Barkana Falls is one of the ten highest waterfalls in India. The waterfall is located in Balehalli forest area, at a distance of about 7 km from the Agumbe village in Shimoga district of Karnataka. The waterfall has a height of about 850 ft. It is located at a height of about 259 metres above sea level. It originates from the Seeta River that flows through this region.
Barkana Falls is one of the prime sources of hydroelectricity in Karnataka as the water is used to power a hydroelectric system.
The beauty of Barkana Falls, Shimoga
Barkana Falls presents one of the most fascinating sights of natural wonders in Karnataka. Located in the midst of lush green forest, the waterfall is a spectacular view. The view becomes even more charming during the monsoon season when the flow of water increases and it gushes down with a greater volume than usual.
The name Barkana is derived from the word ‘barka’ which is a reference to the Mouse Deer that is found in that region. The Barkana View Point, located near the waterfall, is an ideal spot to enjoy the mesmerizing view of the Western Ghats and the hill slopes of the region. Apart from being a great spot for sightseeing the waterfall is also a popular picnic spot.
The route to the waterfall was a restricted area till recently. The route is under the control of the forest department and the restrictions were due to the activities of Naxals in that area. However, now the restrictions have been removed and the general people can freely visit the waterfall.
Trekking to Barkana Falls, Shimoga
Barkana Falls is a wonderful destination for trekking. The trek involves undertaking a steep route from the Western Ghats via Gumbo Ghats to reach the waterfall.
The most interesting part of the trek is the presence of a wide variety of flora. The forest has flora that seems to change after every 100 meters. From bamboos to herbs and shrubs, the forest has an amazing mix of plants and trees that never fail to delight trekkers. The bamboo groves in particular are a wonderful sight to look out for.
Another primary attraction of the trek through the forest area is the presence of a particular plant called ‘Guruji’. This plant has the rare quality of blossoming once in every 7 years. But the blossoming of the plant is not a welcome sight in the region as it is believed that the flower signifies the impending occurrence of a drought.
However, there is a silver lining associated with the blossoming of the plant. The drought signifies an excessive production of natural honey in the region. Whenever the plant blossoms, the production of honey increases by many folds and the entire village of Agumbe and the nearby areas are filled with honey.
The view point of the waterfall is located at a distance of about 4 km from the end point of the vehicle track. Trekking to the waterfall is a tricky task as the slopes are quite steep and can be risky at times. However, the awesome sight of the valley from the view point and the beauty of the waterfall are worth taking up the tiring trek.
The waterfall can also be reached on a motorbike. Those who are interested in motorbiking can enjoy the ride through the dense green forest while enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Best time to visit Barkana Falls, Shimoga
As with most waterfalls Barkana also reserves its most amazing views for the rainy season. The waterfall is an enthralling sight to watch during the heavy monsoons. However, it is risky to visit the waterfall during the rainy season as the trek route becomes very slippery and it becomes quite a task to navigate through the forest under such conditions. Moreover, the forest area becomes inundated with leeches.
As such, the best time to visit the waterfall is during the early winter season.
Tourist Attractions near Barkana Falls
Barkana Falls exists in close proximity to Agumbe. The village of Agumbe is a place blessed with several natural wonders. As such, it is counted among the most popular tourist destinations of Karnataka. Some of the tourist attractions existing in and around Agumbe are:
Gopal Krishna Temple
It is an ancient temple that was constructed in the 14th century. The temple is a standing example of the rich Hoysala art, sculpture and architecture. The temple is accessible only on foot and is a major tourist attraction of the area.
Sunset View Point
The sunset view point is located on one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats. The view point provides amazing views of the setting sun on the horizon of the Arabian Sea located far away. The view point is situated at a height of 825 metres from sea level.
Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS)
Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS) is an ecological research station. It is located in the inside the Agumbe Reserved Forest in the central Western Ghats. It stands at a height of 640 metres above sea level. The research station provides a great opportunity to appreciate the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats and know about the conservation of rain forests.
It is a bare mountain that offers the perfect terrain for trekking. The trail passes through a dense forest area and offers a pleasant view of the surroundings. The trek is located at a distance of about 3.5 km from Agumbe.
This is a magnificent waterfall formed by the Varahi River. The waterfall gushes down from a height of 455 metres. It is considered to be the highest tiered waterfall in India. The waterfall is an excellent sight to view during the monsoon season.
How to reach Barkana Falls
Barkana Falls can be easily reached from Agumbe. As Agumbe is a popular tourist destination, there are several means of transport available to reach the place.
Agumbe has no airport of its own. The nearest airport is the Mangalore International Airport that is located at a distance of about 135 km from Agumbe.
Agumbe is not connected by the rail network as yet. The nearest railway station to reach the village of Agumbe is the Udupi Railway Station that stands at a distance of about 60 km from Agumbe. The Shimoga Railway Station is located at a distance of about 90 km from Agumbe. There are local means of transport available to reach Agumbe from these railway stations.
Agumbe is connected by bus services. There are buses that operate from Bangalore to Agumbe. However, the journey takes around nine and a half hours’ time. Apart from buses, visitors can also book cabs or hire private vehicles to reach Agumbe and then proceed towards the waterfall.
From Agumbe the best way to reach the Barkana Falls is by trekking. Buses from Thirthahalli and Agumbe proceeding towards Shringere have stoppages on the Barkana road and one has to walk the remaining miles to reach the waterfall. Motorbikes can also be used to reach the waterfall.