Manimuthar Falls: The Herbal Waterfall inside a Tiger Reserve - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Manimuthar Falls: The Herbal Waterfall inside a Tiger Reserve

Photographing the gorgeous Manimuthar Falls, Tamil Nadu

This gorgeous waterfall starts in the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats and flows through medicinal plants and herbs. It is located inside a tiger reserve and it empties itself into a massive dam. It’s herbal waters are considered therapeutic and those who bathe under it find immense relaxation. I am talking about the Manimuthar waterfall that is located inside the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

The Manimuthar falls is not a tall waterfall, but it is more like a wide forest waterfall. It is surrounded by dense tropical forests on its three sides and on one side is the Manimuthar dam. The Manimuthar falls carries the water of the Manimuthar river that starts somewhere in the Manjolai range of the Western Ghats. This part of the Western Ghats is pristine and totally untouched. Beyond the Manimuthar dam, the Manimuthar river joins the Thamirabharani river a little downstream at Kallidaikurichi. A little bit away from the Manimuthar Falls is the Vanapechi Amman temple.

Manimuthar Falls during the monsoons

As the waterfall is located inside a tiger reserve, the location is clean and the only sounds that you usually hear are the gurgling of the water, the sound of the birds and may be a few calls of monkeys and other wild animals. This tropical waterfall offers a perfect location for a waterfall holiday inside a forest. Its rural access with canals, coconut plantations and paddy fields adds additional charm to its location. I recommend this herbal Manimuthar falls with multiple thumbs up! 

Manimuthar Falls, the lush green forest and the cloudy monsoon weather

Best season to visit:

Manimuthar falls has water all year round, making it a perfect place to bathe almost all days of the year. The waterfall and its surroundings look the best during the monsoons, but this is also the time when there is copious amounts of water in the waterfall and hence bathing is banned. Bathing is only allowed when water is below a certain level.

How to reach there:

If you are traveling from Tirunelveli, head words Cheranmahadevi and Kallidaikurichi. Just before Kallidaikurichi railway station turn left and take the road leading towards Manimuthar. You will cross Golden Nagar, Thekku Pappankulam, Tamil Nadu Special Police IX battalion and Manimuthar village. If you head straight from Manimuthar village, climb the narrow road, you will reach the forest check post and the Manimuthar Dam. You will have to pay the entrance fees at the check post and then you can drive straight to the waterfall.

How to get permits for this place:

If you plan on visiting just the waterfall, you can get necessary permits after paying the required fees. The forest check post opens at 7 AM and closes at 6 PM.

If you wish to travel further to Manjolai, Kakkachi, Nalumukku, Oothu and/or Kudrevetty, you will have to get permits in advance from the Forest department office at Ambasamudram. The permits cost INR 200 at Ambasamudram and you will have to pay the vehicle fee and per person charge at the Manimuthar forest check post. If you book a room at the Kudrevetty forest rest house, then that booking is good enough and you don’t need to get the permits in advance.

Manimuthar Falls - the stunning forest waterfall of Tamil Nadu

Where to stay:

If you wish to stay within the tiger reserve, you can book the forest rest house at Kudrevetty through the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve website.

If you wish to stay in traditional agraharam houses, you can try the home stays and guest houses at Kallidaikurichi village.

If simple, yet modern hotel rooms are your thing, you can try Hotel Ambai Grand at Ambasamudram.

If you wish for a wider variety of hotels, you will have to try looking at Tirunelveli.

A scenic walk near Manimuthar Falls, Tamil Nadu

Where to eat:

There are a few shacks in Manimuthar village that offer you basic tiffin items like idli, dosa, puri, eggs, vada, etc. along with tea/coffee. If you want slightly more elaborate meals, you would need to go to Hotel Ramanas or Hotel Gowri Shankar at Ambasamudram. For much richer variety, you would need to go to Tirunelveli.

Manimuthar Falls inside Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Agastyar Falls: A gorgeous waterfall on the Thamirabharani river

2) Manjolai: The offbeat hill station of Tamil Nadu

3) Kudrevetty: The remote and windy hill station of Tamil Nadu

4) Nalumukku: The wettest place of India during the North East Monsoon

5) Oothu: A quiet hilly village inside a tiger reserve and surrounded by tea estates

6) Karaiyar Dam: Offbeat wildlife and nature holiday destination in India’s deep south

7) Courtrallam: The herbal bath holiday destination of Tamil Nadu

8) Papanasanathar Temple: 1000 year old temple by the river Thamirabharani where you can wash all your sins away

9) Sivasailam Temple: 1000 year old temple surrounded by the lush mountains of the Western Ghats

10) Mannarkoil Rajagopalaswamy Temple: Magnificent 10th century temple with an Ashtanga Vimana

11) Kallidaikurichi: The village of the saaral season

12) The hidden gem called Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

13) 10th century Kailasanathar Temple at Brahmadesam

14) 10th century Valiswara temple at Thiruvalisvaram

15) Kallidaikurichi to Manimuthar Dam: A top scenic and rustic cycling route

16) Cycling through the backyards of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

17) Kakkachi: The highest point in Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

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