Karnataka abounds in a torrent of sparkling waterfalls set amidst the sylvan environs of the districts of Coorg and Canara. Westward flowing rivers gush through the thick forest in coastal Canara, breaking into a number of streams that meander over the hilly tracts to leap down dramatically at regular intervals.
Bear witness to nature's headlong tumble as the River Sharavati makes a spectacular drop of 810 ft (253 m) in four distinct cascades known locally as the Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket. The grandeur of the falls is best appreciated just after the monsoons, when arching rainbows abound, only to fade as fast as they appear. During the monsoon, the falls are voluminous but shrouded in mist. When the sluice gates of the Linganmakki Dam upstream are closed, it is worth taking a walk right down to the bottom of the gorge.
Discover nature's handiwork in the form of this tiny island-town 65 km east of Mysore. Forested hills and lush green valleys cradle a small hamlet and two fine temples. Together, they provide a startlingly calm setting for the river Cauvery as it plummets from the height of 75 m into a deep rocky gorge with a deafening roar to form two picturesque falls, Barachukki and Gaganchukki. Watching the Cauvery in spate, crashing into a cloud of foaming spray, is an exhilarating experience. Downstream from the falls is Asia's first Hydro - electric project, established at the behest of Sir M Visvesvaraya in1902.
Tucked away between private coffee and spice estates, Abbey Falls (11 km from Madikeri) offers a splendid backdrop for picnic. As you make your way pass stocky coffee bushes and tall trees entwined with pepper vines, the falls make a sudden and dramatic appearance. Cascading their way down steps into limpid pools, they join the river Cauvery. The best time to visit the fall is during the monsoons.
Nestled beside the Nagerhole Sanctuary, Iruppu Falls is a stunning sight during the monsoons. From its humble origins in the Brahmagiri Range, the falls plunge down 170 ft in two stages to flow as Lakshmana Tirtha, or sacred river of Lakshmana. The sound of the water and the hush of the densely wooded forest all around make this a great picnic spot. A forest trail leads from these falls to the Brahmagiri peak in Southern Coorg, where the Rameshwara temple attracts a large number of pilgrims during Shivaratri.
The mesmerizing Magod falls are located 80 km from Karwar. Here, the river Bedthi hurtles down, in two leaps, from a height of 650 ft into a rocky ravine. Roaring, gushing water, thickly wooded countryside and a beautiful view - all make it an ideal picnic place.
Just 30 km from Siddapur, is Heggarne, a dreamy hamlet in the North Canara district. A 5 km trek from Heggarne, through dense forest, will bring you to the picturesque Unchalli Falls (also known as Lushington Falls).
An 8 km trek from Kemmangundi along a steep and narrow path leads to these sprightly falls. Surrounded by dense forest and coffee plantations, Hebbe Falls rushes down a height of 250 ft in two stages to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls). Do take a refreshing dip in this herb-infused water.