Hogenakkal which means “Smoky Rocks” is a small village in Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu, bordering the Indian state of Karnataka. It is famed for the famous Hogenakkal Waterfalls also widely known as the Niagara Falls Of India. The Hogenakkal Waterfall is formed when the River Kaveri plunges down a horseshoe formation of rocks. I haven’t been to Niagara yet but I bet this is a beauty in its own terms. What makes a trip to the Hogenakkal Falls more exciting is the Coracle ride, fresh fish fries, and the amazing country roads. This trip definitely tops the list of my favorite bike trips. Read on to know more about the journey and how to plan a bike trip to Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore all by yourself.
It’s another weekend and I’m back with another travelogue. This time, however, isn’t about a solo trip, but a trip to a magical land. The reasons why I say that is two-fold. Firstly, because of the enormous number of failed attempts for this trip. Secondly, because of how it turned out to be a breathtaking journey.
The Plan: From Cubicle To Coracle
I proposed the idea of driving down to Hogenakkal Waterfalls back in June’18 when the early monsoons triggered my monsoon travel plans. However, every weekend we (a group of 8) used to think of attempting it and we dropped it for some reason or the other. If it was the unavailability of a person one time, it was our own laziness on the other.
Fate! being the trick master it is, set this attempt for the trip up quite dramatically.
Firstly, I was all set to explore an unexplored fort towards the North of Bangalore, on the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway. I’ve prepared the itinerary and was all set to leave the early morning the next day. Just then, Manoj pinged me and said,
“Inju, let’s go on a bike trip to Hogenakkal Falls tomorrow”.
I was a little confused, but I quickly chucked my plan for that unexplored fort and said let’s do it since everyone in Bangalore and was up for it, a rare occasion considering the past few instances.
From The Empty Roads Of Bengaluru
At multiple instances in the past, at least once as far as I remember, we were all set to leave the next morning but slept through until 8 AM at which point the only exciting thing seemed to be the Peserattu Upma and Chicken Dum Biryani from Nizam. So, fearing that it might repeat again, I had set alarms at 15-minute intervals starting at 4:15 AM to 5:30 AM. 😛
And contrary to what you may have imagined having happened, we all woke up and freshened up with few guys going to the extent of bathing that early in the morning and by 5:30 Am we were all set.
This particular trip to Hogenakkal Falls kept dropping hints about how awesome the ride ahead was going to be. Firstly, I was really surprised to see empty Bangalore roads at 6 AM. Especially the HAL-Old Airport Road.
The Second clue that indicated an awesome trip was the first view of sunrise. I admit I haven’t witnessed sunrise or sunset for a very long time before that but boy the shades were amazing.
Into The Country Roads of Tamil Nadu
Initially, we’d thought of taking the highways only route to reach there quickly, but what fun is it to just observe barricades and the rear of trucks 😛 so we took the route through the Tamil Nadu countryside and you’ll see why that was a brilliant decision.
Soon the sun was out of the woods and shone brightly upon us. Or as a millennial would say, I was sun-kissed 😉
In my previous trips, whenever the sun was shining bright, I had witnessed dispersed and thin clouds but today it was different. Slowly the fate’s game revealed and once the sun was out completely, we were greeted with the clear blue sky and beautiful cloud formations. The bright blue sky reminding me of the rocking beats of Mr. Blue Sky.
Imagine listening to that song and riding on these wide-open, empty roads. With the wind as the only resistance to our speeding bikes, I loved every KM of the ride.
After covering about 70KM, we took the first break at Kundhukottai. The landscapes were so pretty, we couldn’t resist clicking pictures.
Zipping past the calm and serene villages while the sky kept churning out one puffy cloud after the other, we reached the last stop of our trip to Hogenakkal Falls, the Hogenakkal Village.
So Hogenakkal in Kannada means “Smoking Rock” and the main attraction of this place is the Hogenakkal falls. Of course, there are other dubious tourist spots which are just to fill up the tourism brochures but Hogenakkal Falls is the place you are here for. So in the map below, the encircled parking area is the main village which has a lot of places to eat and pay and use toilets for refreshing yourself. There are also a few small-time vendors who sell clothes, the utility of which I’ll talk about later.
So, the blue encircled area has NOTHING. You can walk all the way until the path ends, actually forcefully ended by police who block the way to reach, what is supposedly a hanging bridge.
At this point, we were clueless if this isn’t the way to reach the falls, then what is. Then the person who was following us from the parking lot opened up. He told us that the main falls were in the middle of the river and the only way to reach them was through a coracle.
But no, we didn’t listen. We went around asking people and every one of the seemingly said the same thing, “Coracle“.This is the only word we could make out as they were speaking in Tamil and we didn’t understand a word.
After a couple of futile attempts, we turned around to the person who was following us from the parking lot and asked him in a rather broken language. He said one boat, 4 people Rs.1200. We thought that was a ridiculously costly affair. However, with no alternative in sight, we had to agree and he took us to the shore to get into the Coracle.
Coracle Ride to Hogenakkal Falls
We parked our bikes near the R.V Lodge and walked all the way to the banks of the river.
It was a beautiful walk with coconut trees in the distance and the puffy white clouds in the background, it felt like we were transferred to a magical land. After about 10 mins of walking, we reached the banks of the River Kaveri.
A fun fact about this village is that river Kaveri here divides the two south Indian states, namely Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. So, on the right of the river in the map above is Tamil Nadu and on the left is Karnataka. And we were taking a coracle from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka and back. How cool is that 😉
The sailor readied the coracle and called us in. One last pic before we board the coracle.
Anchors up and we set sail into the mighty Kaveri river. So, usually, such rides come with a bit of a drama. Usually, when you go on a boat ride, the helmsman makes movements to roll the boat, in such coracle rides, for the lack of better control, they rotate these circles. So, to keep us entertained, the sailors made the two coracles run into each other, rotated the coracle vigorously. But I must appreciate their navigation skills. If you missed out observing that, we were actually on the upstream of the waterfalls. This means any wrong turn will result is us diving from a height of 250m into the “Smoky rocks”. Talk about adventures 😉
Shady Hike to the Hogenakkal Falls
Once you’re on the other side of the river i.e in Karnataka, a small but shady hike awaits you.
You’ll walk on a rocky path under such beautiful trees and sights like these.
So, to cut it short, one has to take a coracle ride to cross the river and hike for a little while to reach a concrete structure aka Hogenakkal Falls viewpoint.
From here, you can witness the majestic falls making a sound that almost makes one speechless(Although, even if you wish to talk, you need to shout at the top of your lungs).
and the falls look simply breathtaking 😀
Look at it yourself.
Never in my life, I have seen a more beautiful waterfall. The locals call it and they do that rightly so, it is the Niagara Falls of India.
Beautiful things are seldom easy to get, be it places, things or people!
Hogenakkal Falls reinforced this idea of mine.
So after clicking a lot of pics with changing the orientation of the camera like a madman to capture the best possible view of the falls, we returned back to Tamil Nadu.
We rode back to the village for our lunch. It was hot and humid at that time.
Whatever you choose to eat, don’t miss out on the fish fry they sell “literally everywhere”. If you’re a vegetarian then good luck finding something to eat. I don’t have any special recommendations.
A Relaxing Dip In The Kaveri
By the time we finished all this, the sun was shining really bright and we wanted to take a break at the riverside under the shade of a huge tree. Few of us wanted to get into the river to cool ourselves down. So we went to one of those small-time vendors I had mentioned above, to buy shorts.
Since this wasn’t planned, none of us brought shorts with us. After buying shorts, we drove back on the same road and when we found a perfect spot for cooling ourselves, we parked our bikes and got into the water.
I learned later that the locals called the river as a healing spa. Apparently, the flowing water here is said to have a lot of curative power. The reason being the river flows through a forest known for medicinal trees and healing herbs. Not sure about healing our diseases 😛 but it sure cured us of the tiredness and at the end of it we were all set for a long ride back to the city.
And Boy it was totally worth it.
After relaxing and cooling off the heat, we started the ride back. The journey was so great until we encountered the Bangalore traffic. It was a long ride of 250 KM which already took the life out of our bottoms :P. But the traffic made sure it sucked the life out of us, whatever was leftover.
With loads of memories of this beautiful trip, we rode back to the cubicles in the concrete jungle. Forever, waiting for that next adventurous ride.
I hope you had fun reading this. If you can take some time out to witness this beauty, make sure you visit during the monsoons. This fall is at its peak during monsoons.
If you want to plan this trip on your own, below FAQs might come handy. Check them out.
Click here to skip to the end if you’re not interested.
FAQs To Plan A Trip To Hogenakkal Falls
Where is Hogenakkal?
Hogenakkal is a small village in the Dharmapuri District of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The village is home to the beautiful Hogenakkal Falls, which is fondly called The Niagara Falls Of India.
How far is Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore?
Below is the distance of Hogenakkal Falls from various points of interest in Bangalore:
- Bangalore To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 127 KM
- Electronic City to Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 112 KM
- Bellandur To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 121 KM
- Marathahalli To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 123 KM
How Far Is Hogenakkal Falls From Major Cities?
- Coimbatore To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 218 KM
- Pondicherry To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 274 KM
- Mysore To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 181 KM
- Salem To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 88 KM
- Vellore To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 209 KM
- Yercaud To Hogenakkal Falls Distance: 114 KM
How To Reach Hogenakkal Falls?
Reaching Hogenakkal Falls by Bike or Car:
The best more of transport for a trip to Hogenakkal Falls is a bike. The beautiful roads and the landscapes can be fully enjoyed from the panoramic view of a helmet visor. Although you can save yourself the trouble of hot and humid climate with the comfort of a car.
How to Reach Hogenakkal Falls by Bike/Car From Bangalore or Electronic City:
- Hit the Hosur Road -> Take a diversion towards Nanjapuram at Attibele -> Take a diversion towards Denkanikottai at Hosur RTO Office -> Continue on Anchetty Road (The road through the forest) -> Take a diversion towards Hogenakkal at SIVALINGAPURAM BUS STOP -> Continue riding through the forest until you reach Hogenakkal. Route Map Link here.
How to Reach Hogenakkal Falls by Bike/Car From Bellandur:
- Hit the Outer Ring Road -> Take a diversion towards Sarjapur Road at Iblur -> Continue on Sarjapur Road until Sarjapur -> Take a diversion towards Attibele at Sarjapur -> Take a diversion towards Nanjapuram at Attibele -> Take a diversion towards Denkanikottai at Hosur RTO Office -> Continue on Anchetty Road (The road through the forest) -> Take a diversion towards Hogenakkal at SIVALINGAPURAM BUS STOP -> Continue riding through the forest until you reach Hogenakkal. Route Map Link here.
How to Reach Hogenakkal Falls by Bike/Car From Marathahalli or Whitefield:
- Hit the HAL Old Airport Road -> Take A Diversion towards Varthur Road at Jaguar Land Rover | Whitefield -> Continue On the road towards Dommasandra -> Take A Diversion towards Sarjapur at Dommasandra -> Take a diversion towards Attibele at Sarjapur -> Take a diversion towards Nanjapuram at Attibele -> Take a diversion towards Denkanikottai at Hosur RTO Office -> Continue on Anchetty Road (The road through the forest) -> Take a diversion towards Hogenakkal at SIVALINGAPURAM BUS STOP -> Continue riding through the forest until you reach Hogenakkal. Route Map Link here.
How To Reach Hogenakkal Falls From Bangalore By Bus:
- The nearest town to Hogenakkal is Dharmapuri. You can board a bus from Majestic or Shantinagar to Dharmapuri or alternatively Salem bus and get down at Dharmapuri. From Dharmapuri, there are direct buses to Hogenakkal. You can find the timings here
- Be aware that these are local buses and expect them to be crowded. A lot of the villagers go to the nearest town for trade activities. So, don’t expect a luxurious trip to Hogenakkal Falls if you’re going by bus.
How To Reach Hogenakkal Falls From Bangalore By Train:
- Hogenakkal Village doesn’t have a railway station. The nearest Railway Station to Hogenakkal is Dharmapuri Junction. Dharmapuri Junction is well connected by the rail route from Bangalore.
- There are multiple trains available from Bangalore City Junction, Yeshwantpur & Kengeri and takes about 2.5-3 Hrs to reach Dharmapuri from Bangalore. You can check the timings and book tickets here.
Getting Around Hogenakkal Falls?
- One of the constraints at Hogenakkal is getting around. We had bikes so we had the luxury of going back and forth to the village.
- If the main entrance to the Hogenakkal Falls is open, then you don’t need to go anywhere else. But if it closed, then you will have to hire an autorickshaw to reach the coracle point.
- Negotiate if you can, with the coracle ride person to include the rickshaw fare as well.
What Are The Timings For Hogenakkal Falls Entry?
- Hogenakkal Falls timings are: 8 AM-5:30 PM
Is Hogenakkal Falls Safe for Family or Solo or Couple?
- The falls themselves are safe as there is a well build a structure for viewing it from the distance.
- The Coracle Ride, although adventurous is risky. I won’t call it unsafe but the coracles move solely based on water movement & navigation of the sailor.
- The ride or drive to Hogenakkal Falls passes through a number of villages & dense isolated forests. So it is recommended to avoid driving or riding at night.
Can You Play or Swim or Bathe in Hogenakkal Falls?
- One word answer, NO. You cannot get into the water near or under the Falls. In fact, swimming or bathing near the Hogenakkal waterfall is prohibited.
- The climate of Hogenakkal is Humid and will make you want to jump into the water. In such cases, there are designated areas with barricades inside the Hogenakkal Falls Complex. You can get into the water at those designated locations, however, these are usually crowded.
- If you want an isolated place, quite far from Hogenakkal Village, you can find a lot of safe places where you can take a dip in the river. The banks are shallow as well. But ensure you’re not going deep into the water.
Which River Is Hogenakkal Falls Formed By?
- Hogenakkal Falls is formed when the Kaveri river cuts through rocks and plunges down in a horseshoe shape.
What is the Height of Hogenakkal Falls?
- The height of the Hogenakkal Falls varies from 15 ft – 65 ft as the river plunges down from multiple rock cuts.
What’s the specialty of the Hogenakkal Falls?
- There are multiple things that Hogenakkal is famous/special for
- The Coracle Rides
- Plunge waterfalls spread over in a Horseshoe formation
- Oil Massage
- Freshwater Fish Fry
What Is The Best Time To Visit Hogenakkal Falls?
- Although this ride was in September, I believe the time right after Monsoon, October to December is the best time to visit Hogenakkal Falls. The climate is pleasant even though it gets humid on a sunny day.
- From January to March, the climate can get hot and humid. But it isn’t as bad as summer. During these times, the coracles are allowed to go further under the waterfalls. Which won’t happen during the monsoons until September.
- April to June, the temperatures soar through the roof. So it is best to avoid visiting during peak summer unless you want to take the risk of sunburns 😛
Places To Eat During Hogenakkal Falls Trip From Bangalore?
- We stopped at Attibele for Breakfast.
- There are a lot of canteens serving delicious Tamil food right outside the entrance.
Places To Visit Near Hogenakkal Falls:
A Trip to Hogenakkal Falls takes up almost one full day if you’re traveling from Bangalore. So, if you’re looking for more places to visit near Hogenakkal falls, add one more day. Below are the places you can cover with another additional day.
- Yercaud: This beautiful hill station in Tamil Nadu is only 114 KM from Hogenakkal. After visiting the Hogenakkal Falls, post-lunch you can start the journey to Yercaud. Spend the night at Yercaud and explore the quaint town. Accommodation is easy to find in Yercaud.
- Krishnagiri Dam: A beautiful dam with an attached park. This doesn’t fall on the route to Hogenakkal Falls but you can take a slight detour if you’re coming from Yercaud.
- Chunchi Falls & Sangama: Chunchi Falls & Sangama are in Karnataka. Chunchi Falls is another beautiful cascading waterfall formed on the Arkavati River. Sangama is upstream of Hogenakkal and is the confluence of the Arkavati River and Kaveri. For exploring Chunchi Falls and Sangama from Hogenakkal, you have to stay back at Hogenakkal for the night and start your journey the next morning.
Things To Do Near Hogenakkal Falls
- Coracle Ride: The Coracle rides are the fun and must-do activities at Hogenakkal Falls. In fact, you have to take a coracle ride for seeing the waterfalls.
- Fresh Water Fish Fry: The fish fry is the must-try dish at Hogenakkal. It’s ubiquitous in Hogenakkal and you will see stalls across the streets.
- Crocodile Rehabilitation Centre: There’s a crocodile rehabilitation center before the Hogenakkal Parking area. Alongside there are designated areas for other water animals as well.
- Massage: The fish oil massage is another famous thing at Hogenakkal. We haven’t tried it but it costs upwards of INR 100.
What Is The Cost of Trip To Hogenakkal Falls?
- Hogenakkal Falls Entry Fee: The price of visiting Hogenakkal Falls is regulated by the tourism board. It is about INR 300 per person for a 5-person coracle.
- Transport Cost: Fuel costs about INR 650 per bike. So that’ll be about INR 325.
- Meals as you like.
- So, a day trip to Hogenakkal will set you back by INR 1000 (Approx.) but it is totally worth it.
Overnight Stay or Accommodation at Hogenakkal Falls
- Hogenakkal is a major tourist destination of Tamil Nadu Tourism. So, there are a lot of lodges and Rest Houses for an overnight stay.
- I can’t testify how good all of them are, but you can check on google/online for options and choose the rooms that suit your needs.
I hope this travel guide for a trip to Hogenakkal Falls from Bangalore helped you plan your trip. If you have finalized your plans based on this guide, give me a shout out in the comments :D.
That’s all for today folks. Have a fun ride ahead.
In case we haven’t met, I am Inju, a resident of the small planet called trailsofinju.com in the internet universe.
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