• Nitika Mehra

Athirappilly Falls | The Niagara of India

Updated: Jul 14

Athirappilly Falls is the largest waterfall in Kerala, nicknamed as "The Niagara of India" and stands tall at 80 feet. Just a short drive from Athirappilly to the Vazhachal falls, which is close to dense green forests that are home to many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. The scenic beauty of Athirappilly falls has always been attractive to filmmakers.



This fall is situated in Athirappilly Panchayat in Chalakudy Taluk of Thrissur District in Kerala, India on the Chalakudy River, which originates from the upper reaches of the Western Ghats at the entrance to the Sholayar ranges. There is another waterfall on the way from Athirappilly to Vazhachal Falls, in close proximity to the road, which is locally called "Charpa Falls".


The 145 kilometres (90 mi) long Chalakudy River, originates in the Anamudi mountains of the Western Ghats and flows through the Vazhachal Forest toward the Arabian Sea. The river initially runs smoothly but becomes more turbulent as it nears Athirapilly. Plantations in the area contain teak, bamboo, and eucalyptus. Environmentalists claim that Athirappilly is a one-of its-kind riparian ecosystem in Kerala.


Forest wildlife in the area includes the Asiatic elephant, tiger, leopard, bison, sambar, and lion-tailed macaque. The unique 180 metres (590 ft) elevation riparian forest in the Athirappilly-Vazhachal area is the only location where all four South Indian species of hornbills — the great hornbill (the state bird of Kerala), Malabar pied hornbill, Malabar grey hornbill, and the Indian grey hornbill are found living together.



The journey from Chalakudy to the Athirappilly Falls passes through a landscape of winding roads, small villages and lush green trees. Visitors can reach the top of the waterfall via a paved path that leads through thick bamboo clusters. From Angamaly the route is in the midst of an Oil Palm Reserve through Ezhattumugham tourism village A steep narrow path also leads to the bottom of the falls. The falls attract visitors from across India, especially during the monsoon months (June–September). About 7 million tourists visit the falls and the Vazhachal picnic spot each year.


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