Hogenakkal is situated on the border of Karnataka, 46kms from Dharmapuri. One of the major rivers of India and a perennial river of south India the Cauveri flows through and make the soil fertile. The river plays major role in making the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu prosper as it passes through. Kudagu in Karnataka is where the Cauveri originates as a small stream and gathers momentum and gets bigger on her way down. It is in Hogenakkal that the Cauveri enters Tamil Nadu as a big river with gushing waters presents a waterfall.
The setting of the descent of the Cauveri at Hogenakkal is panoramic. The name Hogenakkal is derived from Kannada. It means smoky rocks . The gushing force of the water when it falls on the rocks below looks like smoke emanating from the rocks. hoge in kannada means smoke and of kal means rock , the falls and the place were called Hogenakkal.
At many places the falls descends as far as 20 mtrs. The water also makes a continuous thundering sound. This gives the area a different atmosphere. At Hogenakkal the water spreads for miles around. The locally made boats are called Parisal . A parisal ride will give you a rare experience.
Surrounded by hills at various heights, Hogenakkal offers the visitors a different ambience and is a refreshing place to relax. Fresh fish caught in the river is cooked and served. One can also take bath in the falls. Local people give oil massages. As the river flows through out the year, Hogenakkal can be visited through the year. To add attraction the forest department maintains a mini zoo and a crocodile park here. The New Moon days in the months in January or Thai and in July or Adi are special for the pilgrims who arrive to take a dip in the river. However on Adi 18th, which is in August, a festival to the river goddess is celebrated.
Theerthamalai: Theerthamalai is a popular pigrim centre and it is 16 k.m. from Harur in Dharmapuri district. This pilgrim and picnic centre becoming very popular with the public. The temple situated about one k.m up the steep slope of a hillock derives that its name from the five springs in the temple. Lord Theerthagireeswar (Lord Shiva) is the worshipping deity. According to the legend it was here that Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to absolve himself of the sin of having killed several demons in the war against Ravana. Hence there is belief that a holy dip in the waters of this spring will wipe out the sins committed by the people.
According to the legend, in order to worship to Lord Shiva, Rama sent Hanuman to fetch water from the River Ganga, but when Hanuman did not return at the appointed time for pooja, Rama unleashed an arrow onto the rocky slope of the hillock and water sprang forth, which today is called Rama Theertham. The tiny waterfall drops from a height of about 30 feet is perennial and during the summer as well as the rainy season the water falls on the bathing ghat behind the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The other Theertham, all of which have their origin in different parts of the rocky surface, are the Agasthya Theertham, AgniTheertham. Kumara Theertham and the Gouri Theertham, besides these four Theerthams the Hanuman Theertham is situated about 16km from the main temple on the banks of river South Pennar. This too is also closely associated with the temple. It is stated that when Hanuman returned with the water from the Ganga, he found that Rama had brought the Ganga water with his arrow. He then threw away in anger the vessel containing the Ganga water. This water fell onto the riverbank. Hanuman Theertham also is a very holy place. During summer even when the river is dry there will be sweet water in the spring that flows from rock in the riverbed. The waters of the Theerthamalai are supposed to have medicinal values too. It may be mentioned that Theerthamalai has huge reserves of magnetite iron ore that can be utilized for the Salem Steel Plant.
Several Inscriptions can be found in the Theerthagireeswarar Temple. They relate to the Vijayanagar and Chola rulers. There is one inscription in ancient Telugu and Kannada. Poet Saint Arunagirinathar referred to the Temple of Theerthagirieeswarar in his compositions. The Mandapam near the sanctum sanctorum is supposed to be built by Sila Naicken. He is said to have maintained a well-fortified garrison at the top of the hill from where a commanding view of the surroundings can be on all sides is available.
There is another spring known as Vashista Theertham higher up in the hill. Close by are the wonderful granite pieces of Saptha kanyakas. The beauty of these sculptures is that they can be viewed only through a very narrow crevice in the rock. The nine-day annual festival at the Temple is in the month of March. The main festival is held at the Shiva temple at the foot of Theerthamalai.