The monsoons and waterfalls go as much hand-in-hand as cinema and popcorn. Vignesh Sundararaman recommends seven falls every nature junkie must visit
When I was walking in the mountains with the Japanese man and began to hear the water, he said, ‘What is the sound of the waterfall?’ ‘Silence,’ he finally told me.” – Jack Gilbert Waterfalls are one of the best showpieces of nature’s beauty in our country. Apart from being a film director’s staple for picturesque and romantic songs, waterfalls are also the perfect getaway spots for weary tourists. And there’s no better time to visit one than during the monsoons when the pleasing climate coupled with lush greenery make for the perfect accessories (for the waterfalls, that is).
HEIGHT: 259 metres
BREADTH: 290 metres
LOCATION: Karnataka (104 km from Shimoga; 379 km from Bangalore)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Talaguppa and Sagar
NEAREST BUS STOP: Sagara and then Jog Falls bus stop
YI TIP: There are about 2,500 steps to the bottom of the falls. We suggest you carry sufficient water and glucose to keep yourself hydrated.
Joga is a Kannada word that means falls. Many Kannada natives near the Sahyadri Mountains still use the word joga to mean falls. It is also known to locals as Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi. This waterfall is considered the tallest, untiered fall (its fall is not broken into steps), and is a sight to behold during the monsoons when its entire expanse bursts forth with water. Adventure lovers have the option of trekking down the hill to the bottom of the falls. By the way, as a tribute to these falls, the Indian Postal Department issued a set of 15-rupee commemorative stamps in 2003.
HEIGHT: 310 metres
BREADTH: 100 metres
LOCATION: Goa (57 km from Panaji, accessible via National Highway NH4A)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Dudhsagar
YI TIP: The dirt road is very dusty, so carry a bandana or something to cover your face and hair. Ideally, be the early bird and catch the jeep before 8 am. Also, follow the unmarked trail on the left which is much safer to reach the base of the falls.
Dudhsagar literally translates to ocean of milk. When the water falls down a steep height of 310 meters, it really looks like milk gushing down. It is the sixth tallest waterfall in the subcontinent. A small rest house is maintained in the forest by the Karnataka Forest Department and is the only place to stay while there. Roads are generally closed from June to September as fast flowing streams cross the roads. Therefore, travelling by road to the fall is not such a good idea. There are four possible trek routes to reach Dudhsagar Falls, of which only two are accessible in monsoon – Castle Rock Route and Kulem Route.
HEIGHT: 200 metres
LOCATION: Maharashtra (82 km from Pune; 18 km from Lonavala)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Lonavala
NEAREST AIRPORT: Pune
YI TIP: The ideal time to visit Kune Falls is midmonsoon when the falls are in full flow and the entire valley is camouflaged by greenery.
Ranked 14th tallest in the country, these are 200 meters high, three-tiered waterfalls. As the traveller crosses the last tunnel on the Old Mumbai-Pune highway, the falls becomes visible and are a treat for the eyes.
HEIGHT: 60 metres
LOCATION: Rajasthan (35kms from Bundi)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Bundi
YI TIP: Transportation is a bit sparse in this area. Hiring a taxi may be your only option.
Rajasthan is not all about parched soil and boiling climate. The Bundi region of Rajasthan turns calm during the monsoon, allowing this beautiful waterfall to emerge. In fact, Bundi village receives more average rainfall than Delhi during the monsoons! Legend has it that this waterfall is the creation of Bhim, the strongest of the Pandavas, who created it for his mother Kunti. Research data indicates that Bhimlat was formed due to an 8th century earthquake.The waterfall may be only 60 metres high, but the sheer fact that it is located in Rajasthan is tempting enough!
HEIGHT: 120 metres
BREADTH: 100 Metres
LOCATION: Kerala (60 km from Thrissur; 30 km from Chalakudy town)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Chalakudy
NEAREST AIRPORT: Kochi international airport
YI TIP: Since Athirappilly is situated amidst thick forest, night riding is not advisable. Also, refrain from swimming in unknown waters during the monsoon as it can prove to be dangerous.
Athirappilly Falls are referred to as the Niagara of India. Located on the west-flowing Chalakudy river near the Vazhachal Forest Division, Athirappilly is a popular tourist destination. Surrounded by greenery, the waterfall seems quiet on top, but as you near the bottom of the fall, the thundering sound of the water overwhelms you. The scenic beauty of the falls has always been attractive to filmmakers. It has been featured in movies like Dil Se, Guru, Raavan and Iruvar.
HEIGHT: 315 metres
BREADTH: 70 metres
LOCATION: Cherrapunji, Meghalaya (54 km from Shillong)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Guwahati
YI TIP: Since the falls flow only during the rainy season visit them during June, July and August.
The Nohsngithiang Falls are also known as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and the Mawsmai Falls. The waterfall is illuminated by the sun from dawn to dusk, and the vibrant colours of the setting sun reflected by the waterfalls is a beautiful sight to behold. Nohsngithiang Fall literally means fall kissed by the sunset.
HEIGHT: 315 metres
BREADTH: 70 metres
LOCATION: Tamil Nadu (180 km from Bangalore; 46 km from Dharmapuri town)
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: Mettur
YI TIP: In the monsoon the falls may be restricted to people due to high currents and water level. Therefore, it is advisable to check and verify before planning a trip.
The word Hogenakkal is formed from two Kannada words – hoge and kal. When the water falls, it appears as if fog (smoke) is emanating from the top of the kal (rock). It is also called Marikottayam by the people of Tamil Nadu. Located on the banks of River Kaveri, it is a major site of tourist attraction. Boating is allowed during the drier seasons when the falls are not strong enough to disrupt the passage of the boats. But the best season to visit would be the monsoon when the river is in full flow.