With the rains adding to the grandeur of our waterfalls, here are the big seven you must visit this season.
THERE is something about watching millions of gallons of water froth over a cliff. Even the imaginary ones—like Pandora’s endless cascades in Avatar to the jaw-dropping Falls of Rauros in Lord of The Rings—have captured our imagination. So, with the rains upon us and waterfalls across the country swelling to put on a rather impressive show, it is time we round up popular film shooting spots, waters with healing powers, and more—seven in all.
Kune Waterfalls, Maharashtra
The 14th highest waterfall in the country, Kune falls is located in the Khandala-Lonavala valley. Besides getting screen space in movies like Swades and Koyla, this 656-ft cascade is a great place for groupfies, with the emerald peaks of the Sahyadri ranges in the backdrop. Coming down in three tiered drops, with the highest drop at a height of 330 ft, this giant will be closed in September. So better hurry up if you’d like to see it.
Tip: You have to climb down 2,500 steps to reach the bottom of the falls. So it is advisable to carry water and energy bars.
Things to do: Explorers can also opt for a five-kilometre nature walk to the nearby 2,000-year-old Karla Caves, known for its Buddhist inscriptions. Details: 022 22044040
Chitrakoot Falls, Chhattisgarh
If you’d like to relax in nature’s lap, amid ancient temples in the Vindhyas, Chhattisgarh’s Chitrakoot falls is your best bet. Besides great selfie spots—we recommend the Gupt Godavari caves and Ram Ghat—this 95-ft waterfall is also called the Niagara Falls of India, thanks to its horseshoe shape.
Tip: It is not advisable to travel by public transportation as the last bus departs at 5 pm.
Things to do: The tourism board helps organise boat rides with local fishermen throughout the day (at Rs 30). Details: 07714224600
Talakona Waterfalls, Andhra Pradesh
With Tamil hit Puli and the Telugu film, Rachcha, shot here, the 250-ft Talakona falls in Chittoor district is the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh. Visitors flock here during the monsoons for the view—with popular photography spots including the Deer Park—and, according to folklore, the healing properties of the water.
Tip: If you are a non-vegetarian, try the spicy Andhra chicken at the local restaurants near the waterfalls.
Things to do: The Great Hyderabad Adventure Club organises trekking camps for both adults and children. Rs 3,000 onwards. Details: 7729988784.
Kutralam Falls, Tamil Nadu
The falls in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district is said to cure skin disorders like dermatitis, eczema and shingles, as the waters travel through thick forests rich with herbal trees and plants. Generally known as the “spa of the South”, you can also book into the nearby MG Resort, which offers packages that include sightseeing, nature walks, and trips to the backwaters and Bandipur National Park. Details: holidayiq.com
Tip: Food and carry bags are not allowed near the falls. And if you manage to sneak in fruits, beware of the monkeys!
Things to do: Explore Thiru Kutralanathar, the Shiva temple, which contains inscriptions about the Chola and Pandya kings. It is located 2 km from the falls. Details: tripadvisor.in
Jog Falls, Karnataka
Thundering down a stream of rocks, in several tiers, the 830-ft Jog Falls is the second-highest in India. During the monsoons, you can get the best views from Watkin Platform and the Bombay Bungalow. The latter is also a great place for family picnics. Itching to capture the moment? Head to the perfect groupfie location, atop Linganamakki Dam, which is a 13-km drive from the falls.
Tip: Make advance reservations if you’d like to stay at the Hotel Mayura Gerusoppa, as it fills up fast. Run by the state government, it offers holiday packages starting from Rs 7,780 onwards.
Things to do: Adventure club Sharavathi Nature Trails organises treks (for adults and children) in the area. Rs 1,500 for children and Rs 2,000 for adults. Details: 8186213399.
Kempty Falls, Uttarakhand
With water dropping from a height of 4,500-feet, splitting into five before descending into the valley, the Kempty falls is a great monsoon destination. Besides the lush green mountains, the popular K Dev Bhoomi Wax Museum—with statues of various eminent personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda—also sees many posing with selfie sticks. With the much-awaited Baahubali 2 being shot here now, it’s attracting tourists from around the world.
Tip: Don’t walk into the water barefoot as the bottom is gravel-lined and can cut your feet.
Things to do: Enjoy paragliding here, as many adventure clubs like the Dare Adventure, offers it as part of a combo deal with 2D1N stay options. Rs 2,499 onwards.
Athirappilly Waterfalls, Kerala
Two hours away from Kochi, snuggled between the Chalakudy River and the dense Sholayar Forest, lies one of the most picturesque cascades in Kerala. With a width of 330 feet and a powerful torrent of water dropping 80 feet, the Athirappilly Falls is a famous selfie spot—seen in Baahubali and Dil Se. A steep two-kilometre trek to the base of the falls will let you experience the power of its three-tiered cascades up close.
Tip: The Forest Department regulates the number of plastic items you can carry, so keep it to a minimum.
Things to do: Put up your feet in a spacious tree house with a great view of the waterfall, at the Rainforest resort. Rs 35,000 (special two-night monsoon package) includes a sightseeing trip to the falls and access to their infinity pool. Details: rainforest.in
—Payal Gangishetty with inputs from Anoop Menon, Arya P Dinesh & Sonali Ravi