Before dozing off on Day 0, all of us had solemnly pledged to let bygones be bygones and not let the delays of that day affect the plans for the next day and that if we managed to wake up early (it is another thing that it was almost early morning before we slept), the plan would still be under control.
To reach Jog Falls by lunch time, spend a few hours there, head to Sigandhur, take a Car Ferry by 5 PM and reach Nittur by evening/dinner time.
So this is how the plan went:
The wake up call was at 6 AM, after having checked that everybody, especially the ones driving the cars, were well rested (if you want privileges and care that is rare in real life, become the driver on a road trip), we finally stepped out of Hotel Shanbhag at 8.30 AM, quite impressive considering that 12 people had to get ready at the same time. We checked with some men at the hotel about the best road to Jog Falls. From the month long research we did, we derived that Jog Falls was 267 kms from Hospet through the State Highways and being NH snobs, we estimated that this would take 5 hours on a SH and we would reach Jog Falls by 2 PM. The guys at the hotel enticed us to take another route by tempting us with the pleasures of NH. The route, they told us was very scenic and wouldn’t take more than 4 hours. “All set”, we said and stepped out for breakfast.
The moment the cars were rolled out, shabbily cleaned by the hotel parking attendant, the first sign of the title of this post coming true was spotted.
Murphy’s Law Scene 1:
Eagle 2 (for the sake of the story let’s call the cars Eagle 1,2,3) decided to do the unthinkable – flat tyre ! This car has a notorious flat tyre history and what a day it chose to display its trait ! Having spotted this just before breakfast, its owners were hardly in a mood to eat but then how long can one resist the idlies, the vadas and the coffees?
While at breakfast, we also spotted a cow which made a few of us go “Holy Cow!”, it was the most weird looking cow, a cow which also had the features of an ox and ate idlies !
Back on the road, we hunted for a puncture shop and found one immediately. “See, things don’t go wrong always”, we thought. The tyre was detached, the culprit in the form a nail pulled out, the nuts were getting fixed and when it all seemed ready, one nut rebelled and refused to sit ! For the owners of Eagle 2, it was deja vu time and they began seriously re-considering their wisdom on fixing alloy wheels. The nut lost its threading and we tried and tried until everyone went totally nuts !
Finally we decided we had enough of this nutty business and we banished the rebellious nut, nothing was going to stop us, even if it meant driving on with just 3 nuts – the wheel’s nuts, we mean ! People were promptly shifted so that the healthier ones were to sit on the other side, while the 3 nutted wheel was given some relief by having thinner ones sitting on its side !
After a quick stop for fuel, (this writer found a freelance work of writing bills at the petrol bunk, only to be told by them that they never used those bills for book-keeping ! Where are the Commercial Tax guys when you need them??), we were off to see the Jog Falls. In the midst of this din, it was 10.30 AM but having been assured at 4 hour drive to Jog Falls, we didn’t really give much thought to the delay. How wrong, how very wrong !!
We drove along NH13 for a while and then headed onto the road leading to NH4 via a place called Harihar. The road was nothing to write home about but we were treated to some beautiful landscapes with Marigold fields in full bloom:
and hills with windmills in the distance:
The road continued to test our patience until we reached Harihar. We were supposed to stop here for breakfast as per the initial plan but by the time we reached Harihar it was past lunch time ! Until a day before the trip, one of the our guys from Pune was supposed to join this trip at Harihar, his bus was scheduled to reach Harihar at 7 AM by which time we were reach there to pick him up. His plan was dropped in the last moment. He has his lucky stars to thank otherwise the he would have been stranded at Harihar till lunch time !
We had a quick lunch at Hotel Ayodya, except that the famed Davangere Benne Masala Dosa turned up with a blackend-face, the food was decent. From here all seemed bright and sunny as we hit NH4, as the wide, classy NH stretched before us, we sat back to enjoy the drive.
Murphy’s Law Scene 2:
Driving on NH4 our diversion point onto the Jog Falls road was supposed to be at Haveri. The afternoon sun shone bright as we admired the scenes around us. The sign boards flashed the countdown to Haveri and at a point they flashed a right arrow to Haveri, though almost everyone noticed it, Google Navigator on Eagle 1, which was leading the way didn’t give a green signal for the diversion. If Google Navigator said that was not the place, then, so be it and we drove on until the sign boards began throwing up unknown places ! By the time we stopped to check the route, we had gone quite a bit forward. It took us only a jiffy to figure out what had happened and we found a single, dusty, bumpy village road that was supposed to lead us to the Jog Falls road. Little did we know that the road we were taking had mysteriously almost doubled up the distance to Jog Falls !
We had a time target of reaching Sigandhur before 5 PM while returning from Jog Falls because the Ferry across the river there was supposed to be one of its kind. One could take their cars along on the ferry but the ferry closed by 5 PM which meant we had to reach Jog Falls, visit the Falls and reach Sigandhur, roughly 30 kms away from Jog Falls before 5 PM. The time, when we turned onto the village “highway”, read almost 2.30 PM with Jog Falls close to 150 kms away !
Murphy’s Law Scene 3:
Half an hour into the bumpy ride, alarm bells rang again – Eagle 2’s newly fixed tyre was flat once more ! In the hot and sultry village side, cries of How? Why? When? No ! OMG ! went up in the air. It was decided that we had enough of the traitorous tyre. After a few facepalm expressions signifying that this should have been done in the first instance, out came the spare tyre ! We prayed to the spare tyre to shower its benevolence on us, and we resumed the journey. It was way past 3 PM, it was no longer a question of whether we could reach the Car Ferry before 5 PM, it was now a matter of reaching Jog Falls that day while there was still some light !
Once we decided to let things take their course, it became a lot more easier. We stopped by for a cup of the ever refreshing Chai as the sun began to slowly retire for the day.
Murphy Law Scene 4 – the Final Nail:
After what seemed eons, finally we found a board announcing Jog Falls. Some more losing-our-way sessions later, we finally reached the Jog Falls at 6 PM with just enough light to make out what was what.
Many years ago, a little student studied in GK that Jog Falls were the highest waterfalls in India and it became a dream to visit these waterfalls some day in the distant future, as the student grew up, the internet made the dream stronger by showing some amazing pictures of the magnificent waterfalls. So when finally the student was so close to realising the long-cherished dream, destiny delivered its final judgement !
The Hide and Seek Falls
When we turned around to look at the Jog Falls, we were greeted by this:
Now, go figure the Jog Falls ! There the Jog Falls lay behind a thick cloud cover that gave us no hope of even getting a glimpse of the Falls.
Jog Falls was not in the main route that we had planned for the trip, it was quite far from the other places we scheduled to visit in this trip. Yet, we chose to take a roundabout route just to visit the Falls because it was a major landmark on India’s tourist map and being the post-monsoon season we didn’t want to miss it. The previous day’s delays, the tyre punctures, the road diversions, the bad roads, all the trouble had boiled down to this !
In the meantime, Eagle 1 disappeared and there were no cellphone signals to know their whereabouts. We also met of our colleagues who was also supposed to join the trip but decided to go on his own with his family, their plan was only to visit Jog Falls. He told us how beautiful the Falls were at mid-morning and that as evening descended, so did the clouds. He even told us how much he enjoyed the Ferry though he didn’t take his car along. Talk about rubbing salt on wounds !
Jog Falls decide to grace us
Having nothing else to do, we stood there clicking pictures of the invisible Jog Falls, when the Falls decided to end the game of hide and seek and quietly showed us their beauty as the clouds cleared away. What a sight it was ! The huge mountain from where the Falls plunged down 1400 feet, the dimness of the dusk, the clouds scattered here and there around the Falls, the moment is etched in memory !
It was nothing like the gushing, mighty Falls that the pictures on the internet showed us, poor monsoons meant very little water. It was a disappointment, no doubt, but nature has this thing of looking beautiful in every form and the Jog Falls seemed to have attained a new kind of beauty in their simple version. We sat there clicking pictures, drinking in the sights as much as we could before darkness took over.
The Jog Falls are best viewed in the mid-morning to late afternoon when there is no cloud cover. There is a road which takes you to place from where the falls originate. It is supposed to be breathtaking. Some other time, we told ourselves. We may not have got the most sought after view of the Jog Falls but for some reason the moments we sat there looking at the Falls gave the kind of inner peace that only being in the midst of nature can make you feel.
Jog Falls to Nittur
From Jog Falls, we began our journey to Nittur, our next pit stop for the night. It was 7 PM by the time we started, Nittur was 120 kms away, having missed the Ferry which would have shortened the distance by 50 kms, we had to take the longer route. We consoled ourselves saying the Ferry would have taken longer, not to mention the waiting time and that we were better off driving. Heard the story of the Fox and sour grapes??
So, into the darkness we drove. Eagle 1,2,3. The roads were pitiful to say the least and those 120 kms seemed to drag for eternity, patience was thinning fast. As we approached Nittur, Eagle 3 lost its cool and stormed off into the night until we ran into the welcoming arms of the host of our Homestay, Silver Hills Farm.
It was past midnight when we reached the Homestay. The Homestay looked hilarious with its police-station like bricks, open to ceiling bathrooms and funny looking rooms. Dinner was served right away and we polished off the food topped with Sambhar-like Rasam and Rasam-like Sambhar, it was simple, homely, more than what you could ask for at 12.30 AM after an insane day.
As people began to turn in for the night and the jokes faded into snores, the last thought on the mind was, “You are right Murphyji, if something can go wrong, it most certainly will but again every cloud has a silver lining and on trips like this, every instance of Murphy’s Law comes with a silver lining which reads “IT WAS FUN !”
– There are some homestays if you wish to stay near Jog Falls, the internet gives you all the information you want.
– If you wish to snack on something, there are a few stalls near the Falls itself.