India has been blessed with many beautiful natural resources in the form of mountains, lakes, valleys, rivers and waterfalls. There are more than 200 waterfalls in India, small and big alike. Many hill stations usually have waterfalls as one of the main attractions. A waterfall is most likely to be the main attraction of such holidays.
However, there are some that are so magnificent that they stand out from the rest. Mainstream waterfalls like the Athirapally Falls, Dudhsagar Falls, Jog Falls pose stiff competition to Niagara Falls, Angel Falls or Victoria Falls. They get all the recognition from media and movies, but some of the waterfalls are still untapped heavenliness.
The majority of these are nestled in dense, lush forests in the Western Ghats. In monsoon, from July-September, the rivers are full and the falls are swelling with water. We have curated a list of spectacular falls, straight out of wonderland. Visiting these falls is a breathtaking experience and it is hard to believe they exist until you see them falling and flowing in full glory.
Amidst thick forest, this scenic beauty flowing in Yallapura town in Uttara Kannada District is aptly called the Niagara of Karnataka. Sathodi is best visited after monsoons because the roads leading to the forest are quite risky. It is one of the many waterfalls in the country whose plunge pool is accessible to splash around or bathe. Pack snacks and food, as there are no restaurants or stores in the area.
Magod falls, which is also near Yallapura town can be visited along with Sathodi falls. River Bedti flows in full force and branches out into two tiered falls to form the Magod waterfalls. One can also visit Jenukallu Gudda and Kavadi Kere near Magod falls which are known for their beauteous view.
Jog Falls is the highest plunge waterfall in India. It is recommended to visit this in the peak monsoons from July-September to see the falls in full glory. The four falls Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer are offshoots of the river Sharavathi. You can climb down to the foot of the falls. Linganamakki Dam, located at about 6 km from Jog Falls is used to generate electricity.
If you are around Hassan, we recommend Hanbal Falls near Sakaleshpur. This waterfall is best visited during monsoons because the water might just be trickling down during non-monsoon seasons. Though it does not flow from a great height, discretion is advised as it is very slippery around the waterfall area. You can also visit Bettada Byraveshwara temple which is about 20 km from the waterfall.
Have you, like us, seen that famous photo of a train passing with a beautiful waterfall backdrop and wondered which falls it is? Well, it is none other than the mighty Dudhsagar Falls, located on the Goa-Karnataka border. Unlike other waterfalls, Dudhsagar is extremely organized with helpful staff. It is necessary to wear a swimming vest to get into the plunge pool. Make sure you arrive early as the lines leading to the ticket counter can get long during monsoons!
This waterfall is located on the Ghataprabha river in the district of Belagavi. Gokak Falls, in the shape of a horseshoe is a haven for geologists because of the Eparchean unconformity. There are monuments in the Chalukyan style of architecture near the waterfall. It has a hanging bridge which provides an incredible view of the river along with the falls. Also, do not miss out on eating Gokak Kardant, a sweet delicacy which is available in the region.
This waterfall is about 10 km from Kemmangundi hill station in Chikmagalur. There is the Veerabhadreshwara Temple right outside the falls, and therefore it is crowded most of the time. Consequently, it is polluted with soap, snacks, clothes etc. It is better to visit the falls in the non monsoon seasons to enjoy the clear water. The very famous Mullayangiri peak is about 60 km from here.
Don't miss it if you are travelling through North Karnataka via Honnavar. Legend has it that the angels used to bathe here, and hence the name Apsarakonda. There is a beach at a small distance behind the waterfall. The viewpoint on the Apsarakonda hillock is at a short distance from the falls and offers some breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea and the beach.
There are some huge caves located near the waterfall called the Pandava Caves - it is believed that the Pandavas stayed in these caves during their exile.
Arishinagundi Falls is one of the spectacular falls of Western Ghats near Kollur. You have to embark on a trek to reach the falls and the starting point of the trek is the very famed Kollur Mookambika temple. You will get to see the fruits of your labour (i.e., the waterfall) after trekking for 4.5 km. If you continue further up, you will reach the Kodachadri peak. Arishinagundi means "Turmeric Lake" in Kannada and it is believed that swimming in the plunge pool here has a rejuvenating effect on your body.
Bandaje Arbi Falls located in Charmudi Ghat in Dakshina Kannada district is also another waterfall that needs a long trek to reach. It is advised to engage the services of a guide as it is a dense forest and one can get lost easily. The trek is quite arduous and can be a bit of a task if you are travelling with children or old people. Ballalarayana Durga Fort is nearby and it is almost a 2-hour trek from the falls.
The mesmerising Hidlumane Falls is a series of cascading falls that is located at the base of Kodachadri hills in Shimoga district. The trekking circuit to the Hidlumane Falls is adventurous - involving crossing over steep hills and dense forest. Kodachadri Peak, the lush green beauty is at a trekking distance from Hidlumane Falls. Other attractions not to be missed are Mookambika National Park and Mookambika Temple.
Barkana falls, located in the middle of Western Ghats is approximately 7 km from Agumbe. Trekking to the waterfall is risky as the slopes are quite steep. However, the awesome sight of the valley from the view point and the beauty of the waterfall are worth the tiring trek. The forest is known for the flower 'Guruji' which blooms once in 7 years. The Barkana View Point is a great spot to enjoy the enchanting view of the Western Ghats.
Kudlu Theertha Falls is a picturesque waterfall located at a distance of 42 km from Udupi near Hebri. The water falls from a height of 126 ft directly into the plunge pond. It is believed by the locals that this pond is holy because many sages undertook penance here. The waterfall is mostly isolated so it is sensible to engage the services of a guide. Like all the waterfalls that involve a trek through the forest, this is also infested with leeches and it is advised to carry salt to clean the leeches off.