The waterfall had over 70,000 visitors in the first two weeks of July
Monsoon tourism has commenced with a bang in Shimoga, thanks to copious rainfall in the district from the first week of June. The world-renowned Jog Falls near Sagar — created by the Sharavati plunging from a height of 830 ft — is drawing innumerable tourists though it is yet to attain its full glory.
The waterfall with four distinct cascades — Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani — is surrounded by mist-wrapped hills and miles of virgin forests. It is located about 385 km from Bangalore.
An impressive 77,707 people visited Jog in June and over 70,000 have visited in the first two weeks of this month, according to Tourism Department sources. Late arrival of the monsoon had hit tourism last year.
“I have already made four trips for Jog this month. This weekend, I am taking a family from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh to Sigandur temple and Jog Falls,” says a happy Niranjan J., a tourist taxi driver in Shimoga.
Santosh, a photographer at Jog, says that an average of 50,000 tourists visit the waterfall every Sunday in August.
The success of the 2006 Kannada film Mungaru Male , which had breathtaking shots of the Jog Falls, has made the place even more famous.
As many as 43.12 lakh tourists have visited the waterfall in the last four years, according to the Tourism Department. However, the facilities around Jog Falls are poor, rues Mr. Santosh.
“Tourists park their vehicles haphazardly, resulting in traffic problems. A spacious parking place should be constructed to avoid this. It is necessary to upgrade basic amenities for tourists here,” he said. Cleanliness was also a major casualty during tourist season — between July and October, he adds.
Agumbe loses lustre
Agumbe, near Thirthahalli in Shimoga district, known for torrential rain and evergreen forests, is attracting far fewer tourists than it could because of poor connectivity and inadequate facilities.
Hasirumane Nandan, member of the Agumbe Gram Panchayat, says that an average of 200 tourists visit Agumbe every day during monsoon while the actual potential of the place is much more than this.
Landslips are common in the Agumbe Ghat during this season. The government should release special fund for laying concrete roads here as bitumen roads do not withstand the rain fury, he said.