By K.C. Balagopal
When it is blistering hot in Kerala, Munnar provides the tourists a welcome reprieve. Perched in the south–west of Kerala’s Idukki district, Munnar is a quaint little hill station at about 5200 ft. or 1600 m above sea level in the Western Ghats mountain range. Munnar has derived its name from its typical location at the confluence of three rivers Mudhirapuzha, Nallathanni and the Kundali.
One of the features that make Munnar unique as a hill resort is its abundance of beautiful waterfalls. Here are some of the spectacular waterfalls you must visit when in Munnar.
Attukal Waterfalls: It is a must see destination and lies 9 km on the way to Pallivasal from Munnar. The view of the surrounding hills and the roaring water falling from the mountain top, etches indelible memories in your mind. Trekking around the waterfall slopes is another source of interest for the adventurous minded visitors.
Lakkam Waterfalls: Situated on the route from Munnar to Marayoor (5 minutes drive from Munnar town), this waterfall is surrounded by “Vaga” trees, which wear beautiful red flowers. Originating from the Eravikulam Plateau, creating a multitude of mostly inaccessible cascades, this waterfall is by far the most visually captivating sights among the Munnar waterfalls and attracts a steady stream of visitors.
Chinnakanal Waterfalls: Originating from the divine river Devikulam (which is believed to have been sanctified when Sita Devi, wife of Lord Rama, took a holy dip in it). This scenic waterfall, surrounded by beautiful green forests atop heavenly mountain ranges, is also called the “Power House”. The waterfall is just 15 km away from Munnar. The unique greenery of this waterfall and the green plantations all around, is a special characteristic of the waterfalls.
Nyayamakad Waterfalls: This spectacular waterfall is en route Munnar to Rajamala (10 km from Munnar). The water gushing down from a 1600 m height nourishes the green forests surrounding the waterfall. It is a well known trekking and picnic spot. Ideal time to visit Nyayamakad is after the monsoon.
Kuthumkal Waterfalls: If you visit Munnar, do not forget to spend some quality time with your family at this beautiful picnic spot. Kuthumkal lies 24 km off Munnar. The specialty of this waterfall is: it covered by a sort of mist caused by high speed water falling from a great height and hitting the rocks underneath.
Thoovanam Waterfalls: Originating from the River Pambar and located deep inside the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, at a distance of about 60 km from Munnar town, only a trek through the mountainous forest will take you to this beautiful waterfall. The trekking experience, commencing from the check post of the Alampatty Forest Area, will take about one hour, and the sight of the wild flora and fauna en route, is an exhilarating experience.
Cheeyappara Waterfalls: It is about 40 km from Munnar, situated on the Kochi-Madurai Highway, between Adimali and Neriamangalam. The waterfall’s 7 step cascade is a delightful sight. Lying about 1000 ft. above sea level, it is easily accessible from the nearby towns, and also provides ample opportunities for safe and adventurous trekking.
Valara Waterfalls: Located between Adimali and Neriamangalam, it is located 42 km from Munnar. The Valra waterfalls, is close to Kerala Electricity Board’s – Thottiyar Hydroelectric Project. This waterfall forms a chain of several waterfalls amidst lovely and picturesque green forests. The cascades, falling from heights of about 1000 m, are an exhilarating sight in itself.
How to reach Munnar?
- By Rail: Major railway stations servicing Munnar are the Ernakulam (130 km) and the Aluva (140 km).
- By Road: Munnar is 130 km by road from Cochin and will take 3 hours to drive up (use NH-49). Between Kothamangalam and Adimali, you can experience the sweet scent of tea leaves from the plantations. Apart from this beautiful forests and scenic waterfalls will appear along the route.