Hogenakkal: Gorges, Waterfalls and Parisaling

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About the place

The place offers multiple experiences – gorges, boating, massage, bathing in beach/waterfall, diving, fish fry – all rolled into one. Also called Hogenakal, Hogennakkal, Hoggenakal, Hoggenekal, Hogennekal, Niagara of India, the place derives its name from hoge (smoke in Kannada) exhaled by kal (rocks in Kannada) because of water force. A series of waterfall and their mist, circular boats (parisal, hence the term I coined parisaling), a couple of gorges, beaches and theatrical surrounding each such experience awaits you here. The place is 130 km from Bangalore and is accessible by both train and road. At Hogenakkal, Cauvery (also called Kaveri, Kavery) falls from a great height creating waterfalls and cutting through gorges. The river water is traditionally believed to have healing effects (since the river flows through a forest having plants of medicinal value). Best time to visit is non-monsoon period.

What to see/do

One comes to Hogenakkal for its famous waterfalls and famed oil massage, and returns with scintillating other add-ons. Among other add-ons, parisal and beach are most retrieving. Here’re the stuff you should see/do to make the most of your trip. Most of the photographs here are taken by Shekhar.

There is no way for you to reach the waterfalls if you don’t rent these circular vessels called Parisal, or Coracle in English. A parisal has a bamboo frame covered with plastic (or, as they said, buffalo hide). The bottom of the parisal is tarred which makes it water proof. The first look of these vessels might make you doubtful about its ability to carry eight people for 3 long hours. But I read that parisals are one of the oldest watercraft in the world (Apparently parisals were used by Roman invaders as early as 1st century AD. This was relieving indeed). Plus, nobody else seemed to have this doubt. So, we took the plunge and hired two parisals – 5 boarded each. We had to bargain a lot – from 200 per head we brought the boatmen down to 550 per boat for a total time of 3 hours, including waiting time for add-ons.

Ride on the parisal had several phases, with each break better than the previous one.

Phase 1 (Mistiest Waterfall)

The ride started without any hiccups. The boatman did a stunt and started rotating the parisal at a good speed. It was indeed exhilarating. Do ask your boatman to do the same. And yes, it is absolutely safe. After a couple of minutes we had to de-board the parisal and took a walk on the rocks. We reached a waterfall, which was probably the mistiest of all. The tiny droplets of water sprinkles on your hairs and skin and makes the photo session interesting. Water was gushing out at a great speed and the lashing sound on the rocks made it all the more mighty. Also, there is a Viewpoint Tower (entry INR 2) which allows you to see far and wide.

Phase 2 (Upstream Waterfall)

Next phase started with we getting down the steps to board the parisal at a gorge. We reached a fork, with waterfalls on one side and beach on the other. We took the waterfalls route. The proximity to the waterfalls was sublime. The boatman rotated the parisal so that each one of us gets wet with the ‘falling’ water. We went a little upstream and close to only a couple of waterfalls as any further advance could have been troublesome. We had to balance well on the parisal. Any unwanted movement could have spelled trouble – so we avoided it. We took a few snaps of the place and retreated. It was a real treat to watch the lashing water on one side and contrastingly calm waters on the other side. Interestingly, there are mobile shops on parisals selling several items of interest – gutkha, mouth fresheners, cigarettes etc.

Phase 3 (Learning to Fly)

The large rocky stretches, with Karnataka-granite on both sides of the river (it was gorge) captured our imagination. There were a few children on the top of it, roughly at 30 odd ft. Someone told us that in INR 5/10, they would jump from the cliff. Gosh! It sounded inhuman and insensate. On closer observation, I found that the children were really happy – their laughter said it all. One kid jumped, and I took the photograph. Seeing a kid jump from a 30 ft cliff into deep water was quite a sight. The parisal then moved towards the beach. The island divided the river into two. We were asked to take a break – for bath, some fish fry, massage etc. We parked the parisal at the beach.

Phase 4 (Bath, Massage and fish fry)

The beach break was real fun. The water was knee deep and was a blessing for me, since I can’t swim! We made the most out of it. Squatting, jumping, thumping, floating and all other myriad maneuvers were made in a span of half an hour. The frenzy of water activities brought hunger with it. Got out of water and stepped on the sand, only to find it extremely hot. We had to run hurriedly towards the shops selling cold drinks, chips and other eatables. Few women were selling fish fry – INR 15 a piece. We bargained and brought it a little down. The fish fries turned out to be delicious. For the vegetarian folks, there were some chips etc available. Meanwhile, I collected some sea shells as memento of Hogenakkal.

The boatman offered us massage (standard rates are INR 50 for head massage for 10-15 minutes and INR 100 for full body massage for 30-45 minutes). None of us agreed. However, we did spot some people getting massage. So, I leave it to you to take a call on this. Just check whether the guy offering you massage has a valid license or not. We returned to our water acts. This time it was the competition to try staying afloat for the maximum time. Needless to say, most of us got disqualified – since almost nobody could swim.

Phase 5 (The Strike)

The water act continued for a long time. At the end of it, we boarded the parisal for the next phase. Our next stop was a rather effusive waterfall, not very high but gushy. Water just under the fall wasn’t to deep, so the boatman asked us to go virtually inside the fall. The burbling water lashed upon us with full force, and needless to say, we didn’t miss the massage of Hogenakkal. Bathing there for half an hour left us tired but ecstatic. Time was almost up (3 hours) and the boatman called us back. It was time to head back. Heading back was uneventful, with all of us tired and gratified with the Hogenakkal experience. The trip ended with us eating (fish rice, what else?) at a nearby joint and then boarding our Tempo Traveler.

Getting there/Town Transport

From Bangalore: Train – From Bangalore there are 6 trains to Dharmapuri, the earliest leaving Bangalore Cant. station at 0627 hrs. Then take a bus to Hogenakkal (47 km). While returning, take a bus from Hogenakkal to Dharmapuri and take the evening train from Dharmapuri at 1817 hrs. You may check at railway‘s website. , Road – Buses are available from Bangalore to Dharmapuri, and then to Hogenakkal. If you take a personal vehicle, you have go through Hosur – Krishnagiri – NH 7 to Dharmapuri – Hogenakkal. There is another route through Hosur – Rayakottai – Palacode – Pannagram – Dharmapuri – Hogenakkal. Roads are good throughout. Here’s the map.

From Chennai: Distance is 355 Kms. Train – Get down at Morappar (75 km from Hogenakkal), then to Dharmapuri and Hogenakkal. Bus – Straight buses operated by TNSTC. By a personal vehicle, route would be – Chennai – Vellore – Ambur – Krishnagiri – Dharmapuri – Hogenakkal. Here’s the map.

Where to stay

I guess not many people stay there due to its proximity to Bangalore. However, if you still want to stay, TTDC (+91-4342-256447) operates a hotel there. Other options are tourist bungalow run by the State Tourism Development, Corporation, Hotel Tamil Nadu (+91-4342-56447) and Tourist Rest House. Please verify from other sources about the hotels before making a booking.

TravellersDiary’s Recommendation

Set out on a one day trip from Bangalore. Start early to enjoy the morning freshness en route. Stop at Pennagaram, where at the outskirts of the village you would find guardian deities Aiyanars. [A website describes them as being “Made of terracotta or plastered brick, these giant figures are brightly colored and generally depict fearsome and mustachioed warriors.”] Reach Hogenakkal after paying levies at multiple places (we paid INR 30 twice and INR 20 once), park your vehicle and leave for the river. Remove your shoes, specs, hairbands, watches(non waterproof ones). Purse, mobile, credit card, camera etc will get drenched if you don’t take adequate precaution. Take a plastic bag with you for the same. If you cannot speak Kannada/Tamil, dont worry. Even if you speak Hindi, you can manage. Do bargain a lot with the boatmen and fish-fry selling lady. Include in your trip all the must see/do stuff mentioned above – bathing at the falls, rotating the parisal, the jump, the bath, fish fry, massage (?), shop at parisal, shells, walk on the sand, viewpoint tower etc. And yes, take loads of pictures – the trip is incomplete without the souvenir.

Further Resources on Hogenakkal

Anurag’s post, Sandesh’s Post, Traveller’s Paradise, Deepu’s post.

Pictures: TravellersDiary Album, Sanjukta’s pic, Jump from oochappan, Anita’s pic,

If this post is useful to you in any way, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.


24 Responses to “Hogenakkal: Gorges, Waterfalls and Parisaling”

  1. manish Says:

    i like fish

  2. Ramya Says:


    Loved your write up.Incidentally, I am planning a tour for my class to Hogennekal. Can you tel me if there are places where we can reach in the night, have a campfire and then stay for the night? We plan to go on the 1st august from Bangalore.

  3. kopili Says:

    We went to Hogenakkal a long time back, 5 years now I think. We had a great time on the Coracle boats, especially when the boatman took us under the waterfalls.

  4. How do people find my posts? « Diary of a Weekend Traveller Says:

    […] But yes, I talked about Tamil Nadu in 3 posts, women in 2 post, saree in another 2 and bathing in Hogenakkal post. On second thoughts, I’ve talked about bikini babes in Gokarna as well. And I’ve […]

  5. Ramakrishnan Says:

    Very nice description of hoganekkal. I have been there and had a very good experience. I have written about it on http://blog.ramagi.com/2008/04/hoganekkal-trip.html

  6. Kalyan Banerjee Says:

    Thanks Raj for the support. Hope other posts help you as well in your other weekend getaways.

  7. rajlakshmi mitra Says:

    hi, we are just planning one and was in a look out for one good travelogue. your write up almost gave us the information we were looking for and your experience increased our enthusiasm. waiting eagerly for our trip.do write more.

  8. Kalyan Banerjee Says:

    @ Deepu: Thanks for the encouragement. And yes, I linked to your post on this post.

    @Poushali: Thanks for taking time to write such encouraging note. The trip was mesmerising indeed. I hope you return to this blog often for more such stuff.

  9. poushali Says:

    i have been penning a comment which actually needs some kind of more beautified language. Hogenakkal trip seems truely exhilarating to me.While I was reading the blog it seemed more kind of actual travel to the place……………ur work have been meticulously done keeping every nitty gritties in perfection………..truely it seemed a journey…………… I will look forward for more such blogs…………

  10. Deepu George V Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog article on Hogenakkal Waterfalls.

    The pictures in your blog are really great. Keep traveling.

    Deepu George V

  11. Kalyan Banerjee Says:

    Sudeshna: TRue. Just go ahead. Be a little careful if it rains
    Sandeep: Thanks Sandeep. Your pics are lovely too.
    Shantanu: Thanks for the encouragement. Let the readers read and see some pics at my blog and then move onto yours for more pics.
    Quadruplicate: Yeah.
    Nises: I went with a group on Tempo Traveller. I’ve given the tarin timings in the post. Check out ksrtc.in for bus timings.
    Raj Kishore: Sorry for being so late. I would not suggest venturing towards Hogenakkal for a 3 day trip. It is a good 1-day break, not more than that. There are plenty of other places for your needs – Ooty, connoor, Yerkaud. Simple google search should give you your choices.
    Ramesh: I apologize for being late in reply. How have your trip been? It would have been good if you left your blog’s addres
    Balaji: Sure we did. Man I envy you!

  12. balaji Says:

    hi guys…………
    i think u are all enjoyed in hogenakkal trip, that is very wonder full water falls,and entertaintment place…..we will enjoyed monthly ones becoz thats falls near my village arond 15kms

  13. Ramesh Says:

    Hi – great info! You say best time to visit is non-monsoon months. We are planning to visit around August 15th. Do you think we would we be able enjoy the Coracle ride then also? Thanks!

  14. Raj Kishore Reddy Y Says:

    Can you give any pointers besides hogenakkal. I mean – we are planning for a 3 day trip and are there any places which we can see. And wat abt Ooty and some others. How to reach those places from hogenakkal or vice versa.

    Please let me know ASAP.


  15. nises Says:

    man can u tell me the timings of the bus from bangalore?? i tried to search but i didnt get..

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  18. quadruplicate Says:

    quadruplicate says : I absolutely agree with this !

  19. Shantanudas Says:

    Hi thanks for your comments on my blog of photos of Hogennakal. I once started my blog thinking I will host photos as well as writings like you did, but then I saw that it takes a lot of time and efforts sitting on the pc, so I am concentrating on the photos only. So it does help to know sites like yours which talk of the places I shoot photos. The readers can then get a fullsome experience. Good job done by you!!

  20. Sandeep R Says:

    hey nice write up!

  21. Carnival of Travel Guide #20 | Travelhacker Says:

    […] presents Hogenakkal: Gorges, Waterfalls and Parisaling posted at […]

  22. meetsudeshna Says:

    Great write-up , and the picas were awesome, I feel like visiting Hogenekkal rite now 🙂

  23. Kalyan Banerjee Says:

    Thanks Karmendra. Yes, I looked around for some hotels there. Most of the rest of the stuff is genuine content. 😛

  24. karmendra Says:

    a real nice description dude … seems like u came and did some research before this writeup as well .
    In all good one .

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