A fairly green and smooth drive on a Saturday morning, the eagerness to behold water as the element of nature in its glory, the anticipation of a good feed for the camera, and the spectacle itself! The trip to Hogenakkal, situated on the Karnataka-TamilNadu border, could truly be defined by innervations as such.
Hogenakkal, 150 kms (by road) south of Bangalore, is one of the more ideal weekend getaways, especially if the plans are for a good drive there and back home, in time to catch a movie on the telly the same evening. This, if you were to take the road less travelled. Bangalore-Hosur-Rayakottai-Palakkodu-Pennagaram-Hogenakkal. For folks who have more leisure at their disposal and for those from other places more distant, there’s Theerthamalai, around 16kms from Dharmapuri, the district headquarters of Hogenakkal. There is another big waterfall on the Kaveri river, right after Shivanasamudra in Karnataka. Of course, the former is the more spectacular of the two, given the formation of the rocks and the way the water dives down into a canyon.
Any rider is bound to not miss the terracotta statues, brightly coloured and installed at certain points in every hamlet in Pennagaram. They’re known as Aiyanars, the guardian deities as regarded by the villagers. No sooner have you passed them all, than you enter the manned road to the waterfall. It’s a narrow yet nice drive to the fall. The roads aren’t too bad really. In no time you’re there. You’d be nearly surprised at the size of the crowd there, given that you had an almost lonely drive up to the spot. The access to this place is much easier these days in all ways apparently. And here come the boatmen. You necessarily have to take one of those coracles to get across the river and explore the waterfall. Haggle on, and there are chances that you would end up paying at least three hundred quid if you’re fortunate. They call these round boats the ‘theppa’s. And once you start rafting across, the sight that beholds you is something that’s worth all the trouble. Roja, one of the best movies to have hit the screens in the last two decades, had a song sequence canned here. The sight of the waterfall, up close, is an imposing one and at times a bit intimidating too. This experience would be more telling if you were to make the visit soon after monsoon, when the river would be brimming. You could stop at all those vantage positions to click away. The whole ride would take around an hour or so. Once you’re back to the base, you could get a massage if you wanted to, or do a trek in the surrounding Melagiri hills, if you really are up to it.
We’re pretty much done with Hogenakkal this way. Once you do a loop and start homeward, you’re left with some kind of feeling of unrest. The one that conveys that good things don’t last too long and there isn’t much that could have helped either. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t go good to give this place a miss. After all, it’s not without reason that it earns the sobriquet ‘Indian Niagara’!
Air: Nearest airport – Bangalore (130km)
Rail: Nearest trainstop – Bangalore
Stay: The Tourist Bungalow run by KSTDC, and Hotel Tamil Nadu.