Papanasam Agasthiyar Falls
The Papanasam Falls, also called the Agasthiyar Falls, is located in the Tirunelveli District flowing in the enchanting rain forests of the Western Ghats. It is situated at a distance of 60 kilometres from Tirunelveli, at the bank of Thamirabarani River. Papanasam Falls drop down from a height of 120 metres.
The name is derived from the word ‘Thamiram’ in Tamil meaning ‘Copper’. The copper content is said to be maximum in the water. Papanasam also means absolution of one’s sins, it is believed that a dip in the holy water will relieve the pilgrims of their sins.
The place is adored for its beauty and religious significance. It is also known for the rare kinds of herbs found (around 108) in the area.
History of the place
There are many legends stating the significance of the Papanasam or Agasthiyar Falls. The most strongly believed mythological story being that of Sage Agasthiyar who had prayed to get a glimpse of the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. Lord Shiva, pleased by his devotion, appeared with his consort Parvati at Papasanathar, which he made his abode. The falls nearby was named Agasthiyar falls.
Papanasam falls can be reached either by trekking (3 kimometres) or by hiring an auto from Papanasam town. The water from the falls flow towards the Papanasam Hydro Electric Project. From here it further flows to reach the Papanasam Dam catchment area. The area is frequented by a lot of animals as the falls is very close to the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.
Places to visit near Papanasam
Some places of interest in and around the town of Papanasam are:
Lying in the banks of Thamirabarani river is the Papanasam Temple with Lord Shiva as its main shrine in the name of Papanasar (Destroyer of Sins). The name of the Goddess is Lord Loganayaki also known as Ulagambigai.
Agasthiyar Munivar Temple
The idol of Sage Agasthiyar is installed above the water falls at the place where the sage is said to have meditated.
Sadhu Krishnaveni Amma Mutt
Located very close to Agasthiyar Falls, is the ashram of a Siddha by name Krishnaveni Amma.
It is the sacred pool from where Papanasam Falls gets the water. There is a Lord Shiva temple near the pool.
Dams in Papanasam
Thalaiyanai Dam, Servalar Dam, Papanasam Dam and Karaiyar Dam are all found around Papanasam town.
Panartheertham/Banatheertham Water Falls
A great place for herbal bath found here.
Things to do in Papanasam Falls
Papanasam Falls is not just about the healing bathing experience, there is a lot that the place has to offer to the tourists. Boating and trekking can be enjoyed at and around the falls. The town has an ample collection of temples making it an apt place for devotees to immerse themselves in religiosity. The shopping complexes at the city has a good range of hand woven textiles, ceramic pottery and creative jewelry made out of shells. Tourists can relish the authentic Tamil food here apart from the famous Tirunelveli Halwa. The Chittirai Vishnu Festival is organized during the Tamil month of Chittirai (April – May) every year. The falls is also frequented by devotees going to Sabarimala.
Ideal time to visit Papanasam Falls
The cascade is a year round falls as it receives water from the dam but, the best time to visit the fall is after monsoon. Morning time is ideal to visit the falls when one can thoroughly enjoy the glory of the hills. The falls remains closed when there is a overflow at the falls due to excessive rains.
How to reach Papanasam Falls
By road, Papanasam is well connected to Tirunelveli (60 kilometres), Ambasamudram (16 kilometres), Tenkasi (34 kilometres) and Madurai (215 kilometres). Tirunelveli is the nearest rail head and nearest airport is at Madurai.