I am a marketing professional holding a postgraduate degree in management. I live in Chennai and have traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu.
Hogenakkal means “smoking rocks” in the Kannada language. The water splashing from the falls gives an illusion of smoke emanating from the rocks. This is where the Kaveri river drops from higher grounds to the lower plains, cutting through the rocky terrain.
No other destination in Tamil Nadu is as photogenic as Hogenakkal. On the border between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, one can see the confluence of both cultures.
Top 8 Things to Do in Hogenakkal
- Coracle ride
- Hogenakkal Falls viewpoint
- Crocodile Park
- Eat Freshwater Fish
- Mettur Dam
- Melagiri Hills
- Pennagaram village
- Theerthamalai Temple
Scroll down to learn more about these beautiful places in Hogenakkal.
1. Coracle Ride
Coracles are round boats made of bamboo sticks with curved sides. They are covered with hides or plastic sheets to make them waterproof. The Tamil name for coracle is "parisal" and exists from prehistoric times for transport. Parisals are no longer used for transport, but they are very popular among tourists. Going on a coracle ride is the principal attraction at Hogenakkal.
The Ride Experience
The primitive boats take passengers through many waterways surrounded by shallow rocks on either side. Passengers are occasionally greeted by small waterfalls, birds, and many interesting rock formations. Once on the ride, travelers are transported to a beautiful little world with just the river, blue sky and the surrounding rocks for company.
The ride can get bumpy if there is an increase in water flow. Therefore, it is preferable to avoid a heavy meal before the ride. The coracle ride leads passengers to a river island where they can get down for a while. Passengers should carry water and light snacks, as there is no access to the outside world until the ride is completed.
2. Hogenakkal Falls View Point
One can also view the waterfalls from a hanging bridge on top of the waterfalls. The Hanging Bridge is inside the park that also serves as the entrance for the coracle ride. One can get the best view of the waterfalls without venturing on a coracle ride.
Whenever the river Kaveri is in full spate, it becomes a wide, sheet-type waterfall. The resemblance to the great Niagara Falls is clear to any observer. So it is no wonder Hogenakkal is called the Indian Niagara.
Note: Chitrakot is one more waterfall in the state of Chhattisgarh that is also called the Niagara Falls of India. I have yet to visit Chitrakot and have seen its beauty only through pictures. I must confess here that Chitrakot looks better.
3. Crocodile Park
There is a small Crocodile Park well maintained by the team managing the park. Please remember to check out the organic store attached to the crocodile park selling natural products like natural oils sourced from this region. An aquarium is in the town, but I recommend skipping it.
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4. Eat Freshwater Fish
Fried freshwater fish is a popular treat in Hogenakkal. The taste of freshly caught fish must be experienced but cannot be described in words.
Murrel and the Butterfish are the more common ones. It is best to have the fried fish at the TTDC restaurant as the ambience and food are good. Fried fish is also sold at roadside stalls leading to the waterfalls.
5. Mettur Dam
The water trail from Hogenakkal leads us to Mettur Dam across the river Cauvery. It takes about 2 hours to get there. Standing tall at over 200 feet, this is the largest dam in Tamil Nadu.
It is a lifeline for the state, providing drinking water and irrigation for over 12 districts. The base of the dam houses the scenic Ellis Park. The park has featured in many Tamil films.
6. Melagiri Hills
The Melagiri Hills are a short driving distance from Hogenakkal. This range is part of the Eastern Ghats and is a wildlife sanctuary home to several large animals like elephants, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Trekking is another major attraction that takes one to the scenic Spider Valley.
Pennagaram is a small, nondescript village at a distance of 16 km from Hogenakkal. Terracotta statues are a specialty, making this a colorful village. One can get a glimpse of rural life in Tamil Nadu, here. If you like being in peaceful and tranquil surroundings, you will not regret visiting Pennagaram.
8. Theerthamalai Temple
Lord Theerthagireeswar, one form of Lord Shiva, is the main deity in this temple. People believe that Lord Ram prayed to Lord Shiva to forgive him for the sins he committed by killing the demons after defeating Ravana.
Theerthamalai in Tamil means a hill with many holy streams. There are many perennial streams on Theerthamalai hill, dedicated to various Hindu Gods. The Hanuman Theertham is another famous temple in Theerthamalai.
Distance From Major Cities
|Distance in Km|
Travel and Stay
It takes about seven hours of drive time to reach Hogenakkal from Chennai. Instead, one can take a train to Dharmapuri and cover the remaining distance by bus or taxi. It is much closer to residents of Salem and Bengaluru, who need just two or three hours of drive time to get there.
A surprising aspect about Hogenakkal is the lack of many stay options. Many tourists visiting Hogenakkal view it as a picnic spot. But for someone who has traveled over seven hours from a place like Chennai, a stay for a night or two would be preferable.
This is an acceptable place to stay. The rooms are basic, but they are clean and well-maintained. The booking can be done through the TTDC website. This hotel has lots of open space and one can go for strolls at leisure within the resort premises. It also has a children's play area.
© 2021 Mohan Babu