“Amlan, how about visiting Hogenakkal falls tomorrow” – Asked my colleague Pavani.
The proposal sounded interesting to me. “Well, how far is the place and who all will go? “- A spontaneous reply from me.
It was one Friday morning in our office in Bangalore and we were planning for a short trip that weekend.
Pavani continued “We will start sharp at 6:00 am tomorrow. It’s around 130Km and we will reach the place by 10:00 am. If we again start at 3:00 pm, by 7 pm we will be back.”
The next moment I Googled Hogenakkal Falls and became super anxious to drive all the way to Hogenakkal on the very next day. Our weekend trip plan normally takes place instantaneously on Fridays with any team mate suggesting a place and all others agreeing upon based on the convenience to travel.
The next day, we started sharp at 6:30am from Bangalore, took the way straight to Attibele and within 90 minutes we were out of the Bangalore city at the Tamil Nadu check post.
Hogenakkal falls is a waterfall on the Kaveri river located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. It lies at around 105 Km from the Karnataka border and 130 Km from Bangalore city. It is often called the Niagara falls of India. Within 150 Km from Bangalore this place is ideal for a short one day trip. Just like any other falls, the best time to visit Hogenakkal is in the month of August, immediately after the rainy season. However, one can visit Hogenakkal all year round.
The way to Hogenakkal is very serene and the entire trail is full of greenery which starts immediately after crossing the TVS Hosur plant.
“Dude, shall we stop somewhere for breakfast?” Asked my colleague Apratim.
It was 8:00 am and I was hungry too. We did not carry food from home planning to eat breakfast in some dhaba/restaurant on the way.
“Yes, let us stop in the next food joint wherever we find it. You guys keep an eye on the road side so that we don’t miss out the nearest restaurant.” I said.
But for the next 90 minutes, we did not find any good food joints. Rather we didn’t find any food joints at all. Ultimately we had to stop near a small shop selling local chips, tea and dosa. There was a long queue at the dosa counter and we had to purchase some biscuits to satisfy our hunger and also to save time.
Caution: Do not forget to carry light dry snacks while travelling as there are practically no food joints in the entire stretch from Bangalore to Hogenakkal.
The Ghat Section on the way to Hogenakkal
At a certain point, the trail passes through a ghat section, amid a jungle full of greenery. On the right, the river Kaveri flows alongside in its own rhythm. Except for a small stretch of approx 5 Km, the entire road is great to drive. But one should be careful while driving in the ghat section comprising of frequent curves of which some are blind curves. Moreover the road is not that broad.
Although the jungle was quite dense, we did not find any animals on our way except for some monkeys. It is heard that wild elephants crossing the road are a common sight on the way to Hogenakkal. There are certain places on the bank of river Kaveri, where you can dare to move out of your car for some quick photographs. But, Parking your car on the road side for a longer period is prohibited and the forest guards will ask you to keep on moving. These places are also viewpoints for different species of beautiful birds.
Recommendation: Start early around 5:00 am so that you get ample time to spend on the way to Hogenakkal. The trail is picturesque and stopping by the roadside and watching birds is real pleasure and fun. Worth mentioning, the trail is ideal for jungle photography.
We reached Hogenakkal around 11:00 am. Considering the number of restaurants selling dosa, idli and rice in that area, it can be easily estimated that a good number of tourist footfalls happen in Hogenakkal throughout the year, especially during the period from August to April. There was literally a chaos with restaurant boys shouting and calling tourists to eat in their restaurant.
“Shall we taste dosa? I heard here the dosa tastes awesome” – suggested Pavani. Pavani is from Andhra Pradesh and she herself prepares awesome food,specially a variety of dosas and chicken recipes. Dosa is anyway my favourite and we completed our breakfast eating dosa and a cup of hot tea. The food was hot, tasty and cheap. But the hygiene of the place was not that great. You have to compromise with some or something else when on a trip.
By the way, the moment you enter Hogenakkal, from a checkpost around 2 Km from the main spot, coracle steermen will start following you asking you to book a ride with them. They have understanding among themselves and finally at the parking lot you will find only one person asking you for a ride with him. These local people earn their livelihood by giving a coracle ride to the tourists.
The Coracle Ride
We moved towards the river bank where we had to purchase tickets. The ticket for 3 of us cost INR 1500. This cost includes an overall 30 minutes to 45 minutes coracle ride to a waterfall and back. However, there are some bigger waterfalls a distance away which the steerman will suggest you visit. He will charge extra ranging between INR 1100 to INR 1500 with overall coracle ride for approx 2.5 Hours. You need to negotiate with the steerman on the rate and finalize the amount if you want to visit the other waterfalls. I suggest you visit as the falls are stunning. For your safety, it is mandatory to put on life jackets before riding the coracle.
The coracle ride is pleasing and it will take you very close to the waterfall. You will reach so close that the water sprinkles will make you wet to a certain extent. Be careful with your camera if it is not waterproof.
After visiting the 1st waterfall we sailed towards the other locations. On the way, you will find local ladies selling hot fish fries of different varieties on the river bank. Although they charge a bit high per piece, it’s worth purchasing and enjoying the food while sailing. You will also find some coracle shops selling packaged chips, nuts, cold drinks and offering you to buy while on the ride.
Series of Waterfalls comparable to Niagara Falls
When we reached the destination, we were mesmerized to see a series of waterfalls located 500 meters in a stretch. This is the place which looks similar to Niagara falls. But to be frank, the falls although charming are not at all comparable to Niagara falls. The steerman will sail from one waterfall to another and try to take you as near to the falls as possible. You will get ample time to click photographs from different angles.
Caution: Stepping out of the coracle and taking a shower under the waterfalls is fun, but it is risky to do that. Be extremely careful if you wish to take a shower.
At the end of the trip, the coracle will drop you back near the place from where you had started.
Caution: Be careful with the monkeys at the dropping point. They tend to snatch things from your hand especially if you are holding anything edible. Be careful with your mobile phones too.
We became wet with the water snoozing from the bottom of the coracle (don’t worry, it will not sink) and the rain we encountered while sailing. The umbrella we were carrying saved us from the rain a bit.
Fish Market and Lunch Preparation
The dropping point is a fish market from where you can purchase raw fresh water fishes. The shop keepers tell you that the fishes were caught from the river, but being a foodie and from Kolkata, I know that the fishes although fresh, were either caught long ago or may not be from that river at all. However, it’s worth purchasing a kilogram of fish. The price varies between INR 200 to INR 250 per kilogram. The shop keepers will clean and cut the fish into the required number of pieces, which can be now given to some other ladies who will cook them for you in lieu of INR 500. Along with the fish, they will also provide you rice and rasam. All cooking materials/ massala are included in the cost.
Recommendation: Eating rice with rasam and fresh hot fish fry tastes awesome. But the dining area is not hygienic. I suggest you should carry your own plates and dine inside your car to get a better satisfaction on the food.
Post lunch, it was time to return. By that time it again started drizzling. We started sharp at 3:15 pm and reached Bangalore around 8:00pm.
How to reach Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore
Hogenakkal is an ideal place to visit with friends, family or may be solo. It is a small village and staying there is not a wise idea as there are hardly any places to visit apart from the waterfalls and the crocodile rehabilitation centre. Maybe this is the reason I did not explore the place to find accommodation facilities. The ideal transport to reach Hoganakkal is by car or hiring a cab. Heard that there is a direct bus from Bangalore to Hogenakkal, but on the way, we never crossed any bus. Trains are not available to reach Hogenakkal. However, after visiting and comparing some of the waterfalls near Bangalore, Hogenakkal Falls are the best waterfalls near Bangalore.
Handy Information prior to visit
- Car or a cab is the best way to travel to Hogenakkal Falls.
- The journey can be of anywhere between 4 Hours to 6 Hours depending on the halts you take. Total distance from Bangalore is 130 Km
- Carry breakfast as there are no eateries on the way
- The place is good but not very hygienic to eat lunch. You can purchase raw fish, fry it and eat with rice and rasam.
- Visiting all the waterfalls is recommended even though you need to spend some extra bucks.
- Not recommended to take shower under the waterfalls. It’s pretty dangerous.
- Overnight stay is not required nor recommended in Hogenakkal.
- Like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu government is very strict on drink & drive. Police will definitely stop you and check if you are drunk.
- It’s always recommended to keep a spare set of clothes, towel and footwear when visiting Hogenakkal Falls. There are high chances of getting wet on the coracle ride.
- The trail from the Karnataka border to Hogenakkal Falls is very scenic. Keep your camera handy for quick shots on the way.
- On the way back, try to start before 3:30 pm so that you can cross the ghat area before sunset. The ghat area is not having any civilization and traffic on the road is bare minimum.
Some frequently asked questions on Hogenakkal Falls
Q. Which month is the best to visit Hogenakkal Falls?
A. The best time to visit Hogenakkal Falls is immediately after the rainy season. August to February is the most ideal time to visit the falls.
Q. Is Hogenakkal Falls in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu?
A. Hogenakkal Falls is located in the Dharampuri district in Tamil Nadu. It is just 130 Km from Bangalore.
Q. What is special about Hogenakkal Falls?
A. Hogenakkal Falls consistes of a series of waterfalls spread across a wide area and is known as the Niagara Falls of India.
Q. How far is Hogenakkal from Bangalore?
A. Hogenakkal is approx. 130 KM from Bangalore. The route to Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore is extremely scenic with ghats and greenery all around.
Q. Can be bath in Hogenakkal Falls?
A. Yes we can, but it is very risky. It is advised not to adventure around the falls.