THE MAIN FALLS (Peraruvi)
The Main Falls (Peraruvi) is the biggest waterfalls, which is located right at the heart of the Courtallam town. The water falls from a height of 60 metres but the force of the fall is reduced as the water falls into ‘Pongumakadal’, a 19-metre deep crater. This staged flow of water reduced the force of the fall which makes it safe to bath.
It is believed that the water has medicinal properties as it flows through uninhabited lush green forests filled with lots of herbs and shrubs. Certain illnesses are believed to be cured if one bathes continuously in the waterfalls. Hence, it is rightly called as the ‘Spa of India’.
One can also see rock inscriptions of deities and lingams in the sidewalls of the falls, which might date back to hundreds of years. Closer to the waterfalls, a concrete bridge separates the two sides of the waterfalls – left side for the use of gentlemen and the right side for the use of the ladies. Local police strictly maintain discipline to ensure the genders do not mix in the waterfalls. Ladies and gentlemen have separate changing rooms for their use.
Very close to this falls, Sri Thirukutralanathar temple stands a witness to the historical and religious significance of Courtallam in the history of Tamil Nadu. The temple’s history can be dated back to the times of the Cholas and the Pandyas. The deities are Sri Thirukutralanathar (Shiva) or Thirukootachalapathi and Kuzhalvaimozhi Amman.
In the temple street, there is a huge market place where one can see lots of vegetable shops, fruit shops, snacks shops, sweets shops,fancy shops, small restaurants and tea shops.
SMALL FALLS (CHITRARUVI)
Chitravuvi is just located adjacent to the Main Falls. Natural barrier separates the bathing places of men and women. The stream of water is believed to have rich herbal and therapeutic properties. There are steps for easy access to the falls.
Chitraruvi or the Small Falls lead to other waterfalls such as Shenbaga Devi Falls and Thenaruvi. An adventurous trek uphill through the Chitraruvi forest leads to the Shenbagadevi falls.
Shenbagadevi Falls is located at a distance of 3 kms from the Main Falls. Shenbagadevi Falls is located above Chitraruvi Falls. At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. The route is a trekking route along the main stream which is not advisable for old people and children. Wild animals are reportedly seen along the trekking route. It is better to visit this waterfall with proper approval from the Forest Officials of Tamil Nadu Forestry Department.
Up above the hills kissed by the roaming clouds, a small river named ‘Chitraar’ starts its journey to cascade here by the vicinity of Shenbagadevi temple – to make the pristine and calm Shenbagadevi Falls from a height of approximatley 15 meters. The waterfalls create a small pool with rock borders in which visitors can take bath. During the monsoon months water flow would be heavy and entry to the falls is restricted. One can have a mesmerising view of Courtalam Valley from this waterfall.
A temple dedicated to Shenbaga Devi Amman (a reincarnation of Goddress Durga) makes Shenbagadevi Falls a religious one. During full moon days, devotees visit the temple to offer their prayers with Shenbaga flowers to the deity.
HONEY FALLS (THENARUVI)
If one has the strength and the permission of the forest officials, it is worth trekking for another two hours along the trekking trail to visit the Honey Falls (Thenaruvi). The trek needs a heavy climb over steep boulders and slippery trail inundated with powerful water currents. The name ‘honey’ ascribed to this waterfall is apt because the waterfalls cascade amidst honeycombs on the steep rocks. The water falls from a height of approximately 180 feet with a huge thud and a heavenly spray of fine water droplets.
FIVE FALLS (AINTHARUVI)
Five Falls is located at 6 kms from the Courtallam Bus Stand. Parking is available very close to the falls and just few steps down you would enjoy the cascade in five strands allowing a safe bath. Among the five branches of the falls, three are open to men and two for women – separated by steel railings. Separate changing rooms are available for men and women in opposite directions.
You may visit the Vinayaka Temple and the Swami Ayyappa Temple. Down the parking area, small eateries offer snacks and hot beverages like tea, coffee and milk. On the way to the Five Falls, you may alight to enjoy the boat house and Eco park. The Horticulture Department has set up an Eco Park and Children’s park here. You can buy flowering plants and saplings for your home garden from the nursery here.
ORCHARD FALLS (PAZHATHOTTA ARUVI)
Pazhathotta Aruvi is situated about 5 kms from Courtallam Bus Stand. This cascade is nestled among deep green forest cover. As the water cascades through fruit orchards it is called as Orchard Falls or Pazhathotta Aruvi. A proper permission is required from the Tourism Board to visit this waterfall.
TIGER FALLS (PULI ARUVI)
Tiger Falls is just 2 kms from Courtallam Bus Stand, on the way to the Old Courtallam Falls. This is a man-made structure for irrigation purposes. The waters descend on the wall to make a small waterfall where kids and elderly people can enjoy. One may offer prayers at the Sastha Temple at the entrance to the waterfalls.
OLD COURTALLAM FALLS (PAZHAYA COURTALLA ARUVI)
Old Courtallam Falls is located about 8 Kms from Courtallam to Kadayam route. Men and women have separate areas to bathe. In the olden days, waters cascaded into a valley making it very tough to bathe. The deep valley was closed and a huge bathing platform was built to make it safe for tourists. Even the rock was cut into a series of steps to reduce the speed of the water. The water gathers into a shallow plunge pool, making it safer kids to play and swim. Separate changing rooms for men and women are well maintained and it is less crowded here. The 200 feet waterfalls give a unique experience. You should not miss watching monkeys climbing the barren rock.