Hogenakkal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls or Hogenakal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the Kaveri(Cauvery) River. It is located in the Dharmapuri district of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is about 90 kms from Bangalore and 46 kms from Dharmapuri. It is sometimes referred to as the "Niagara of India".With its fame for medicinal baths and hide boat rides, it is a major site of tourist attraction. Carbonatite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of its kind in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world. This is also the site of a proposed project to generate drinking water. Distance from Hogenakal Waterfalls, Chamarajnagar, Hoganakkal to Kodagu, Karnataka is 288 km and takes around 6 h 24 min via NH275.

When the water falls on the rocks it appears as if hoge (smoke in Kannada) is emanating from the top of the kal (rock in Kannada) because of the force of the water, hence Hogenakkal. It is also called as Marikottayam by the people of Tamil Nadu.

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The Kaveri River is considered to form at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu district in Karnataka and gathers momentum as the land drops in elevation. It becomes larger as various tributaries feed into it on the way down. At Hogenakkal, the Kaveri, now a large river, drops and creates numerous waterfalls as the water cuts through the rocky terrain. In places the water falls as much as 20 m and is said to sound like continual thunder. Soon after the falls the river takes a Southerly course and enters the Mettur reservoir. The river carries sediment which makes the "down-river" land fertile.

At Hogenakkal the river spreads out over a wide area of sandy beaches, then flows through a straight but narrow ravine near Salem where the Mettur Dam creates a 60 sq mi. lake called Stanley Reservoir. Built in 1934, this project improved irrigation and provided hydropower.

Hogenakal Falls is the location for the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project proposed by the Tamil Nadu Government. The objective of this project is to provide safe drinking water to the urban and rural areas in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts. In February 2008, The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has agreed to fund the Rs 1,340-crore project.

Boating in Hogenakkal is allowed during the dry-season as the water falls are not strong to disrupt the passage of the boats. Local coracles operate from the banks of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka banks of the gorge. This is the main source of income for these boat operators. The coracles are about 2.24m in diameter, but still can take a load of eight persons at a time. These coracles are made of bamboo, and with all materials available takes about a day to build. The bottom of the boats are made water proof by the use of hides, but sometimes with sheets of plastic. Use of plastics in the Hogenakkal vicinity, not just for boats, has been criticised due to problems with pollution. These boats are steered and propelled using a single paddle, making them unique. The coracles are locally called as parisal in Tamil and either teppa or harigolu in Kannada.

Freshly caught fish are sold by the gorge and also various vendors selling water and snacks up and down the gorge rowing their parisals is not uncommon. The fish caught include katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby. After leaving the gorge, on the left shore one can find improvised stalls set up on the sand. There, one can let the fresh fishes be prepared in one of the many kitchens. Also, many people can be found swimming or bathing around there.