During my initial years of marriage, I was in Bangalore and we used to plan something exciting to explore every weekend. Namma Bengaluru has many amazing weekend gateways which can be covered over the weekend or even in a day. We would pack our bags, load our car with eatables and an extra pair of clothes, fill its tank completely and head out to discover the nearby places. Today, I will narrate you a story about my day trip to Hogenakkal Falls.
Karnataka Tamilnadu Highway
It was a Saturday and we had already planned to explore this waterfall. So, we left Bangalore early morning at around 6 am to avoid the traffic. Bangalore traffic – I don’t think I need to say anything further to explain. Bangalore summers are always beautiful especially the mornings. As a ritual, we packed sandwiches for our breakfast, an extra pair of clothes, towels and some more food for lunch.
The first look of the serene river Kavery
Hogenakkal Falls is around 180kms from Bengaluru, takes around 2-3 hours by car. This is situated on the River Kaveri, located in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls near Bengaluru, one of the best waterfalls in India and hence is referred to as “Niagra of India”. It has derived its name from two Kannada words – ‘Hoge’ means ‘Smoke’ and ‘Kal’ means ‘Rocks’. So, this waterfall is also known as Smoky Rocks. In Tamilnadu, it is famous by the name of “Marikottayam”. The Carbonatite rocks found near this fall are one of the oldest ones in the world.
The first look of the falls
Hogenakkal falls has around 14 channels with drops varying between 15 to 65 feet. You need to take a boat ride to reach the surroundings of the fall. Locally made, small jute boats, known as Dingy boats or Parisals or Coracles riding is one of the main attractions of this place. You can experience this only during the monsoons when the water level and flow is enormous. Boating is usually not allowed and is stopped in the peak monsoon. The water from the fall flows towards the Stanley Reservoir (Mettur Dam).
Reached the destination
We parked our car, took our bags and headed towards the fall. All of us were quite enthusiastic to take the boat ride so we quickly grabbed one and soon we were in the midst of water.
We didn’t know there was an adventure waiting for us in the fall. The (“skilled”) boatman took us near the whirlpools (there were countless) and in no time, we found ourselves surrounded by a lot of whirlpools. He was rotating our boat at regular intervals. Initially, the rotations were fun and we were enjoying it later the speed was increased and we were screaming louder with every round.
Every time the speed of the rotation was even higher. It was a scary yet thrilling and fabulous experience. This was the craziest thing I have experienced in my life so far. Where I could see myself very close to death yet I was totally enjoying the moment. It was really risky because of the wind pressure, the boat might have lost its balance and hit the rock but thankfully, we were safe.
The water was making its way inside the boat and the level was increasing. I went with my husband and brother in law and none of us knew swimming. Clearly remember that I was crying my lungs out and requesting the boatman to stop rotating and take us to a safer place saying, “Bhaiya meri nayi nayi shadi hui hai, mat maro” (We are newly married, please don’t kill us) but he didn’t listen. Rather he was laughing and rotating even faster. It was his daily job and he was a daredevil but for us, it was like a nightmare.
Finally, after an hour of an adventurous ride, he took us to a serene place where the flow of water was less. We took a halt under a tree and had our lunch. All of us thanked the Almighty and the boatman too for saving our lives. We forgot to carry a water bottle with us in the boat and were remembering the poem ” Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink”.
After lunch, we said goodbye to the boat after clicking many pictures and headed near to the fall. We sat there carefully and enjoyed every bit of it. It is a beautiful place to discover and to add to its beauty, the forest department has maintained a mini zoo and a crocodile park also there.
On the New Moon days in January and July, pilgrims arrive here to take a dip in the river. It is believed that Goddess Kaveri is celebrated.
Best time to visit
July / August to October which is said to be the peak season as well.
How to reach
Airport: Bangalore International Airport is the nearest Aiport from Hogenakal Falls.
Rail and Bus: Dharmapuri is the nearest railway and bus station. It is well connected by train also with Bangalore, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Tuticorin, Coimbatore, Salem, Nagercoil, Mysore, Pondicherry, Tirunelveli, and Ernakulam. There is a regular bus service from Ooty, Bangalore, Mysore, Salem, Chennai, Trivandrum, Kochi, Madurai, and Hyderabad.
What to eat
The falls are very close to the Hogenakkal Bus Station but there are no great food joints. You would get only small shops offering chips and juices, snacks and if lucky, fish fry too. Hence, it is advisable to pack your own food and water too.
A few tips
- Keep a set of extra clothes, a pair of socks and shoes and a towel too without fail. You might get wet while sitting in the boat. Expect the water to come inside and greet you.
- It is a very hot and humid spot if visiting in summers, so make sure you wear sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Carry eatables and a lot of water while taking a ride in the boat.
- Don’t try to be over adventurous and risk your life by going at the edge of the fall. It’s slippery and very dangerous. Be attentive.
- Though the boatmen are well trained, try not to go very close to the whirlpools.
- Don’t forget to take a halt under a tree and enjoy your lunch amidst the scenic beauty and cool breeze.
- You would find a lot of open massager parlors on the way to the fall. Local men and women ear their livelihood by giving a foot massage. After trekking, try their service. It’s worth it.
So, this was my experience at Indian Niagra Falls which I visited around 10 years back. Every memory of this trip is still fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday. While writing this post and revisiting the pictures and videos, I wonder how I dared to take up this ride. I am happy that I did and got a story to tell.