Location: Hogennakal is located in Tamil Nadu and there has been a conflict between Karnataka and TN as to who actually has control over that place. However, the fact is that it is perceived as a part of TN and some falls are called the 'Karnataka Falls'. It is between 140-180 kms from Bangalore depending on the route you take!!!
Route: Head off from Bangalore towards Hosur (obviously on Hosur Road thro Electronics City et al). From here, you have three options - Go through Krishnagiri and reach Dharmapuri. From there, there is a good road through Pennagaram to Hogennakal (180+ kms from Bangalore). Alternatively, after Krishnagiri, at Kaveripattinam, take the deviation towards Palacode and follow the signboards to intersect the first route at about 10 kms before Pennagarm and reach Hogennakal (160 kms). The shortest route is to go on the Hosur - Dharmapuri road bypassing Krishnagiri and take the diversion at Palacode where you intersect the second route (around 140 kms)!!! Should take you between 4 and 5 hours to get there. Am I making any sense????
My two-penny worth: This was a trip that was being contemplated for quite a long time!! A very very long time by our standards!! More than 2 months!! The trip got postponed n-hajaar times thanx to other treks, Bhattaz home visit, Moch ditching us for Honnemaradu and once because I had to treat my friends!!! So, two weeks before October 8, we (thats Murali, Bhatta, Moch and myself) decided that Oct 8 it is and NO One would dare cancel it!!!!
What do I say about life!! Nothing goes as planned ... Neither did the trip. Moch and Bhatta got the trip postponed to Sunday (I hated Sunday excursions even then!!) and the heavens opened on Saturday and 'meows' and 'bow bows' were all over the city. I returned home after listening to A R Rahaman enthrall a small audience at Palace Grounds totally drenched only to get to know that Moch had been denied trip perm by his mom! What a ****!!!! ;)
How I woke up on time the next day, I shall never know. But, for once, I decided to go pillion and it was on the Enfield that I travelled that day. Murali, Bhatta and myself were joined by Sukruth, the formers' Alike friend and colleauge, and two of Mochz colleauges - Raj and Ameya. Six of us set off on three bikes - Destination Hogennakal.
I don't think I can describe the experience of zooming down Hosur road in all its four-laned glory. Such dreams don't last very long - but 90 kms till Krishnagiri was good enough for us!! After some confusion, we took the Palacode - Pennagaram road and reached Hogennakal by around 1230 hrs - a journey of around 4 hrs covering about 160 kms.
Lunch was in a non-descript hotel which proclaimed to have 'Classy' veg and non-veg food!! The guys definitely enjoyed their fish. Veggies like me had to be content with 'batani sambaar'!! We broke a deal with the coracle oarsmen and had the coracles for ourselves for the entire day from then on for a sum of Rs. 450 /-. (we should've bargained better!)
It is an industry there - works like a well-oiled machine. The coracle riders take you to the guy collecting Rs.10/- as entry charge per person (goes to the government apparantly) and heads straight towards a mid-river shopping mall!!! A floating shop selling odds and ends - the guy sits there making good business the entire day!!! Cool drinks, water, condiments, soap, shampoo, oil ......... you name it - you got it!!! Impressed as I was, I was lured into opting for an oil massage and Murali and Ameya volunteered to be scrapegoats too! ;)
We headed out to an island and the massaging began! Ameya opted out to watch me and Murali get battered and trust me - he made a wise choice!!! I was paying to get beaten up by this guy and man!!! It hurt big-time!!! Ouch!! Aaaaaaaagh!! Ouch!!!! I screamed out so loud that I hadnt ever before!!! I warned Murali to be careful of his back lest this guy breaks it in the name of massage!!!! The few minutes that I waited for the oil to soak in was disastrous as the oil entered my eye and did that burn!!! No amount of water removed that oil from my eye and I was wild!! This was L, BIG TIME L written all over it!!!!!
Finally, with the help of sheekakai powder and the masseaur's finesse (;)) I managed to get myself rid of the oil and got around to enjoying the cool water flowing with the warm sun smiling on me. It was great!!! Half an hour or so later, we decided it was time to see the main falls.
Off we went on foot, with the coaracle carried on Sahadevan's shoulder and we were soon at the falls they referred to as the 'Karnataka Falls'. As we were taken to the top of the falls, we couldnt see what was in the offing till we actually stood at the cliff. And what we saw was just breathtaking!!! This truly was the Niagara of India with one catch - Muddy water!!! My visual senses would've appreciated the cataract a lot better had the water roaring down been pure white ..................
The team - Murali, Bhatta, Raj, Sukruth, myself and Ameya
Date - October 9, 2k5
A photographic session later, we set off towards the main falls - Cine falls as it is called where the popular number 'Rukku mani Rukku mani' of 'Roja' fame was shot. Enroute, Sahadevan was paid enough to rotate the coracle at good speeds so that some excitement was in the offing. Also, the calm waters transformed into rapids and I got a hint of what rafting would be all about!! ;)
At cine falls, you are in a different world altogether!!! Here, you see white everywhere!! A whole series of falls spread over a large distance with water from the nearest one rising up in droplets to meet your expectant face!!! :) The sound of the roaring water is pure poetry. Amazing!!!
My only regret was the the place was highly commercialized -- everything!! And the crowd was comparable to Brigade road on a weekend!! It doesnt give you the satisfaction of an outing :(.
Nevertheless, we savoured the moment by the falls and with a heavy heart, headed back to Bangalore by around 6:30. The plan was to reach Hosur by 9 for dinner and get back home by 10 pm. That never worked out as planned either. An unfortunate accident to Ameya saw me in SBS hospital (Hosur) till midnight and I was screaming though an open window at home to wake up my parents at 2 am the next day.
Ameya had to undergo surgery for a dislocation a few days later. He suffered a fracture and a ligament tear, all near the ankle. Raj, sitting behind him, was amazingly (and thankfully) unhurt. This is wishing Ameya a speedy recovery with hopes of him joining us on trips asap!! Get well soon buddy!! The world is waiting :)