From the dramatic sounds of gushing water, against the backdrop of the blue sky and green shrubbery, topped off with shimmering sun, viewing a waterfall closely is a majestic and hypnotic experience.
India, with nature’s beauty at its zenith, diverse forests, mountains and plains, offers a variety of choices to witness the spectacle of nature’s wonder. Immerse yourself in the torrent of white water crashing over the cliffs to the depths, hear the mesmerising sound and fall in love with the tropical paradise.
Even though monsoon is the best time to visit the falls when the rivers are in spate, utmost precaution must be taken while trekking.
Nohkalikai Falls, Meghalaya
Falling from a height of 1,115 ft, this highest plunge waterfall in India is also the most photogenic. The immense force of water carves a waterhole which remains frosty blue in winter and turns demure green in summer. This beautiful waterfall has a strange tale attached to it. According to a Khasi legend, it has been named after a woman who, in regret and anger, ran off the edge of the plateau and the waterfall where she jumped from was named Nohkalikai Falls.
There is much to do here, such as trekking, camping, landscape photography, swimming and angling. Nature lovers can also enjoy bird watching as the forest echoes with the cacophony of birds chirping relentlessly. A minimal entry and camera fee is charged at the gate leading towards the fall. There are steps that lead to the base of the fall and disappear midway and travellers follow a trekking trail for the rest of the distance.
One may even get lucky and catch a glimpse of a rainbow when the skies are clear in the month of October, accompanied with the occasional drizzle. Nohkalikai is not just a cascading river of water but an earthly wonder.
Shivanasamudra Falls, Karnataka
Making its way through the rocks of Deccan Plateau, the Cauvery river drops off the cliff with a pleasant sound as Shivansamudra Falls. It is a perfect weekend getaway from the city of Bengaluru with a scenic drive that will make you halt and capture the beauty of nature. The falls split into two segments, the left segment is called Gaganachukki and the right is called Bharachukki.
Bharachukki is known for the island town Madhya-Ranga, a renowned pilgrim centre. The narrow trail of stairs carved through the rocks makes the right segment accessible and more popular. Enter the water and enjoy bathing under the groves at Bharachukki.
Gaganachukki has complete facilities like resorts, restaurants and food stops. The watchtower and dargah offer an incredible view of the falls. From Bengaluru, the traveller can take a road-trip from Malavalli which is the best route to reach the falls. The waterfall and hills fall into Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary where the tourists can enjoy excursions, trekking along a forest trail, rock climbing, birding, fishing and other activities.
Thoseghar Falls, Maharashtra
Perched atop hills in the midst of calm, dark woods, the roaring Thoseghar Falls is a favourite picnic spot near Mumbai and Pune. As you near the ghats, the air gets misty. The entry at the base is restricted as the gushing water of the falls can prove to be dangerous. Alternatively, tourists can take a short walk to reach a concrete viewing platform and enjoy the mesmerising and scenic view of the falls. The main attraction is the drive off Satara Road, the scenic beauty around the falls and the wind farms of Chalkewadi.
The most interesting part of the visit includes crossing the milky stream of roaring water through a small metal bridge. Other nearby attractions are Kaas Plateau Valley, also known as Valley of Flowers; Kaas Lake, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Vajrai Waterfall and Koyna Dam. You can enjoy boating at Bamnoli Boat Club and Tapole, immerse yourself in the history of the state and visit the forts of Ajinkyatara, Sajjangad (samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji) and even Nandgiri.
Written by: Kritika Dhawan