Hogenakkal Waterfalls-A Waterfall on the Border of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu is known for its waterfall. The location got its name from two Kannada words hoge (smoke) and kal (rock) that translates into 'smoking rocks'; referring to smoke appearing from top of rock. In Tamil this place is called Marikottayam. Popular as tourist destination for people of Southern Karnataka and Western Tamil Nadu, the carbonatite rocks here considered one the oldest in South Asia and world. The site of scintillating waterfall created by several streams of water dropping in force, is a sheer delight for eyes. The biggest waterfall has a drop of nearly 20 meters. The waterfall is also known as entry point of Mettur Dam and resulting lake called Stanley Reservoir. The reservoir built in 1934, doubles up as irrigation and hydropower source, and its water is used to supply drinking water to people of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu.
Sometimes called Niagara Falls of India, Hogenakkal waterfall on the Kaveri or Cauvery river is known for its medicinal value. This is due to the presence of numerous herbs and medicinal plants in vicinity of waterfall. Located at the entry point of Tamil Nadu, it is well connected by road and rail with all major towns of South India with Bangalore and Dharmapuri being closest. Best time to visit is from July to October just after monsoon; when the waterfall is in full spate; due to heavy inflows from Karnataka. The approach from Bangalore is picturesque with lush green forest and valley and gorges. Since it is easily accessible, nowadays it has become bit crowdy especially on weekends. This has forced people seeking peace and tranquility to choose off-season to travel to the waterfalls. The waterfall is out-of-bounds for boating or swimming during monsoons. “Choti si asha” song from film Roja, climax scene of film Bobby and opening scene of film Ravana were all shot here.
Only way to reach as close to waterfall is by the coracle, a unique circular boat. Coracles called parisal in Tamil and harigolu in Kannada; are boats driven with 1 paddle and made of bamboo, plastic sheet at bottom. Trip to Hogenakkal waterfall is a morning to evening affair. There are separate bathing ghats for men and women. En-route to bathing ghats; there are several street-side stalls in vicinity of waterfall that sell everything from soaps, shampoo, soft drink, swimming shorts, fish fry, tea, coconut water, snacks and handicrafts. Tourist should try fish fry, all freshly caught from river every morning from the river. Fish varieties like katla, rohu, keluthi, aranjan, valai, kendai, mirgal, and jilaby are caught and fried in roadside stalls near the waterfall. On road to waterfall several masseurs or maalishkaran offer herbal oil massage that can help tourists relax. There are few hotels, resorts, and lodges for tourists to stay. Tourists can also include trekking trip to surrounding hills, forests and other adventure activities alongside trip to waterfalls. Entire trip can last anywhere from 2 to 3 days.
While moving around the waterfall, tourist must be careful about slippery rocks as they may lose balance and fall in water. Tourists in keeping with environment protection are requested not to litter and keep surroundings clean. There are numerous places in and around Dharmapuri, within a few hours distance from waterfall that are worth visiting. Tourists can visit Melagiri Hill forest and Pennagram village which is famous for ‘Aiyanars’ the giant terracotta statues. Tourist can also visit Mettur Dam, one of the largest dams in India; and ride on coracle boats. Area around the dam has a well-developed riverfront and numerous surrounding hills. Tourists interested in pilgrimage can visit temples, in and around Hogenakkal. These include Theerthamalai and Kottakovil temples, both dedicated to Lord Shiva; Parameshwari temple dedicated to goddess Parameshwari, considered to grant boon to infertile women. Tourist can visit Hanuman Theertham temple and Chenraya Perumal temple. Tourist can also visit Krishnagiri dam further downstream on Kaveri river; freedom fighter Subramanya Siva monument and Adhiyamankottam fort ruins. On new moon days of Tamil month of Tai and Adi called ‘aadiperukku’ day and solar/lunar eclipses; pilgrims come to Hogenakkal waterfall to perform ablutions.