Since, by some quirkiness, the southern railway forgot to have any train passing through Shimoga directly from Chennai, we were left with making a connection in Bangalore. Mercifully, the evening Shatabdi connected with the Shimoga express well and so tickets were booked accordingly a couple of days before the travel. We packed up and started the journey in Shatabdi. Reached Bangalore by 10.30PM for the Shimoga express to start at 11.15PM. The train was waiting in the same platform but as we found out, the AC coaches were missing. Sibi flew into panic and started pestering on how to go to Shimoga. Of course, the coaches were connected separately along with the engine and our journey to Shimoga began.
Back in December, when I was planning to go, I was thinking of going to Hassan and onwards to Shimoga after visiting the Hoysala temples. The new 2 day short trip during Pongal was finalized only 2 days before we were to start and luckily we could find accommodation and train tickets within the short time.
I was sleeping deeply when I realized that the train has stopped. I looked outside and it looked like an one platform small town. So I just stepped out and was face-to-face with the board 'Shimoga Town'. Hurried inside and woke up the kids and wife and came out and checked into 'Hotel JewelRock'. The rooms were good but I have to book the return tickets for the Sunday to Chennai first and so I quickly managed to get to the reservation counter only to find that there are about 35 persons in front of me. So called up my brother and through Ananth, he managed to book the tickets online by the time I reached the counter myself.
Back at the hotel, everyone was ready to go and the cab guy was waiting. So we started our journey to Jog. The cabbie was a very informative guy and was chatting non-stop about the roads, rains and pretty much everything along the way. The kids went to sleep faster and I was struggling to keep myself awake as we drove through small villages and fields which have completed harvest and little temples along the way.
The first stop was in the ghat section of the highway where we stopped to have a look at the Linganamakki dam across the river Shravati which eventually falls into the Shravati valley as Jog. After the mandatory photo session, the next stop was a small hanging bridge and then onto the MG power station. Here we get to see the Shravati valley and saw a couple of guys watching the Solar eclipse that started a couple of hours back. On talking to them, I found that one was a school teacher in the nearby village and the other is a BMTC driver from Bengaluru. All of us had a glimpse of the eclipse through the 'welding glass + x-ray' contraption they had.
Then onto Jog itself. Being the day of solar eclipse, there was no crowd, no traffic in the highways, and almost every shop was closed. The cab driver attributed this to the high number of brahmins and lingayats in the area. I am not sure how much of it is true, but it was good to be in Jog without the crowd. Jog itself was falling with less water and more awesomeness. The beauty of water falling over a gorge is beautiful, it becomes more when the entire river is full of black rocks and projections and the valley beyond is still lush with vegetation. It was magnificent. Kids had fun running around and we also drove to the other side of Jog to have a look from the PWD guest house built very near to the falls.
After a short and good lunch in the KSTDC Mayura restaurant in Jog itself, we started for our next destination.