On our arrival at Hogenakkal Falls, we came to a booth next to a small rope bridge. The bridge spanned a gorgeous river which had cut its way through a large ravine over a long patient span of time. As the men in the booth asked about our camera our host was once again, remarkably generous. He dealt with all the questions, and then paid for everything. When we insisted on giving money, he politely declined. “No, sir, please. You are my guest.”
We crossed the small bridge. A few boys fished off the sides of giant rocks, throwing lines into the water below. We walked along the falls for a bit, cool mist spraying our faces, until we came to a spot with a small shrine. Our host explained that we were not allowed to continue over the rocks unless we were barefoot because it was considered holy. And as we took off our sneakers (only tourists wore sneakers here anyway) and walked barefoot, I enjoyed the rough feeling of the rock under my feet.
Dozens of men stood under a nearby waterfall, bathing under its beneficent flows, some even using soap. A guardrail kept them from being swept over the next falls and down the river.
Words could hardly describe the beauty of this place. It seems more a fantasy painting of a fairyland other-world than some real place here on earth. The idyllic river spins out in every direction: foamy, white fingers overflowing into a giant fault in the rocks. The giant waterfalls this creates rush through green trees and roll down rocks into the new flow forging its way through the bottom of the gorge.
Below us, in the gorge, a family of four coasted over the river on a tiny round boat made of some light wood and vinyl, the underside coated with a black tarlike substance to keep the water out: the coracle. We decided to go for a ride. Our craft glided across the water, the rider expertly navigating through the turbulent areas by following the quiet ones.
Hogenakkal Falls… easily one of the most spectacular places I’ve visited so far.