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Row, row, row your boat

Life moves like a dream at the Hogenakkal Falls



Want to take a break? Head for Hogenakkal

Imagine huge sprays of water and mist emanating from 50-odd waterfalls at the same time! Wouldn’t it look as if the rocks were smoking? Well, that’s what the word Hogenakkal literally means — ‘Smoking Rock’. The place, w hich is about 250 km from Chennai, is located at the confluence of the Kaveri and the Chinnar on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. It is 45 km from Dharmapuri and attracts visitors from all over the country.

We visited Hogenakkal on a weekend. When we arrived, we could see waterfalls all around! A dozen boats plied across the stream and there was a happy feel in the air!

The first thing that catches your eye here are the coracles (parisal). The sturdy coracles have tar bottoms and can take a load of eight persons at a time! And, the diameter of a coracle is only around eight feet.

Coracle ride

After haggling for 10 minutes, a boatman agreed to take us for a ride wherever we wanted. Though a simple ride would cost Rs.200, he demanded double the amount for waiting as well. The price settled, we wanted to make full use of the opportunity and began our expedition! Initially, we had an aerial view of the entire scene from a watchtower on the way. It was awesome! Then we climbed down a flight of stairs along with the oarsman to reach downstream. It was fun watching the oarsman carry the coracle on his shoulders as if it were his pet goat! After the three of us had made ourselves as comfortable as we could on the coracle, the boatman gently resumed rowing. We moved on steadily picking our way between the mighty rocks and the falls!

Tranquil environs


Merrily, merrily, merrily… life was like a dream as we sailed on. We soon moved on to reach a gushing waterfall nearby. Our overenthusiastic oarsman tried to take us close to the falls. We were thoroughly drenched and violently pushed away by the tremendous force of the water, so we beat a hasty retreat!

We drifted away and shortly attempted rowing the coracle. It spun around the same place heading nowhere. We got jittery when we saw some coracles coming opposite us and gave up our attempt. We were astonished to find mobile/floating shops with oarsmen selling soft drinks and various other items. We saw many tourists enjoying a bath under the main falls where a protective railing had been erected. It was then that we decided to plunge into the water. Gosh! What a thrilling experience!

The cascade of water hammered on our heads and we lingered under the natural shower! We did not realise that it was already noon and we had to call it a day.

ARJUN RAMESH

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