We woke at about 6.30am, which was pretty late – at least by travelling standards. We had not got to bed until 11 the previous night and so slept in. We knew would pay for this later and, of course, duly did! We checked out, failed to pay by credit card and so used cash. The use of credit cards is spreading in India but cash remains king. Using European based credit cards is pretty hit and miss. I am sure it will be totally standard in 10 years time but this is a transition period.
The National Highway 206 road took us Westward towards the sea. The light was low to start with and the road was fairly busy out of Shimoga, but then got quiet. An “undulating” road is about the most frustrating as a cyclist. One is forever changing chain rings from uphill to down and then back to up, but never making any real height gain or getting spectacular views. Being Worcestershire residents we are really used to these frustrations but here we were again with this type of road.
At least there were lots of trees to provide shade. The early climbs were easy but they got tougher as the heat of the day set in. It topped out at about 35 degrees C (sorry for our US readers – but that is hot – probably better expressed as really HOT). Added to that I felt pretty ghastly. My stomach was reacting badly to something I had eaten and, whilst not bad enough to confine me to bed, robbed cycling of most of the pleasure.
Several things happened in the morning to distract me from me internal organs. One was a long line of naked men who walked across the road, just in front of us. They were led by a Hindu priest (partially clothed) and were followed by a group of other men and a minibus. We did not take photos for obvious reasons but it was clearly some form of ritual cleansing. They left the main road and went off down a side road and we never discovered what happened next.
Then, at 70km, we reached the town of Sagar. We diverted 4km south of the route to visit some famous Hindu temples called Ikkeri. They were granite structures with carvings, but not as intense as the Hoyola temples.
It was cool, peaceful and might have persuaded me to investigate Hinduism more (if it were not for the imposition of the caste system, the fact I could never remember all the gods and the food, all of which are not great plus points). However we are growing in understanding, respect and sympathy for those who have grown with Hinduism as part of their communities and continue to practice this ancient religion.
Back to Sagar for food shopping and then the last 30km to Jog Falls in the heat of the day. The ups and downs intensified as the road surface deteriorated. This National Highway became so quiet it was almost entirely devoid of traffic. In places, it was also devoid of road. But we pressed on and then dropped 100m or so to the Jog Falls Bridge over the wide river Swarma Nadi.
This flows westwards to the coast, but the gentle river was about to plummet 293m over the Jog Falls – the second highest waterfall in the whole of India.
We arrived at our basic but clean hotel about 3.30pm, had tea and then walked the final 1km around to the Jog Falls viewing platform. The falls are pretty tame at this time of year but photos suggest the place is amazing in the monsoon. The river divides into either 4 or 5 falls in the quiet season, though they all get meshed together when the rains come.
It was spectacular, even out of season. The photos do not quite tell the whole story, but it was a special place. We ambled back to our hotel with an ice-cream in hand feeling that, despite overwhelming tiredness, this was another excellent day.