Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bike ride to Hogenakkal Waterfalls

It's been quite long time since I posted something mainly because of shift in priority. Finally here is a post after long delay. It has been almost 3 months since we traveled to Hogenakkal waterfalls and eventually I found some time to compile experiences of the journey.


Never had this in mind till the last moment. There was a plan to visit waterfall but not by bike. At last moment some of them backed off and it was myself and Rajesh left over. Cab would be dearer to hire, buses would be late and eventually bike was the only option. We had almost dropped the plans but Rajesh asked if we can go for it. I was bit skeptical though since the shine was in dirt and its been long time being serviced :D. Finally the crave for travel made me to accept the proposal ;-) and the stage was set. It was only a day before we made this plan and were unaware of any details on route. Can be termed as candid plan. I had been to Shivansamudra alone last time in bike covering more than 300kms. That time the bike was in good shape and I was alone. This time we were two heavyweights and had to cover 300kms in unserviced bike :-). Despite of all the confusions, we decided to travel in bike. Apart from what was mentioned above, there was one more problem which was language. We both did not knew Tamil and travel after Hosur required some language exposure. To avoid language problems, Rajesh took prints of routes including the important junctions. Our first trust was on google maps and next the locals. Anyhow we were looking forward this unique candid journey with full enthusiasm. Hogenakkal is around 150kms from SilkBorad Junction and would be taking around 3hrs in bike under the assumption of having good roads. Remember bike is not car ;-) it is not enough to have good roads but evenly paved roads. Even the patches cut down bike speed but cars can negotiate well.

Early morning woke up with chilly weather outside. Seems like winter has finally started. Rajesh caught up with me at HSR BDA junction around 7:30AM.  We had breakfast at 7:30AM and ready to cruise around 8AM from silk board. There was not a single traffic hiccup in middle and we took elevated highway for quick exit from city mess. The city was enveloped with thick blanket of fog and could not take picture due to time constraints. Once we reached NH-6, everything was smooth until border area. Later on, the constructions are still under way at slackening pace. We reached Hosur and not sure whom to ask :-). People did not understand my half baked Tamil language :D. Fortunately a Kannada speaking person assisted us to find SH-17 towards Palacode. A km later, we saw signboards in English towards Palacode and were greatly relieved for achieving the first target successfully.

Next hurdle was finding the Hogenakkal cross after Palacode. We successfully reached Palacode and took Palacode bypass. It never looked like bypass but we felt being inside city. The roads are good to excellent at some places while bad at remaining. Overall 75-25 (good-bad). The distance covered was around 60kms. After Palacode bypass, we spotted diversion towards right. I was bit doubtful whether we were on right track but Rajesh was confident. The signboards were only in Tamil. After riding for 2kms along this path, we spotted a clear signboard mentioning Hogenakal-70kms :-). Yes this was our second victory. Even roads were really very good along this path. But we were still unclear about as how to reach Hogenakkal-Dharmapuri road.

As our journey progressed, we came across confusing deviation towards Pennagram. Rajesh said that we have to follow Pennagram deviation as per map. But the signboards were showing other path for Hogenakkal. Since we were not sure, we decided to ride along the prescribed route. Few kms after, here we are at Hogenakal-Dharmapuri Road :-). We were really excited that finally we will reach falls without any further more complications. From this junction, distance is 28kms to waterfalls. Along the way there were few more deviations but signboards were crisp to lead us to waterfalls. Also all signboards were presented in English language too!


10kms before falls site, we had to pay entrance fee of Rs.10/-. Once we did the payment, it was nice drive along the semi-ghat section. Especially 2-3kms were like proper ghat sections with steep curves and hairpin bends. Also there were many monkeys too :D. They were roaring even when we were riding bike, fearing threat :-). Along the route we came across a bridge but did not see ample water. I was bit suspicious if we could find considerable water in waterfall area. After beautiful journey for 10kms we entered Hogenakkal town. There is again parking fee here. We rode bike nearby waterfalls rather than parking in entrance.

As we neared our confusion was cleared and there was good amount of water to enjoy. The cauvery river is the source of waterfall. The geography is bit awkward. The water falls along multiple divisions with great velocity. Due to the presence of uneven rocks and height, the water gathers tremendous kinetic energy while reaching ground. The authorities have also constructed walls for proper head bath. People can make use to have thunderous head bath :-). This place is not risky at all and one can manage  even without knowing swimming. There are protective rails around the constructed walls. Initially we had glimpse of shorter plunge on hanging bridge. Even this place has entrance fee but nominal. Later we crossed one of the streams to get to main waterfalls. This place also has protective rails to cross. The biting fishes created tickling sensation in our leg :-). Rajesh was saying biting fishes are good since they clean dead cells from body (not shark or whales but small fishes :D). After crossing stream, we had good look of main waterfall area. There is also a view point where one can see panoramic view of waterfalls. It also has entrance fee ;-). There are many massage providers here :D and also fish curry cookers. The oil massager plead to you to feel massage. Many people were having nice massage and later on bathing in river. If you enjoy relishing river fish, there are many fish vendors here for you.





We were curious to see the distant waterfall plunge which had multiple divisions placed in a curve. That was really great sight to watch. When inquired, people asked us to take coracle ride to reach the view point. The coracle costs around 960/- per trip. If you are 6, it costs 160 per head. We were only two and fortunately found 2 more and hence price reduced to 240/- per head. Still it was bit high price but left with no option. We were adamant to reach to the view point and also enjoy the ride on river. Having paid the amount, there is that thud, coracle being rolled into river and we were ready to start. As we were traveling we came across coracle shop which serves some chips and cool drinks :D. That was unique shop we had seen for first time.




We had small twiddle in middle of river which we enjoyed :-). After sometime, we reached the banks from where one needs to walk for 0.5kms towards view point. The coracle is carried in pickup vehicle till the other side of river bank. We had some oranges here before proceeding further. It seemed like we have path to reach this point via road. Did not inquire much about it. It was really mesmerizing sight from view point. The water plunges energetically with absolute beauty. The eye-catching part is the array of falls aligned along curve and falling towards common gorge. Some people were also seen nearby waterfalls to have closer look. After enjoying this wonderful sight we headed back towards the bank to resume our coracle ride towards the entrance. It seems during heavy outflow from KRS, the waterfall is not at all accessible and entire area looks unified. Even view point will be submerged in water!





I was having friendly chat with the sailor since he knew Kannada. He was narrating many stories including people who were washed away due to galloping water. Also few people were rescued in helicopter during huge water inflow. He was also stating some things about slow down in IT. It seems some of his friends are also hit because of slow-down. So recession is something severely striking from top to bottom then ;-). The sailor does this job during the proper seasons and fishing during high torrents. He also said that water on the other side of valley is 80feet while it was only 3-4 feet nearby waterfall. But the velocity of water gives it fiery look despite being only 3-4 feet in depth. It is this velocity coupled with rocky landscape provides glory to waterfall. we also sailed along those gushing water. The sight of coracle sliding down along the torrent was bit intimidating :D. We also enjoyed the distant hills along with cauvery river landscape. After nearly 90 minutes of joy we reached the entrance again.



It is time to have some fun in water. I did not have backup clothes but Rajesh had them. He enjoyed in the platform of thundering water from a height and had nice head bath. It is easy manage here since authorities have constructed safety structures. Also being flowing water, no need to worry about purity of water. Once Rajesh finished head bath and we were ready for lunch. We had lunch in one of the hotels maintained by TamilNadu tourism. They had only south Indian meals costing Rs.60/- which was OK to clear our hunger albeit being spicy. After resting briefly for sometime, we started back to Bangalore around 3:30PM. This time I rode since I enjoy up-hilling of ghats which involves frequent shifting of gears :D. Even while driving I prefer up-hilling to downhill since it requires frequent gear shifts :D. Pretty weird right ;-). Even father teases me hearing this weird joy ;-). We had smooth ride till Hosur which we reached around 6:30PM. The only problem along the rural route is villagers taking law unto themselves. People spread hay along the width of road to separate out grains from grass. This would lead to slippery of bike if not ridden consciously.

The ride from Hosur was bit cumbersome with heavy traffic and brisk crossing of people along the NH-6. There were lot wrong sider too :-(. It is not worth to pay toll to such highways with too many U turns and not much alternatives to human crossing. The U turns sometimes turned out be intimidating due to swift veering of  vehicles. We were riding very slowly around 40kmph most of the times and felt greatly relieved after reaching electronic city toll gate. 7:15PM, we reached Silk board junction and ending one more journey. We had tea in one of restaurant before dispersing.

I was exhilarated about journey and strength of my bike ;-). My shine truly shined :D. Despite being unserviced for many months and having capacity of 125cc, it was smooth ride altogether! This may be usual but I did not have prior records carrying two heavy weights :D for such long distance. Now I have full confidence on my bike but requires a overhaul before gearing it for one more long journey.

Total Distance covered: 145*2=290kms (170kms Rajesh + 120kms myself) from silkboard junction


Silk Board Junction->Hosur = 30kms (NH-6)
Hosur-> Palacode = 60kms (SH-17)
Palacode->(Hogenakkal-Dharmapuri road) = 25kms
Hogenakkal junction->Hogenakkal waterfalls = 28kms (SH-60)

Note state highway numbers belong to TamilNadu not Karnataka. If you follow SH-17 of Karnataka you will reach Mysore ;-)

Rely on google maps and you will reach the target!

  • My friend Rajesh for detailed review of writeup
  • To all those people who helped us to take proper route
  • Google maps
  • Last but not the least, my bike ;-) for sustaining long journey!

  • Water, preferably 2ltrs/person
  • Energy bars like chocolates
  • Fruits like apple, orange
  • Glucose if required
  • First Aid Box

Nothing much this time except for a panoramic shot and short Hogenakkal video. One of the reason to delay this post was the video rendering. Video editing (especially full HD) can be sometimes boring if your system is not equipped with royal processor (like i5) and GPU. Nevertheless, lack of disk space forced me to compile video finally :-).


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