Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hogenekkal- The Niagara of India

The recent trailer of 'Ravan' reminded me of our trip to Hogenekkal waterfalls, where the river Cauvery comes down in a gorge in a beautiful array of waterfalls. These waterfalls always find their way into movies from Roja songs to Abishek's dive into the water in Ravan, due to their exotic location. They can be found in the middle of a forest where the sandalwood theif Verappan used to be holed. The hills surrounding this gorge create a scenic location very exciting and adventurous.

NH4 Highway

Its a beautiful place for a picnic on a weekend if you are in Banglore. A haven for lovers and an adventure for the tourists. There are two ways we can reach these falls one is fron a village near Mysore and the other is from a village in Tamilnadu as it is comparitively near to Banglore.

We started off early in the morning at around 6 for a one day trip. Hogenekkal is around 180 k.m drive from Banglore on the NH4 highway.It was durin the Sankranti festive occasion that we took the trip, so we had the pleasure of seeing how the locals celebrated this festival. The villages were decorated and every village we passed through seemed to have a local fair selling lots of sugarcanes, bamboos, earthen ware, bangles, and lots of other household items. It was fun to watch these locals indulged in festivities and pujas being performed.

Idols you would find in the villages on the way

Beyond these lushous green, bountyful villages lie the forests of Hogennekkal on the border of Karnataka-Tamilnadu. The terrain is hilly with deep valleys and dense forests rich with wildlife though u may not encounter any on the road as animals usually avoid noisy areas. But some tourists report seeing elephants at a distance. A toll fee is collected for entering these forests. One thing is we have to pay a lot of bribe to reach this place. They charge a min. of rs. 10/- just to pass through. Though I don't think these many toll gate are by the govt. we had to stop before entering the forests and before entering the village near the falls.

Once we enter the village we immediately find ourselves in the center of the village there we find the Tamilnadu tourist development hotel which is the biggest and only decent building here, but I suggest you not to go there. It does not have minimum amenities and the food there is disgusting, service horrible. The restaurent is a single room with 2 or 3 tables and can serve about 10 people at a time. If you are a vegetarian then it would be wise to bring your own food and snacks. But if you are not and you love fish then step out of your car 'cause you are in paradise.

Yummy... yummy... fish.

This place offers a wide variety of fresh water fish. Stalls line up serving fish and parathas. These fish maranated in ginger, garlic, chilli and salt is served deep fried and on freashly cut banana leaves. They are absolutely amazing and melt in your mouth and I can assure you you couldn't stop at one. But hold on... its not lunch time yet. I would recommend you do not eat yet. If you are soo tempted and your mouth's watering just by looking at them them I suggest you order a take away, You could snack a little later I know the right place. Trust me... you wouldn't want to eat yet. There are also other stalls selling everything from towels, tee shirts, shorts, shampoos, soaps etc. If you are planning to have a swim you better pack these thing 'cause they cheat with the prices. A swim in river Cavery is rejuvenating. It is said that these waters have medicinal properties. The Forests here are full of medicinal herbs which enrich these waters. A massage is also recommended and you could find professional massagers here.

The calm waters before the falls are the best place to take a swim

The next phase of the journey is to bargain with the boat men. They would just surround you as soon as you get out of the car and charge you around rs.1000/- but if you good at bargaining and it's just the four of you, like us, you could get himdown to rs.400/-. You could ask the govt. official but he is of no help. So roll up your sleeves and start bargaining.

Then he would take you to his coracle ( which is a round boat made of bamboo and could carry 8 people at a time.) which is called 'teppalu' in telugu. He would take you out and drop you off on the other bank The ride is short then we got off on the other bank thinking we must have over paid but the ride is not over yet... The tour has just started...
We went in an un season so we could not see the full flow of the falls at the gorge, but the advantage of going in an unseason is that we could go right down these falls without getting tripped over.
The falls of Hogenekkal

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