A personal travelogue by Dr. Trisha Ghosh
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I was visiting Bangalore for work and had an extra day in hand. Now, although there are various options for weekend getaways from Bangalore but none can be done in one day. So I got two of my juniors and made a plan in a jiffy to visit this place located at Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border for a day trip. We booked a private cab for a round trip journey to Dharmapuri, Hogenakkal. Everything else was unplanned.
We started around 8.20am from Bommanahalli, Bangalore. Soon we were driving past the heavy traffic on Hosur main road. We had crossed over Karnataka state border in an hour and half and had to pull over to obtain a state permit. We had a sumptuous breakfast of traditional South Indian Dosa at a roadside eatery. Having crossed over to Tamil Nadu there was a significant rise in the outside temperature. The terrain had also changed. It was scenic with rocky hillocks, small green patches and boulders lying here and there. It seemed as if the National Highway was cutting through the scenery.
In 3 hours we reached Dharmapuri, there comes a small portion of the Ghat section in the drive towards Hogenakkal.The hilly road cuts through a forest area; with wild butterflies fluttering all around. It’s a magical experience. The drive through the ghat sections gives the feeling of having reached a hill station.
At the waterfall premises , we came across experienced masseuse offering oil massages. The herbal oil massage here are actually famous. There is a separate bathing area for those looking to dip into the holy waters. A short hike leads to a metal hanging bridge. One can have a close up view of the roaring waterfall from up here. The best part of this waterfall is that it is not a single stream of waterfall. There are numerous waterfalls that fall into the single stream of Kaveri river that cuts through the rocky terrain. The water falls with tremendous force that the mist formed resembles smoke that’s emanating from the rocks, hence the name Hogenakkal . Hoge in Kannada means smoke while Kal means rock.
Coracle boat ride at the waterfalls is a huge attraction. One boat can carry maximum 7 people including the boatman. The boat swirls round in a circular motion and glides through the gorges and leads to an island.
There is a short hike from the island to another boat boarding point. On the way we came across an elevated view point. The sight of the majestic falls from the top was beautiful with the green hills and rocky terrain as a frame while the Kaveri river as a base. A scene of the famous Raavan movie was shot here.
The second coracle ride was more impressive than the first one. The boat glided through the narrow gorges of the river towards one of the waterfalls. Soon the gushing sound of the water turned into an uproar. The coracle went as close as possible to the falls. The strong current was rocking the boat while the cool water got splashed all over. An ecstatic experience! It was like going river rafting on a local boat!
After this the boat brought us to the proximity of another smaller fall allowing a portion of the boat to pass underneath it getting each one of us completely drenched under the shower of water. It was so much fun and enjoyable. The coracle then proceeded towards the tranquil stretch of the river. The Carbonatite rocky walls along the river were not only a beauty to watch but also the oldest of its kind in South Asia.
Natural cave formations due to water erosions, along these walls were an additional beauty. The boatman was so friendly that he even took us near one such cave and offered me the opportunity to venture out of the coracle and hop inside a cave. The smooth cave walls was lit up with the sun rays accessing from atop. The lapping sound of the river against the wall was soothing inside. I have never felt so close to nature. This was one of my best moments as it wasn’t planned nor it was a part of the coracle cruise.
The boatman rafted through the waters to one last stop at a sandy beach like island where the locals sold fried fish freshly caught from the river. A treat worth trying. We also came across floating vendor coracles selling snacks. The ride downstream was equally enjoyable.
Overall we ended up spending around 3 hours here. Elated we proceeded for the return journey back to Banglore. We reached Bengaluru by 6pm. The trip to Hogenakkal falls was definitely worth the time spend in travelling. That was one fun packed unplanned trip executed perfectly. Indeed a perfect destination for a day trip from Bengaluru.