Earth Sublime

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Tucked away about 40 odd kilometers or so from Dharmapuri is a sleepy little place called Hogenakkal. Over the recent years, it has come to be regarded as an exciting getaway and that is thanks largely to the majestic river Kaveri and the Hogenakkal waterfalls. In fact, the place received wide publicity after Mani Ratnam shot the famous `Chinna Chinna Asai’ song here for his hit film, `Roja’.

The drive from Dharmapuri to Hogenakkal is fairly exciting as one navigates steep curves with the landscape being rocky and barren and the monotony broken by a little bit of greenery now and then.

After reaching Hogekannal, everybody makes a beeline to the river for that’s where the action is. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the river is to take a ride on it In fact as soon as you alight, the locals will pester you to rent out their coracles also known as the `theppa’ or the `parisal’. These are circular in shape, fairly sturdy and perfect to navigate the river. As you encounter the river Kaveri, your first thought is how nice and peaceful it appears. It also makes for a particularly delightful scene with a lot of greenery along its banks with the beautiful hills looming large in the background.

After a considerate amount of haggling, a deal is struck with the `parisal’ oarsman. Along the banks of the river, one can see these coracles lined up. So, the ride begins and there is a great deal of jostling and pushing as our coracle collides with others. Wheeeeeeeeee… our boatman is able to make our `parisal’ go round and round and though it can make one dizzy, it is enjoyable enough. After some time, it is time to disembark as it seems as if the river has run her course. But there are greater delights in store. Our boatman walks along carrying the coracle and soon we descend to some kind of a platform. Again the `parisal’ is put into the river and our boatman helps us get into it.. And soon we discover a new side to this beautiful river. It appears we are in some kind of a deep canyon flanked by rocks, which look craggy and beautiful. Without any exaggeration, it is a sight that will take your breath away. There are delightful little waterfalls created as the river here roars down the rocks, leaving behind a trail of mist and smoke. And that is how Hogenakkal which means `smoking stone’ in Kannada gets its name. Look carefully and you can see a heron or two waiting patiently by the side of the waterfall to catch a fish!

Alongside the waterfalls, masseurs promise a good massage creating a spa-like atmosphere. The water here, it is believed, has some healing properties. One can continue to ride on the river and go on till it peters out into sandy banks where one can rest a while.

1.How to get there: Hogekannal is located on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, about 180 kilometres from Bangalore and 114 kms from Salem. The easiest way to get to Hogenakkal is to first reach Salem and from Salem drive upto Dharmapuri. Then from Dharmapuri, drive along NH7 to go to Hogenakkal..
2. Place to eat: You can eat at any of the many hotels around here. Tamil Nadu tourism runs a place here where you can stay should you decide to hang around for more than a day.
3. Distance from Chennai: Around 345 kms.


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