by the roadside stall and enjoy a peaceful time. There are many sanctuaries and reserves in Western Ghats, you might as well spend a day there. Western ghats is very rich in flora and fauna and there are many research centres hidden amidst the wilderness. If you happen to visit those centres, you’ll be astonished to see innumerable samples of tiny animals and reptiles, some endangered and rare, that flourish in the Western Ghats. In short, you can call this place as the Amazon of India.
Anyway, we continued to drive and after a while the ghats gave way to lush green fertile plane laden with paddy crop. In that green carpet, we could find splashes of colours here and there, these were the farmers with colourful polyethylene covers wrapped around them to protect them from rains. You can stop by and click pictures if interested.
We finally reached Jog falls. By the time we reached there, it had become hot and humid and I was definitely missing the cool mountains. As many of you would know, Jog falls is India’s highest waterfall. And being an attraction, you can find a throng of tourists here and there either clicking pictures or getting clicked. The maintenance is done by Karnataka tourism and given that this is a fact, the place is pretty clean. But again, if you are a person who likes to be away from crowd, Jog falls is a place where you should spend not more that half an hour.
We reached there in afternoon when the sun was almost overhead. The volume of water in the waterfall was less compared to what it should have been. But then, there are specific days when they release water from the dam to make this waterfall look picturesque and you should target those days to visit the place. At night, you’ll have sound and laser show and locals say that this is the time when the entire landscape looks even more beautiful.
If you want to stay at Jog falls, there is good Karnataka Tourism hotel right at the top of a hill and as the sun sets, that place will be all empty and you can have all the peace in the world in the company of India’s highest fall. But if you still want to get away to quaint mountain surroundings, then you must do what we did.