6th of July, 2016: It was a Wednesday and my cousin Sri Chand from Bangalore took leave for some reason and we thought of visiting Hogenakkal falls (As suggested by him. I had no idea of the place). A quick check on Google maps showed the place to be around 170 km from Mysuru and we decided to meet there, have fun and then ride to Bangalore the same evening.
I started off from Mysuru around 7 AM and rode through some scenic routes again towards my destination for the day.The roads were welcoming for most part of the journey and being July, I found a few ponds of water here and there on the way. After riding for some time, i reached Maale Mahadeshwarabetta temple and took a good break there at the temple. The temple is located on the MM Hills, which were flush with greenery and it was a refreshing ride 🙂 .
Then I started off from the temple towards Palar, where according to Google maps I had to take left towards Hogenakkal falls. After taking left at Palar, the road wasn’t that good but the scenery started getting better as the Kaveri river flows parallel to the road at some distance all the way till Hogenakkal falls. After riding some distance I had to take a ticket to ride further as it was an eco-tourism area and I was excited as I rode along the empty road, which at times felt only like a narrow walking path. There were a few villages along the way and at one point I saw a few men dressed in camouflage walking with weapons. I thought they were from the armed forces and rode ahead.
Finally I reached the spot – Hogenakkal falls as shown by Google maps and called my cousin who said that he was about to reach there in 10 minutes and told that he was walking towards the falls through the market. “Wait. What market?”, thought I and then walked around searching the falls or the market and found neither. Then I zoomed in and looked at the map again, which made me realize that the falls were actually on the other side of the Kaveri river! I couldn’t stop laughing! What a silly moment it was! I then asked the locals if there was a ferry to the other side of the river. Yes, there were bamboo ferries but to reach them I had to walk down to the edge of the river which meant I can not take my bike with me. Had I not planned to ride ahead to Bangalore the same evening, I would’ve left my bike on this side, took the ferry to the other side and returned. But then I had no choice but to ride to the other side of the river by road. I cursed Google maps for whatever happened and loaded the map to the actual location of the falls, which it showed when I typed “Hogenakkal waterfalls” (earlier I had typed “Hogenakkal falls”).
I then had to ride exactly 100 km to reach the falls and meet my cousin! I called him and told that I’ll meet him in two hours and we laughed :D. I started riding crazy fast to the other side of the river, but Google maps wasn’t done with me yet! This was the route I was supposed to take to reach the falls:
It says 80 km here because the start point shown here is not exactly where I had to start from. I was at the red marker, but just on the Karnataka side of the river! So I actually had to ride 100 km just to reach the other side of the river, which was about 100-200 metres away 😛 . I crossed over into Tamil Nadu near Palar and Google took me through some very narrow but super roads through villages and lots of greenery and farms. After riding through some distance, I came on to a very rocks and muddy road which seemed to be leading towards a lake from a distance… I was hesitant at first, but there were a few vehicles coming in the opposite direction and I went ahead. After riding a bit further, I realiZed there was a stream that had to be crossed! :O . I looked at the map again and zoomed in only to find that the route includes a ferry! I was shocked for a while, but then I went closer to the stream and found a person waiting there on his bike. I asked him how to reach Hogenakkal from there and he pointed to a ferry that was about to start from the other edge of the stream. I breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the ferry and stood there clicking pics and waiting for the ferry. It was the Kaveri reservoir and luckily, the flow of the stream wasn’t too high at that time.
But then I stopped cursing Google and was actually happy for the exciting route it suggested (I would never have used Google maps again, had I not found a ferry there at that time!). Just then another person joined us waiting for the ferry and started a conversation with me. He had lived in Hyderabad for a few years and told that most of the hot chips centres in Hyderabad belong to people from that region of Tamil Nadu.
It was then time for a special journey for my Mojo – crossing a river on a ferry. The ferry operator helped me in getting my bike on to it as it was a heavier one (more than double the weight of most smaller bikes). It was a short ferry ride to the other side of the stream – about 10 minutes and they helped me get my bike on to ground on the other edge. I then again rode crazy fast towards Hogenakkal through Neruppur and Pennagaram and reached there around 1-30 PM and finally met my cousin. I also realized how the Kaveri river separated the two stated of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu :D.
Here is a video of my ride from Mysuru to Hogenakkal falls, including the ferry ride :).
Hogenakkal is famous for the full-body massages given by the locals, which my cousin had taken till the time I reached there. I was super hungry and tired by then but never too tired to play in water! So we went right ahead and get under the fall. It was a healthy and heavy stream of water flowing down the rocks but barricades were arranged for people to hold on to and have fun under the waterfalls. Before getting into the water, I had to insert a battery into my camera, due to which I had to put the cool drink bottle aside. The moment I put it down, a monkey came a grabbed the bottle right away and gave me a ‘you think you can pull it back from me?’ look and went away with it.
These photos were all at a smaller fall, few metres before the main fall. At the main fall, water falls into a deep gorge, which can be reached but is not protected and not recommended at all. My cousin did find a person sitting and fishing like a pro down there. The main falls can be viewed from a suspension bridge.
Hogenakkal falls are also called the Niagara of India (Imagine water falling into the gorge from all sides, which does happen when the flow is stronger). Above the falls is a small lake, more like a pool, from which water falls into the gorge. The (natural) pool is very beautiful, surrounded by trees on all sides and even covered by trees above and water keeps flowing into and out of it. We had fun jumping around in the pool and swimming along with a few other guys. There was also bamboo-boating facility in the pool of water, but beware of monkeys which are always on the lookout for food and other stuff they could use! There is a cloak room and many shops there, who would take care of your luggage if you had lunch there or paid a small amount of money for it.
After having fun at the falls and the pool, it was time for lunch and we tried the local fried fish with some meals. Around 5 PM we started riding towards Bangalore. The road from Hogenakkal falls to Bangalore was very good and we rode through many fields of flowers and fruits and finally reached Bangalore around 8 PM. It had become dark by the time we entered the city and it also rained quite heavily, which left us drenched by the time we reached our other cousins’ place, where we planned to stay for the night.
All in all, it was a thrilling day with many unforgettable experiences. Never miss a chance to visit Hogenakkal falls and if you need company, do get in touch with me and I will try to join if possible.