Thursday, April 04, 2024

Palaruvi Falls: Kerala’s Herbal Waterfall that drops like milk from the sky

First Look of the gorgeous Palaruvi Falls

This water body flows through medicinal herbs and plants in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu and Kerala before plunging down from a height of 300 feet deep in the forests of Kerala. It offers a beautiful mix of adventure, rich forest experience, a herbal bath under a waterfall, a short uphill trek and lots of nature. I am talking about the gorgeous Palaruvi falls that is located inside the Thenmala forest of Kerala.

Located near the village of Aryankavu in the Kollam district of Kerala, Palaruvi Falls is formed deep inside the Thenmala forest where the Kallada river plunges from a height of 300 feet in a frothy stream of milk. The entrance to Palaruvi falls is right on the highway connecting Aryankavu with Kollam. When you travel from Aryankavu to Kollam, the entrance falls to your left, just a few kilometers from Aryankavu. A short distance ahead is the parking lot where you can buy the entrance tickets. Private vehicles are not allowed to the waterfall and all visitors have to compulsorily opt for the forest bus service that plys regularly between the parking lot and the waterfall entrance.    
Palaruvi Falls - a fabulous place for a herbal bath amidst pristine nature     
This forest bus journey lasting about 20 minutes takes you deep into the forest and where the road meanders along the Kallada river. As you enjoy the lush terrain and the beautiful trees while getting slightly irritated by the bumpy bus ride, you are dropped at the end of 20 minutes at the waterfall main entrance from where you need to hike uphill for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your stamina. There is a small cafe at this main entrance where you can find some food and beverages. Beyond this cafe, you will find anything to eat or drink and the route to the waterfall is completely plastic free, which means that you cannot discard any plastic items and sometimes the forest department might not allow you to carry any plastic items.

For the uphill trek, I would recommend that you make it right to the top with as few a stops as possible. This will be a great workout and you can enjoy the waterfall view from the top most view point while you allow your heart rate to come back to normal. After catching your breath on the top and after clicking umpteen pictures of the waterfalls and its surroundings, you can start making your descent and head to the bathing area. Here, you can rejuvenate yourself in the herbal waters of the waterfall and the pool below it. It is best to watch your step while bathing as the water current can be a bit strong at times and the rocks are usually slippery.
Herbal water of Palaruvi Falls - perfect for a waterfall holiday     
The cold waters of the waterfall and the mountain stream feel so good after the sweaty hike to the top most view point from the waterfall entrance and it is this moment that makes it totally worth it. The herbal bath along with the thundering roar of the waterfall and the lush forest views make it a stunning experience. Some hot banana fritters with a cup of hot coffee at the local cafe is a perfect way to end your trip to Palaruvi Falls.
The entrance to Palaruvi Falls - the hike begins here     
Palaruvi Falls is a perfect location for a waterfall holiday day trip near Trivandrum and Kollam in South Kerala. The herbal waterfall that drops like milk from the sky amidst dense greenery is a sight to behold and to bathe under it is a different experience altogether. I would recommend this gem of a waterfall to all those who like nature getaways.    
Visiting Hours:

8 AM to 6 PM

Entrance Fees

Per Adult – INR 25
Per Adult for Bus Ride – INR 30

Per Car for parking – INR 70
Picturesque Palaruvi Falls inside Thenmala Forest, Kerala     
Things to keep in mind while visiting Palaruvi Falls:

1) The entire Palaruvi Falls is strictly a ‘NO PLASTIC’ zone. Hence, do carry your food items and beverages in stainless steel or non plastic containers/bottles

2) The monkeys of Palaruvi are known to be rowdy when it comes to food items. Do not open your food or eat your food in front of them. Also, do not try to feed them as they are wild animals

3) Leeches can be found on the hike to Palaruvi Falls, especially during the wet season. Do exercise caution

4) After the cafe at the waterfall entrance, there is no food or water available anywhere. Do carry your snacks and water with you as you will need it

5) The waterfall area and the pool below it has a strong current. The rocks are also slippery. Do watch your step. There are forest guards to help you out in case you need any help

6) Do not use shampoo, soap or oil while bathing as this water source serves up as the drinking water for the people living down stream

7) The forest bus doesn’t leave till the bus is filled up. Do plan your itinerary accordingly   
Best season to visit:

Palaruvi falls usually has water from June through February. February to May is the dry season and there is hardly any water or just a faint trickle. It is best to avoid these three months. During days of heavy rainfall, the waterfall can contain copious amounts of water and at this time, bathing might be restricted. However, hikes to the waterfall and to the view points are usually allowed. It is best to check in with the Kerala Forest Department – Thenmala Ecotourism team about current ground conditions before you embark on your trip.
Beautiful landscape surrounding the Palaruvi Falls     
How to reach there:

The nearest airport is Thiruvananthapuram international airport, about 90 kms away.

The nearest railway station is Aryankavu, about 6 kms away. The nearest large railway stations are Kollam (84 kms), Shencottai (22 kms) and Trivandrum  (88 kms) away.

Buses plying on the Kollam – Shencottai route will drop you at the entrance to the Thenmala ecotourism office. From here, you will have to walk till the parking lot.  
Uphill hike that leads you to Palaruvi Falls in Kerala     
Where to stay:

There are a few basic accommodation options inside Thenmala forest. You can stay there if proximity is your main criteria.

If you wish to stay close to the Arabian Sea, look up hotels in Kollam, Varkala and/or Thiruvanathapuram. Luxury properties are also available at these locations.

If you wish to stay in rustic Tamil Nadu, I would recommend staying at the guest houses and resorts in and around Courtallam.

If you wish to stay in traditional Brahmin agraharams, I would recommend trying the homestays or guest houses at the villages of Shencottai, Alwarkurichi or Kallidaikurichi.
Palaruvi Falls tumbling down in many steps offering a variety of mini waterfalls to bathe under     
Where to eat:

There is a cafe at the waterfall entrance where they dish out basic snacks and beverages. If you wish to have meals, I think you should head to Aryankavu or any of the hotels on the highway.

For slightly more elaborate meals, you should try the restaurants at either Tenkasi, Punalur, Kollam or Thiruvanathapuram.

You can also stock up on fruits at the exotic tropical fruit shops of Puliyarai.    
Other nearby tourist attractions:

1) Thenmala Dam: A monsoon pit stop

2) Vintage Pathimoonu Kannara Bridge: Colonial charm of the Indian Railways

3) Lesser Known Kerala Mountain Railways: Treat for Nature Lovers

4) Punalur Suspension Bridge: Historical gem of Kerala

5) 13th century Kasi Visvanathar Temple at Tenkasi

6) Kappil Beach: Sandy beauty hemmed in between the sea and the backwaters

7) Kollam: A coastal town known for its beaches, light houses, backwaters and riverine islands

8) Varkala Beach: That stunning  cliff beach of Kerala where you can wash all your sins away

9) Ponmudi: That offbeat hill station of Kerala with a 360 degree mountain panorama

10) Poovar Island: A romantic gem in Kerala

11) 1000 year old Papanasanathar Temple at Papanasam: Where you can wash all your sins away

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

13) The hidden gem called Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

14) Courtallam: The herbal bath holiday destination of Tamil Nadu

15) Oothu: The quaint little hill station of Tamil Nadu

16) Manimuthar Falls: The herbal waterfall inside a tiger reserve

No comments:

Post a Comment