Sharavathi, a river which rises at Ambutirtha, next to Nonabur, in the Thirthahallitaluk and takes the northwesterly course by Fatte petta, receives the Haridravati on the right below Pattaguppe and the Yenne Hole on the left above Barangi. On arriving at the frontier it bends to the west, precipitates itself down the Falls of Gersoppa, and passes that village (properly Geru-Sappe), which is some 29 kilometres distant, discharging into the sea at Honnavar in North Kanara.
The Sharavati, flowing over a very rocky bed about 250 yards wide, here reaches a tremendous chasm, 290 m (960 ft) deep, and the water comes down in four distinct falls. The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column sheer to the depth of 830 ft (250 m). Halfway down it is encountered by the Roarer, another fall, which precipitates itself into a vast cup and then rushes violently downwards at an angle of forty-five degrees to meet the Raja. A third fall, the Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets; while the fourth, the Rani, moves quietly over the mountain side in a sheet of foam. The Tourism Department has built steps from the viewpoint to the bottom of the hill where the waterfall can be seen at the opposite side. There are approximately 1400 steps built to reach the bottom of the hill.
Joga is a Kannada word meaning falls. Many Kannada speakers near Sahyadri Mountains such as in Yellapura region still use the word Joga to mean falls. The word Joga may be related to or a derivative of Kannada word javugu which means marsh (wet).
Associated with the waterfall is the nearby Linganmakki Dam across river Sharavathi. The power station has been operational since 1948 and is of 120 MW capacity, one of the largest hydroelectric stations in India at that time and a small source of electric power for Karnataka now. The power station was previously named Krishna Rajendra hydro-electric project, after the King of Mysore at that time. The name was later changed to Mahatma Gandhi Hydro-electric Project. It was served by Hirebhaskara dam until 1960. After 1960, due to the ideas of Sir M. Visvesvarayya, Linganmakki Dam has been used for power generation. For more information check the Jogfalls official website:
Before the onset of monsoon season, when there is not much water in the Linganmakki dam, the Jog Falls are a pair of thin streams of water trickling down the cliff, as the water collected in the dam is exclusively for generation of electricity; during monsoons local rain water is the source of water to the falls.