Situated on the Karnataka – Tamil Nadu border, Hogenakal Falls is about 140 Kms. from Bangalore in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu (46 kms from Dharmapuri city). This picturesque holiday spot is an unexploited tourist wonder on the banks of the River Cauvery.
Hogenakal Falls is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Tamil Nadu 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. “Hogenakkal” means “Smoking Rock” a name derived from the cloud of mist and spray that enveloped the chasm.
The Cauvery river, here, flows through a wooded valley, splitting and merging and splitting again around rocks, and little islands with towering trees, and boulder-strewn outcrops which are covered only when the river is in spate with the rains of the monsoon.
A sacred bathing place, Hogenakkal is famed for the curative power of its waters. Since the waters of the Cauvery flow through a forest of herbs on their journey to Hogenakal, bathing in these falls is considered to be good for health. It has earned the distinction as a health resort known for its waterfalls with medicinal properties, set amidst lush green woods.
Map of the Cauvery River
A causeway joins some of the islands, serving the malishkarans, the masseurs, and their patients. It is these professionals who are responsible for the slap-slap-thump. Armed with oils, powder and a knowledge of the 14 massage points in the human body, they seat their clients on slabs of rock and get to work. After which their customers must be sluiced down in the bathing cubicles, standing under cascades of flowing Cauvery water.
Surrounded by mountains, Hogenakkal now offers a quite holiday in comfort. The ‘Parisal’ ride through River Cauvery will be a pleasant experience. The magnificent, rugged mountain scenery around the falls can be better enjoyed by long walks and treks.
People cross the current-rippled waters in circular coracles: basket boats covered in buffalo hide or plastic. These boats are not nearly as flimsy as they look and their design has remained unchanged for thousand of years, though the plastic covering is a recent development. If you want to experience a mild thrill, ask your boatman to spin your boat when you are out in the stream. You feel as if you are sitting on a top.
The highlight of any Hogenakkal trip, however, is a coracle ride through the turbulent waters of the river to the base of roaring falls. The water under your frail craft explodes with power, tossing you from side to side, threatening to swamp and capsize you. And all the while those beautiful falls hurl torrents of fury, bellowing, spraying you with their anger, overwhelming your senses, drowning all through. It is a spectacular, nerve-tingling experience which you are never likely to forget. The less adventurous can opt to stay on terra firma.