As the sky starts descending to the earth in the form of monsoon rains, the hills and the valleys and every patch of soil get rejuvenated. So do our summer-weary minds. The best way to experience this life-giving season is to step away from the confines of the city and soak in some natural beauty, especially if you are living in a metropolitan city like Bangalore. A gushing waterfall is an unmistakable sign of the great Indian monsoon, beautiful, awe-inspiring, and chilling, all at the same time. As the temperatures cool and the greens emerge, it is the perfect time to unleash the explorer in you and take a road trip to some of the most scenic and accessible waterfalls near Bangalore.
It might seem impossible that there are waterfalls near this urban jungle, but there are. Not just one or two, but several of them, thanks to the wondrous ways of Mother Nature! Here, in this blog, we give you a list of some of the most-visited waterfalls that are a short drive away from the Garden City.
WATERFALLS NEAR BANGALORE WITHIN 50 KM
Don’t have too much time to spare? Thottikallu Falls, located near the Kanakapura Road is a monsoon special and one of the popular waterfalls near Bangalore within 50 km. The waterfall is also called Swarna Mukhi Falls, which means golden face. The trail to the falls is a little rugged and other places of interest near the site include a small shrine revered by the locals – the Muneshwara temple. It is also an ideal destination for short bike excursions from the city.
Make it a point to visit Thottikallu Falls during the day so you can also walk around and catch stunning views of the surroundings. Take your camera and put on your best pair of sneakers. Just a word of caution – the place is pretty crowded on Sundays.
Distance from Bangalore: 32 kilometers via the NICE (Bangalore – Mysore) Expressway
Activities: Trekking, hiking, biking expeditions
Muthyala Maduvu Falls
Surrounded by deep green hills, Muthyala Maduvu Falls from a distance looks like a string of pearls tucked into the verdant valley. No wonder, the place is also called Pearl Valley! Located a short drive away from Bangalore, it is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. A little bit of exploration will reward you with the pristine air of the forest and some magnificent views to refresh your weary soul. If you are a shutterbug, there will be a lot of scenery to keep you busy.
Just like many other imposing natural sights in Karnataka, the place also has some spiritual significance and there is a Lord Shiva temple nearby. Thattekere Lake is another key attraction in the area. Bird watchers are also in for good news – the woods around the falls are home to many species of birds. Morning visits are recommended if you want to catch glimpses of these feathered residents.
Distance from Bangalore: 40 kilometers via the Hosur Road
Activities: Trekking, sightseeing, photography, birdwatching
WATERFALLS NEAR BANGALORE WITHIN 100 KM
River Arkavati provides the lifeline to many towns and villages around Kanakapura and it also creates some of the most mesmerizing waterfalls amidst eye-catching terrains. You will love the setting of Chunchi Falls – a rocky gorge dotted with thick pockets of green as the clear waters gush into the river below. Any guesses where the falls got its name from? A tribal couple, named Chuncha and Chunchi. Not a difficult guess, eh?
Close to the falls is Sangama, a meeting point for three rivers, this natural landmark is a great choice for those who want to take a trip to waterfalls near Bangalore within 100 km. The route from Bangalore to the falls is scenic and full of greenery, which is a bonus for shutterbugs and nature lovers. Since public transport services are limited to this area, it is recommended that you take your vehicle or hire one.
Location: Kanakapura Rural
Distance from Bangalore: 90 kilometers via the Kanakapura Road
Activities: Picnicking, visiting nearby attractions like Sangam and Galibore fishing camp
Another enchanting waterfall near Sangama, Mekedatu Falls is located on the rushing currents of the Kaveri. There are many large rocks around the gorge that can be splendid viewpoints but take it slow and easy because these can get slippery, especially after monsoons. Mekedatu Falls forms a bottleneck on the Kaveri, which explains the sudden strength of the currents and the legend of the place is that a goat once leaped across the gorge to escape a tiger (Mekedatu means goat’s leap).
The higher reaches of the region are covered in thick forests and hillocks, ideal places for a good hike. The Chunchi and Mekedatu waterfalls are close by, so covering them in a single trip is recommended.
Location: Kanakapura Rural
Distance from Bangalore: 90 kilometers via the Kanakapura Road
Activities: Trekking, photography, visiting nearby attractions like Sangam and Galibore fishing camp
WATERFALLS NEAR BANGALORE WITHIN 200 KM
Ready to take a bit longer drive from the city, are you? There are many waterfalls near Bangalore within 150 km and a little beyond, of which the one in Hogenakkal tops the list. An unforgettable and awe-inspiring natural sight is the best way to describe Hogenakkal Falls (also called Marikottayam in Tamil) in full flow. Roughly translated, Hogenakkal means smoky rocks, referring to the illusion of smoke emanating from the rocks as the water falls on them with heavy force. The roar of the waters can be heard from a distance and a placid section of the River Kaveri suddenly gives way to cascades, which have often been compared to Niagara Falls. The falls comprise of more than a dozen falls, some as high as 65 feet.
Visitors can engage in coracle rides, indigenous boats with round shallow bottoms that are expertly paddled, skirting the mouth of the falls. You can also trek the surrounding forests, which used to be home of the feared brigand, Veerappan.
Distance from Bangalore: 126 kilometers via MDR588
Activities: Coracle rides, trekking, nature walks
Close to the cultural hub of Mysore, Shivanasamudra Falls is a raging beauty on the River Kaveri, especially once the monsoon begins. There are actually two waterfalls that result in this segmented cascade fed by two nearby dams and reservoirs. The Gaganachukki Falls is the first that you will encounter, crashing into the rocky bed from high cliffs above, surrounded by thickly-wooded sections. Bharachukki completes this dynamic duo of waterfalls. You can enjoy some spectacular views on the way before you reach Bharachukki Falls, which is wider than Gaganachukki.
Other places of interest near these waterfalls include the sandy river beach at Talakadu and some old and ornate Hoysala temples spread across the region. If you are looking for a one-day trip from Bangalore, Shivanasamudra Falls make an ideal pick. Remember, swimming is strictly prohibited here.
Distance from Bangalore: 140 kilometers via the NH275
Activities: Sightseeing, coracle rides, picnicking
WATERFALLS NEAR BANGALORE WITHIN 300 KM AND BEYOND
Another gift of the Kaveri, Chunchanakatte Waterfall is about 60 feet tall and known for the immense volume of water that flows through it during the monsoons. The waterfall splits into two before joining again at the bottom, which indeed is a relaxing treat to your weary eyes. Surrounded by lush green forests of the Western Ghats, the place is a great option for one-day trips and also for weekend getaways, especially if you want to cover some of the popular attractions in Mysore.
The forests around Chunchanakatte Falls attract hikers and birding enthusiasts. This is also considered a holy site as it is believed to be one of the stops of Lord Rama during his exile. The Kodanda Rama temple located here is an important place of worship for Hindus.
Location: Krishnarajanagar, Mysore
Distance from Bangalore: 205 kilometers via the NH75
Activities: Hiking, birdwatching
Head over to the land of the Kodavas and the thunderous sound of Iruppu Falls will greet you before you even catch a glimpse of the breathtaking waters crashing over a 170 feet cliff. Snugly fitting into the thick jungles of the Brahmagiri Range, the waterfalls are formed by the Lakshmana Tirtha River. The trail through the forest is captivating and the area is abundant in avian life. The Nagarhole National Park, one of Coorg’s natural treasures is close to the Iruppu Falls.
The place is also a favorite of pilgrims as the Rameshwara Temple, a famous shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is located here. Visit Iruppu Falls during the months of monsoon when it is in its full glory and the surroundings are as green as emerald!
Distance from Bangalore: 250 kilometers via the NH275 and Mysore-Thalaserry Road
Activities: Trekking, photography, sightseeing, Hindu pilgrimage, wildlife tourism
Timings: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: ₹ 50 per person
Another beautiful waterfall which you can visit while you are in Coorg is Abbey Falls. Unlike the others on this list, it is located on private property. You can experience a slice of plantation life as you head towards the waters as Abbey Falls is surrounded by coffee estates. Walk across the hanging bridge for that perfect view of the waterfall!
Surrounded by a blanket of greenery, the falls and its surroundings make the perfect spot to spend a few hours with your family and friends. The waterfall is very close to Madikeri, one of the main towns in the region. If you are planning a one-day trip, consider including other attractions in the area, such as Madikeri Fort, Raja’s Seat, etc. in your itinerary. Make sure you stop here for a typical Coorg meal.
Distance from Bangalore: 270 kilometers via the NH275
Activities: Photography, picnicking, hiking, trekking, sightseeing
Timings: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: ₹ 15 per person
As you go north-west into the Western Ghats, Karnataka’s pristine natural splendor unfolds in its full glory. It is a land of high mountain peaks, thick forests housing tigers and elephants, and of course, many waterfalls. The iconic Jog Falls is one of the highest plunge waterfalls in the country, formed by the Sharavathi River and dropping more than 800 feet over a gorge.
Located on the border of Uttara Kannada and Shimoga, this is an ideal location for a weekend getaway with your family. There is a designated viewpoint as you approach the waterfall. If you are up for it, you can trek down to the bottom of these cascades and enjoy the view from below. Carry some waterproof clothing with you as you will be welcomed by a never-ending spray as the waters hit the pool below. If you have some extra time on hand, visit a few nearby attractions as well, such as Honnemaradu, Tunga Anicut Dam, and the Lion-Tiger Reserve.
Distance from Bangalore: 430 kilometers via the NH48
Activities: Sightseeing, water sports at the backwaters of Sharavati Wildlife Sanctuary
A Few Fab Tips
To have the best time while visiting these magnificent waterfalls, you need to keep a few things in mind. Carrying basic first aid, a few bottles of water, and a sunscreen is a good idea – the sun might just want to peek through the monsoon clouds time and again. Footwear made especially for outdoor activities is the ideal choice; your shoes will need to grip the slippery rocks and handle a bit of mud. Start early so you can catch the falls in the best light.
Also, make sure that you carry some light food, such as nuts, dry fruits or snacks since many of these places are located far from eateries and restaurants. Armed with a camera? You can certainly click several post-card worthy pictures, but keep your device protected using a waterproof cover.
It goes without saying that Karnataka’s capital is well-connected to all major natural and cultural landmarks of Southern India. Find the best hotels in Bangalore to make the city your base for tons of adventure and fun-filled activities. From mist-laden mountains to steamy wildlife-filled jungles, the beauty of the South is on a platter for those who dare to step out of their comfort zones. Let your enthusiasm cascade like a never-drying waterfall!