‘Smoky rocks’ beckon

On board the theppa in Hogenakkal

Its often said that what you do on the first day of the year  reflects upon what you will do during the whole year; it does not make sense, but if it is true I don’t mind spending the year travelling.

It was a trip not planned and prepared for. I was with my cousin and his three friends. I didn’t have any other plan, so I thought why not?  We started at 4:30am from Koramangla in a taxi and reached Hoggenakkal by 8:30am. I am sure we took the wrong route because, according to Google, Hoggenakkal is only 180 km from Bengaluru.

They say it is not about the destination, but it is about the journey. We didn’t find any eating place on the way so I am pretty sure we took the road less travelled. The picturesque drive was exhilarating. The clearly visible sunrise was beautiful.

I don’t travel much, so I can’t compare this trip to Hoggenakkal to any other place. At first it felt like visiting a village. We got out of the car and there was not a  decent  restaurant around. I wanted to use the washroom so we ventured into the only restaurant with some seating inside. There was nothing exciting about the vegetarian food served there.

We walked towards the hanging bridge and saw masseurs on the way. I witnessed big men giving oil massage to other men: something you see in the akhadas (traditional wrestling centres). The entry fee to hanging bridge was Rs.10. I was expecting a huge waterfall (things lack of research make you expect). I won’t say it was spectacular or that I could not take my eyes off it or it made me feel light. It was not Hoggenakkal’s fault, it was ours as we had made the trip at the wrong time. By the way Hoggenakkal means smoky rocks in Kannada, and the best time to visit is immediately after monsoon rains with an extra pair of clothes, sunscreen and, if you are not a fish lover, then food too. The view was all right. On the sidelines, people were taking bath under the falls after getting oil massage, which made me wonder how the government could allow that? Does it not amount to pollution?

Boat ride: After that we went for boating in the big basket boats called ‘theppa’ in kannada. We had to step on the weighing machine first. Four of us stood on the machine, and it showed 300kg, while the maximum weight allowed was 330kg. My cousin could not come with us. We were given life jackets. The fee was a rip off,  Rs 750, of which Rs 600 goes to the boatman. It is hard to row such a big boat with an oar.  We slowly lowered ourselves into the boat. After a short while we had to get off and cross a bridge to get to the other side. I guess the boating depends on the season. There are various places through which the boat can pass but the route which we took was unusual.

After walking for a while we were in the boat again. The boatman took us beneath a little waterfall and we all got wet. The boat ride was memorable: rocks on the side, water all around, and the sunlight mixed with cool breeze. It could have been peaceful if my fellow riders were not that noisy.

It was time for food. No good options for vegetarians. But if you are a fish- lover you would love Hoggenakkal. We went to the Tamil Nadu restaurant. I had to make do with an omelette but my brother enjoyed his fish curry.

Hoggenakkal is a nice getaway for a day, but please make sure to go only after the rains.

  • Khushboo Aneja




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