Athirapally Waterfalls: Raavan Was Shot Here
80 feet of silvery-white veil of roaring water, spraying cool mist everywhere as it violently crashes onto the rocks below. This is Athirapally waterfalls, the largest in Kerala, and one which will always remain a favorite backdrop in a lot of Indian movies; as the title of this posts suggests, Raavan was shot here; a colleague of ours provided this information first, later on confirmed by our driver in Thrissur.
One has the option to admire the view from the top, but that’s not where the action happens. Unless one is down there, right where the water crashes, one can’t truly appreciate the magnificence of a waterfall. And getting there isn’t easy, specially during the rainy season. The path laid out in the picture above shows the ‘better’ part of that trail. It takes around twenty minutes to walk all the way down, forty if you stop every three minutes to take photographs.
“Don’t take short cuts,” warned a young man who is on his way back, stopping for a minute to catch his breath, “it’s quite slippery and dangerous.” Holding his shoes in one hand and a camera in another, he and four of his friends continue on, leaving the paved path he’d just suggested us to take and climbing up the steep, wet mud instead.
We take the short cut, holding onto branches and rocks as we slowly make our way down. This is not a good idea but it will save you fifteen minutes.
While most people stand back and marvel at the sight of the waterfalls—probably reflecting on their lives, praising the Creator, feeling small and insignificant in front of nature, taking pictures, capturing the moments on video, keeping a close eye on the children—there are always young men and women who, despite the do-not-cross rope strung across the rocks in front of the cascading water, feel the need to prove their bravery by climbing onto those slippery, perilous rocks for a picture or two (see the first photograph). There is no life guard here! There is, however, a guy in his fifties, wearing the kind of uniform a security guard wears, whose job is to warn the tourists not to get too close to the water. But if you fall into the water, I doubt he’ll jump in to save you.
Five minutes and twenty photographs later, my camera’s lens gets sprayed by mist. The picture above is SOOC (except for the frame and watermark, of course), but it does appear like I’ve added a touch of glow or blur during post-processing. I take a few more pictures after this and tucked my camera safely back into into my bag. Then it drizzles a bit. It feels wonderful. This certainly is a treat to the eyes and senses!
“The International Bird Association has declared it an ‘Important Bird Area’ and the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has recommended that the area should be declared a sanctuary or a national park.
The Wildlife Trust of India says it represents one of India’s best elephant conservation efforts. Any disruption to this fragile ecosystem will spell disaster.”
A daunting task lays ahead after you’d finished oohing and aahing over the splendor and beauty of the waterfalls: to climb all the way up, back to the main gate of the park. If you look closely at the picture above, I’ve encircled a lady who is on her way down to see the waterfalls. We are on our way back, taking a couple of minutes’ break to catch our breath.
How to Get There:
By Air: Kochi airport is the nearest airport, about 55 kms from Athirapally waterfalls.
By Train: Thrissur & Kochi are two major railway junctions, at 78 kms and 66 kms respectively from Athirapally waterfalls. The nearest station, however, is Chalakudy Railway station which is just 31 kms. from Athirapally waterfalls.
By Road: The waterfalls is 55 kms from Kochi. There are plenty of good coaches—both private and public—that will take you here. You can also book a taxi.
Best time to visit: Mid-September and October, right after the monsoon season. Once outside the park, there are several restaurants nearby that offers spectacular view of the waterfalls as you eat your meals.