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Fun At The 'smoking Rocks' - A Hogenakkal Travelogue

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Debapriya Deb, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    It has been almost one and another half months since our last outstation trip. It's perhaps the longest absenteeism from travelling in my entire lifespan of 33 years. The lull has to end soon - I said to myself and began to search for a probable destination.

    Since I had exhausted all my quarterly leaves already, I could not afford the luxury of planning a long distance trip. Also, I was finding it tough to manage my finances after an unforeseen recent medical exigency in my family. So cost was another factor that I had to contemplate seriously.

    It's no secret that the accommodation cost constitutes a significant percentage of total expenses incurred on any outstation trip - which I badly wanted to avoid during this trip. For me, the ideal trip could have been a 1-day trip - from dawn to dusk. But the problem was to find a suitable gateway.

    Being an avid traveller, I have visited almost all the places of interest in and around Bangalore. Nandi Hills, Muthati, Bheemeshwari, Sangama, Mekedatu, Omkar Hills, Shivanasamudra water falls, Somnathpur - we have been to all these places. I extended the scope of travel beyond Karnataka to areas adjoining Tamil Nadu border, but yet it didn't yield much of a success.

    Yellagiri, Yercaud, Krishnagiri, Hogenakkal - oh, wait a minute! Hogenakkal! Eureka! Finally, I found out a place which could have been visited. Although I have been to Hogenakkal a few years ago, that was with my room-mates. Neither my wife, nor my parents have visited this place before. So yes, the water-scape of Hogenakkal was decided as our upcoming trip destination.

    Hogenakkal is at its glorious best during the monsoon season. Although we were not visiting the place during full monsoon days, August-September is still a very good time to have fun at Hogenakkal. Here's a photograph taken from Hogenakkal's Wikipedia page that shows the majestic Hogenakkal Waterfalls during the monsoon period.

    After returning home from the office in the evening, I announced - "We are going for a trip tomorrow. It will be a day trip, so, we will be starting early in the morning and return home at night". My daughter was ecstatic while wifey and mom were visibly surprised.

    'By the way, where are we going to?' - curiosity was dripping off from my better half's voice. But I was in no mood to reveal the destination immediately. So I pretended to ignore her question and whispered 'Dil hai chhota sa, chhoti si aasha' - the famous track from the Bollywood movie 'Roja'. That song was in-fact a hint, as it was pictured on the backdrop of Hogenakkal falls, but I had complete trust on my wife's IQ, so I was certain that she won't even think in that direction.

    While having dinner, I was once again bombarded with the same question - 'Where are we heading to?' This time, my mom and daughter too joined wife's bandwagon.

    After a brief pause, I said, 'I have already answered your question. Anyway, I believe, all of you must have watched the movie 'Roja', right?'

    I continued - 'We are going to the place where the famous song 'Dil hai chhota sa' was shot - Hogenakkal falls.'

    'Oh my God! That's a lovely place indeed', wifey could readily visualize the scene, 'How far is it from Bangalore?'

    'Not much, just around 180 KM. It should not take more than 3 hours.'

    The next morning, we got up early in the morning at 4:15 AM. After packing the necessary stuff like an extra set of clothes, first-aid kit, snacks, etc., we started our journey at 5:15 AM. I had tanked up my Blazing Red Maruti Alto 800 the previous night, so we headed straight towards Hosur. The weather was mild and breezy, so AC was switched off. In fact, we did not use the AC at all till we reached Dharmapuri around 7:30 AM.

    The road was deserted and as always, it was a pleasure to drive on the beautiful NH-7. I could easily drive at a steady speed of 100-110 KMPH, and hence we were making rapid progress. We crossed Hosur and continued to drive non-stop till Krishnagiri. The plan was to have a quick breakfast at Krishnagiri and then drive non-stop till Hogenakkal.

    We had our breakfast in Hotel Saravana Bhavan Classic at Krishnagiri as the first ray of sunlight descended on earth. The clock had just gone past 6:30 mark. After satisfying our appetite for delicious masala dosa and hot tea, we left the Golden Quadrilateral stretch and continued further towards Dharmapuri along NH-7. The width of the road became narrower, but it was in excellent condition with not much traffic. So maintaining a speed of 80-90 KMPH was not difficult.

    We reached Dharmapuri at around 7:35 AM. Hogenakkal was another 48 KM away. As I was not aware of the driving direction to Hogenakkal from Dharmapuri, we decided to check with a pedestrian. We had to take a right turn and thankfully enough, the diversion is well marked with a green signboard that read 'Hogenakkal - 47 KM'.

    This stretch of road from Dharmapuri to Hogenakkal via Pennagaram is a tab narrower, though well tarmacked. It took us a little over 40 minutes to settle the 47 KM distance through the forest road and ghat section. The road passes through a reserve forest area, and the forest department collects a toll of INR 50 per vehicle. Finally, we arrived at our destination at 8:25 AM. I had to pay a parking fee of INR 25 - that too for parking the vehicle on the road. I was provided with a payment receipt though.

    It's a spectacular sight to witness the Cauvery river dancing down and dashing against the rocks, giving rise to a continuous roar. After flowing along a plain terrain, the mighty river suddenly drops off from an overhanging cliff onto a bed of granite boulders, creating a series of continuous waterfalls. The spectacle at Hogenakkal is spread over an area of 1 KM. There are a number of waterfalls throughout the area, with their heights ranging between 50 to 150 feet.

    There is no land access to reach the main falls, however, there is a smaller waterfalls near the hanging bridge which can be reached on foot. The falls created a pool of water where you are allowed to take a dip.

    One has to take a ride on coracle for reaching the island and the main waterfalls. There is no way for you to reach the waterfalls unless you rent these circular vessels. A coracle is a circular-shaped basket boat made of bamboo. The bottom of the vessel is tarred which makes it waterproof.

    There were lots of boatmen, and the tourists could be seen bargaining hard with them. Tourists haggling with boatmen is a normal sight here. As my ability to bargain is pathetic (to put it mildly), wifey got in to the act of negotiation. Finally, a deal was struck at the rate of INR 150 per person for a 2 hours ride to the main falls and island.

    We were fully aware of the fun that awaited us. All of us had previous experience of coracle riding from our trip to Shivanasamudra and Sangama. So before embarking on the coracle ride, we deposited our mobiles, Keys and wallets in to a plastic carry bag to prevent them from the sprays of water.

    The ride turned out to be much more than what we had expected. The boatman took us right beneath the cliff from which water was gushing down and made sure to get us completely drenched. What an amazing experience it was!

    At the end of the boat ride which lasted for around 45 minutes, we landed on the island. The shore was fully covered with wheatish sand, giving it a beach like feel. Lots of tourists were playing around on the beach. Meanwhile the heat was becoming increasingly unbearable. So without wasting any further time, we plunged in to the river. Especially my little daughter enjoyed playing in the water a lot. The hour-long stint in the river had a rejuvenating effect.

    Hunger made its presence felt as soon as we came out of the water. So we went to a river-side shack where the vendor was selling fish fry. A Bengali's love for fish is no secret. It was impossible for us to resist the temptation of feasting on the freshly caught fishes. Wifey was a little apprehensive due to hygienic concerns, but she too gave in to the irresistible desire. To combat the extreme heat, we also had juice and ice creams. We could see many travellers taking the famed oil massage at the island, but we refrained from trying it out.

    Finally, it was time to bid adieu to Hogenakkal. But before leaving, my daughter wanted to have another round of water splash. I requested the boatman to take us near the falls again. He agreed for an additional sum of INR 200. So after getting sprinkled by the sprays of water again, we arrived at the makeshift jetty to end our boat ride.

    When we came back to the parking lot, I looked at my watch. It was about to strike 2:30 PM. Wifey had brought some packed food from Bangalore. We had a brief stop-over by the side of the forest area to have lunch. From then on, it was a non-stop journey to Bangalore. Although the heavy traffic, mostly those huge slow-moving trucks, slowed us down a bit in the Krishnagiri-Hosur stretch, we managed to complete the 180 KM trip in 3.5 hours. 374 KM was the total distance covered on this trip (Bangalore-Hogenakkal-Bangalore) and the vehicle returned a mileage of around 19.25 KMPL with 60% AC usage.

    Finally, here's the trip log -

    Origin - Bangalore
    Destination - Hogenakkal
    Distance - 180 KM (One Way)
    Onwards Journey Duration - 3 Hours 10 Minutes (including a 20 minutes halt for breakfast)
    Return Journey Duration - 3 Hours 30 Minutes (including a 15 minutes lunch break)
    Vehicle - Maruti Alto 800
    Average Mileage (approx) - 19.25 KMPL
    Travellers - Mom, Dad, Wife, Daughter and their driver (Yours Truly)

  2. sillyllucy

    sillyllucy Member

    Great photos of the smoking rocks Deb! They are very beautiful! I wish I could visit and snap some great pictures like this. Were these also taken with your point and shoot camera?
  3. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Thanks @sillyllucy. Except for the first picture, the rest are taken with Kodak EasyShare C813 Point-&-Shoot camera. First one is from Wikipedia - where Hogenakkal was captured in its full glory during the monsoon season.

  4. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    Sometimes it's lovely to just get away - I hear you about sometimes not having the leave from work to be able to take a big trip! Even weekend getaways to somewhere nearby help to recharge the batteries, and it's nice appreciating lovely sights that are nearby. These smoking rocks look really interesting - I'm always captivated by interesting formations. It makes me think just how incredible nature is!
  5. HIraeth

    HIraeth Member

    You travel at the frequency of once every one and a half months? That's incredible! I can only imagine the number of places you've seen and been to. It's good to know that you've explored the areas around a specific location (Bangalore) so thoroughly. Most often people (not excluding myself) tend to look at destinations on the opposite end of the country, if not outside it altogether, and miss out on discovering the beauty that nearby places offer.

    The pictures are splendid. Almost looks like the Niagara on a small scale! There must be a 100 waterfalls snaking in through the rocky plateau. Kudos to you for giving such a detailed and informative account of your trip :)
  6. Sheba

    Sheba New Member

    That is a fantastic day trip. I think day trips to different parts of India would be exciting. I love your destination and all the great photos you have shared. This is fantastic and I was always wondering about the water falls and how people got to see them by boat. Now I know where they are at and can plan for a trip to see them.
  7. Tamboa

    Tamboa New Member

    I really like your travelogues - very funny and descriptive! I had to see what "smoking rocks" was all about - it must be that the water sprays up and looks like smoke? This place looks like a great trip for a hot day.

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