There was a 3 days off as 26th Jan 2009 was on Monday and I thought of utilizing this time to going out to Chikmagalur, kuke subramanyam however due to unavailability of reservations in resorts and last minutes commitments I along with my friend and his family, have opted for one day trip to Hogenakkal Falls on Sunday the 25th so that we can relax on 26th.
On 25th Jan 2009, got up at 600 Hrs. Had morning tea, bath and finished other chores and were ready to leave at 7:45 AM. It was a pleasant morning with dense FOG with visibility upto 100 mtrs. We thought of leaving at 8:00 from my friends place on outer ring road however due to dense fog we decided to be late and leave only by 8:30 AM.
I left my home(Kundalahalli – ITPL road near Kundalhalli Colony) at 8:00 in Hyundai Accent car and reached my friends place on outer ring road next to Flextronics at 8:15 AM and left his place at 8:45 AM.
The idea was to reach Hogenakkal by 12.00 pm stay there upto 4.00 PM (as I was aware of waiting time for boating) and then start the return journey.
As people told me about non-availability of food en-route and at Hogenekkal, we decided to pack food, cold drinks, snacks, sweets everything from home and taken plenty of water as well.
From Outer ring road we went straight to Silk Board Junction and taken left turn to Hosur road. Though flyover construction work is on till Electronic City yet we were lucky to pass the stretch in few minutes, thanks to fog and early Sunday morning. Once you pass this stretch the road is a pleasant to drive with. Within no time reached the Hosur. The scene at the entry to Tamilnadu is amazing as lots of taxis, cars, trucks were standing for permit check and morning tea and all. However there was no checking for private cars.
Crossed Hosur overbridge and then stopped for b/fast at around 10.00 am in Hotel A2B. Stopped for around ½ hour-45 minutes and again proceeded towards Krishnagiri. The three lane road is very good till Krishnagiri and we have driven our vehicles at the speed of 110 KMH. Paid the toll charges of Rs.38 for to and fro journey as I was returning in evening. Reached Dharampuri around 11.30 pm and left the highway to enter Dharampuri (as I was not aware that we can avoid that turn and directly go to hogenekkal turn from highway) and taken right from first signal (Hogenkkal was 46 Km from here – you will never miss the sign board). It is a straight drive even though you get many circles in between; you have to keep on going straight. We stopped in between to have coconut water but still covered the distance within 1 hour.
Before entering Hogenekkal one has to pay Rs. 30 entry charges by Block panchyat (Rs. 20 mentioned in Board) and Rs. 10 (for forest guard as a bribe) and then after reaching falls parking fee Rs. 20 and wasted our time in searching for parking space as it was our responsibility to find a space after paying money also. However we were lucky that one truck has left and we got the parking space in only 20 minutes. Then we paid Rs. 5 each to use the toilets in TNTDC compound as local toilets were locked. Anyway please do not mind to pay this Rs. 5 as we got the place to have food later in a day.Though we reached Hogenakkal falls at 12.30 pm but wasted so much of time in all this activities. I was amazed to see total Time taken 3.45 hours even including stop for b/fast, toll charges and all.
Now here start the real drama as it is clearly written on all the boards that Rs. 50 per person for boating and Rs. 50 for massage but no one likes to follow the rates.
The coracle person informed that he will charge Rs.600 for a full coracle as we were 5 adults and Rs. 50 (10 per head charges) for government tickets.A bit about the boat (Coracle). It is called coracle (‘Parisal’ in local language). Perfectly circular in shape, coracle is made (woven together) of bamboo shoots/sticks. The base is some cloth or cover, topped by, actually bottomed by :) charcoal. Even though there are ancient references to coracles in other civilizations, I am told Parisal is a totally-Indian, indigenous product, whose shape and features have not changed over thousands of years! Also, a formal definition from the Glossary of Coracle Terms:
Parisal:- A bowl coracle formerly widespread along the rivers Cauverey, Bhavani and Coleroon of South India and the Tungabhadra and Krishna, so, its a very South Indian ‘device’, not to be seen anywhere in North India.
Our maid knows tamil and she tried her best to get the good rates. After enough of negotiation, she informed it will be Rs.500 for ride for 2 hours as there was a long waiting. We decided not to bargain much as it was really getting late and it was 1:45 PM, we said OK and started the ride.
We bought some wafers and cold drinks to carry along with us in boat. Boat person told me that we will get the same in river as well.Once in boat, we had to pay 10/- Rs. per person to the government guy sitting at the base of the big tree (Banyan, I think) as the tax/fee to cross the river. There it was: A government toll tax office at the roots of a tree! Anyhow, we crossed the river’s width and got off the boat. There are small pathways to walk and river Cauvery seems to be all around you. Just after alighting, we could hear the roar of the waterfalls and see the first one’s head.
During the starting of coracle ride, the person took us in his coracle to the other side of shore (it is like an island where lots of other people were also playing around in river. It’s a 15 mins ride in coracle) and asked to get down near watch tower and wait till he took his coracle to the main river.
After some photo sessions, we moved to the stairs leading to the next phase of boating. It was waiting for almost 20-25 minutes but it is worth it once you are in river surrounded by big rocks all around. At the bottom of the stairs, it looked very mystical! We got onto the coracle, and then began our ride into the heavy flow of the falls , going downstream. Once out of the corner from where be boarded the boat, and in the main river, the view was something which can not be describe really. Coracle took us to bit upstream so that we could see Falls from a bit up close. Once near to water falls,we decided not to go under the water fall as my kid was only 15 months old and my friend’s daughter was also not well and we also do not want to take risk with his weather.
The Hogenekkal falls are not a single waterfalls but a series of falls. There are so many waterfalls all over the place that it looks like the God decided to open her heart to the humanity. The whole scene is spread over a kilometer or so, with two sections, half-a-kilometer each, making maybe 110 degree angle to one another. The majority of waterfalls are on the first section and the second section is a canyon which forms the downstream of all the waterfalls.
Boating was a nice experience and continuing my ride, he informed about Karnataka side of water falls and Tamilnadu side of water fall.
On the other side of falls i..e once moving towards calm river we were actually in a gorge with famed Karnataka-granite rising high on both the side. Later he showed us the Karnataka side of entry to Hogenekkal fall (it was pretty silent and not much of chaos but we were not aware of this route. Boatman told us that it is via Mysore – I am not sure).
After all this travelling and since it is once in a while journey, usually people will come here and spend some where around 3~4 hours seeing around the place, enjoy playing in the water, drinking beer and massage. Boatman showed us one restaurant near to shore of cauveri where one can find good fish but we were vegetarians so avoided the stop and asked him to skip this.
Another attraction was local kids showing their diving skills, for a fee. They can dive for you from a height of around 30 feet into the water and climb straight up back on the rocks in no time, all for mere Rs.10 from the spectator. There is competition within them and you may be offered a discount! A little downstream to the river is an wide plane where day trippers and picnic crowd spend most of their time, but you don’t really find a good shelter anywhere there. Men can attempt a massage offered by the local masseur but is best avoided.
One more attraction is a hole in Karnataka side rocks which was made by some movie shooting unit (other story is that it happens due to water force). People were going in to that hole and coming back.
Kids enjoyed very much seeing falls, ride in coracle (by keeping the hands in water and playing).
The heat was unbearable but it was not that bad once you are in water and that is the main reason lot many people want to take a dive in river and get wet under falls. After getting tired of boating and elephants were kicking tummy due to hunger we came back to island again. It was a trekking thru rocks from river to island and one has to careful while walking. Again a ride in coracle for around 15 mins and we were back where we boarded the coracle.
We paid the amount to the boat man and it was almost 4:00 PM.
We asked ladies and kids to go to the garden next to TNDS and me and my friend came back to our parking place to collect the food and drinks. We finsihed our lunch and started towards Parking at 4:40 PM
In this whole journey I lost my sunglasses and felt bad as I paid a handsome amount to buy those.
Back to travelogue, ladies have occupied one hut in garden to have our lunch which we had taken from Bangalore. By the time we finished and started again towards Bangalore it was 4:45 pm. Reached Dharampuri by 5:30 pm. Our target was to reach Hosur as early as possible because it’s a painful driving from Hosur to Bangalore because of traffic and construction work.
We reached the Krishnagiri toll gate by 6.30 pm and reached Hosur by 8.00 pm. In between we stopped once for petrol (my friend’s Wagon-R and for tea). At this time and on Sunday, I felt, the traffic on hosur road will not be too much and decided to take back the same route but traffic on Hosur road was impossible as everyone is driving in his own style and no lane discipline. Anyway reached silk board junction 8:00 PM and took the outer ring road to my place as my friend’s went to Total mall at Madivala for having his Dinner. We have to drop our maid so rush to home as fast was possible and parked my vehicle in my parking at 8:30 PM.
The water falls during August/September will be a scene to watch. Boat man showed us the water marks on the rocks. He also told us that boating is not allowed during monsoon if it rains. However during monsoon, the scenery and falls will be very good.
Date Travelled: 25-01-2009 (Sunday)
Members in 2 Cars:
Hyundai Accent – Me, Wife, one kid and maid
Wagon-R – my friend his wife and her daughter.
Maps followed: Maps.mapmyindia.com
Total kms travelled: (To & Fro) : 395.
Total Driving Time: 6-7 hours (to and fro)
Route taken: Home-Kundallahalli gate- Marathahalli – Outer rign road – Hosur road – Hosur-Krishnagiri-Dharampuri-Hogenakkal and coming back was also in same route in reverse direction.