Hidden in a remote, thickly forested corner of the Western Ghats 240km northeast of Mangaluru, Jog Falls are the highest waterfalls in India. Today, however they are rarely as spectacular as they were before the construction of a large dam upriver, which impedes the flow of the River Sharavati over the sheer red-brown sandstone cliffs. Still, the surrounding scenery is gorgeous, with dense scrub and jungle carpeting sparsely populated, mountainous terrain. The views of the falls from the opposite side of the gorge is also impressive, though during the monsoons, mist and rain clouds tend to envelop the cascades. Another reason not to come during the wet season is that the extra water, and abundance of leeches at this time, make the excellent hike to the floor valley a trial; if you can, head up here between October and January. The trail starts just below the bus park and winds steeply down to the water, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip. The whole patch opposite the falls has been landscaped for appealing viewing, with its own entrance gate and reception centre.
Jog Falls is connected by the well-paved NH-206 that crosses the Ghats from the coast south of Kumta, which is connected by frequent buses to Gokarna. Coming from the south, it is slightly quicker to connect at Honnavar. On the inland side, there are hourly services to Shivamogga (Shimoga), from where you can change onto buses for Hosapete and Hampi. Change at Sagar (40km) instead for buses to Udupi, Mysuru, Hassan and Bengaluru.
Apart from the standard government canteen at the Mayura Gerusoppa Jogfalls hotel, the only other food options are at the enclave of small chai stalls and shops that cluster around the reception centre.
Top image: Jog Falls of India © Rahul Pai/Shutterstock