Located in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu, Hogenakkal Falls is a sight to behold. Derived from the Kannada words ‘hoge’ which means smoke and ‘kal’ which means rock, the name perfectly describes the rushing waters which look like white smoke rising from the rocks. They are also known as the ‘Niagara Falls of India.’
A number of rivers intersect with the Kaveri on its way to Hogenakkal creating a large water body which is then redirected by the rocky terrain.
The Kaveri river flows through thick forest areas on its way to Hogenakkal. This gives the waterfall therapeutic properties, a bath here is said to be beneficial for ailments.
A ride on a coracle is an essential activity at Hogenakkal. A small round boat with the capacity of about five people, including the boatman, coracles were originally used for fishing purposes by local people. The boat passes through many cascades and you might even get drenched when passing underneath some of them.
The boatman also serves as a guide, pointing out the spots where Mani Ratnam’s Roja was filmed. You might take a walk through the forest guided by the boatman who will probably show you a tiny temple dedicated to the goddess Mariamman nestled in the thick foliage.
The cost for the coracle ride may be more if you want to stay a bit longer and have lunch by the banks. Arrive early in order to avoid the queues for coracles and the ones for herbal oil massages, and bathing.
And do try the freshly fried local fish from one of the stalls near the falls.
During the monsoon the falls are at their fullest, but the coracle service remains suspended due to the fierce currents.
You can however visit the Hanging Bridge to get a spectacular view of the waterfalls.
From Bengaluru, Hogenakkal is about four hours. The nearest railhead is at Dharmapuri town, which is about 50 kms from Hogenakkal.