Famously known as the ‘Niagara of India’, Athirapilly Waterfalls is the largest waterfall in Kerala which stands tall at a height of 82 feet. The waterfall which is nothing less than a spectacular wonder is located in Athirapilly panchayat in Chalakudi taluk of Thrissur district in Kerala, on the Chalakudi River which originates in the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats. Athirapilly Waterfalls is close to the dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. A perfect combination of diverse set of organisms in the forest with a highly admirable waterfall in it’s cradle is one of the predominant factor which makes Athirapilly unique.
The 180 meters high elevation riparian forest in the Athirapilly- Vazhachal Waterfalls is the only place where all four south Indian species of hornbills –the great Indian hornbill, Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill and Indian grey hornbill are found living together. The river provides habitat for 85 species of fresh water fishes on which 35 are endemic species. All these wide varieties of species are let undisturbed to live peacefully in their natural habitat. The visitors can take a view of all these wonders without disturbing their existence. It is a naturally built forest which makes Athirapilly a place in the heart of nature.
There is easy transportation available to reach Athirapilly. The Chalakudy railway station is 30 kilometers away and nearest airport is Cochin International Airport. Athirapilly is easily reachable from Chalakudi by boarding bus from Chalakudi bus terminal. Athirapilly is located on the highways connecting Tamilnadu and Kerala amidst thick forest so this route is not advised as there are chances of encountering wild life.
At athirapilly falls the water surges around big rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. The waterfall always stands high and full of life which make it worth visiting at any time of the year. Below the falls the river remains turbulent for about 1 kilometer until it reaches Kannankuzhi then it calms and flows smoothly. Visitors can reach the top of waterfalls via a paved path that leads through thick bamboo clusters. The walk to the top itself is a great experience as the entire place is surrounded with greenery and it feels like walking through the forest. Wheel chair accessibility is provided for differently abled people.
The ecotourism destinations are situated within the reserve forest which is managed by Kerala forest department through Vana Samarakshana Samithies known as VSS which are associations of local forest dependent communities. The place is strictly kept clean and well maintained in a way to provide safest environment to the wildlife and visitors. The beauty of Athirapilly is highly acknowledged as a result of which many number of films, short films have shot here. For nature lovers it serves as one of the best destination. The wonders of Athirapilly are preserved since a long time but also it’s highly enjoyable to the visitors, every possible way to get a great view of the place is provided. In India Athirapilly stand as one of the great waterfall one could get to see in a lifetime. It always stands majestic and beautiful as earth’s own delight.