Hogenakkal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls is a waterfall on the Kaveri River between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in Southern India. Sometimes called the “Niagara Falls of India”, it is a major tourist attraction in the area. The name itself comes from the combination of Kannada words hoge, meaning smoke, and kal, meaning rock. It is thought that this name was given to describe the misty smoke-like effect caused by the force of the water hitting the rocks below. 

Landscape And Waterways

Hogenakkal Falls
Hogenakkal Falls on the Kaveri River.

The Kaveri River originates in the Brahmagiri hills and flows downward, fed by various tributaries as it goes until it reaches Hogenakkal falls. These falls are actually a series of drops, the highest being 20 meters. The river then widens over sandy beaches and continues south to Mettur Dam, where it feeds the Stanley Reservoir. The river itself is full of sediment and nutrients which it washes down steam, creating extremely fertile land downstream.  The rocks and cliffs of the falls are made of carbonite, which is a type of igneous rock. This particular type of carbonite is some of the oldest in South Asia, and may even be some of the oldest of this type on the planet. 

Visiting The Hogenakkal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls
Guarded bathing areas for visitors at the Hogenakkal Falls. Editorial credit: Elamaean Elaa Photography              

The falls are popular as a bathing area, and water temperatures in summer range from 23–34 °C (73–93 °F) or 13–27 °C (55–81 °F) in the winter, making for extremely enjoyable bathing experiences year round. Sectioned off areas allow visitors to bath in the cascading clear waters, while remaining safe from the main onslaught of downpouring water.

Hogenakkal Falls
Visitors riding coracles at the Hogenakkal Falls. Editorial credit: Elamaean Elaa Photography

Boating is another popular activity here, and is one of the best ways to see the falls. This is only allowed in the dryer seasons when the current of the falls is not as strong, and therefore it is safer to venture close. Usually, these boat tours take place on small bamboo boats called parisal or harigolu, which are steered using a single paddle.

Wildlife

There are a number of different types of fish that can be found in Kaveri River, and many of these are fished, caught and sold in the area around the falls. Not only can fish be purchased, but stalls along the beach areas will prepare the fish for you to take home, or eat immediately. Some of the common types of fish in the river are katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan, and jilaby. 

Hogenakkal Falls
A white egret perched atop a rock at the Hogenakkal Falls. Editorial credit: Elamaean Elaa Photography

Other animals in the area include kingfisher birds, which feast on the many fish species in the river and around the falls. The forests and vegetated areas along the river edges are also home to languars, a type of small, dark, Indian monkey. 

A stunning, roaring u-shaped waterfall, the Hogenakkal Falls truly is a spectacular site, and a natural wonder of Southern India. Popular with both locals and tourists alike, it is a great way to see both some of the culture and nature of the area. From market stalls to boat tours, visitors can take in all aspects of the Kaveri River as it cascades over the cliff edges in a beautiful display of nature’s power and beauty at Hogenakkal Falls.

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