The Untouched beauty of Kerala – Athirapally and Vazahal waterfall

Kerala- God’s own country. It is really God’s country, so we got this opportunity in the month of May 2010. We made plan to visit one of my friend house at Aluva ,Cochin. So after planning and deciding how to visit we thought of taking train from Chennai on Wednesday so that we can enjoy Cochin in 04 days i.e. Thursday to Sunday. On Friday we had planned to visit Athirapally and Vazahal waterfall. So for going to see these falls we had hired a cab. The cab person arrived at our place at sharp 0900 hrs and we started our trip to the lush green forest of Kerala.

On our way



As we are moving further slowly ,slowly we were crossing the city area and were going towards Forest side. As we crossed the city area we found ourselves in the midst of dense Rubber plantation. As per official records 92% of rubber comes from the State of Kerala. And I was actually witnessing it. Both sides of our road were full of rubber plants with a half cut Coconut shell hanging at the middle of the tree for collection of rubber. The land area was so optimal used .There were three plantations on single piece of land viz.coconut, rubber and pineapple. So altogether it was very good experience travelling in the midst of lush green area with birds chirping, clean air and no noise and air pollution.

Rubber Plantation


On our way


We were enjoying our car ride on this wonderful route. Then after one hour or so our driver took a turn and we reached at one beautiful place. The place has beautiful landscape, water bodies, small reservoir and a small tea shop and Restroom. (What I remember the place name as Nature’s Resort (but unfortunately I am unable to find this place on internet). It’s a picturesque spot and one can actually enjoy by going into water as water level is very low here.

Nature’s resort

After enjoying this beautiful place we moved further and after half an hour we reached at Vazahal Waterfall. At Vazahal the car parking arrangement was available. So we had parked our car at the parking and started walking down towards waterfall area.
a. Vazahal Waterfall – Waterfall area (Vazahal Garden) near Vazahal waterfall is secured by railings so that people do not enter in the waterfall area. There is a small garden with sitting arrangement s, small herbal garden inside the garden and was full of Monkeys. All these are monitored and administered by Vazahal Forest Department. From this garden we can actually view the waterfall. Now a little about Vazahal Waterfall as mentioned in Wikipedia,
“Vazhahal Falls is a rushing watercourse in the Chalakkudy River in the Thrissur district of Kerala, South India. It is located 36 km from Chalakkudy and 5 km from Athirapally Falls. The riparian forests of the Chalakudy River have revealed the existence of a thick riparian vegetation of more than 10 metres width for a distance of 10.5 km downstream from Peringalkuth, covering an area of 58.5 hectares. Out of this, 26.4 hectares lie within the Vazahal area, including three large islands densely covered by riparian forests. Classified as one of the finest waterfalls in India, Vazhahal Waterfall cascades on the edge of the Sholayar forest range in Kerala. Gurgling down with a great speed, the view of this waterfall is just splendid. The nearby Vazhahal Forest is a good place for enjoying the flora and the fauna of the surrounding. Besides, enjoying the waterfall one can also visit the nearby garden that is flooded with colourful flowers. The view of the waterfall amidst the effervescent flowers is truly splendid. The best time to come to Vazhachal falls is during the months from June to October, when the monsoon is in its full swing. To reach here one can either hire a private taxi or avail a bus from the Chalakudy bus station.
Since few accidents happened in past, thus direct entry to falls are now restricted and a railing is fixed between garden boundary and river.

Way to Vazahal fall

Vazahal Fall

Vazahal Fall

Vazahal Fall

Vazahal Fall

Lush green forest surrounding Vazahal

Herbal Garden inside Vazahal garden


So after relaxing at the Vazahal Garden we moved to our next point Athirapally Waterfall.
b. Athirapally Waterfall – Athirapally Falls is situated in Athirapally panchayath in Thrissur district of Kerala, on the southwest coast of India. Located on the west-flowing Chalakudy River near the Vazhachal Forest Division and the Sholayar ranges, this 24-metre (80 ft) waterfall and the nearby Vazhachal Falls are popular tourist destinations. It is nicknamed “The Niagara of India”. The nearest railway station to Athirapally falls is Chalakudy Railway station and is at 30 km to the west and the nearest airport is Kochi International Airport about 55 Km from the waterfall.
The journey to the Athirapally falls passes through a landscape of winding roads, small villages and lush green trees. Athirapally is situated amidst thick forest, thus night riding should be avoided. To reach at top of the Athirapally waterfall we can reach via a paved path that leads through thick bamboo clusters. A steep narrow path also leads to the bottom of the falls. We went to the bottom of the fall. About 7 million tourists visit the falls and vazahal picnic spot every year, still the place is well maintained, greenery restored and cleanliness has been taken care of.

Athirapally waterfall

On our way to Athirapally waterfall

Athirapally waterfall bottom


Enjoying near the waterfall


Luckily the day we went it was very pleasant weather and we enjoyed the view, the place, water and overall spot a lot .We also luckily got the opportunity to see Malyalam movie shooting at the fall. But seeing the shooting we also realised how much hard word the side dancers also put for the successful completion of songs. Many Malyalam, Tamil and Hindi movies shooting were done here. Movies like Dil se, Guru and Raavan etc songs were choreograph at this place.

Shooting in progress

At around 1500 hrs we returned from Athirapally falls and reached to our next point at around 1600 hrs.

c) Kodanad Elephant training centre – This place is located at 45 Kms north east of Kochi and at around 30 kms from Aluva where we stayed. It is one of the largest elephant training centres of South India. Kodanad is known for the Elephant Kraal; i.e. the place where the newly captured elephants are kept till they are properly trained and disciplined for riding and to do heavy works etc. The old Kraal is consists of wooden compartments which can accommodate as many as four elephants. As I am fond of Elephant and love to watch them, this place is an excellent place to watch baby elephants. As many as four to six baby elephants are brought in and trained in Kodanad every year .Kodanad also offers Elephant safari to visitors. Elephants are made ready with a specially constructed wooden saddle on top, designed to make riding comfortable and safe.

Elephant Kraal

Elephants at training centre

Baby Elephant

Elephant ride


There is also a mini zoo sheltering wild animals which are unfit for survival in the forest. It is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm on all days except Mondays. In order to preserve the beauty of Kodanad in its natural state, the Government of India has included this place in the list of Ecotourism destinations. The zoo is not at all maintained and it was in a very filthy condition.

Zoo

Zoo

Zoo

Zoo


This finishes our day excursion around Kochi and we reached back at around 1830 hrs.

37 Comments

  • Praveen Wadhwa says:

    Well written post.
    You make it very tempting to visit this place.

  • Vipin says:

    Hi Abhee ji, thanks for taking us to these beautiful water falls. You have beautifully provided the information on these places. Photos too give us the feel of the places, though some photos seem a bit blurred….Athirapally has always been in my wishlist…

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Thanks for liking it.As this visit was in 2010, when I was not very particular about the pics, my main interest was always on visiting places. Here I had to include the pics as it was giving the feel of place, its way etc etc…Will try to include a better pic in whichever visit I had done/will do after joining Ghumakkar.

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Lovely post about a lovely place. Some of the pictures are awesome too. If there is so much cascading water in the month of May, I wonder what these waterfalls might look like when monsoon is in full swing.

    • Abheeruchi says:

      Yes it is very beautiful place…Its during Monsoon when I think Kerala becomes God’s own country…It is just beautiful…What more you expect, we get greenery just with Coconut trees in Kerala…

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi Abhee,

    nice post. Waterfalls and the elphant training center appear specially enticing.

    Thanks for the info on God’s OC…..

    Auro.

  • Both the waterfalls are beautiful . First one seems dangerous and bit scary and second one has height. For me visualizing waterfalls is only fraction of the real treat of bathing inside them.

  • Kailash Mehta says:

    Hi Abhee ji,

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful trip details and taking us to these beautiful water falls. You have beautifully clicked and provided the information. Now I add Athirapally in my travel list… Can you guide me for how many days trip we can plan for this area as myself from delhi and I have to plan according to it. Any other tourist places at cochin to be visited??

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello Kailash Ji,

    Thanks for liking it.You can plan your trip to Cochin. I would suggest take a long break of 7 days.There are lot many things at and around Kerala…In your trip you can include one day for these falls, one day at Munnar (we covered in one day , didn’t stay) , one day at Cochin, one day at Alleppy (beautiful houseboats) , one day at Kovalam , one day at Backwaters…All are beautiful places…I will write my next post on Munnar and Kochi ….Hope that will give you some rough idea

  • rastogi says:

    ?????? ???? ?? ???????? ?? ????? ?????

  • venkatt says:

    Abhee, nice post. Athirappally waterfalls are well known all over South India because of the numerous movies shot at the place. But most of the people going there return without having a look at Vazhachal waterfalls. They are as beautiful as Athirapally and it is a must visit place.

  • pkm1408 says:

    Hi Abhee,
    Nice narration.I would love to see couple of more pics of athirapally Water fall from different angle.You had posted only one photo of the fall.
    Pradeep

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Hi….Abhee,

    Really Kerala is God’s owned country and scattered around natural beauty.
    Very well written about spot of your kerala trip . Pictures are too awesome mainly waterfall picture.

    Keep writing keep sharing..

    Ritesh…

  • Gita AM says:

    Nice post and pics. I have yet to see these falls, maybe on my next visit to that region!

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    very well written post , pictures are beautiful.

    Have been to Trivendrum & cochin many times for my official work , 6-7 months back visited Alleppy too for our Manager’s meeting but never visited these falls.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Thanks Mahesh ji for liking it.

  • Nirdesh says:

    Hi Abhee,

    Kerala is truly beautiful.

    Never got a chance to go there, yet.

    Nice Post.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Thank you…

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Hi Abhee – I am late here but guess that way I get to read some great comments as well, all in one go.

    I do not remember reading a story on these falls or the ‘Elephant Training Centre’ but since a lot of stories are published on Kerala, Cochin etc , I am not sure whether I can mark this as ‘FoG’ without doing enough research :-) but for me its a first so many thanks.

    I especially liked the Elephant training centre, not sure whether they have some kind of program where the trainers would talk to tourists. Delhi Zoo has recently started this ‘Keeper Talk’ where you can talk to the ‘Keeper’ of say ‘Ostrich’ (how they eat, what they eat, are they moody , so on). I guess doing more of these would mean more engagement and better revenue as well. I think one of the pics of the Kraal needs to be rotated. For pics, if you need any changes then please reach out to our Editorial folks (Archana in this case).

    The pics have come out really really well.

    Looking forward to Munnar.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello Nandan ji,

    As regards to these falls and Elephant Kraal, this is FoG. Actually they do not have such arrangement where we can talk to Keeper, but if any one is really interested they have an arrangement where you can spend a day there, where they take elephant for bath, feeding them , train them (As told by our friends) but I am not sure.Thanks for noticing Kraal pic, I will get in touch with Archana.

    Thanks for liking…

    By the way , Happy Diwali to you, your family and Ghumakkar family….

  • A great treat for your eyes…though late but enjoyed the entire post.
    Some parts of rural Bengal also offers the same charm and there is lots of similarties, except the back water.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Thanks Amitava…

  • jain says:

    after reading your wonderful post we went to all over vazhalachal and athiripilly but could not locate the place near “natures resort” where we can walk into water as shown in the above picture ( fifth pic from the top)

    we travelled from cochin to all the way to vazhal searching for that place , but could not locate., we are very desperate to go there please help.

  • Abhee K says:

    Thanks Mr Jain for going through my post.

    I really feel bad about not remembering the place as it was unplanned and our Cab driver just took a small halt at that beautiful place inside forest.:(

    I will still search more and will let you know in case If I find any link…

  • Eleena says:

    Amazing place in india to visit. lot many accommodation facilities are there nearby. On my visit to athirapally i stayed at Sidhartha Hotel, which makes my holiday amazing

  • Edith N. says:

    I was planning a trip to Cochin next month and I wish to add all the places which you have listed here, to my list. But while searching I found something like, the animals are shifted from Kodanad to another location and that was mentioned in http://www.abhayaranyam.com/ . So I’m not sure whether to add that to my schedule or not. Can you help me on that?

    • John says:

      Edith,

      Abhayaryam is still not fully functional even though there are deers and sambar deers shifted there already. All elephants from Kodanad are shifted to Abhayaranyam now. When that place is fully developed, it will definitely become a major tourist attraction in Kerala. India Travel Blog has shared a lot of new photos from Abhayaranyam here – http://www.indiatravelblog.com/resources/3288-Abhayaranyam-Zoo-and-eco-tourism-Kaprikkad.aspx

      As of now, no major amenities are developed but if you just wish to see the animals, you can go there. It may take another year or so to complete all developments. They are closed on Mondays.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hi Edith,

    I am happy to know that you are visiting all place which is mentioned in my post.Also sorry to hear about Kodanada. Unfortunately I am completely out of touch with all these places and recent developments and will not be able to guide you on it.

    Thanks again.

  • Aslam says:

    Marottichal Waterfalls Kerala

    https://youtu.be/Grq_fmDgDp0

  • Renjith says:

    Hi Abhee, Great write-up. One Correction. It’s Vazhachal , not Vazhal. I guess the first place you mentioned is “Thumboormuzhi’.
    Check out my experience at Athirapilly. http://rkjfotography.blogspot.in/2016/09/athirapilly-trip.html

    Thanks
    Renjith

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