Thursday, February 26, 2009

It is India's answer to Niagra............

After a working Valentine's day and a long week of working rigorously in office, i thought a stress relieving break is in order. But unfortunately there are not too many options around Bangalore for people like me who has to depend on the public transport for commuting....Unlike Pune, where all the places in and around were connected by Railways, that is not the case in Bangalore. So after lot of research and google, we zeroed in on Hogennakal.
It is a waterfall about 180km away from Bangalore City and situated on the borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. We were six of us in a rented Tavera and started as early as 8.30am in the morning from Silk Board, Bangalore. But in February also early was quite hot thanks to the global warming. Nevertheless the journey was comfortable and very entertaining. The road is remarkably nice after one crosses electronic city on Hosur road. It took us about 3 and a half hours to reach the place.
Once you reach the place, all cars have to be parked at a distance from where one needs to walk down towards the water. It was a clear day with scorching sun. There are coracle rides which takes you to the waterfall through the gorges. The charges for the coracle ride varies considerably and will depend on your bargaining power. Ideally they charge somewhere around 100 bucks per person with additional charges for waiting at the island. We bargained for 800bucks for 6people. But once you get on to the boat, you will realise every penny is worth it. The ride is amazing with the coracle circling in the cool water. Occasionally we realised that we are totally exposed to the sun, but even that could not dampen our spirit. Then the coracle stops suddenly on the shore where you need to get down and walk for some time till you reach the gorge..... then after climbing down the steep stairs you again reach the water. While we were walking, the boatman carried the coracle to the gorge and we again got into it. Then came the high point of the ride, when the coracle takes you dangerously close to the waterfall.... its white everywhere and the water falls directly over you and almost floods the coracle..... and to heighten the feeling, the boatman spin the coracle like a merry-go-round.... Shouting at the top of your voice at this point is mandatory. Then we travelled the entire distance of the gorge and reached the other end where there is a small island. In between we had stopped on the water on a side to have our home made lunch and its a heady feeling. On the other side of the island, the water is only ankle deep and we crossed the stream of cool water barefoot while one of our friend was clicking photographs from the shore. After some amount of frolicking there, we were on the way back but could not resist the temptation to go near the waterfall once again. Then we came back.
Once we reached our car, we realised that while we were enjoying, the sun has been merciless upon us. The amount of sun burn that we had got still bears the proof but no body seem to care. Then we started in the car for our return journey and reached Bangalore fully refreshed and recharged and ready to take on the world.
Some important information about the place:
  • It is advisable to wear Full sleeve clothes to avoid the sun burn and carry hats, sunscreen and enough drinking water
  • The town is very small with no decent restaurants, hence carrying food with you is the best option
  • The place is most beautiful in the monsoon when the water overflows through all sides, but then the coracle rides are not permissible
  • To enjoy coracle ride, it is advisable to go in any season except the monsoon, but try and reach the place by 3-4 pm, by then the heat reduces considerably and the water becomes even more enjoyable
  • The coracle ride remains open till 6pm in the evening

The description of the beauty of the place would be incomplete without some pictures. Those are also attached.

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