Kunchikal Falls is one of the highest waterfalls of the country. The waterfall is located near Masthikatte-Hulikal under the Hosanagara taluk of the Shimoga district in Karnataka. The waterfall is formed by the Varahi River. The specialty of this waterfall is that hundreds of rocks form the backdrop against which the water cascades down and presents a marvellous view.
The waterfall has a height of around 455 metres (1,493 feet). As the water gushes down the rocks for more than a kilometre, it attracts a lot of visitors who want to witness this natural beauty.
The serene beauty of Kunchikal Falls
During the rainy season the waterfall becomes a splendid sight. The engulfing greenery helps to enhance its beauty. The stream of white water gushing down against the surrounding greenery is a sight to behold. The tributaries of the Varahi River form several other small waterfalls in the nearby areas in the rainy season. All these waterfalls add to the attraction of the area.
The Kunchikal Falls is not only known for its cascading water but also for the serene atmosphere that surrounds it. It is one of the less explored waterfalls of the country. Due to the presence of the Mani Dam, public movement around the waterfall is restricted for security reasons. As such, not many people visit the waterfall. These less frequent visits have helped in keeping the area clean and pristine. It is one of the few waterfalls in India where the place is free from the menace of plastic bags. The area serves as an excellent picnic spot away from the din of city life.
Source of hydro electric energy
The Kunchikal Falls is one of the primary sources of hydroelectric projects in Karnataka. However, with the construction of the Mani Dam near Masthikatte and the underground power generation station near Hulikal in Shimoga district, the water flow of the falls has been greatly affected. The reduced water of the falls has robbed it off some of its beauty. Now it is only during the monsoon season the waterfall rushes down with full force.
The Kunchikal Falls is situated in the Shimoga district. The area surrounding the falls has several natural attractions that draw visitors from far and near. A few attractions that are worth visiting while on a trip to the waterfall are:
- Jogi Gundi Falls: The Jogi gundi falls, also known as Jog falls, is one of the highest waterfalls in India. The waterfall is known for its majestic view. It is situated at a distance that takes just 15 to 20 minutes to reach from the Kunchikal Falls. The Jog falls are ideal for sightseeing and trekking.
- Agumbe Hill Station: It is one of the most well-known hill stations of Karnataka. It stands at a distance of just 7 km from Kunchikal Falls. The picturesque beauty of the hill station attracts tourists throughout the year. The hill station is specially known as a spot for watching wonderful sunsets and observing a variety of flora and fauna.
- Nibhani Gudda: These are trekking routes that are famous for their beauty. Trekkers love to explore these bare mountains that stand in close proximity to the Kunchikal Falls. The dense forest surrounding the mountains makes the trek more challenging and exciting.
When to visit the Kunchikal Falls
The best time to visit the Kunchikal Falls is during the rainy season that spreads from July to September.
Where to stay near Kunchikal Falls
There is no proper accommodation facility in the areas near the waterfall. There are a few small shops and restaurants that offer snacks and food to the visitors. The nearest places where visitors can find decent hotels for accommodation are Hassan, Sringeri or Chikmagalur.
How to reach the Kunchikal Falls
The Kunchikal Falls is a tourist destination and hence, there are transportation facilities available to reach the waterfall.
By Road: There are private buses that operate from Bangalore to Kunchikal Falls. However, such buses are very few in number. There are also just a few buses that operate till Hulikal. As such, it is better to hire private cars to reach the waterfall comfortably. Several private operators offer vehicles to hire for trips to the waterfall.
By Air: The nearest airport is the Mangalore Airport that stands at a distance of 142 km from the waterfall. The airport connects the area to all other major cities of the state and beyond.