First descent of Hogenakkal falls, South India
After guiding trips and leading expeditions in the Himalayas for the autumn season, a team of Nepali and Indian expedition paddelers needed a bit of relaxation, sun and fun and went off to south India. After a nice Christmas and New Years celebration at the beaches of Goa we where ready to go out on the wild side in search of some of southern Indias waterfalls. Information is scarce and the way to find out about the falls is to ask the local people for directions and go driving to try to find them and if you do check them out and if possible run them.
The Hogenakkal falls are well-known though. They are about 130 km south east of Bangalore in Tamil Nadu state. The falls are part of the river Cauvery at about 250 meters above sea level. The name means “the smoke that thunders” and a sacred bathing place, Hogenakkal is well known for its power of healing – good to know when you go over the edge. The falls does a 20 meter vertical drop into a beautiful pool. The falls is a tourist attraction, but had up to the moment we arrived never been runned by kayakers. We collected information from the locals and scouted the falls carefully, looked on by tourists in saucer-like vessels, called Coracles – round bamboo frames covered by plastic or buffalo hide, looking like huge mushrooms floating on the water.
The falls has about 14 channels with drops between 5-20 meters, some rapids and warm waters. We had time to run two different channels, and we did them twice. The falls where both approx. 8-10 meters. The falls are no childs play, the nearest hospital is about 130 km away, and serious saftey measures has to be taken to run them. We took turns and had one person with river experience on the shore with a throw line and one kayaker at the bottom of the falls. We all made a good run of the falls and only had one novice waterfall-runner swimming.
After a nice few weeks in southern India we headed back overland to Kathmandu, Nepal with new energy. Join us for an expedition! Read more about trips, kayakingschool and camp on: www.ramsilwal.com
See you on the water!