Thommankuthu Waterfall - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
1 Day Treks
About Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Thommankuthu Waterfall is not a single fall, but a series of waterfalls set in a 12 km hiking stretch on river Kaliyar. The falls are inside the forest with each having pools at its bottom which are good for a dive. The falls are situated in the Idukki District of Kerala State in Southern India.
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Things to Do at Thommankuthu Waterfalls
There are ten falls in total at Thommankuthu Waterfall, all located at a distance from each other. They are-Thommankuth (0km), Ezhunilakuth (600m), Thenkuzhikuth (1.5km), Chekuthankuth (4km), Palunkankuth (5km), Kudachiyarkuth (6km), Muthikuth (6.5 km), Nakkayamkuth (8km), Thekkanthonikuth (10km) and Koovalamkuth (12km). These 10 falls make Thommankuthu one of the most beautiful as well as adventurous waterfalls in Kerala State.
While the first seven are accessible for all visitors, the last three which are located very far from the entrance can be accessed only through a trek offered during the months between November and May. The 12 km trek covering the entire stretch of the falls can be done only with the help of the forest department and their trained guides.
In addition to the waterfalls, there are many caves and viewpoints in its vicinity which makes the hike even more adventurous. There are seven caves in total- Puappothu (0km) , Palunkan (3km), Muthimuth (5.5km), Makkal (12km), Adappan (14km), Manthikkanam (17km) and Narakkan (18km). And there are five viewpoints- Kurisumala (2km), Chanjapara (2.5km), Nellimudi (3km), Thoppimudi (5km) and Bheeman coat and chair (16km).
Some of these caves and viewpoints can be seen during a regular visit but many are accessible only during the long curated trek from the forest department.
Upon reaching the gates of the falls, most of the visitors might get disappointed as the first fall is very short in height. The real adventure begins when the hiking trail starts. The trail covered by fallen leaves and twigs at its sides goes through an area filled with giant black millipedes. Although they are harmless, they are huge with a length of about 10- 15 cm and a girth of 3 cm or so.
From the entry point of the falls, the long stretch of the hike is through the beauty of the lush green forest. Among the many falls at Thommankuthu, none of them is very tall. Each of the falls is between 5 to 10 meters in height. The majority of the hiking stretches are marked with railings that run along the banks of the river for easiness of climbing.
Around seven of the total ten waterfalls can be seen during the trail. Set amidst greenery and falling from the dark rocky faces. The water flowing through them is clear and cold most of the time. There are huge trees around as well - some bending so much that they look like they are falling, some with hanging roots that could carry the weight of a few people easily. You can also find a watch tower made of bamboo for bird watching.
Upon covering almost 6 km, the trail closes and the rest of it can be done only in the summer with the help of guides. One of the tallest waterfalls in the series at a height of 30 meters sits on that portion of the trail. One of the caves in the trail is home to numerous bats as well.
History of Thommankuthu Waterfalls
A lot of interesting stories and myths circulate regarding the name of Thommankuthu Waterfall. The most popular among them is that the name Thommankuthu came from a variation of the name of a tribal leader named ‘Thumman’ who was washed away in the waterfall. Thommankuthu means ‘rapids of Thomman’.
Another story is connected to its discovery. It is believed that the falls were discovered by a hunter named Thommachen Kuruvinakunnel in the late 1920s and the falls were given a short form of his name. He is also believed to have a role in the discovery of the location of the Idukki Dam site. Idukki Dam is one of the largest arch dams in Asia.
There are lots of tribal communities in the vicinities of the falls, as well as many caves. A popular theory circulates that says that during pre-historic times, these caves hosted tribal settlements. It is also believed that the water flowing through the falls possesses magical powers. The locals believe that the pools in the stream were once the bathing places of nymphs, hence the water flowing through has magical healing powers.
Best Time to Visit Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Although Thommankuthu Waterfall is open throughout the year, the best time to visit will be from November to May when the long trek is open to visitors. From June to October, the place will be covered in thick greenery and the river will be flowing with the maximum amount of water it can carry. But it is also the period when leeches flourish.
Tips for Visiting Thommankuthu Waterfalls
- Wear sturdy shoes: The trail to Thommankuthu Waterfall is fairly steep and slippery in places. Wearing comfortable shoes with a good grip will help you navigate the trail safely.
- Be cautious: Although Thommankuthu Waterfall is a beautiful place to swim, the currents can be strong. Be cautious when swimming and only enter the water where there are clear indications from forest guards on safe swimming.
- The area is home to the leeches that suck blood off of the body and their population explodes in monsoon months. So carry some salt to get rid of them from your body.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Thommankuthu Waterfalls
- Thommachen Kuruvinakunnel, who is believed to have discovered the waterfall is also believed to have a role in the discovery of the location of the Idukki Dam site
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Thommankuthu Waterfalls
It takes two to three hours to explore Thommankuthu Waterfall. If you plan to hike further with the help of guides from the forest department, that will easily take a whole day.
How to Reach Thommankuthu Waterfalls
The nearest small town to Thommankuthu Waterfall is Karimannoor (10km) and the nearest large town is Thodupuzha (20km). The nearest major railway stations are in Aluva (68km) and Ernakulam (71km). From Aluva and Ernakulam there are direct buses to Thodupuzha. From Thodupuzha, there are buses to Karimannoor. From Karimanoor to the falls area, the road is narrow and you might have to either take a rikshaw/ taxi or hike 10km to the falls.
Entrance Fee of Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Adults are charged INR 20 for entry into Thommankuthu Waterfall. For children up to 12 years old, INR 10. Still cameras are charged INR 10 and video cameras are charged INR 100.
Opening Hours of Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Thommankuthu Waterfall is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Attractions Near Thommankuthu Waterfalls
1.53km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
It is a lesser-known waterfall situated in the Idukki district. With the low depth and low rush of water, it is one of the safest waterfalls in Kerala.
3.03km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
An intense hike of 2.5 kilometers to immerse in the beautiful views of Western Ghat mountain ranges and valleys filled with mists.
6.13km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
A huge rock rising over 4,000 feet with an evergreen forest on top of it. The peaks are covered in mist in rainy days but otherwise, you will be able to see the Periyar river flowing below as a silver stream, and parts of the city of Cochin far away.
8.03km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
The waterfall located inside forest, falling from a height of 60 meters and accessible by hiking.
10.89km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
This waterfall lies on the roadside enrouting Munnar and is a popular spot for taking a break.
12.62km from Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Pristine green hills, verdant valleys and a small infinity pool on top overlooking the valleys and mountains of the Western Ghats.
Discover More Attractions in Idukki, Home of Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Where is Thommankuthu Waterfalls
What Visitors Say About Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Not much of a waterfall but a stream and a hiking trail along its sides. What makes this place a bummer is that you cant do anything besides walking through the trail and having a dip at one of the shallow part of the river. The management could have opened up many of the other better areas in the river so that it would be much more nicer for visitors to explore. Apart from all the ranting, this place is not just a single waterfall but a series of falls running along a river inside a forest. Only 1.5 kilometers of the trail is open for the regular visitors, the rest 6 km has to be booked earlier as a guide should come along with the visitors in that trail. The guards in the area told us that the lengthy trail in much better than the one we took. If you are a serious explorer, will recommend you to take that. They charge INR1,500 for 5 people I think. And if you just want to visit the falls and not do the additional hike, I will not recommend it. There are much better ones in Kerala.