The rainy spells at the end of monsoon have changed the landscape of Jogimatti, 14 km away from Chitradurga. Considered to be an arid area, Chitradurga has soaked in the magic of monsoon this season and the Jogimatti area, in particular, offers a visual treat to the visitors. The Jogimatti forest range is spread across Chitradurga, Holalkere and Hiriyur taluks. This forest acts as the catchment area for the water sources in the surrounding villages. Several rainwater harvesting structures like Kumaranakatte, Gopanakatte, Beeramallappa tank, Okkalikkanakatte, Kadlekatte kanive and Balambavi have been constructed in this forest centuries ago. Though the reason behind the construction of these structures is not clear, they are crucial to maintain the water levels in the region.
Apart from these, one can see dones or pools carved naturally on rocks. All these and other water storage structures in the Jogimatti forest area are brimming with water due to generous rains this year. Interestingly, water flowing out of them through the rocky terrain has led to the formation of small streams and in some places, water glides down forming small but beautiful waterfalls. These 'temporary' waterfalls will continue to charm people until the tanks go dry.
The trail of waterfalls starts from the better known Himavatkedara Falls. "We can spot six to seven streams and waterfalls as we walk further up into the forest. It is very rare to see these waterfalls come alive," says trekking enthusiast Nagaraj. He has trekked in this area and photographed the waterfalls. "Water that flows out of Gopanakatte results in the formation of four waterfalls. This is also the reason for the water abundance in Himavatkedara Falls," he adds.
The rocky terrain of this shrubby forest acts as a filter allowing pristine water to slide down in the waterfalls. Rainwater that falls on the huge Iranna rock flows through Kadlekatte valley, Godegavi, Galigudda, Chiratekallu, Ankolegutti, Seelugallu, Gavibagilu and Devarahalla. Water from these sources flows to the Doddanayakanakere near the Adumalleshwara mini zoo in the forest surroundings. The water flow has increased in the historical Chandravalli area too.
Jogimatti forest area had sustained two consecutive drought years before a good monsoon this year. The Forest Department had created waterholes for wild animals. "We have constructed check dams in the forest area and these structures have also contributed to the formation of streams and waterfalls. This ecosystem has proved beneficial to central Karnataka," says K B Manjunath, deputy conservator of forests, Chitradurga division.
Like any other forest, Jogimatti has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. A survey conducted by nature enthusiasts has shown that there are over 200 birds in the area. Black buck, four-horned antelope, leopard, bear, python and fox are some of the animals seen here. Similarly, one can see rare herbs and endangered plant species in this forest. The forest that is known for its strong wind flow was once home to Siddha and Jogi communities. In 2015, the State government declared Jogimatti as a wildlife sanctuary. So, one has to take permission from the Forest Department to enter the forest.