Kutralam, is a panchayat town located at an elevation of 167m in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Kutralam is famous for the cascading waterfalls and for the medical properties of the water flowing through thick herbal forests. Kutralam Waterfalls is known as the “Spa of South India” due to the presence of multiple health resorts and also called as “Ooty for poor” due to its splendid climate. The weather is great during the monsoon season which falls between the months June and September. North East Monsoon sets over Tamil Nadu between October and December during which water flow is very high due to heavy rainfall.
Kutralam is located in Tirunelveli district in the state Tamilnadu, India. Located on the Western Ghats, the surroundings are inundated with exquisite beauty. The Agasthiar malai (mountain), which is named after a sage, Agasthiar, adds beauty to the place. The nearby cities to Kutralam are Tenkasi (Kasi of South India), Madathara and Anchal. Kutralam Waterfalls is located 5km away from Sengottai, 6km from Tenkasi, 40km from Tirunelveli, 137km away from Kanniyakumari, 152km from Alleppey, 112km from Thiruvananthapuram and 640 km from Chennai.
The town is also referred as Mukthiveli, Nannagaram, Pithur Kanda, Theerthapuram, Thirunagaram and Vasanthaperur.
Kutralam Falls are actually composed of several smaller waterfalls. These are:
Peraruvi (Main Falls) – Peraruvi is located in the center of Kutralam and it is the biggest falls about 60m high. It is one of the natural and spectacular waterfalls in the world. It is advised to drink some quantity of this water while taking bath as it contains medical properties. As soon as, one takes bath here, the person feels rejuvenated; both his mind and body will be fresh. This herbal water can cure various digestive problems and urinary problems, if the patient takes bath continuously for 6 months. The images of various forms of lingams and other Gods can be found carved on the rocks from where the water flows. The flow of water is interrupted by the rock Pongumakadal reducing the flow of intensity.
Chitraruvi (Small Falls) – Chitraruvi is located adjacent to the Main Falls. The size of the falls is comparatively small and the people who are scared of Peraruvi can literally enjoy Chitraruvi. Separate sections are present both for men and women to take bathe. Chitraruvi leads to other waterfalls like Shenbaga devi falls and Thenaruvi.Shenbaga devi Falls – Shenbaga devi falls is situated above Chitraruvi falls, at about 2.5 kms distance. We have to trek through Chitraruvi forest for 30 minutes to reach Shenbaga devi falls, where the water flows from a height of 40 feet. The falls are surrounded by Shenbaga trees that bear fragrant Shenbaga flowers that are offered to Amman in Shenbagadevi Temple.
Thenaruvi (Honey Falls) – Thenaruvi is located at a distance of 3km from the Main Falls. This waterfalls can be reached only by walk, which is very dangerous. Taking bathe in this falls is strictly prohibited as it is risky; but adventurous.We have to swim across a pond to reach this waterfalls. During rainy season, it is not advised to swim in this pond as the under water current will be very high. Thenaruvi literally means a falls of honey. The reason for the rather peculiar and indeed singular name is that the rocks and mountains surrounding the falls are home to a large umber of bee hives.
Aintharuvi (Five Falls) – Aintharuvi is the most preferred and visited waterfalls by the tourists. The water emerges as five branches and flows as a single stream, which looks like Adisesha (five headed serpent). This waterfalls is located 4km from the Kutralam town. The waterfalls is situated 6km away from the bus stand in the western side of the hills. There is a Ayyanar temple and Lord Muruga temple in front of these falls.
Pazhathotta Aruvi (Orchard Falls) – Pazhathotta Aruvi is set in a deep forest in picturesque surroundings, located above Aintharuvi. This was usually visited only by politicians and bureaucrats to experience the luxury of bathing, hence also referred as VIP Falls.
Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls) – This waterfalls is located 2km away from Kutralam bus stand. This waterfall is very small that is suitable for the kids and the old people to enjoy.
Pazhaya Courtallam (Old Courtallam Falls) – Pazhaya Kutrallam is located 4 miles away from Peraruvi. This falls is rarely frequented by the visitors.
Palaruvi (Milky Falls) – Palaruvi Falls is located around 4km away from the mountain pass and state border at Aryankavu. This 300-feet waterfall, also called as Aryankavu Falls is located close to Kerala border with Tamil Nadu.
The three major waterfalls reachable by road are Peraruvi, Aintharuvi, and Pazhaya Courtallam Falls. Other waterfalls like Shenbaga Devi Falls and Thenaruvi are reachable only by trekking on the mountain.
The waterfalls at Kutralam are known for the medical properties of the water. Water pouring down the falls travels through extremely dense forest vegetation of the Western Ghats, which are known for their medicinal plants and herbs. As these waters course through the forests, they pick up the essence of the most amazing and potent medicinal plants and herbs. People travel hundreds of miles just to have a shower in these waters. Other than the falls, Kutalam is also known for its pleasant climate.
There are two popular temples located here – Thiru Kutralanathar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and another temple dedicated to Lord Muruga.
Thiru Kutralanathar temple contains many interesting inscriptions about Chola and Pandya kings. From this temple, about few kilometers away, there lies Chitra Sabha, a temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja, decorated with the paintings of rural deities and devotees, ethical stories and religious events.
Many fruits are also found here like ramdan, mangoosten, egg fruit, dorian etc. Some of the specialties of Kutralam are Tirunelveli Halwa, Masala Paal (Masala milk), Aruvi thundu (a towel made of thin cotton) and the Children’s park.
Kutralam is well-connected by road, rail and air.
The nearest airport to Kutralam is Tuticorin airport that is 86 km away. The closest international airport is Trivandrum Airport which is about 90km away.
The nearest railway station to Kutralam is Tenkasi railway station. It is connected to Chennai and Tirunelveli through trains. Some of the train services are Podhigai Express (Chennai Egmore to Shenkottai and vice versa), Shenkottai to Madurai Passenger and Shenkottai to Tirunelveli Passenger.
Regular bus services are available to Kutralam from the major cities of Tamilnadu. Special bus services are also operated by the government during the season. The city has two bus stands – one in the southern part of the city, namely the Central Bus stand, and another in the northern part, namely Chatram Bus stand. To supplement the town bus service there is also availability of taxis, auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws.