Athirappilly Falls: The Complete Guide
The Athirappilly Falls in Kerala, India, is the biggest waterfall in the state. Foreign tourists, however, frequently bypass it in favour of more famous sites like as the Kerala backwaters, Kochi, Varkala, Munnar, and Periyar National Park. The place’s evocative, picturesque appeal has not gone unnoticed by filmmakers and the Kerala tourism agency. Visiting the waterfall while staying in a tree home next to it adds to the experience. This Athirappilly Falls travel guide will assist you in planning your visit.
Athirappilly Falls was mostly unknown and undiscovered until the early 1980s. However, it gained notoriety when the Kerala State Electricity Board proposed a contentious hydropower project that included the construction of a dam upstream of the waterfall. Many people were against the proposal for a variety of reasons, including fears that it might cause the waterfall to dry up.
Athirappilly Falls was the site for the memorable suicide scene in the Tamil film “Punnagai Mannan” (King of Smiles) in the late 1980s. Kerala Tourism began marketing the state and featured the waterfall in one of their enthralling ad campaigns, bringing the place even more into the spotlight.
Since then, Athirappilly Falls has served as a beautiful background for many South Indian and Bollywood films. There have been kidnappings, fights, singing, dancing, and romances there. Hit films including “Guru,” “Dil Se,” “Khushi,” “Yaariyan,” “Raavan,” and “Bahubali” popularised the waterfall and made it a popular tourist destination for Indians, particularly those from Kerala.
Athirappilly Falls is a waterfall on the Chalakudy River in Kerala’s Thrissur district’s Sholayar Reserve Forest. It’s around 25 miles (40 kilometres) northeast of Kochi International Airport and 19 miles (30 kilometres) east of Chalakudy Railway Station. The Chalakudy River, which originates in Tamil Nadu’s Anamalai Hills, is one of Kerala’s longest rivers. It runs into the Arabian Sea in Azhikode, north of Kochi, after joining the Kerala backwaters at Kodungallur.
How to Visit
By cab, Athirappilly Falls may be accessed in less than two hours from Kochi airport or in less than an hour from Chalakudy through State Highway 21. (the Chalakudy-Anamala Road). All the way to Tamil Nadu, this roadway passes through deep forest. A prepaid cab from the airport will set you back around 1,400 rupees.
From Chalakudy, private and state buses go to Athirappilly. Every hour, buses leave from the bus station in a regular schedule.
Alternatively, some visitors go to Athirappilly Falls by road from Munnar in Kerala (four hours southeast) or Valparai in Tamil Nadu’s tea plantations (two and a half hours east).
The Forest Department, in collaboration with a group of locals known as Vana Samrakshana Samithi, manages access to Athirappilly Falls. The event begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Visitors must purchase tickets, which cost 100 rupees for Indians and 30 rupees for foreigners. In addition, a camera charge of 20 rupees must be paid. Parking charges between 10 and 30 rupees, depending on the type of car.
The waterfall may be seen from the roadway, immediately before the parking area, near the ticket booth. Inside the entryway, there are two more viewpoints: one at the top of the waterfall and one at the bottom. To get to each one, plan on walking for around 10 minutes.
The steep route through the forest to the foot of the waterfall involves some effort, so it’s not for everyone. For safety concerns, this path is blocked during periods of severe rain. If you go down to the bottom, bring a change of clothes or a jacket since the waterfall’s spray is really strong and you will be drenched.
In the area of the waterfall’s entrance, there are several snack stands and small eateries. However, don’t bring any food with you or you’ll be robbed by threatening monkeys.
Most visitors visit Athirappilly Falls during the monsoon season, which runs from June to November in Kerala, because this is when the waterfall’s flow is at its highest (by August it usually covers the entire rock-face). During the state’s Onam celebration in August or September, the area becomes very busy and loud. If you want to have some peace and quiet, stay away from weekends and public holidays. To reduce the probability of rain, travel near the conclusion of the monsoon season.
Want to see Athirappilly Falls from above? Spend a night in a tree home at the opulent Rainforest Resort. This hotel is situated across from a waterfall, which can be seen from the guest rooms.
What to See There
The biggest attraction is undoubtedly Athirappilly Falls. It is 330 feet wide and has an 82-foot vertical plunge (about half that of Niagra Falls). The summit of the mountain offers a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and waterfall. To truly appreciate the power of the waterfall, you’ll need to descend to its base.
Tickets also grant access to Vazhachal Falls, which are located approximately 3 miles (5 kilometres) downstream on the same river. It’s a beautiful location, however the waterfall is more like rapids than a vertical drop. Along the journey, you’ll cross the lesser Charpa waterfall, which is just close to the road. During the monsoon season, it springs to life and rushes onto the road.
Sholayar Reserve Forest has a lot to offer to those who enjoy nature. It supports a wide range of vegetation and wildlife. The Great Hornbill (Kerala’s state bird), Malabar Pied Hornbill, Malabar Grey Hornbill, and Indian Grey Hornbill are the only four South Indian hornbill species found there.
What Else to Do Nearby
On the route to Athirappilly Falls, the kids will enjoy Thumboormozhi. Ezhattumukham-Prakriti Gramam Nature Village features a dam, butterfly garden, children’s park, and a long suspension bridge. It’s a nice place to have lunch.
After passing over Athirappilly Falls, you’ll arrive to Malakkappara tea estate, which is near to the Tamil Nadu border. It takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there.
A full-day “forest safari” trip including the following sites as well as the waterfalls is offered by the Thrissur District Tourism Promotion Council in collaboration with the Athirappilly Destination Management Council.
For extra family entertainment, there are two water parks near Athirappilly: Silver Storm and Dream World.