Athirapally Waterfalls - 14 Things to Know Before Visiting
1 Day Treks
Things to know
- About Athirapally Waterfalls
- Things to Do
- Activities and tours near by
- Best Time to Visit
- Tips for Visiting
- Interesting Facts and Trivias
- How Much Time Did Visitors Spend
- How to Reach
- Entrance Fee
- Opening Hours
- Attractions near by
- Discover More Attractions in Thrissur
- Location and Map
- What Visitors Say
About Athirapally Waterfalls
Athirapally Falls are the most famous waterfalls in Kerala State of Southern India. Nicknamed as the Niagra of South India, the waterfall is situated at the Chalakudy River in the Thrissur District. It is 25 meters tall and over 100 meters wide. The fall is nicknamed ‘The Niagra of India’ because of the water thundering down in the entirety of its width during the peak monsoon season between June and October.
Hotels near Athirapally Waterfalls
Hotels to stay near Athirapally Waterfalls
Things to Do at Athirapally Waterfalls
The 145 km long Chalakudy River originates from the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats and flows through Sholayar Reserve Forest towards the Arabian Sea. The river initially runs smooth but becomes turbulent as it approaches the waterfall. In the fall area, the water surges on top of a huge rocky bed and cascades down into three separate plumes. The river remains turbulent for another 1 km until it reaches Thumboormuzhi Dam downstream.
The journey through the scenic route and exploring the falls
The journey from Chalakudy to Athirapally Falls passes through scenic landscapes of winding roads, small villages and lush green plantations and forests. The roadsides are either filled with palm/ teak plantations or green forests to the waterfalls. With so much greenery on both sides and with the perfect zig-zagging roads, the route to Athirapally is one of the best in the state for a road trip.
The neatly paved path from the entrance
Once at the entrance, a paved path through thick woods leads to the top of the falls after 5- 10 minutes of walk. The whole path will be covered with monkeys inspecting the waste bins for food items. There are plenty of shops near the falls and during the off-monsoon season, visitors could bathe and swim in the many natural rocky pools at the top of the falls.
The view of the falls
Standing near the barriers placed on top of the fall, it is easy to understand why it is featured in many Indian movies. The fall is massive with a huge rock as its face from where the water plunges. The water is sprayed in all directions and both sides of the fall and the river is covered in the thick green forest where you can spot birds as well as swarms of butterflies. Down below, the Chalakudy river flows magnificently hiding its dangers. The falls even though not extremely tall, are massive in width and are filled with water in their entirety during monsoon season.
The hike to the bottom of the fall
A hike down through a steep, narrow path for about 10- 15 minutes leads you to the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy the spectacular view of the water thundering down from the top. The bottom portion of the falls will give you another perspective but to hike down, visitors have to reach before 4 pm at the entry point of the hike.
More safari options
Daily jungle safaris are conducted by the fall authorities for the visitors. The safari provides an opportunity for visitors to view wildlife as well as some of the other attractions along 90 km of Sholayar Forest Areas. For the details of the safari, you will have to contact the Athirapally Fall managing authorities.
History of Athirapally Waterfalls
The wildlife in the area includes elephants, tigers, leopards, gaur (Indian bison), sambar (large deer native to the Indian subcontinent), lion-tailed macaques etc. The riparian forests in the area are the only location where all four South Indian species of Hornbills - the great hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill and the Indian grey hornbill live together.
Plantations in the reserve forest areas include teak, bamboo and eucalyptus and the river itself is home to 85 species of freshwater fishes.
Electric Power Project and the related controversies
In 1994, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) proposed a 163 MW Athirapally Hydro Electric Project. The project includes a dam 23 meters high and 311 meters wide on the Chalakudy River about five kilometres upstream of Athirapally Falls and 400 meters upstream of the nearby Vazhachal Falls. Environmental groups and people collectives started opposing the project because it would damage the environment, infringe on the human right of the ‘Kadar’ tribal people living in the area and threaten tourism as both the waterfalls would eventually dry up.
Even though KSEB proposed adjusting the water release to maintain the falls, the debate is continuing at present with some of the agencies opposing the project while some other support it.
Best Time to Visit Athirapally Waterfalls
Though the monsoon season in the months from June to October offers the best view of the thundering waterfall in its full glory, you can explore very little during this period. The large volume of water will make it too dangerous to enter the river, and the hike to the bottom of the falls will be difficult.
November to January is the best time to explore the place as heavy rains would have stopped by then, resulting in relatively less water flowing through. From February to May, the water will be at its lowest, but visitors can swim in the naturally formed pools of the river in the upper portion of the waterfalls and comfortably hike to the bottom of it.
Tips for Visiting Athirapally Waterfalls
- Watch out for the very slippery rocks in the river. Don't venture too much into the edge as the slippery rocks can easily off-balance you.
- There are many monkeys in the area. Do not threaten or feed them.
- If you plan to bathe, do it strictly in the areas where it is allowed. In many parts of the river, the rocky beds even though look safe have hidden crevices where you can easily get trapped.
- When there is heavy rainfall in the area, the waterfall will be closed and no entry will be permitted.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Athirapally Waterfalls
- Athirapally Falls is the largest waterfall in Kerala and is nicknamed "The Niagra of South India"
- The falls have been used as a location for several Malayalam and other Indian language films. So far about 50 movies in total!
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Athirapally Waterfalls
It would take about 1 to 2 hours to hike and explore Athirapally Falls and its views.
How to Reach Athirapally Waterfalls
The nearest railway station and major town from the falls is Chalakudy 30 km away. The falls can be easily reached either by taxi or by bus from Chalakudy. Chalakudy is well connected with the rest of the districts of the state and other states of the country using buses and trains.
Entrance Fee of Athirapally Waterfalls
Adults of Indian Nationality: INR 50
Children below 12 years of Indian Nationality: INR 10
Students of Indian Nationality: INR 15
For Foreigners: INR 200
Car Parking: INR 30
With the same ticket, you can also access Vazhachal Falls.
Opening Hours of Athirapally Waterfalls
Athirapally Falls is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. The hike to the bottom of the falls is open only till 4 PM.
Attractions Near Athirapally Waterfalls
19.7km from Athirapally Waterfalls
Bhoothathankettu means "Fort created by monsters". The legend is that monsters planned to submerge a Shiva temple nearby by making a dam in the area. Their plan was deterred by Lord Shiva by faking approaching dawn, thereby causing the monsters to runaway fearing the arrival of light. The demons were supposed to roll the large boulders seen in the area to the river bed creating the dam.
Discover More Attractions in Thrissur, Home of Athirapally Waterfalls
Location of Athirapally Waterfalls
What Visitors Say About Athirapally Waterfalls
The most famous waterfalls of Kerala. Offers two different perspective- from top of the falls and the bottom. The falls looks ferocious and most beautiful during the rainy season.
Heavenly showers down on earth... nourished by beautiful chalakudi river accompanied by everlasting green memories
The most popular waterfalls of Kerala. The route to falls is pretty scenic and the waterfall is huge.
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