Hogenakal falls, often called “Niagara of India”, is situated in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. On river Cauvery, the fall can be easily be termed as one of the (erstwhile) beautiful place .Its a good, one day break from Bangalore.
Some links for description on Hogenakal:
The fall can be easily reached by road.I started from Bangalore and total round trip read 280 Kms from my home (HSR layout). Total (round trip) driving time around 6 hrs in my bike.
Distance : ~140 KMs from Bangalore
Route: a) Bangalore – Hosur – Rayakottai -Palakode – Pennagram -Hogenakal (140Kms)
b) Bangalore – Hosur- Krishnagiri- Dharmapuri-Pennagram – Hogenakal (~185Kms)
We took the first route and like other Tamil Nadu roads, the roads were smooth and safe, completely Makhan. Leaving Bangalore to Hosur, rest of route were state highways, but were better than NH of other states. Through out the route sign boards of next important stop, safety sign boards, names of each passing village were there. Last not least the whole route is lined with trees, promising an enjoyable ride.
a) The moment one enters Hosur from Bangalore, take right turn (Indian Oil pump station is the landmark) after the first overbridge. There’s a board reading Rayakottai. Then keep following for Rayakottai milestones.
b) After Rayakottai, keep following Palakode milestone. And after Palakode, keep following Hogenakal milestones.
The second route more famous, is 85% NH, right from Bangalore to Dharmagiri, but is longer. Even I thought to take this route because of highways, but all my doubts were vaporised once I zoomed through the first route. Even while coming back, i preferred the state highway route rather than NH.
In nutshell, route-(a) is recommended route.
Bus Transport: I was amazed with the number of buses plying the road, although it didnot had any big town, leave behind city. I wish Orissa could learn something from this and start some service in its capital at least.
Anyways, Hosur and Dharmapuri are major stations to catch bus to Hogenakal. And seeing the bus traffic during my trip, I am sure, frequency should not be a problem at all.
Train Transport: Palakode & Dharmapuri are the nearest Railway stops.
About Hogenakal (excluding falls):
1) First, Tamil Nadu Tourism department have done credible job in making the place touristy.
2) But Indians have made sure to make it just another Tourist spot. Lots of rubbish all around. River banks and falls are littered with plastics, glasses (of course majority being alcohol bottles), clothes, chapals/sandals. Very sad, but its truth…Rape of nature. I couldn’t think of anything worse to explain.
3) Coming back, Hogenakal has all basics which a tourist place should have. But remember not to expect Bangalore or anything. I did see Hotel Tamil Nadu (one of the famous brand of hotels of Govt. Tamil Nadu). There were few other others which did look ok externally. So lodging and restaurant options are there and plenty according to a village standards.
4) Parking facility (ies) available (Rs 5). There are number of parking places and if you want to have minimum walk, try go as deep as possible. Since we didn’t know about inside parking facilty, we parked outside and had to walk around 600 meters extra.
5) ATM : couldn’t find one, but I guess it should be there.Anyways, nearby towns do have.
6) In falls, bathing facilities are there. And so lots of shops are there selling pants, towels etc.
7) Something different….Oil massage options are there. Infact, we were first greeted with request for Oil massage. Prices, Rs 50 just for putting oil on whole body and Rs 100 for Oiling and massage of whole body.
8 ) Lots of entry fees are there. Rs 10 for entering Hogenakal, Rs 5 for entering Hogenakal falls (camera charges extra.), Rs 3 for entering Main falls, Rs 2 for view point (police post). So do keep change handy.
9) Boating facilty: We didn’t do, because we felt all were asking for humongous charges. Rs 300 for 2 hrs per head. Do negotiate wisely with all detail of route ( in falls). Knowing Tamil, will surely halp a lot.
10) Carry good amount of water to drink, because good amount of walking is involved.
When to visit?
Without doubt: In Monsoons, after good amount of rain has poured. If not in winter. Summer should be avoided, because water will be less, and it will be hot n humid.
Its a good one day break from Bangalore.
What to see/do?
1) Enjoy the road (if driving). I did a lot
2) Two falls called Main falls and Cini falls
3) Boating of course.
4) Bathing, if you can catch a good place.
5) Lots of idle places are there to enjoy as a group.
1) The place has already been trashed, hopefully you donot add to it. So please carry your own trash, donot leave behind your NISHANIS like clothes, bottles etc.
2) Donot eat endangered species of fish. There have been unpleasant reports.
3) In night camping, follow forest rules. Please donot make noise, disturb fellow creatures.
4) Drive within speed limits, the moment you enter forest region, after paying entrance fees (20 Kms from Hogenakal). The road are frequently stormed by monkeys (macaques). Also, please donot feed monkeys.
5) Finally, ensure zero foot print travel.
1) Driving in forest roads. A macaque may be enjoying a nap in middle of the road.
2) Boating. Clear all your doubts before finalising deal.
3) Oil Massagers, will always try hard to shell out extra from you.
4) Slippery stones. So do watch your steps.
5) If donot like crowd, avoid public holidays.
Anyways Happy Outing.