Hogenakkal…. Does the place sound familiar to you? Well, I had never heard about this place till my brother told me about it. While people keep raving about Ooty, Goa, Coorg, Kodaikanal and other places, I have never heard anybody talk about Hogenakkal. This is because it is a small place, and does not have many hotels to stay, which is quite surprising. Still, it draws a large number of people from different places. It is so enchanting and so mesmerizing that one can actually feel connected to the roots.
Hogenakkal is located in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, and is quite famous for its waterfalls, with Kaveri River water falling from the rocks. The place is quite close to Bangalore, (only around 180 kms), and it can be easily covered in a day trip.
We went there in August 2015, and were actually looking forward to spending some quality time over there. We made a booking in a TTDC hotel, Hotel Tamil Nadu, as we really wanted a break from the routine, and wanted to spend a day somewhere outside Bangalore.
We left Bangalore at around 7am in the morning on Saturday. It was an awesome drive from Bangalore. All the avid travellers would know that this beautiful garden city is actually surrounded by astounding rocky mountains all around. So, as soon as you leave Bangalore, and you are about 70 kms away, you will find yourself in the midst of beautiful rocks, mountains, and greenery. We stopped over at A2B (Adyar Anand Bhavan) in Shoolagiri. The place was so crowded, and people were standing in long queues, fighting for their Upma, Pongal and Vada. 🙂 Well, there is no dearth of hungry people in this world. 🙂
The drive took us via Hosur, Krishnagiri, and Salem Highway, and then on the Dharmapuri-Hogenakkal State Highway. For people who love road trips, there is so much to savour on this route, with lovely greeneries, small rock mountains, water lakes, mango vendors, etc. When you are about 12 kms away from the place, you get on a narrow hilly road. The road signs say that you are entering forest area, and you should be careful of elephants crossing the roads, etc. Well, we did not see elephants or any other animals, but still enjoyed the ride through the wilderness and solitude.
We checked into the hotel, and went searching for the waterfalls. The place was quite crowded, and we saw a lot of men and women holding oil bottles in their hands. It took us some time to understand that they were all masseurs, and were ready to give oil massage. Some steps further ahead, and we saw a lot of oily creatures around. Well, these creatures were the men, who were getting the oil massage done. I started to curse my brother for suggesting this place. Did we come so far to see such an unsightly sight? Well, we passed through all those oily people and got onto the Hanging Bridge, thankfully without slipping.. 🙂 We were awed by the spectacle. The waterfalls flowing from the rocks were magnificent, but still, it was nothing as compared to all the other falls that we had seen, like Kempty Falls, Athirapally falls, etc. We were still thinking of what was so spectacular about this place.
And, then, we saw a sign showing directions for Parisal ride. For people, who are wondering what a parisal means, it is a Tamil name for coracles. We went looking out for them. Well, let me tell you, when I saw the Parisal (circular boat), I was really scared of getting on it.
We negotiated a rate of Rs. 950 for a 1 hour ride, and got onto the boat. After going about 500 metres, the boat man asked us to get down and walk some 500 metres. And, before we could turn back, he had lifted the boat on his head, and was walking behind us.
We got down some steps, and a lovely sight awaited us. There were so many parisals waiting for the passengers in a narrow valley between the rocks.
When we got back into the parisal, the boat man took us near the major falls, and then took us on a ride through the River Kaveri. He even did a twist on the falls and it was no less than an adventure ride in itself.
Let me tell you, I have never experienced something like this ever before, in my life. This place is not so popular, and yet, has such lovely attractions. It connects you with nature, and you are amazed to see the nature at its purest. Some of the famous movies shot over here include Roja (Remember the Chinna Chinna Asai song) and Raavan (Abhishek and Aishwarya movie)
By the way, when you visit there, remember that there are not many eateries around. Though there are lots of fish fries sold in the local market, for vegetarians, only cucumbers are available.. :-). Hotel TTDC is the only decent place around that offers some good and edible South-Indian meals during the day and Rotis/dosas during the night. So, go prepared with your own snack boxes.
Well, it was definitely a paisa vasool trip for us. Thank you brother for suggesting this place to us. I had wanted to share the experience with my friends, but never got down to penning it down. I know it is coming out a year late but well, here it is anyways.. 🙂
Our India is definitely incredible, and has so much to offer. There is still a lot left to be explored.