Monday, October 19, 2009

Hogenakkal Falls or Hogenakal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls or Hogenakal Falls
Hogenakkal Falls or Hogenakal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the Kaveri (or Cauvery) River. It is located in the Dharmapuri district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, about 180 km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri town. It is sometimes referred to as the "Niagara of India" With its fame for medicinal baths and hide boat rides, it is a major site of tourist attraction. Carbonatite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of its kind in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world. This is also the site of a proposed project to generate drinking water.
Hogenakkal Waterfalls often referred to as "Cauvery" or "Kavery" or "Kaveri" by locals and the people of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts in tamilnadu, India where it is situated. Hogenakkal is also described as the 'Niagara' of India, offer an exciting holiday destination for Indians and foreigners alike. Hogenakkal is located about 750 feet above sea level amidst the Melagiri Hills. The route to Hogenakkal Falls is scenic, with lush mulberry fields and giant terracotta guardian deities (Aiyanars), as you approach Hogenakkal, the roar of the Cauvery river and the abundance of vegetation in the area is sure to catch your attention. Hogenakkal is a beautiful place with picturesque scenes.
Tucked away just 150 km from Bangalore is a cascading beauty that goes by the name of ‘Hogenakkal Falls’. Hogenakkal, located on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border makes for a quick getaway from Bangalore. Though a year round destination, Hogenakkal Waterfalls has a different character just after the rains. The area looks lush green and there are a number of waterfalls that you may come across.
Situated on the Karnataka - Tamil Nadu border, Hogenakal is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the state. The broad stream of the River Cauvery gets forked at this point, forming an island from where one stream continues on while it plunges into a deep chasm to create one of the loveliest waterfall gives these rocks the name Hogenakal which means "smoking rock" in Kannada. Since the waters of the kauvery flow through a forest of herbs on their journey to Hogenakal, bathing in these falls is considered to be good for health.
The magnificent, rugged mountain scenery around the falls can be better enjoyed by long walks and treks.
When the water falls on the rocks it appears as if hoge (smoke in Kannada) is emanating from the top of the kal (rock in Kannada) because of the force of the water, hence Hogenakkal (smoking rocks). It is also called as Marikottayam by the people of Tamil Nadu.


The Kaveri River is considered to form at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu district in Karnataka and gathers momentum as the land drops in elevation. It becomes larger as various tributaries feed into it on the way down. At Hogenakkal, the Kaveri, now a large river, drops and creates numerous waterfalls as the water cuts through the rocky terrain. In places the water falls as much as 20 m and is said to sound like continual thunder. Soon after the falls the river takes a Southerly course and enters the Mettur reservoir. The river carries sediment which makes the "down-river" land fertile.

At Hogenakkal the river spreads out over a wide area of sandy beaches, then flows through to the Mettur Dam and creates a 60 sq mi. lake called Stanley Reservoir. Built in 1934, this project improved irrigation and provided hydropower.
The best season to visit is soon after the monsoons, when the river is in full spate. But some tourists prefer to visit during off-season to skip the crowd. the The temperature in Summer varies between Max 34 Degree Celsius to Min 23 Degree Celsius while during the Winter it is still pleasant and ranges from Max 27 Degree Celsius to Min 13 Degree Celsius.
Hogenakkal waterfalls is a beautiful picnic spot with its waters supposed to be having curative powers. Hogenakkal is set in thick, green woods and is considered both a sacred bathing place and a spa-like health resort. Here the water spreads for miles around. The area is surrounded by hills and offers lovely panoramic view. People can take bath in the Kaveri river, before and beyond the falls. Before reaching Hogenakkal, the river flows through a forest which contains herbs that are traditionally believed to enhance health. Hence bathing in these waters are believed to be curative.


Boating in Hogenakkal is allowed during the dry-season as the water falls are not strong to disrupt the passage of the boats. Local coracles operate from the banks of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka banks of the gorge. This is the main source of income for these boat operators. The coracles are about 2.24m in diameter,[ but still can take a load of eight persons at a time. These coracles are made of bamboo, and with all materials available takes about a day to build. The bottom of the boats are made water proof by the use of hides, but sometimes with sheets of plastic Use of plastics in the Hogenakkal vicinity, not just for boats, has been criticised due to problems with pollution. These boats are steered and propelled using a single paddle, making them unique. The coracles are locally called as parisal in Tamil and either teppa or harigolu in Kannada.

Freshly caught fish are sold by the gorge and also various vendors selling water and snacks up and down the gorge rowing their parisals is not uncommon. The fish caught include katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby. After leaving the gorge, on the left shore one can find improvised stalls set up on the sand. There, one can let the fresh fishes be prepared in one of the many kitchens. Also, many people can be found swimming or bathing around there.
Hogenakkal water project
Hogenakal Falls is the location for the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project proposed by the Tamil Nadu Government. The objective of this project is to provide safe drinking water to the urban and rural areas in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts. In February 2008, The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has agreed to fund the Rs 1,340-crore project.

Hogenakkal is unique as it is the only natural, traditional river spa in our land. It also offers a thrilling experience, and perhaps that is why the name means the smoke that thunders. And, as an added bonus, one can visit the giant terra-cotta village guardians, the Aiyanars, on the way to Hogenakkal.


This is one of the wonderful waterfalls in Tamil Nadu. It is a part of the river Cauvery and is about 250 metres above sea level. The main attraction of the falls is its vertical drop from a height of 20 metres with a thundering sound. A sacred bathing place, Hogenakkal is well known for its power of healing. It is located at a distance of 114 km from Salem and 133 km from Bangalore.

Tourist Attraction
The 15 km descent from Pennagaram to Hogenakkal snakes through very interesting terrain. In these lands, one can see villages with lush fields of mulberry, fodder for busy silkworms, and the broad-leaved though often scraggy castor. On the outskirts of the rural settlements en route are their fascinating guardian deities, often referred to as Iyanars. Made of terracotta or plastered brick, these giant figures are brightly colored and generally depict fearsome and mustachioed warriors. But exceptions to this excessively macho rule are also seen at some places. As the scrub-covered slopes give way to thickets of thorny vegetation and then, almost imperceptibly, when tall trees began to rise, the air reverberates, with the soft roar of running water becoming more and more assertive as one reaches lower and lower.

At the bottom of the valley, the Cauvery tributaries spread in a blue and shimmering web. They gurgle, shimmer, some hardly more than exposed rocks, and large rocky stretches where old trees grew. Women in bright saris bathe, or wash clothes in the running water. The spa-hamlet rises off the road-a scatter of shacks and buildings, staggering up the slopes of the valley, gazing down at the water-woods on the other side of the road. It has the character of a village struggling to become a town, a little tatty in patches, not yet chrome glass-and-polish, still retaining much of its truly rural charm. Often referred to as basket-boats, the circular vessels called Coracles have bamboo frames covered in either black plastic or buffalo hide. They wait like black mushrooms, propped against trees or upturned on the banks of the river. When the river is in spate, all the dark rocks are submerged, but if one goes there in February, which is among the most favored months to visit this riverine spa, there should not be any problem. Coracles are among the oldest types of watercraft in the world, and among the most successful-a reassuring thought when one is floating in these saucer-like-devices.

The Hogenakkal Waterfall is the main highlight of the place. And a trip to Hogenakkal revolves around the fall and the river. The Hogenakkal Waterfall is often called the Niagara Falls of India. Waterfalls here fall from a height of 60 to 1000 ft. A boat ride here is a thrilling activity and a good way to get a slice of adventure. Rides are taken on the coracles, the round small boats that are locally known as parisals. These are made from watertight hides stretched over lightweight wicker frames. It is a spectacular experience. And don’t be surprised when a boatman asks you for Rs. 500 to take you on a coracle ride. Heavy bargaining is recommended.  Another exciting attraction at Hogenakkal Waterfalls is the diving skills of local kids, who would dive for a fee. They can dive from a height of around 30 feet and climb straight up back on the rocks in no time. And the fee can range from 5 to 10 rupees.
The spot comes alive especially in July-August. A huge weekly fair is held in the nearby village of Pennagaram. Theerthamalai, a popular pilgrim centre 16 km from Dharmapuri is another interesting place that you can visit. At Hogenakkal, the Kaveri River enters the plains and the river dashing against the rocks is a great sight. The river,here flows through a wooded valley, splitting and merging and splitting again around rocks, and lil islands with towering trees, and boulder- strewn out crops, which are covered only when the river is in spate with the rains of the monsoon. 

This riverside spa is famous for coracles, masseurs and roaring waters. The sound of the Kaveri River,roaring between rocky banks, is a constant presence in most places in Hogenakkal.
Theerthamalai:  Theerthamalai is a popular pigrim centre and it is 16 k.m. from Harur in Dharmapuri district. This pilgrim and picnic centre becoming very popular with the public. The temple situated about one k.m up the steep slope of a hillock derives that its name from the five springs in the temple. Lord Theerthagireeswar (Lord Shiva) is the worshipping deity. According to the legend it was here that Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to absolve himself of the sin of having killed several demons in the war against Ravana. Hence there is belief that a holy dip in the waters of this spring will wipe out the sins committed by the people.
According to the legend, in order to worship to Lord Shiva, Rama sent Hanuman to fetch water from the River Ganga, but when Hanuman did not return at the appointed time for pooja, Rama unleashed an arrow onto the rocky slope of the hillock and water sprang forth, which today is called Rama Theertham. The tiny waterfall drops from a height of about 30 feet is perennial and during the summer as well as the rainy season the water falls on the bathing ghat behind the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The other Theertham, all of which have their origin in different parts of the rocky surface, are the Agasthya Theertham, AgniTheertham. Kumara Theertham and the Gouri Theertham, besides these four Theerthams the Hanuman Theertham is situated about 16km from the main temple on the banks of river South Pennar. This too is also closely associated with the temple. It is stated that when Hanuman returned with the water from the Ganga, he found that Rama had brought the Ganga water with his arrow. He then threw away in anger the vessel containing the Ganga water. This water fell onto the riverbank. Hanuman Theertham also is a very holy place. During summer even when the river is dry there will be sweet water in the spring that flows from rock in the riverbed. The waters of the Theerthamalai are supposed to have medicinal values too. It may be mentioned that Theerthamalai has huge reserves of magnetite iron ore that can be utilized for the Salem Steel Plant.
Several Inscriptions can be found in the Theerthagireeswarar Temple. They relate to the Vijayanagar and Chola rulers. There is one inscription in ancient Telugu and Kannada. Poet Saint Arunagirinathar referred to the Temple of Theerthagirieeswarar in his compositions. The Mandapam near the sanctum sanctorum is supposed to be built by Sila Naicken. He is said to have maintained a well-fortified garrison at the top of the hill from where a commanding view of the surroundings can be on all sides is available.
There is another spring known as Vashista Theertham higher up in the hill. Close by are the wonderful granite pieces of Saptha kanyakas. The beauty of these sculptures is that they can be viewed only through a very narrow crevice in the rock. The nine-day annual festival at the Temple is in the month of March. The main festival is held at the Shiva temple at the foot of Theerthamalai.
There are two popular places where one can stay overnight:
·         The Tourist Bungalow run by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation
·         Hotel Tamil Nadu
If one plans to stay longer than a day, he/she can take long treks in the surrounding Melagiri Hills and explore the lush, rugged, landscape.
1.      Hogenakkal, Pennagaram,
Phone No. 04342-256447
Name of other Hotels
2. Hotel C.M.Boarding & Lodging
3. DDDC Lodge
4. Hotel Priya Lodge
5. Hotel Sri Rama Boarding & Lodging
6. Hotel D.N.C Lodge
7. Hotel New Dharmapuri Lodge
8. Hotel Vijay Lodge
Mass Travels, Pennagaram. (16 km from Hogenakkal)
There are Nationalized Banks at Pennagaram (16 km for Hogenakkal) and at Dharmapuri

By Air
Bangalore International Airport is the nearest airport, which is at distance of about 133 km from Hogenakkal. Taxi charges about Rs 2000 from Bangalore to Hogenakkal. Bangalore is well connected to most of the major airports in India and abroad.
By Train

Nearest major railway junction is Salem, which is about 114 km from Hogenakkal. Salem to Hogenakkal taxi charge is about Rs 1500. Other two railheads nearby are Dharmapuri to go to Bangalore and Morappur to go to Chennai.

By Bus

Hogenakkal is well connected to all major cities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Deluxe bus services are available from Bangalore to Hogenakkal (133 km) and Salem to Hogenakkal (114 km). Bus charge is about Rs 3 per kilometer.

Things to do in Hogenakkal

- Stop by at Pennagram en-route to Hogenakkal to admire/buy brightly coloured giant terracotta statues, regarded as guardian deities by the villagers.

- Take a coracle ride across the river. The ride will take you to the foot the majestic waterfalls – an exhilarating yet intimidating experience.

- Hardcore adventurer can ask boatman to spin the boat - the experience is like that you are sitting on a spinning top.

- Get a massage from the famed Hogenakkal masseurs. The local malishkarans or the mystic masseurs are fully equipped with oils, powders and esoteric knowledge about the different massage points in the human body.

- Those planning to stay longer can take long treks in the surrounding Melagiri Hills and explore the lush, rugged, landscape.

About Hogenakkal: Hogenakkal Information & Fact File

250 meters
34 (Max) & 23(Min) Degrees Celsius
27 (Max) & 13 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go
October – March
June - September
April - June
December - February
Cottons all year round
Nearest Airport
Bangalore, 150 km
Nearest Railway Station
Bangalore, 150km
Bus Station
Hogenakkal (Direct buses from Bangalore)
Hospital & Doctor
Hospitals equipped to handle emergencies are located in Bangalore (150 km)
Places to see
Hogenakkal Waterfalls, Pennagaram village, Theerthmalai…

Useful Information:

Road Condition : Pretty good once

Toilet Facilities : Govt. run facilities available which are decent.

Food : Not much available. Just fish and rice or lays et al from the sailing vendor on Cauvery river ;)

Guesthouses : One VTS Lodge and a Tamilnadu Govt. Guesthouse next to the falls

Coracle : is it possible to avoid the coracles and see the falls? No!

Best Time to Visit: If you want a nice dip in the water - before monsoon

See the falls in its full glory - definitely after monsoon