Everything You Need To Know About The Coracle Ride At Hogenakkal Falls
One of the most adventurous boat rides in South India, that will leave you chasing your breath would be the Coracle Ride at Hogenakkal Falls. It is an invigorating and exhilarating experience. As the river water surges, the coracle tosses and turns with the rhythmless waves made by the river. It feels as if you would topple over at any moment sending an adrenaline rush to your entire body.
Lying on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu, Hogenakkal lies between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Hence, the name of the place is derived from Karnataka’s official language, Kannada. The term hoge translates to smoke and kal meaning rock in Kannada. If you ever happen to visit the Hogenakkal Falls, you would realize how apt its name sounds. As the gushing water of the river falls on top of the rocks, it is as if smoke (hoge) is exuding from the rocks (kal). However, these enchanting waterfalls of Hogenakkal are also referred to as Marikottayam in the native state of Tamil Nadu.
Located in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district, the Hogenakkal Falls is made out of the river Kaveri. It also lies very close to the state of Karnataka and is only 130kms away from Bangalore. The Hogenakkal village is 45kms from the Dharmapuri town. It is a peaceful village that is full of vegetation and little of habitation.
What Is The Coracle Ride?
The highlight of this one day trip to Hogenakkal (other than the gorgeous Hogenakkal Falls), are the Coracle Rides offered in this area. On the banks of the Kaveri river in this region, the tourists are offered body massage and rides on coracles. Many also come here for a trek alongside the high waterfalls to witness the unrestrained flow of the water. The Coracle Rides are locally known as kottathoni. These rides are makeshift ferry, that look like a big walnut shell that carries you on the undulated river. They are very lightweight and are made out of bamboo with the bottom of it covered with plastic sheets in order to waterproof them.
A single coracle can carry up to 6 to 8 individuals at a time being about 2.24m diameter wide. The Coracle Ride lasts about an hour and in two parts. You ride for a while and after reaching the other side of the river, you are asked to walk to the other location with mesmerizing waterfalls on sight. The same coracle rider carries the coracle with you till you are asked to get back on board.
There are two types of Coracle Rides, one is government administered and the others are run privately. There are also life jackets offered as a safety measure. Along the road to Hogenakkal Falls, there are no restaurants that can fill you up (except for soft drinks, snacks and fresh tender coconut on the road side shops). However, the place is known to sell fried fish caught freshly from the river Kaveri (like katla, kendai, robu, valai and aranjan). It is a must-have!
What Is The Best Time To Visit Hogenakkal Falls?
The best time to visit the Hogenakkal Falls is during October to March. That would be right after the monsoon season. The river Kaveri swells up and the entire place looks full of vitality as if it was brought to life after getting dried up comparatively in the summer. The timings of the Coracle Rides are from 7am to 5pm.
Hogenakkal Falls Entry Fee
The entry fee at Hogenakkal Falls is Rs 5 and they charge only Rs 10 for camera. For bags carried by tourists, there are locker facilities to reduce the weight load on the coracle, which is roughly Rs 10 per locker. In case you’re taking your own ride to reach Hogenakkal, the parking charges are Rs 30. The entry to the nearby forest is Rs.70, which is also known to be one of the tourist attractions in the area.
Cost Of A Coracle Ride at Hogenakkal Falls
For privately run Coracle Rides, they charge about Rs 800 for two people. The government administered Coracle Rides charges roughly Rs 500 for two people. Remember that these prices are not fixed and are always bargainable. The prices usually depend on the season and how well the place is receiving its tourists.
How To Reach Hogenakkal Falls?
The Hogenakkal Falls are not only spellbinding but also frightening as nature’s power seems to captivate your entire being. The pristine white waterfalls are impressive right after the rainy season as the river starts to brim. It is best advised to take your car or hire a cab and drive there.
The closest domestic airport is the Peelamedu airport in Coimbatore, which is at a distance of 119km. The nearest International airport is the Kempegowda International airport at Bangalore. A taxi charges roughly Rs.2000 to drop you at Hogenakkal from Bangalore.
In case you wish to travel by train, the major closest railway station is at Salem which is really well connected. It is around 114km from Hogenakkal. The cost of hiring a taxi to Hogenakkal from Salem is roughly Rs.1500. Other nearby railway stations are Dharmapuri (for people going to Bangalore) and Morappur railway station (for people going to Chennai).
The entire Hogenakkal area is well connected and there are frequent buses to the major cities of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. There are services of deluxe buses that can be boarded from Bangalore (which is about 133kms far away) and Salem (which is at a distance of 114kms). The bus fare is Rs.3 per kilometer.
What Makes The Coracle Rides At Hogenakkal Falls Special?
There are two ways to get a hold of the sight of these mystical waterfalls. One is the Hanging Bridge and the other is through the Coracle Ride. While on your ride, you witness how the river Kaveri enters the plains and dashes against the huge natural rocks. The ride along the river is a journey through the valley, constant splitting and merging around the rocks. There are also very small islands with trees (like Terminalia Arjuna, Syzygium cumini and Madhuca longifolia) and crops which get partially submerged due to the rains in the monsoon season.
The rocks on sight of the Hogenakkal Falls are made out of carbonatite. These rocks are dark in colour as if nature itself adds an alluring touch to the unpigmented waterfalls. These rocks are considered to be one of the oldest of its kind in the entire South Asia. The Hogenakkal Falls are a series of waterfalls and have earned the name of India’s Niagara Falls. Hogenakkal Falls lies beside Melagiri Hills that serves for various water birds (like the Indian Grey Hornbill, Little Cormorant, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Grey Francolin) that you can catch a glimpse of while on your ride along the river.
The entire sight is so pleasing that the Hogenakkal Falls is a renowned film shooting area. In many movies (like Raavan), these magnificent waterfalls made by the river of Kaveri have become a popular choice of nature’s background that requires no CGI. The waterfalls are at a height of 66ft and it is said that the area sounds like relentless thunder. All this beauty is grasped in a close ranged 360° view while in Coracle Rides. These ferry rides are steered utilizing a single paddle making them extremely unique.