Have you ever awed yourself through a waterfall as big as the Niagara or revelled in a dip in its waters? It’s an amazing feeling, isn’t it? Waterfalls are abundant across India and Athirapilly Falls is one that every nature lover to South India should visit.
The falls sit in the Thrissur district of Kerala, south of India and are one of the largest waterfalls in the state, so much so that it has been nicknamed “the Niagara of India”! Situated on the Chalakudy river, the falls are about 80 feet high and 1000 feet above sea level. The source of the falls begins from the Western Ghats, which is a mountain range that runs parallel to the western coast of India. From here, the water runs smoothly through the Vazhachal Forest before gaining its force and turbulently falling as 3 separate plumes to form the Athirapilly Falls.
Vazhachal Falls sits not too far from Athirapilly. Only 5km away, these falls are located on the west-flowing Chalakudy river near the Vazhachal Forest. Monsoon seasons will see both these falls at its best with heaving amounts of water thundering down. Heavy rains can sometimes interfere with a relaxed or even a safe visit due to slippery treks. Hence, the best times for a visit could be from September to July. If you hate crowds, however, it’s best to avoid the weekends and holidays which could dampen your efforts to enjoy its sights.
Athirapilly Falls are otherwise known to be a Sunday retreat for local families and couples who head here for a picnic, both to enjoy both the falls as well as its surroundings. The plunging point is a ten-minute walk down. There are also small ‘eco shops’ selling drinks and herbs, wooden benches and even washrooms in the area. Bamboo is another distinct feature of this place. It can be seen growing naturally and forms the building fabric for shops and rest huts.
The forests around the area are notable for its birdlife, namely its hornbills. At the same time, elephants, tigers, leopards and deer have also been spotted. In fact, the area has one of the best elephant conservation efforts.
From Cochin Airport
A drive to reach the falls will take you through beautiful Keralan countrysides so don’t miss out on this. If you’re anywhere outside of Kerala, you’d probably find yourself flying into Cochin Airport first. The long drive from Cochin airport is a visual treat with winding roads that transport you through shady palm trees and tall areca nut and coconut trees.
The falls are famous with filmmakers and an ideal backdrop for major film shooting, both Tamil, and Hindi. Raavan and the recent movie, Bahubali was shot here.
There are also other areas around the falls worth paying a visit. These include the Elephant training centre where you might catch elephants being fed and bathed and the eco-tourism project.