In Dharmapuri district, one of the Major river Cauvery
flows. Hogenakkal is the place for water falls, Boating, Bathing and it is also
famous for popular pilgrim centre namely Theerthamalai.
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
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
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.