Time: 8th – 15th August 2009
Members: one kid, 2 women, 3 men
Preparations: We planned this trip since may’09, booked tickets, hotels, etc. Chalked out route map using Google Maps, spent lot of R&D to make the list of itineraries. The departure day almost knocking… bags are packed… Just got a phone call… cring… cring…
7:00 am: – “hello, hey, r u ready, we are waiting outside”, means my friends have arrived, we need to go now… me and my wife turned on, loaded all the bags (2/3/4), cameras, hand bags, etc. We started towards New Delhi Airport, this is the first time I am at the new Terminal… it is really good… our flight at 9:10am, waiting for the announcement. Suddenly one of my friends discovered that he forgot to bring his laptop… alas… keya hai ab yaad aaya, agar aadha ghanta pahele bata deta toh… yaar kal raat se halka bukhar hai, to bhul gaya… doctor ke pass gaya tha… nehi… a bey ****…
Suddenly we heard the announcement and proceed towards the flight… The Indigo Flight was on time and we reached Bangalore airport around 11:30am. From here we will be travelling on Innova (arranged from Delhi, thanks to one of my friends), after collecting the entire luggage we came out, we called and found the driver (Most of us agreed that he was look alike to Rabi Ghosh, the famous Bengali actor) who was waiting for us. At around 12 we hit the road through NH-7, it was quite a smooth ride in spacious Innova, but as we entered in to the main Bangalore City we found the traffic, mean while we had our lunch with South-Indian Thali at popular budget restaurant, food was ok, nothing special…
There are two ways to reach Hoggenakkal from Bangalore:
- Conventional NH-7 route: Bangalore – Hosur – Krishnagiri – Dharmapuri – Pennaguram – Hoggenakkal
- Unconventional Veerappan fame jungle road: Bangalore – Hosur – (take right) – Old Mathigiri – Hosur-Denkanikottai Rd – Denkanikota – Marandahalli – Palakkodu (SH-17) – Pennaguram (SH-60) – Hoggenakkal
We choose the second route… in the entire journey we experienced 65% good tar, 15% bad tar, 20% worst stretch. But the journey was awesome, very few traffic, small villages, forest (great Veerappan one), hills, rural people, paddy field, lots of temples of Ravana, exterior colours of the houses are too rich (Purple, green, yellow, etc), color of the common Gold Flake packet also changed. We were enjoying… suddenly the weather changed, the sky turned into dark gray and driver increased the speed of the vehicle… rain started… but didn’t last long… mean while one of our friend started feeling feverish, headache and showing vomiting tendencies. He vomited twice/thrice and we got worried, because we knew that Hoggenakkal is a remote area. However we continued for another 15/20 mins but dunno when the river Kauvery started flowing along our right… means we are almost reached.
Yes, we have reached; it was almost 6:00pm. We found Hotel Tamilnadu, well located with ample parking space. First we got the keys of our 3 rooms (rooms were ok fitted with a decade old AC), tried some water to keep us fresh had some coffee.
Hotel Tamilnadu: There is not much option to stay, this is the best option to stay at Hoggenakkal. Very few non-veg food, Rice-Dal-Sabji-Idli-Dosa-Papad availablein lunch and dinner. Tea-Coffee any time, Room Service available.
Best Time to Visit: If you want a nice dip in the water – before monsoon, but if you want to see the falls in its full glory – definitely after monsoon
Food: Not much available. Just rice, fish, dal, chik, etc.
Coracle (boats): is it possible to avoid the coracles and see the falls? No!
After coffee session we went out get a glimpse of the area, it was almost evening, found some Fried Fish and Coconut vendors. We knew these fried fishes are awesome in taste… myself and my friend’s wife tried some fish-fry and took a lot for our mates, one of us went to find a good deal for next day’s boat ride.
After 30mins we were all along in a room with heap of fried fish, coconut water, coconut pulp and some vodka :P . Around 9:30 pm we decided to call for dinner, the kitchen guy told us the borders who wants to have dinner should order within 8:30pm otherwise no dinner. What we can do, me and one friend took the initiative to get into their kitchen, found plain dosa, some sambar, very little plain rice, and egg… we asked them to serve all those with omlet. We thanked fishes that we had.
Got up early, and went for a walk. Left a couple in their room to take some more rest as he was not well. We went riverside, clicked some pictures. Like any other riverside village, their day/life begins with the river and ends too. We had a very good coffee at a local tea shop and found their tea making procedure is entirely different compared to us.
Coming back towards the hotel we located the boat man and informed him that we will start at 9:30am. The little member of our team found a small park inside the hotel complex, and we all spent some time, meanwhile the couple also got up and joined us. We all decided not to have the breakfast in the hotel and went out. Had some hot poori-sabji, Dosa-Idli as our breakfast and started for the boat ride. The boat man introduced himself as the famous ROJA boat-man. We were delighted… the starting point was about 1.5 km away from the hotel.
The coracles/boats are about 2.24m in diameter, can accommodate 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. These boats are steered and propelled using a single paddle, making them unique. The coracles are locally called as parisal in Tamil and either teppaor 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 were very common. The fish caught include katla, robu,kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby.
The Boat ride was an ever memorable experience. Cool breeze blowing, river were not that harsh, but we can hear the roaring sound coming from vry nearby place. We were floating, singing clicking, suddenly the boat stopped just in the middle of the river the boat man was laughing and saying something in Tamil. And he started spinning the boat, gradually increasing speed. It was spinning like nothing, we were screaming out of joy. After that we again started moving forward towards the gorge, water flow became stronger and we started feeling the hik-ups due to the sub-merged stone bolders. He was rowing very carefully with all his 50-60 years of experience.
Aah, we’ve reached, everywhere water, water in the form of smoke. Within few minuits all of us almost drenched. We spent there almost an hour and started returning back. Now we went towards the other side of the river where we found lots of fish vendors and open air masage parlours. Then we moved towards the lower part of the gorge where the stream falling from 40-50 meter a great view, about 40 small and large water falls all over. Droplets of water waved through the air creating a mesmerizing rainbow. I tried to open the lens cap but water all over, There is an watch tower from where one would have a full 3600 view , climbing up I opened the camera and tried some shots. Spent an hour there and started moving back towards our hotel. We found a strange kind of rice plate made of a single piece of leaf. There was an temple too, but we were not interested enough.
We had our lunch in a local restaurant. In the evening Again we had a good amount of Fried Fish, Coconut Water, etc. and went for late sleep. Tomorrow We need to start as soon as possible.
On the weekends people fron nearby Towns, Cities, Villages come to spend a full day, so weekends are always busy and crowded.
Boat Charges: Rs. 1000 to Rs.2000 Heavy bergain suggested.
Language: People don’t understand hindi (mostly) or english
No Medical Facilities available
Always carry Odomos kind of mosquito repellent cream, some pills to prevent stomach upset.