Often referred as the Niagra of India, the Athirapally waterfalls in Kerala is the largest waterfalls in the state. Falling from a height of 80m, this splendid waterfall is a delight to witness. It is situated in Chalakkudy [Thrissur district] on the 145 km long Chalakkudy River which originates from the Western Ghats and flows to the Sholayar Forest. The location is so beautiful that it has served as a setting for many blockbuster Indian movies like Raavan, Guru and Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se to name a few.
Though I have heard a lot about Athirapally Waterfalls, I never made a visit. Finally, last week I decided to travel to Athirapally. From my hometown Cochin, Athirapally is nearly 70 kms, a 2 hour drive. I started early morning 6am. There are 2 ways to reach Athirapally from Cochin, one is taking a right diversion after Angamaly junction which is the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, and other is from Chalakkudy. I must say both ways to Athirapally are two of the most scenic routes you would have ever come across. I took the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road which comes shortly after the Cochin International Airport near Angamaly.
From Cochin, it is the shorter route. However, if you are travelling by car, I would suggest you pick the Chalakkudy route as i suffered a bit moving the other route. The Chalakkudy- Athirappally road is in good condition and therefore a better than the former. As I started driving through the Mukkannur- Ezhattumukham road, I came across some blissful sights of the countryside. No wonder people love this route. There were oil palms, rubber estates, gorgeous rivulets, and smiling estate workers all along. The route passes through many beautiful villages as well. I stopped at certain spots for few clicks.
Take a look below-
I reached a check-post, where we need to buy the ticket to enter the Athirapally Waterfalls area. It is Rs. 30 per person. For still cameras, you got to pay Rs. 20 and Rs. 200 for video cameras. From there, nearly a 100 m away, there is a sweet spot for the visitors. We get a long yet spectacular view of the Athirapally Falls. The below is an image taken from the spot
A short walk from there got me to the Athirapally Waterfalls entrance. There are lots of food joints and other shops adjacent to the entrance. I started walking through the pathway inside. It takes a 10-minute walk to reach the first viewpoint of the Athirapally Waterfalls. From there I had a panoramic view of the waterways and the surrounding hills along with the side view of the majestic Athirapally waterfalls on to my right. You could see the same below-
A guard informed me to go for a short trek downhill where the “Big deal” is. I started the trek. The pathway is well laid out with bamboo handrails and also bamboo made benches for the visitors to relax during this downhill trek. I reached halfway, and unlike the guard said it did not feel like a short trek for me. I was heavily gasping for air. I sat at one of the bamboo benches by the side. Nearly half an hour gone, i still did not move. Maybe because I am so used to sitting at work for long hours that my body doesn’t like to overdo anything that burns my calories.
I resumed my trek. I guess it is more than half a km walk down the rocky hill. It is tiring, however, I could hear the roaring waterfalls near me, which pumped me to get through. At last, I made it. I saw a group of travellers looking up, standing in awe. I rushed towards them, and guess what- the same thing happened. I was awestruck too, I was lost for words.
Well! Who would not? seeing THIS-
The sight is just brilliant. I just stood there for a while witnessing the river water gushing down the rocky landscape surrounded by lush green mountains. A blissful sight for any human eye. The feeling was great. I was standing right in front of the largest waterfalls in Kerala. This waterfall is not big, it is simply GINORMOUS! I sat on a rock and enjoyed the sight for more than an hour.
For me, this is one of the finest pieces of art by Mother Nature.
I highly recommend all travellers, especially nature lovers to make a visit to Athirapally Waterfalls and experience the love of nature at this part of the world.