I am a marketing professional holding a postgraduate degree in management. I live in Chennai and have traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu.
Courtallam is a small town nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats. It is a prominent tourist destination in South Tamil Nadu near Tirunelveli Town that is blessed with many waterfalls. July to September are the best months to visit Courtallam, as the flow of the waterfalls is moderate enough during this period for tourists to bathe safely. Rightly called the Spa of South India, it has many attractions.
10 Best Places in Courtallam
- Main Falls
- Small Falls
- Five Falls
- Tiger Falls
- Old Courtallam
- Shenbaga Devi Falls
- Honey Falls
- Children's Park
- Kutralanathar Temple
Continue scrolling to read about each of these places.
1. Main Falls
This is a majestic waterfall with a height of 60 meters. As the name suggests, Main Falls is the most famous and frequented waterfall in Courtallam. A crater known as Pongumakadal interrupts the flow of water, reducing its speed and impact. This reduced speed makes bathing safe here, though bathing is banned during heavy floods due to safety issues.
There are separate sections for men and women to bathe. Changing rooms are available at a nominal rent. If you wish to avoid heavy crowds, you should visit the waterfall in the evening or night time.
2. Small Falls
Small Falls is another waterfall in the main town. It is a pair of small falls located right next to each other. Two open rooms with high walls were built separating the two falls—one section is reserved for women and another one for men—so it feels more like an indoor waterfall.
A long sloping road after Main Falls leads to the Small Falls. Small Falls is a safe place for young children and the elderly to bathe because of its low height.
3. Five Falls
Five Falls is at a distance of 4 km from the main town and is the second most crowded place after Main Falls. It is rare to witness five waterfalls in one place. Two falls are reserved for women to bathe and three are earmarked for men. Changing-room facilities are available.
There are many vendors selling fruits outside the falls. Guava, blackberry, mangosteen and mangoes are the local delicacies. Monkeys are a big problem everywhere in Courtallam, as they snatch food away from tourists in a jiffy.
4. Tiger Falls
Tiger Falls is an artificial waterfall created on the river in the outskirts of Courtallam. It has a modest flow, and the height is low. This makes it safe for kids and the elderly. Tigers used to frequent this river in olden days to drink water from the river.
The stream in front of the falls is another attraction for kids and adults where one can bathe or swim. Tiger falls is unique and worth a visit.
5. Old Courtallam
Old Courtallam is at a distance of 7 km from the main town. A scenic road takes one to this secluded falls. The flow is less compared to Main Falls or Five Falls, but unless the flow is down to trickles, bathing is still enjoyable. Old Courtallam is also less crowded compared to other falls.
The hill in Old Courtallam is barren and devoid of greenery, but there is a rustic charm to this place making it unique.
6. Shenbaga Devi Falls
A trek above the Main Falls takes one to Shenbaga Devi Falls and Honey Falls. Shenbaga Devi is the first waterfall to greet you during the trek. It is safe for bathing when the flow is moderate. One can take a bath in sections of the stream on the way up.
The trek is strenuous and one needs to carry enough water and food. The elderly and people with health issues should not venture beyond Shenbaga Devi Falls.
7. Honey Falls
A strenuous trek of around two hours takes one to Honey Falls. It is a plunge waterfall with a height of 200 feet. It is advisable not to bathe in this waterfall, though one can swim in the pool in front of the waterfall.
The trek is a visual delight, with ample greenery and a gentle stream all along the way. One does need to navigate a few boulders blocking the way, so good physical exercise is guaranteed in this trek. Such challenges make the trek more interesting.
Beware of Leeches
Leeches are present in this route, and one should exercise caution during the trek. The leech bite might be painless when it happens, but the bleeding can continue long after the bite. A leech stuck onto a victim can be made to leave by sprinkling salt on its body. Trying to pull off the leech is not advisable.
Tamil Names of Waterfalls in Courtallam
|S. No.||English Name||Tamil name|
Shenbaga Devi Falls
Shenbaga Devi Aruvi
8. Children's Park
The Children's Park is near the Main Falls. The park has a large play zone for children. There is a small hillock at one end of the park where people sit and chat in groups during the evening hours. Unfortunately, the old movie hall on top is no longer operational.
There is a lake near Five Falls with a boathouse. This is a new attraction added in recent times. This is part of the efforts undertaken to broaden the appeal of Courtallam, otherwise known only for its waterfalls.
10. Kutralanathar Temple
The famous Kutralanathar temple is near Main Falls. Constructed before the 5th century B.C., this ancient temple is one of the oldest in India. There is an ancient Jack tree inside the temple that is several centuries old.
Travel and Stay
The nearest railway station is at Tenkasi, 5 kms from Courtallam. Tuticorin is the nearest airport at a distance of 86 kms. Residents of South Tamil Nadu can take a bus or car to reach Courtallam.
The town is known for its good non-vegetarian food, and the aroma of hot coffee fills the streets dotted with many tea shops. The stay options worth considering are Orchard Valley Resort, Ezhilagam and Hotel Kurinji.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can we add Chitra Sabhai (Art galley) near main falls to the list of places?
Answer: It has not been promoted as a major tourist attraction. I have never visited this gallery in my earlier visits. Hence I could not add Chitra Sabhai to the list of places.
© 2019 Mohan Babu
Please leave your valuable comments.
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on July 18, 2019:
Thank you Shawindi Silva for your appreciation.
Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on July 18, 2019:
Wow !! a great article !!
Mohan Babu (author) from Chennai, India on July 17, 2019:
Thank you Liz. I am glad you liked the article about Courtallaam.
Liz Westwood from UK on July 17, 2019:
This is a well-written, well-structured and well-illustrated article. You give a lot of ideas about sights to see in the area with very good photos.