I wanted to treat my parents to something special on their wedding anniversary which falls in the month of September. We were confused whether to hit Mysore or Hogenakal and finally decided on a trip to the beautiful Hogenakal. I had been there before, and I hoped the picturesque waterfalls, the exciting coracle ride, and a possible bath in the Cauvery River would offer them an experience like no other.
Hogenakal is located in Tamil Nadu, around 150 kms from Bangalore, and it should take around three hours to get there.
We got to see lots of monkeys, something my little boy was very excited about. The monkeys were used to all the attention, and they came very close to our car, probably hoping to get hold of some bananas, or so we could photograph them better :).
It was time for lunch when we reached our destination and it soon became obvious that there were not many great places to eat from. We lunched at Hotel TamilNadu, which was a sad looking place, and the food was equally tragic. But this did not dampen our enthusiasm, and we were soon headed off to the ride down Cauvery River.
After some bargaining with our coracle operator, Rangasamy, we agreed on a sum of 800 rs and had the coracle to ourselves for the rest of the day. My mom eyed the coracle suspiciously, probably wondering how to get on to it, and how it was going to support all of us. One would have thought that 33 years of marriage to my father, who hails from Arpookara, would have made her more confident about hopping onto a boat, since the place is crisscrossed with narrow water canals, and boats are a very common means of transport, but this was not to be so.
Finally, we were all helped on board, and were all set to go. After a short trip down the river, we were on our feet again to see the Cine falls.
I explained to my parents that the coracle operator would take us below one of the falls, so that the water fell on us while he rotated the coracle. But much to my disappointment, and my mom's relief, Rangasamy informed us that it would not be possible at this time of the year, right after the monsoons, because the rivers were so much fuller now.
|Beneath the waterfalls (Pic taken in May)|
|A closer look at people getting drenched|
|The same falls, in the month of September|
The spray from the falls rose high, and it definitely looked like smoke was emanating from the rocks, which is how Hogenakal derives its name. Hog means smoke, and kal means rocks in Kannada.
We were once again on the coracle, and were taken through the beautiful gorge carved by the river. It did not look as deep as it did on my previous trip in the month of May, when there was lesser water, but was neverthless breath taking. It is no wonder that the place attracts many film makers, and songs such as Chinna Chinna Asai (Roja), Raat Ka Nasha Abhi (Asoka) were shot here.
|A view of the gorge|
We saw barely clad boys sitting on top of the cliff, and Rangasamy explained that they were divers who dived into the river for a small fee. There were vendors on coracles too, and they sold soft drinks, chips, biscuits and other savories.
We were soon on our feet again, and after a climb up a steep and rocky cliff, and a long walk, we reached relatively calm waters, where many people were bathing. My son was red faced and looked tired, so I allowed him to dip his legs in the water, and he was soon squealing with delight and running through the shallow water. There were women frying and selling fresh fish and other savories by the banks of the river. The fish was delicious, and at 15 rs a piece, it was definitely a bargain.
I did feel sorry for Rangasamy who had to carry the coracle on his shoulders all the way we walked, but he did not look tired, and was enthusiastic about taking us to the Hogenakal Waterfalls, the main highlight of the place. And it definitely was stunning. There was a series of waterfalls, spread over a long distance, and I found it difficult to comprehend its beauty. We stood there enjoying the beauty of the falls and listening to its deafening noise.
|The Hogenakal Falls|
It was time to get back much too soon and on the way back Rangasamy treated us by rotating the boat on the rapidly moving water. That was fun, but I thought my mom's face turned slightly green at this point.
It was a great trip, though one that should not be undertaken by people in poor health because the long walks and climbs could be a little too tiring. It would be fun to take a dip in the water, if you have time, especially since the water is said to have curative powers. You could also you could try getting a massage from the famed Hogenakal masseurs. I was very impressed by the Indian Niagara, hope you will be too.