Emily & Harry

A Day Trip to Hogenakkal Falls (#Uglyreality)

Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels, it becomes the path itself. (Mehmet Murat Ildan)

Having heard people rave about Hogenakkal Falls in Tamil Nadu, we had been planning for quite some time to visit these falls and bask in the glory of nature. Finally, when the time was ripe, we decided to book an Ola outstation and started for Hogenakkal. Owing to the customary tradition, we did a thorough search to locate any other hidden (or less frequented) place that could be included in the trip and booyah! We found the Krishnagiri Dam.

Located at a distance of 113km from Bangalore, the Krishnagiri Dam (or the Krishnagiri Reservoir Project (KRP) Dam) spans the Thenpennai river. It is located in the Krishnagiri district. The dam is adjacent to a park that goes by the same name. We weren’t sure if that place would be crowded. Our stars! It was just the perfect spot. With quaint surroundings, cold yet soft breeze and fewer people around, we could enjoy the gushing sound of the water and the rustling of the leaves at a distance. It took us around one and a half hour to explore the area, rest a while and then head to Hogenakkal.

Krishnagiri Park Panorama
Krishnagiri Dam

This area doesn’t have any food joints. There is a chips seller outside the park and the entry fee for the park is ₹5. If the weather is nice, one can have a nice stroll in the park and connect with the greenery around.

The Hogenakkal Falls is located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. Sadly, the reality is quite different from what is there on the internet. There is no doubt that the falls is massive. But when it comes to safety measures, it is a far cry from being safe. Right after you get closer to the falls, a person or two might stop your vehicle and charge an entry fee of ₹30. They would then re-direct you to the parking area where you would be charged another ₹20 in the name of parking.

Look out for the fishers and the ones who offer coracle rides as they will not leave you until you book a ride with them. We know this is something usual that happens everywhere. But our situation was a little different.

We went to Hogenakkal Falls in the month of August (2019) and the rain had already created havoc in the state of Tamil Nadu. Flooded and dangerous, the overflowing water had drowned the nearby village and thus, the local police had forbidden people from going closer to the waterfall. Knowing the dangers that came along with the coracle ride, these fishers still promised to take the customers closer to the waterfall just to have a ‘better look’. When we went a little further to see if the coracle was in good condition, it turned out to be fine. But the number of people that those boatmen were planning to accommodate in one coracle sent shivers down our spine. With no safety gear in sight, we decided not to risk our lives just for the sake of fun. And then the real problem started because those boatmen came together and started speaking in their local dialect. They kept forcing us to book a ride (that too for an expensive price). Spending another few minutes escaping the chaos, we decided to take another route towards Cini waterfalls. However, we couldn’t find any waterfall with such name. But yes, we did find a good spot at the bank of the Kaveri river to take pictures and sit for a while. On our way back, a policeman stopped our cab and yet again said something in his local dialect. The driver asked us to give ₹200 to him so that he lets us go. Since we didn’t want to end our day on a bad note, we obliged. But we were let down. We started for Bangalore soon after.

At the banks of Kaveri river

Unfortunately, we have not had a very good experience with waterfalls. Be it Jog Falls, Shivasamundra Falls or Hogenakkal Falls, whenever we plan a trip, the water decides not to show up! Nevertheless, the pursuit of happiness involves persistent effort and continuous search. Hence, we are planning another getaway to another waterfall soon. We hope we find water there!

Overall, the trip to Hogenakkal Falls gave us some lessons for life like not risking life just to have a ‘better look’ and this trip also taught us that nature, when at its worst, can ruin even the strongest. We were disappointed by the money-making mentality of the boatmen and the unnecessary parking charges.

While everybody only praises the beauty of Hogenakkal Falls, nobody writes about the extortion of money that has become a new business there. Several lives are lost every year because people risk their lives and go ahead in a coracle without any safety gear. We should be more sensible in distinguishing between pleasure and peril.

Overall, this trip was not like how we expected it to be but we did enjoy our time spent at the KRP Dam and Park.

Till the next time,

Happy Travelling!

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