"Maanavanaagi huTTidamele yenenkanDi?
SaayodroLage omme noDu jogaad gunDi"
(What have you seen being born as a human? See the Jog once before you die)
Said the poet Mooguru Mallappa. He had written these lines at a time when the Sharavati river was full bodied and the sight of the river jumping into the valley, nearly nine hundred feet below, was a sight which brought out such famous lines. After the river was contained at the Linganamakki dam and was made to work for us producing power, all one could see at ‘Jogad GunDi’ was just the empty ‘gunDi’ (ditch). We had heard that the Jog falls do regain some of its past splendor during rains and thought that we would follow Mallappa’s lines and visit ‘Jogad gunDi’ before it is too late.
We left Goa in the morning and were in the coastal town of Honnavar by lunch time. After a futile attempt to eat the lunch provided by a hotel in Honnavar we left the highway and turned into the Honnavar - Shimoga road. Another national highway. It is a pleasant journey of sixty kilometers from Honnavar to Jogfalls amidst abundant greenery. Pleasant except for a small stretch of wretched road, which you will cross easily if you do not come across any oncoming bus or truck. Better to have a prayer or two handy in case such a situation arises. I managed one such occasion with a prayer and soon afterwards we noticed a sign which said ‘view point’ and a small concrete platform next to it.
The view was worth the effort of parking the car, ignoring the trash littered around by uncivilized tourists and climbing onto the platform.
An hour later we saw a big board saying ‘welcome to Jog falls’ and a road leading away from the highway. In another minute we were in a dirty parking lot where we had to park the car amongst the other haphazardly parked vehicles and walk to a very disappointing viewing platform. The falls was nowhere near what we had expected and the surroundings even worse. There was overgrown shrubbery blocking the view and plenty of trash right at our feet. Since we could not spend more than about ten minutes there, we returned to the car and dejectedly drove to Sagar town where we were intending to spend the night, cursing ourselves for taking Mallappa’s words seriously.
The view from the hotel room was better than what we had witnessed at Jog and we were refreshed after a wash and a cup of hot tea.
We had planned to visit ‘Keladi’, a historic place once ruled by Shivappa nayaka (heard of Keladi Chennamma? She is another brave queen said to have fought with the mughals and pushed them back. It was one of the lessons in our primary school Kannada text) and we hoped that it would not be another disappointment. Keladi is a small place just about five kilometers from Sagar and we were there by half past five. The museum housing some artifacts from the old kingdom was closed but the Veerabhadreshwara temple was open.
The temple, constructed with wood and stone stood on a large plot next to a majestic Peepal tree surrounded by a well tended lawn and the pleasant sight took away the dejection that had been brought about by the falls.
The doors of the main building lead to a flag stoned court yard, again very neat and clean and at the center there are three small temples of Veerabhadreshwara, Parvati and Rameshwara. The caretaker who was surprised and happy to see some visitors, enthusiastically pointed out the salient features and we spent an hour enjoying the serenity and history.
|The main door leads to the back of the temples.|
|The front, with a 24 feet monolithic pillar.|
|Keladi Chennamma, at the base of the pillar|
|'GanDabherunDa' the double headed bird, the insignia of Keladi Nayakas, carved in the ceiling.|
|Wooden granary - of the size of a marine container.|
After the overnight halt at Sagar and a better than expected dinner and breakfast in the hotel (Varadashree), we were back on our way to Goa the next morning. As we neared the road leading to the falls again and was preparing to curse the falls one last time, we noticed a bridge crossing the river we were passing by. On an impulse we just turned on to the bridge and decided that we would drive through the country side for some distance and come back. After crossing the bridge we noticed a sign board saying ‘Jog falls. 1.2 kms’ and followed the road which lead to a ticketing booth. We were surprised to hear that it was the entry point to the Jog falls and we eagerly brought the tickets with a new hope and drove onto a well maintained parking lot. A stone paved path lead to a neat viewing gallery which provided the usual poster picture view of Jog Falls!
We fools had entered the Jog falls from the wrong direction and had gone behind the falls the previous evening and had been cursing the falls, the Karnataka government and Moogooru mallappa for our folly! The consolation was that there were hundreds of other fools who had done the same thing!
A haapy mother and son pair and a scare crow posed for the pictures and soon after that the whole valley was covered by dense fog and nothing could be seen other than floating white mist. We were happy that we were there right on time and it was worth the visit. The pictures shows what we saw and the accompanying you tube video shows what some lucky people might see even this day if they visit the falls during heavy rains and if the gates of Linganamakki dam are open. That sight would make any one agree with the lines 'Saayodrolage omme noDu Jogad gunDi'