A Force Of Nature: The Athirapally Waterfall In Kerala

A Force Of Nature: The Athirapally Waterfall In Kerala
The ecosystem of Athirappilly is unique in its biodiversity Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This magnificent waterfall is the highest in Kerala

OT Staff
February 26 , 2023
02 Min Read

The Athirappilly Waterfall, at 24-m high, is the largest in Kerala often called ‘the Niagara of India’ by tourist guides. At the same time, the Athirappilly Waterfalls are more than a mere picnic spot. Surrounded by forests that are home to all kinds of wild animals, including elephants, leopards and bisons, this area is also known to birders as the only place where all four south Indian hornbills can be spotted – the Grey Hornbill, the Malabar Pied Hornbill, the Malabar Grey Hornbill and the Great Indian Hornbill.

The ecosystem of Athirappilly is unique in its biodiversity, to which the Chalakudy river contributes greatly. It flows placidly for the most part, but races down the rocks at Athirappilly to form the white canopy of the waterfall.


In summer, when the waterfall becomes a trickle, Athirappilly slips back into its lazy rhythm. In the winter and monsoons, this spot is transformed into a bustling tourist destination. The winding roads that lead through small hamlets and villages nestled in the rich green forests also make the drive to Athirappilly one of the most beautiful in Kerala.

Athirappilly is a small town, whose main landmark is the waterfall. It is located off the Chalakudy-Athirappilly Road on the Chalakudy river. About 1.5km down the road from the main Athirappilly Falls are the smaller Charpa Falls.

Another 5km down the river, just past the Peringalkathu Dam, are the Vazhachal Falls. Still further east on SH21, closer to the eastern borders of Kerala, are the Anakkayam Falls and the Malakapara Tea Gardens. The highway then curves towards Valparai and Pollachi in Tamil Nadu.

Thumboormuzhy Gardens

Located on Athirappilly Road, the Thumbookmuzhy Gardens are beautifully landscaped and full of flowers. They are lined with areca nut palms on one side, while the Chalakudy river flows peacefully on the other. The gardens also house a coffee shop, ideal for a brief respite and relaxing conversations.

Vazhachal Waterfall

The Vazhachal Waterfall is not as spectacular as the one at Athirappilly, but has its own charm. Close to the waterfall is a medicinal herb garden with plants that are said to cure arthritis, skin diseases and blood pressure as well. There is also a small canteen nearby, making the spot ideal for a small break in a picturesque setting. Swimming in the falls is not a permitted activity.

The Information

Getting There: 

By Air: Kochi International Airport is the nearest airport to Athirapally. ...
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Athirapally is Chalakudy, which is approximately 28 km from here. ...
By Road: Athirapally is well-connected with other cities of Kerala and it is only 55 km away from Kochi.

 RELATED: The 5 Most Stunning Waterfalls In The World

ALSO READ: Did You Know About the Smoking Falls of India?

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