Kuttralam Main Falls
Kuttralam Main Falls / Courtallam Main Falls – The Spa of South India
Kuttralam situated in Tenkasi District is popularly called the “Spa of South India”. The beauty of this exotic location is enriched by thundering waterfalls, vast stretch of greenery and pristine surroundings. Kutralam is adorned with ancient temples and many other places of interest. Also known as the herbal hill, water flowing from the magnificent waterfalls is said to have medicinal values owing to which many health resorts and clinics have come up in and around the town. Several perennial rivers such as Thamirabarani River, Chittar River, Manimuthar River and Pachaiyar River originate is this region of Tirunelveli.
Courtallam/Kuttralam is a panchayat town situated at an elevation of 160 metres on the Western Ghats in Tenkasi District of Tamil Nadu.
Reference to the Literature
The word Kutralam is derived from the word “Kuru aal” meaning dwarf banyan trees. The region came to be known as Kutralam as the forests of this area were full of dwarf banyan trees. The famous poet Thiurkudarasappa Kavirayar glorifies the beauty and magnificence of this quaint town located near Thenkasi in the South of Tamil Nadu. It also finds a place in Sangam Literature, where its beauty is compared to the beauty of a woman.
Major Waterfalls in Kuttralam
There are nine major waterfalls in Kutralam. People from across the country visit this place to soak in the essence of herbs and rejuvenate in the waters of Kutralam falls.
Courtallam Main Falls (Peraruvi)
One of the prime attractions, Peraruvi is the biggest among the nine falls. At Kuttralam Main Falls, waterfalls from a height of 60 metres and slows down due to a natural crater named Pongumakadal (19 metres deep). The water flows through rocks with sculptors of Shiva Lingams and various other Gods. This aspect along with the healing properties that the water possesses, makes a bath in the falls a truly divine and refreshing experience. It is also normal practice to comfort oneself with a body massage after the bath.
During peak season, the falls become crowded and tourists line up in queues for a bath. The huge falls can accommodate around 300 people simultaneously.
Small Falls (Chitraruvi)
Chitraruvi is a small falls lying adjacent to the kuttralam main falls. A walk up the hill from Chitraruvi leads to other falls like Shenbaga Devi and Thenaruvi. Tourists can have a milder shower here as the water flow is very thin. There are facilities for men and women to bathe separately.
Trekking through the Chitaruvi Forest for a distance of 2.5 kilometres and at a height of 40 feet above the Chitaruvi Falls is the Shenbagadevi Falls. The water at Shenbagadevi Falls flows through Shenbaga trees. There is a temple here dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman. During full moon days, a throng of pilgrims visit this temple.
Thenaruvi (Honey Falls)
Thenaruvi is at a distance of 3 kilometres from the main falls. It is 40 metres high falls cascading between two large stones. The Falls gets its name from the honeycombs found on the hills. The horseshoe-shaped waterfall is at the end of a trail that find its way through dense woods and steep mountain paths. The trek is risky and so the place is restricted for public.
Aintharuvi (Five Falls) in Kuttralam
Yet another popular spot in Kutralam, Aintharuvi is located at 4 kilometres from Kutralam town. As the name suggests, the falls cascades down through five separate sections to become one stream is it flows downhill. Of the five sections, two are allotted to women and three for men to bathe. Tourists can also visit the Eco Park and boat house around the area apart from several popular nearby temples.
Pazhathotta Aruvi (Orchard Falls)
Found above the Aintharivu, flowing from the orchard above and surrounded by picturesque aura is the Pazhathotta Aruvi. It is also referred to as the VIP Falls as entry was permitted only to politicians and bureaucrats. However, entry is now restricted to everyone.
Pazhaya Courtalla Aruvi (Old Courtallam Falls)
At a distance of around 6 kilometres from the Main Falls is the Pazhaya Courtalla Aruvi also called as Shivamathungai Falls. The Falls were made suitable for bathing by changing the course of water which originally flowed into a valley formed between two large rocks. Steps have been cut into the rocks to make it safe for bathing under this Falls which flows down from a height of 200 metres. There are separate areas for men and women to have a bath along with oil massages.
Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls)
Puli Aruvi gets its name from the fact that it was a watering hole for tigers in the past. It is a mild waterfall formed on private property, around 2 kilometres from the Courtallam bus stand. The water flowing down accumulates in a lake and then is streamed along canals for irrigation. Sastha Temple, a bathing Ghat and an old palace which now is private property is found near the Falls.
The Private Falls
There is another small falls found above the Five Falls inside the Government Horticulture park, but it is not open to public. The Main Falls, Five Falls and Courtallam Falls can be reached by road, however, Shenbaga Waterfalls and Honey Falls can be reached only on foot by mountain trekking.
Places to Visit in Kuttralam
Some of the other places of interest that could be visited near Kutralam are:
- Palaruvi (Milk Falls) – It lies at the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border at the mountain pass named Aryankavu.
- Gundaru Aruvi – Located at a distance of 10 kilometres from Kutralam, near Sengottai. Traveling 2 kilometres inward from the Gundaru Dam will take you to Gundaru Aruvi.
- Kannupuli Mettu – Located at a distance of 5 kilometres to the west Sengottai Taluk Office at the top of Gundaru Reservoir.
- Recreational Spots – Children’s Park, Aquarium and Snake park near Main Falls, Eco Park near Five Falls, Therkumalai Estate, around one hour travel from Honey Falls, Boat Houses near Five Falls and Old Courtallam Falls, Gundam Dam & Reservoir near Senkottai.
- Major Pilgrimage Centre –
The Chitra Sabha at Kutralam is one of the five sabhas where Lord Nataraja (a form of Lord Shiva) is said to have performed his divine dance. The historical paintings and other religious events are very significant here.
The Kutralanathar Temple near to the Main Falls is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is around 2000 years old and Tamil inscriptions of Chola and Pandyan periods can be found here.
- Other temples near Kutralam include
- Thirukutralanathar Temple
- Kasi Viswanathar Temple, Tenkasi (6 kms from Kutralam)
- Thirumalai Temple, Panpoli (8 kms from Kutralam)
- Kumaran Temple, Ilanji (3 kms from Kutralam)
- Dakshinamoorthy Temple, Puliyarai (12 kms from Kutralam)
- Ulagaambigai & Lord Shiva Temple, Papanasam (35 kms to the Southeast of Kutralam)
- Ariyankavau Ayappan Temple (35 kms to the Northwest of Kutralam)
- Sri Siddheswari Peetham, Courtallam
- Papanasam River at a distance of 35 kms from Kutralam
- The Banatheertham Falls and Agasthiyar Falls near Papanasam
- Lower Papanasam Dam, Kaaraiyar Dam, Servalar Dam and Manimuthar Dam near Papanasam
- Kallakaddu – Mundanthurai Tiger Sanctuary near Papanasam
- Kumbavuruti Aruvi – Located at a distance of 32 kms from kutralam, on the way to Achan Koil in Kerala.
Unique Attributes of Kuttralam
Ideal time to visit Kuttralam
Best time to visit would be from June to December from the onset of South West Monsoons. If due to heavy rains the falls get flooded, people would not be allowed to take bath in the falls.
How to reach Kuttralam
Senkottai is the nearest bus stand. Frequent buses ply to Courtallam. The nearest railway hub is at Thenkasi (5kms) and the nearest airport is Tuticorin Airport and Trivandrum International Airport.