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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Jog Falls - A Foaming Curtain of White

A white curtain covered the entire landscape. There was no trace of the green which was so evident all the way up the mountains, and the fog was so thick that even the person standing next to me seemed to blur. And then, as if on some hidden cue, the cloud curtain parted…… and brought this into view….

The Jog Falls!

Standing there, in the pouring rain, over the next 24 hours, we watched this drama unfold… over and over again. The roar of the falls was the only constant, rising and falling with the wind, the spray hitting us, far as we were; the clouds parting, and then closing in again, and in between, the spectacular sight…..

Tucked deep inside the Western Ghats, in the Shimoga district of Karnataka, the Jog Falls are created by the Sharavati River falling from a height of 253 m (830ft). The river here flows over a rocky bed, about 250 yards wide, and reaching a huge chasm, 260m (960ft) deep, descends  in four distinct falls – Raja is the highest, falling in a single, sheer column from the height of 830 ft, meeting Roarer halfway down. A third fall, Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets, while the fourth, Rani is the quietest of the lot!

Standing in the Tourist Complex built conveniently for observing the falls, we simply waited and watched as, one by one, each of the columns appeared…. And disappeared!

The falls must have been hard to get to, once. Today, well laid roads bring loads of tourists, even during the heaviest of rains, to see the second highest plunge waterfall in India. We were, by no means the only people there, on that rainy day, but among the few who simply sat for hours, watching the clouds meet and part, feeling the falls grow louder and fuller with the rain, making the most of the experience, etching every glimpse in memory, forever!

We did take a break, to see the falls from the other side – the side they cascaded down from. Here is an old bungalow, built by the British sometime in the 1800s, and rather unimaginatively called, ‘British Bungalow’! The view from here is not as spectacular as from the other side, but it is nevertheless an imposing sight, for it is only from here that we can see the force of the water, as the river plunges into the depths of the chasm.

There are a few other interesting sights around, such as the turbines of the hydroelectric project (seen from quite a height, since, obviously we aren’t allowed anywhere near!), and the Linganamakki Dam. .
However, the real USP of the place isn’t in the sights, but the experience – of feeling nature’s force, and her beauty, at the same time!


  • How to Reach:
    • By Road: The falls are approachable from Shimoga (100 Km) as well as Honnavar (60 Km). The road is quite well maintained, but buses are few. There are only a few services operating the route. It is much easier to hire a car, and combine a visit to the falls with other places nearby.
    • By train: The nearest railway station is at Talguppa, (15Km), which has regular trains to Bangalore.
    • By Air: The nearest airports are at Hubli (130Km) and Mangalore (135 Km).
  • Where to Stay:
    • For the best views, stay at the Tourist Complex. There are two wings – Tunga and Sharavati. Certain rooms in the Sharavati Block have the best views of the falls from huge windows, which make a stay there worthwhile. 
    • There are also homestays around, which offer a more complete, and relaxed experience.
  • Where to eat: There is just one restaurant inside this tourist complex, and choices are limited. However, there are a few shops outside the complex too, offering local food.
  • When to go: The best time to visit Jog is during the monsoon, but after the rains have picked up and the water levels in the dams have risen. More the rains, better the sight! Late monsoon is the best possible time. Be prepared for crowds, however, especially during weekends! Rooms at the tourist complex tend to be booked well in advance. 

This article was originally published in the Bangalore edition of The Hindu Traveller. You can read the original article here or download it here


  1. The Pictures are Amazingly Beautiful.The Beauty Of Nature.
    It Is One Of The Beautiful View I Had Seen In India.

  2. I must say amazing waterfall! Must have been an awesome feeling to witness such beauty. :)

    1. Thanks Renuka. It was indeed an amazing experience!

  3. The falls look so gorgeous! Those are lovely captures.

  4. Wow, this looks stunning! Hope to visit someday!


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