Spread over 19 resorts operated by Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd., there are 366 twin sharing accommodations varying from tents to rooms to independent cottages. Besides, there are 4 resorts operated on management contract.
A precious jewel in the tiara of Karnataka’s splendour, the Sahyadris abound with natural bounties. With verdant valleys, gushing rivers, luxuriant grasslands and a significant forest cover they are a treasure trove of rare flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to this region. The Sahyadris sport their most vibrant attire during the monsoons when new life burgeons in every nook and corner of its expanse.The River Sharavathi plummets from a dizzying height of 830 feet creating the Jog Falls, one of India’s tallest waterfalls. The rainy season is the best time to view Jog Falls when it gushes down as four distinct cascades – Raja, Rani, Rocket and Roarer.
Located just 6 Km from the Jog Falls, Sharavathi Adventure Camp combines the grandeur of the plush mountains with a dash of adventure. Tucked snugly on the slopes of a hillock skirting the Talakalale Reservoir, this resort is a great place to revere the invigorating melange of sunshine and rain. Every season brings a new reason to visit these salubrious mountains.
The Sharavthi Nature Camp is an ideal location to experience the quintessential magic of the monsoons. After the rain-laden clouds have moved on, the weather is conducive for outdoors. In nature walks amidst bird talks you can savour the pastoral calm of the surroundings.
You can chase butterflies as they flutter from bud to blossom and leaf to leaf. Drifting along the refreshing blue waters of the reservoir you can indulge in aquatic adventures like coracle rides, kayaking and joy fishing. Sipping a hot cup of coffee by the water’s edge you can watch the sun paint the sky with shades of soft orange and transform it into dazzling strains of crimson. You can wake up to misty mornings and head out for a drive into the densely wooded forest of the Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
The sanctuary encompasses a part of the Sharavathi river basin and has evergreen and moist deciduous forests. At the Sharavathi Adventure Camp you are cradled in nature’s lap and left to enjoy the ethereal beauty of the Sahyadris.
The resort and the surrounding islands attract a wide variety of winged visitors. Common birds sighted are Kingfishers, Indian peafowl, Hoopoes, Hornbills, Pond herons, Grey headed bulbuls and Cormorants. Several varieties of butterflies can be found in the vicinity of the resort. Mammals like the Black-naped hare, Common langurs and Malabar giant squirrels can also be found here.
The south-western monsoon starts in June and lasts until November. During the monsoons, the Western Ghats are drenched in rain that rekindles new life and freshness. This is the best time to visit the Jog Falls. October through March is ideal for water based activities. The summer lasts from March to May.
I must confess: while the rainforests of the Western Ghats, with its wonderful denizens including frogs, snakes, insects and spiders, have always held a special place in my heart, one reason trumps them all – Jog Falls. India’s second-highest plunge waterfall had been an unfulfilled dream for long, a case of too-near-yet-too-far. So, when I had the opportunity to head to Jungle Lodges and Resorts’ Sharavathi Adventure Camp, my first stop cannot be too difficult to guess.
Sharavathi – Where life’s gifts come in small packages
Except for the last, none of the above statements can be deemed a suitable advertisement for a wildlife adventure destination. No elephants, no tigers, not even a guaranteed leopard sighting? Why bother going? The paucity of “charismatic mega-mammalian fauna” (to quote a naturalist friend, tongue firmly in cheek) is a deterrent for the trophy-hunting breed of wildlife tourist.
For a long time, the only response I had for people asking me about what they could do or see in Sharavathi Adventure Camp near Shimoga, was to mention Jog Falls in a rather hesitant, small voice. I did not want to break their perception that I had visited the region; after all, being considered the resident ‘junglee’ in the office was a tough job, more so when people assumed that you had travelled to most destinations in Karnataka. Plus, with the designation of a researcher, the pressure was to know about a place even without visiting it. Trickier was when people asked me the dreaded question: “What happens in summer? Jog Falls must be running dry, no?” Most times, a vehement fit of coughing would prove helpful in deflecting the question.