“Wow! Spectacular! Beautiful!” I could not help the words coming out neither could I believe my eyes. My jaw almost touched the ground after seeing what was there in front of my eyes. I am standing in front of the unbelievable Aathirapally waterfalls in Kerala. No wonder it is called the ‘Niagra of Kerala’. The fascinating sight completely swept me off my feet. Throughout the 55 km ride from Cochin International Airport to this place I was dying for this moment. I have heard about this amazing place so many times that I could not wait any longer.
Touted as the largest waterfall in Kerala, this amazing water beauty called Aathirapally waterfall falls from a stupendous height of 80 feet. The wild beauty is surrounded with riparian, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. The water falls crashing through the gorge joins the Chalakudy River.
Located in the Thrissur district of Kerala, the waterfall is a famous picnic spot. People come here to enjoy a nice family vacation. The cool misty water infuses a sense of freshness in you. The deafening sound of the water makes you realize the might of the nature. One can swim at the bottom of the fall or walk on the rocks. Whatever you do, the milky white water will surely take your breath away. I think I am lucky and blessed to witness this beauty from such close distance.
After a few enquiries, I got to know from the locals that the best time to visit this place is actually during the monsoons i.e. from June to October when the waterfall is at its natural best. But you should forget about swimming in the roaring water during this time. Swimming is prohibited during the monsoon to prevent any mishap in the wild water. There are police camps positioned everywhere here. The forest guards and other workers are always stationed here for the safety of the people.
The waterfall houses one of the most diverse and unique flora and fauna. The guide told me that I can spot Cochin Forest Cane Turtle, Great Indian hornbill, lion-tailed macaque and Nilgiri langur here. The Chalakudy River has around 85 species of fresh water fishes. It is mainly an elephant density habitat so don’t get surprised if you come face to face with few tuskers!
The Vazhachal and Charpa falls that are 5 km away from Aathirapally falls are also equal crowd pullers. There are many water theme parks and herbal gardens around the falls.
If you are at the Aathirapally falls, there are certain rules you need to follow. The place is a plastic free zone so no littering is allowed. You are not supposed to feed the wildlife. The fall opens to the public at 8 in the morning and closes at 6 in the evening. You will have to buy a pass to get inside which won’t cost much. The snake roads here might look really adventurous but it is better if you avoid driving at night because of the rough terrain.
There are nice, affordable and comfortable resorts and hotels here where you can halt for food. The place sells some really nice handicrafts and accessories and is definitely a shopping delight.
The nearest railway station is at Chalakudy which is 30 km away from Aathirapally waterfalls. You can even hire a private taxi or board a bus from the Chalakuddy Bus Terminal to reach here.
So if you are looking for a place where you can take your family and unwind, I think you have your answer.
This article was authored by Janu Narayan on of the authors of Home of Ayurveda.