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theriderbeest 13th July 2017 03:20 PM

Solo Soul-Riding To South India's Niagara: The Jog Falls!
6 Attachment(s)
Ever since I did the solo Goa ride back in January 2017, I couldn't go on any long rides for the months that followed. With the South-west Monsoon hitting the Karnataka coast in early June, a ride to Jog Falls was on the anvil and thus started the pre-ride research: the best time to visit Jog, best place to stay, best route to take and so on. Come July and MakeMyTrip started bombarding my phone with their "offers" and one such offer seemed too irresistible with the famed Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa right opposite Jog Falls being listed at less than half the regular price! After a quick rundown of following days' schedule and I zeroed in on the 6th of July, 2017, as the D-day for my ride. On July 5th, Bajaj ASC called me up and asked me to bring my bike in for its regular service. All my efforts to convince them that I had got it serviced well before the scheduled service interval went in vain and I had to eventually disconnect the call to get them off my back.

D-day: I wake up at 6:00 and glance out of the window and the weather looked convincing. No signs of a heavy downpour, good! By 7:00, I was ready to hit the road with just a small backpack for company. The roads were reasonably empty at that hour and I was at Surathkal by 7:30 from where the highway was wet owing to a heavy downpour that had lashed the coast a few minutes prior to my arrival. This continued all the way upto Kundapura and I had to be careful so as to not end up in a situation where I'd have to slam on the brakes and eventually crash because of the dreaded Eurogrip rubber. An incident that happened while returning back from Jog however changed the perception that I had about the Eurogrips completely and now I am actually planning to keep this pair of tyres on for another 10K kilometers at least! More on this later.

Mangalore to Jog Falls documented as a motovlog.

Work on four-laning the highway is progressing well at Padubidri but I don't see it being completed any time soon. Rest of the highway from Mangalore to Kundapura is in pristine condition, save for the errant drivers who gatecrash on the wrong side of the road in a bid to save a few precious drops of fuel. Reached Kundapura at around 9:15 or so and until then I hadn't yet decided which route I'd be taking to Jog. Had ruled out the Udupi-Hebri-Agumbe route in advance since I'd planned that for the return leg, leaving me with three options; Kundapura-Sagara-Jog, Kundapura-Kollur-Kargal-Jog or Bhatkal-Muppane-Kargal-Jog. By the time I reached Kundapura, ditched both the routes via Kundapura and headed straight towards Bhatkal. Potholes in this stretch have been haphazardly patched up and have singnifcant harsh and uneven edges making for a very bumpy ride.

Went past Maravanthe which is a highlight of the Kundapura-Bhatkal road where the highway runs parallel to the Arabian sea with the Sowparnika river on the other side. Road conditions improved after Maravanthe and I could breeze through most sections without much difficulty. Slowed down near Byndoor as I approached the landslide prone area and was shocked to see the extent of damage caused by the recent twin landslides. The newly constructed lane has been completely reclaimed by the falling soil and due to the threat of another landslip looming large, the place is heavily guarded by emplyees of the construction company with whistles and red flags. Once past this place, I overtook a long line of vehicles and zipped ahead effortlessly towards Bhatkal. Now the diversion towards Kargal for vehicles heading north from Mangalore is a few kilometers before Bhatkal and I missed this turn and went straight ahead only to realize it when I stopped a few minutes short of Bhatkal.

Immediately started backtracking towards the diversion and amidst all this confusion, I had conveniently forgotten to refuel! This road deviates from the NH66 and joins the Bhatkal-Soraba-Siddapura highway about 10 kilometers further ahead and it was at this point that I realized the bummer! My fuel gauge was flashing indicating that the bike was about to hit reserve and I frantically fired Google Maps to search for the nearest petrol bunk only to be greeted by a "No network" alert. Decided to take a gamble and continued towards Kargal, hoping to find a fuel station somewhere. Asked a gentleman if there were any petrol bunks ahead to which he replied that the nearest one was in Bhatkal!!! "What have I done? Jog is 70 kilometers away and I have 2 liters of petrol in my bike. With a mileage of around 38 Kmpl, I'll barely be able to make it to Jog but then what? How do I return back? Shall I head back to Bhatkal and refuel? No, I'll continue..."

About 5 minutes later, I stopped near a village which had quite a few shops, to inquire about the nearest petrol bunk and the owner of one of the shops informed me that there were no petrol bunks on that road but he sold petrol and I could fill it from him. Blindly trusting him, I filled 3 liters for Rs.240 which was a good Rs.15 more than the market rate per liter but then again, it was my mistake in the first place and I have only myself to blame for this goof up. Now this was probably the best decision of my life and the best Rs.240 I've ever spent since I learnt later that there indeed were no petrol bunks anywhere on that road. With the "low fuel scare" out of the way, I began enjoying the ride through lush green forests and deserted roads. Somewhere near Muppane, there was a check-post where the guards curiously stared at me as I went past without stopping and entered the Sharavati Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Roads after this point were absolutely deserted and tons of uprooted trees dotted the entire route. Maintained a steady pace, albeit while being extra careful on the corners so as to not lose the rear end on loose gravel.

The temperature dipped as I started gaining altitude and by 12:00, I was closing in on my destination. Eventually reached the entrance and after paying an entry fee of Rs.10, I headed straight to Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa which is located right opposite the falls. Check in was delayed as the rooms were being cleaned but by 12:45 I was in my room and the view from the window blew me away! Visibly tired after the ride, I freshened up, had a plate of chapati-vegetable curry from a shop within the Jog Falls complex, and headed back to my room and crashed on the bed, only to wake up a couple of hours later to see rain coming down in buckets. Tourists were undeterred and continued to wander around the place, trying to get a glimpse of the falls amidst the mist that had by then completely engulfed the place. I sat in front of the large panoramic window and kept staring outside. By the time rain subsided it was 17:00 and entry to the bottom of the falls was closed; gates are shut at 16:00.

Jog Falls from the viewpoint.
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PWD guesthouse.
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Entrance of Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa.
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Full view to no view in no time!
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Hotel Mayura walk-through.

Jog Falls!

Went about exploring the place for the next 2 hours or so and by the time I headed towards the restaurant run by the Mayura hotel, it was 19:00. Dinner wasn't ready yet and I thus had to be satisfied with Rice Bath which tasted okay. The musical fountain show which was supposed to commence at 19:00 showed no signs of starting even at 19:30 but a crowd had occupied the seats near the fountain awaiting the show to begin. I headed back to my room since it was pretty dark by then. In case someone wants to visit Jog, the timings are 6:00 to 20:00. The stairs that lead to the bottom of the falls are open between 9:00 and 16:00. There are quite a few fast food outlets just after the entrance on the left and the Mayura restaurant is further ahead to the left, near the fountain concourse.

Went to bed by 20:30 and woke up at 6:00 the following morning with a view of the mist covered falls. Ah, how I wish I could wake up to this sight every single morning! It was raining then but by the time I freshened up and was ready to hit the road, the weather had cleared up. Checked out at around 8:00 and started my return journey towards Mangalore via Sagara and Agumbe. First priority to fuel up and got to know from the receptionist that the nearest petrol bunk was at Talguppa, 15 kilometers away. The road was deserted for the most part save for a couple of Bangalore registered vehicles that had stopped by the side. Reached Talguppa and found a petrol bunk and after filling up the tank, was on my way towards Sagara. Traffic was sparse and this meant that I could maintain a steady 50kmph average. The roads are good on this stretch but the presence of a maddening number of stray cattle takes the fun away. I had a narrow escape near Thirthahalli when a cow hopped onto the road out of nowhere while I was doing 80Kmph, forcing me to brake hard. Somehow managed to stop just short of hitting the bovine without the rear wheel locking up. Eurogrip isn't that bad after all!

Somewhere near Talguppa.
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Just before Thirthahalli.
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That was close!

Agumbe ghat ride!

The return ride!

Rest of the journey was uneventful and I crossed Agumbe at around 11:30 and hit the ghat section shortly. The road has been relaid and gone is the erstwhile concrete-cement road that was a nightmare for bikers. Now it's a tar road and with sparse traffic, I covered the ghat section in around 15 minutes. Crossed Hebri and was at Udupi by 12:30. Wanted to stop and have a very late breakfast but the ATM which I visited had no cash and hence I decided to proceed straight towards Mangalore. Maintained 90-100Kmph for the most part and crossed Surathkal toll gate at 13:10 and was at home by 13:40. While the to journey clocked was 220 kilometers, the fro journey was 255 kilometers but through better roads and civilization. The former was covered in 5 hours whereas the latter clocked in at 5 and a half hours. The route via Bhatkal-Muppane-Kargal is an adventure in itself and as long as one has enough fuel and a reliable vehicle, it's worth a try owing to how close it takes you to nature.

So that was my short hop to Jog Falls and back on my trusty Pulsar AS200. Do check out the videos! Adios![:D]

souree123 4th September 2017 08:49 PM

Re: Solo Soul-Riding To South India's Niagara: The Jog Falls!
Looks like you had a blast, I did the same trip from Mysore a while back and loved every second of it. The ride through the ghats, the superb greenery refreshes your mind, soul, and body. Next time ride up to Agumbe mate, the beaches, and the food there are heavenly. BnB s are springing up in Agumbe and are pretty reasonable too.

Keep riding.

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