Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hogenakkal Falls – A Mighty mass of water tumbling amidst rocky gorges!!

Hogenakkal Falls on the Cauvery River, nicknamed as India’s Niagara is situated about 140 kms from Bangalore. The states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu fall on either side of this waterfall, thus making this a great tourist attraction across both states.

The last couple of days we had been to the temple town of Talakad and the forested terrain of MM Hills. A short ride through the country side brought us to the waterfall town of Hogenakkal.

Since, it was the weekend, the entire place was buzzing with tons of action. Such was the crowd, that it took us close to half an hour to find a parking spot.

There were hawkers all around selling interesting wares. The one that caught our attention was tourists taking a rustic massage out in the open and under the sun. Their bodies, which were royally lathered in oil were glistening in the sunshine.

As we kept walking along the road, we could hear the roar of the waterfall. Upon following this sound, we reached the calm looking Cauvery River and saw hoards of coracle boats lined up.

We soon found out that this is where we would be able to find ourselves a boatman. We spoke to quite a number of boatmen, but struck a deal for a 2 hour coracle boat ride with one who offered us a reasonable price.

What followed next was us following our boatman through a trail of steps that led us down to the bottom of the waterfall. Our boat was waiting for us and this is where our waterfall cruise began. The walk presented us the opportunity to soak in the splendid views of the Cauvery river and its beautifully crafted rocky gorges.

This is the deal that we struck with our boatman:  take us under the 3 tall waterfalls so that we could take a waterfall shower, oar the coracle boat against the strong current so that we could see the larger waterfalls up close, wade downstream to the island on the river and take a short break and finally row upstream to our starting point.

Shortly, after getting into the boat, it was time for us to get under the waterfall. But, a couple of boats were already under it and hence we had to wait. But, our wait was sweet as the experience was fantastic. The thundering water rocked our world and soothed our tired bodies.

As we got out of the waterfall, we found some kids waving at us from a height of over one hundred (100) feet. Then, to our utmost surprise, they jumped into the water, swam to us and collected five rupees from us, which supposedly was their diving fee.

Then, we made our way to the largest fall deep within. The boatman struggled to get us there, thanks to the strong current, but finally, we moored our boat between two rocks and we perched ourselves above the slippery rocks. The water spray hitting our faces and the thundering sound was a charming combination.

The trip downstream was quick. As we neared our island halt, we spotted a lot of mobile shops on coracle boats selling everything from chips to water to soft drinks. As we neared the island, there was a strong smell of fish in the air. Shops were offering varieties of freshly caught fish under the heading of delicacies. We explored the island for a while, enjoyed the sunset and then proceeded to our starting point as it was getting dark and late.

The sight of Hogenakkal Falls is surely a magical experience. I wonder how it would be during the monsoons!!

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