Discovering Nature’s Majesty: Waterfalls Of Tamil Nadu

Embark on a trail of the five most mesmerising waterfalls of Tamil Nadu as you learn and plan to explore the verdant landscapes of the State
View of a majestic waterfall in Tamil Nadu
View of a majestic waterfall in Tamil Nadu

Water bodies have always enamoured us to great extents. They rejuvenate us, refresh us, make us rejoice in wonderment, awe and joy. In the words of British author Robert Macfarlane, “You arrive at a different realm, in which you are differently minded because differently bodied,” when around a water body. Similar is the case when you explore the natural environs of Tamil Nadu. The State, usually known for its cultural heritage and historical significance, boasts some of the most breathtaking natural wonders, among which are its stunning waterfalls. These rapturous wonders, hidden amidst lush greenery and rugged landscapes, offer a mesmerising spectacle for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Let us take a trail of the rich terrain of Tamil Nadu and pinpoint some of the best waterfalls that add vital fuel to life.

Courtallam Falls (Kutralam Falls)

A beautiful view of Courtallam Falls of Tamil Nadu
A beautiful view of Courtallam Falls of Tamil Nadu

Nestled in the Western Ghats near Tenkasi, Courtallam Falls is renowned for its therapeutic properties and scenic beauty. A fantastic fact about Courtallam Falls is that it is called the "Spa of South India," owing to its reputation for offering therapeutic baths. Aside from its therapeutic wonders, it leaves its onlookers with its angular and shapely presence. This majestic waterfall originates from the Chittar River and cascades in multiple tiers amidst dense forests and rocky cliffs. The falls are not just one but a handsome set of nine falls settled close to each other in Tirunelveli. Namely, they are Peraruvi (Main Falls), Aintharuvi (Five Falls), Thenaruvi (Honey Falls), Chithirai Aruvi, Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls), Shenbagadevi Falls, Pazhaya Aruvi (Old Falls), Puthu Aruvi (New Falls) and Pazhathotta Aruvi (Fruit Garden Falls). The waters of Courtallam Falls are believed to possess medicinal properties due to the presence of various minerals, making it a popular destination for both tourists and pilgrims seeking rejuvenation. The Tamil month of Aadi also welcomes devotees to the celebration of Saral Vizha so they can dip their souls in the medicinal waters before they proceed to the Papanasanathar Temple in Papanasam. The medicinal aspect of the falls comes from the legend that Sage Agastya, with the blessings of Lord Shiva, set up his abode here. November-December is the peak time to visit Courtallam Waterfalls as the travellers going to Sabarimala and Agasthiyar Falls choose to stop by.

How to Reach: There are plenty of buses running from Tirunelveli to Tenkasi which make Courtallam Falls easy to reach.

Catherine Falls

The cascading Catherine Falls
The cascading Catherine Falls

Located in Kotagiri, Nilgiri district, Catherine Falls is a captivating sight to behold, cascading down from a height of approximately 250 feet amidst verdant tea plantations and dense shola forests. The falls is named in honour of the wife of M.D. Cockburn, the Scottish coffee planter credited as the "Father of Yercaud," who brought coffee, apples, and pears to Tamil Nadu's hill stations. As a gobsmacking surprise, these double cascading Catherine Falls descend to the floor where Kallar River falls on the rocks as Geddhehaada Halla, another name for Catherine Falls and hence secures the place in being the second highest in the Nilgiri mountains. Catherine Falls is best viewed from the viewpoint of Dolphin's Nose, offering a panoramic vista of the waterfall amidst the rolling hills.

How to Reach: Catherine Falls can be reached via the Moon Road off the main Kotagiri-Mettupalayam Road, from a small town called Aravenu.

Hogenakkal Falls

The Grand Hogenakkal Falls
The Grand Hogenakkal Falls

Hogenakkal Falls in Dharmapuri is often referred to as the "Niagara of India" due to its resemblance to the famous waterfall in North America. As it descends from the Deccan Plateau, the Kaveri River forms these stunning falls, creating a series of roaring cascades amidst rocky terrain. The Kaveri River starts at Talakaveri in Brahmagiri, gains volume, merges with other rivers to become larger, and then flows south to the Mettur Dam for irrigation and hydropower. Hogenakkal is renowned for its boat rides that take visitors close to the cascading waters, offering a thrilling experience. The expansive waters allow for Parisal (coracle ride) amidst hills of varying heights, providing visitors with a unique and relaxing experience. An amazing fact about Hogenakkal Falls is that the water here is believed to have curative properties, attracting visitors seeking relief from various ailments.

How to Reach: The Dharmapuri Bus Stand and the Salem Bus Stand are the two nearest bus stations allowing you to reach Hogenakkal Falls.

Thiruparappu Falls

A calm Thiruparappu Falls
A calm Thiruparappu Falls

The Thiruparappu Waterfall is a scenic spot located about 55 kilometres from Kanniyakumari. Here, the Kodayar River cascades down a rocky 300-foot bed, creating a nearly 50-foot waterfall. The falls is seasonal, flowing for approximately seven months a year. The area upstream from the falls is a vast rocky stretch where the famous Thirparappu weir diverts water for paddy fields. A Shiva temple, enclosed by sturdy fortifications, stands on the left bank of the river between the waterfall and the weir. To add to the appeal for families, the district administration has built a popular children's swimming pool here.

How to Reach: Thiruparappu Water Falls can be easily reached by air via Thiruvananthapuram Airport, by train through Kuzhithurai Railway Station (17 km away), or by road, with distances of 45 km from Thiruvananthapuram and 54 km from Kanniyakumari.

Kutladampatti Waterfalls

Hidden in the foothills of the Western Ghats near Madurai, Kutladampatti Waterfalls is a hidden solitary gem waiting to be discovered by nature enthusiasts. It is tucked away amidst dense forests and rocky terrain, offering a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. The falls are a part of Sirumalai Reserved Forest, operated by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. The gentle cascade of Kutladampatti forms a series of shallow pools, perfect for a leisurely dip or a refreshing swim. These waterfalls in Tamil Nadu descend from a height of approximately 27 metres and tickle the hearts of travellers as they cascade down the rocks twice before finally reaching the ground. The surrounding wilderness adds to the allure of this waterfall, providing an ideal setting for picnics and nature walks. One amazing fact about Kutladampatti Waterfalls is its significance as a biodiversity hotspot, as it is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including endemic species unique to the region. Tourists visit Kutladampatti Waterfalls in September and February to enjoy the sound of rushing water and take pictures or bathe.

How to Reach: Kutladampatti Waterfalls is located just 30 km from the town of Madurai. You can take a bus from Madurai Periyar bus stand or take a taxi from Madurai to reach.

Pykara River

The beautiful Pykara River and falls
The beautiful Pykara River and falls

Pykara River is 21 km away from Ooty, which flows from Mukurthi Peak, passes through the Pykara and Glenmorgan dams, and generates hydroelectric power. The river holds cultural significance for the Todas. Pykara Falls is a major attraction that diverges into two cascading falls, each of 55 and 61 metres. It is a popular tourist destination with a forest rest house, boat house, and pristine landscape with Toda settlements and diverse wildlife. The Pykara Lake, 21 km from Ooty on the Ooty-Mysore road, and Wenlock Downs is a vast grassy meadow on the way to Pykara that acts as a favourite picnic location among tourists. People come there to bask in the summer sun by the side of the lake or go boating in the lake when the weather is pleasant, and the waters are smooth. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (TTDC) also accommodates boating activities having a boathouse of its own in the area.

How to Reach: Pykara Lake is a two-kilometre drive away, while Ooty's bus station is located 23 kilometres from the falls.

Thus, in an exploration of the waterfalls of Tamil Nadu, we realise how much of a testament they are to the state's incredible natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Each waterfall, from the stunning Courtallam to the serene Hogenakkal and the holy Pykara, has its unique story. These cascading falls capture the eye with breathtaking beauty, support local ecosystems, and offer a peaceful retreat for weary travellers. As visitors stand in awe of these natural wonders, they are reminded of the power of nature and the importance of preserving these treasures for future generations. The waterfalls of Tamil Nadu are timeless symbols of grace and vitality in this diverse and enchanting region's landscape.

For more details, go to TN Tourism Board's official page






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