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Nature’s wonders: The wonderful world of waterfalls

September 14, 2013
Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls
Jog Falls
Jog Falls
Langfoss Falls
Langfoss Falls
Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls
Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss Falls
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls
Angel Falls
Angel Falls

CASCADING waterfalls, lush green mountains, wondrous scenic view of the rainbows, the more you explore nature, the more appreciative you become of God’s creations. Today we will explore the most mesmerising and captivating creation Mother Nature — waterfalls!

From the most famous ones to the virtually unexplored ones, we will take you on a journey through the gushing waters of Niagara to the icy waters of Gullfoss!

So free your imagination and take a free ride through the most beautiful waterfalls of the world and have an amazing experience.

Iguazu Falls Argentina/Brazil

One of the world’s most beautiful natural attractions, Iguazu Falls stretches across the borders of Argentina and Brazil, slicing the Iguazu River into upper and lower levels. The name of the falls varies according to the various local languages with the suffix ‘azu’, ‘assu’ or ‘acu’ being the same. The origin of the word lies in the Guarani language and is roughly translated as ‘Big water’.

With the brink straddling across a distance of almost 2.7 kilometres, the Iguazu Falls houses 275 different waterfalls and cascades. The most striking falls is Devil’s Throat; a U shaped 82m high waterfall.

With the average height of most falls almost 200 feet, Iguazu Falls stands taller and wider than Niagara Falls. So fascinated was Eleanor Roosevelt with the sight that the first time she saw Iguazu Falls, she said, “Poor Niagara!”

The two thirds of the Iguazu Falls lie on the Argentinean side with the remaining one third within Brazilian territory. Each fall located on both the sides is given a different name. One of the falls in the Argentinean territory was named after the Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who was the first European to set his eyes on the falls.

Different theories about its creation have existed over the years. On one hand, it is believed that a volcanic eruption played part in the formation of the falls. On the other, a legend narrates its birth as a result of God’s wrath. On November 11, 2011, the Iguazu Falls was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and they are also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Gullfoss — Iceland

One of Iceland’s Golden Circle’s popular attractions, Gullfoss is a glorious double waterfall plummeting in two cascades on the Hvita River, falling down a total height of almost 32 metres.

Called as Golden Falls due to its scenic view on a sunny day, the waterfall has glacier Lake Hvitavatn at Langjokull glacier as the source of water.

Iceland’s iconic natural attraction, the falls is an awe-inspiring sight in all seasons. But it is in winter that the Falls is at its best when the gushing and roaring waters freeze up and turn icy.

It is believed that some foreign investors once rented the fall indirectly from the owner with the future plan of utilising it as the hydroelectric power source. This would have resulted in the destruction of the beauty of the place. However, Sigriour Tomasdotti, the daughter of Tomas Tomasson, the owner of the waterfall in the first half of the 20th century, came to its rescue and protested against its destruction. Eventually, the investors had to withdraw their plan. A stone memorial is placed above the falls to commemorate Sigriour Tomasdotti as the saviour of the falls.

Jog Falls — India

Located near Sagar in the Karnataka state of Western India, Jog Falls is India’s second-highest plunge waterfall. The falls is known by different names — such as Geruoppe Falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi — but whatever it may be called, its beauty and brilliance remains the same. The word ‘Jog’ is a derivative of the word Javalu, meaning water coming out forming wetlands.

Two hundred and fifty three metres high Jog Falls gets its water from the River Sharavathi, which splits into different streams, creating the gigantic and phenomenal Falls.

Un-tiered, Jog Falls thunders down vertically without getting into contact with the bedrock. Looking carefully at the falls, one sees four distinct cascades called Raja, Rani, Rover and Rocket by the locals.

The magnificence of the falls is most apparent in the monsoons — loud and proud and thundering down creating an astounding view. Apart from appealing to one’s aesthetic sense, the falls serves people with a source of hydroelectricity too.

Victoria Falls Zambia/Zimbabwe

Locally called Mosi-oa-Tunya — meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’ — Victoria Falls sprawls across the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia and sits on the Zambezi River in southern Africa.

Although it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is considered the largest in the sense that when all dimensions along with flow rate are taken into account, its curtain of water turns out to be the biggest of all. Through rough estimation, this amazing cataract is around twice the height of Niagara Falls.

Witnessing the falls during the monsoon is totally an awe-inspiring sight with the columns of spray visible from a great distance.

While the locals did know about it, the first European to set sight upon the falls is said to be David Livingstone, who named it Victoria in honour of the then queen of the British Empire.

Sadly, for a long period of time, this beautiful waterfall was not too well-known due to lack of access to the place. However, after the construction of a railroad in 1905, the influx of tourists increased. Victoria Falls is now one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and also declared as a World Heritage Site.

Angel Falls — Venezuela

Grandeur in its true sense, Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, stands tall and proud at the height of almost 979 metres. Also known as El Salto Angel in Venezuela, it plunges from the apex of the Auyan Tepuy. Hidden deep in the mountains and jungle of Venezuela, it forms a carpet of mist visible miles away.

The locals call it Kerepakupai-meru, however, the falls is the namesake of its famous discoverer Jimmy Angel. The discovery of the mighty falls was a stroke of luck when, in 1937, Jimmy Angel, an American pilot, stumbled upon the falls when he landed on top of Auyantepui in search of gold.

The highest drop falls uninterrupted for almost a height of 807 metres. The falls eventually disappears into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River.

This monster of a waterfall is a Unesco World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State of Venezuela. Situated in a remote region of Venzuala, the falls is only reachable through an air route.

Langfoss — Norway

Langfossen, officially known as Langfoss, is located in the municipality of Etne in western Norway. The meaning of the name of this impressive fall is ‘long waterfall’.

Falling from a height of almost 612 metres, it spills down the cliff before eventually joining the Akrafjorden. Contrasted against the lush green mountains, Langfossen is a breathtaking sight!

Langfossen is the fifth highest in Norway and one of the few falls in Norway still untouched for the generation of hydroelectric power.

Niagara Falls — US/Canada

This famous landmark lies across the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. There are different opinions about the number of falls forming the Midas roaring machine. According to some sources, the American Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls are its components. While other sources suggest that the Bridal Veil Falls is the added component that is believed to be responsible for making the loud and thunderous waterfall.

Straddling on the Niagara River, Niagara Falls has the vertical height over 165 feet and the highest flow rate. The cascading falls have been the centre of attention of many filmmakers and have been captured in various Hollywood movies. The falls also plays a significant role in generation of hydroelectric power.

Annie Edson Taylor and Maria Spelterini are among the people who successfully completed the endeavour of conquering the great Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls has its origin in the last Ice Age when, as a result of glacier activity, large amount of water drained into the now known Niagara River, eventually forming the Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls has frozen over at least twice in recent history (1848, 1936 and possibly 1912), when tourists walked along the frozen falls, even collecting souvenirs from the riverbed.