Sunday, September 13, 2015

Agasthiyar Falls (Papanasam Falls), Papanasam, Thirunelveli

Agasthiyar Falls (Papanasam Falls), Papanasam, Thirunelveli
Agasthiyar Falls (also called Papanasam Falls) is located close to Papanasam in Thirunelveli district in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu. The falls is located on the Western Ghats and to the south of Papanasam Lower Dam. As per Hindu legend, it is the place where sage Agasthya got a view of Shiva in his marriage costume.


Papanasam is a small town, yet popular tourist destination situated in the Ambasamudram Taluk of the Tirunelveli (Nellai) district of Tamilnadu. The nearest towns are Ambasamudram, Vickramasingapuram and Kadayam. The place is also styled as Papavinasam. Papanasam Falls in Papanasam is located at 8°42'14.9"N 77°21'49.0"E or 8.704151, 77.363622.

Agasthiyar Falls is present on the path of the river Thamirabarani and the waters of this falls are believed to possess medicinal properties as the waters come from the hills of the Western Ghats where they come in contact with several medicinal plants. Importantly, you can find water flowing down in this falls for all twelve months a year. As it is not crowded, you can spend your own time without any hassle or disturbance.

The Thirunelveli district administration organizes Chittirai Vishnu festival every year during the Tamil month of Chittirai (April - May), during the Tamil New Year day. The falls is a prominent tourist destination in the region and usually frequented by devotees of the Papanasanathar Temple and Sabarimalai.

Legends
As per Hindu legend, during the divine wedding of Shiva and Parvathi, there was heavy crowd at Kailash, the abode of Shiva. Sage Agasthya could not view event and prayed to Shiva at this place to get him a view of the event. Pleased by his devotion, Shiva appeared to the sage and his wife Lopamundra along with Parvathi in his marriage attire. Shiva made the place his abode and came to be called Papanasanathar and the falls nearby the temple got the name of Agasthiyar as Agasthiyar Falls.

Geography
Agasthiyar Falls is located in Western Ghats to the South of Papanasam town and to the north of Papanasam Lower, the first lake in the descent of Tambiraparani River. It is located 52 Kms from the nearest city Tirunelveli. The waters from the falls meanders the stream in the river to Papanasam hydroelectric project and reaches the catchment area to the Papanasam Dam, which has a storage capacity of 142.15 ft. (43.33 m). The place is frequented by animals like Tiger and Panther, which are frequently spotted in the route from Agasthiyar Falls to Papanasam as both are located close to Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve

The falls receives its waters during the South-west monsoon from May to September, but the maximum amount of rainfall is received during the North-east monsoon during October to December. But the falls is commonly said by the nearby locales as 365 days falls as people can go there any day because the water is from the dam hence the water flow will not be affected by the monsoon to a large extent. There is a small temple of Agasthiyar near the falls, where devotees worship after taking a holy dip in the falls.

Waterfalls
Papanasam Falls drop down from a 120 meter high place, conjoined with the rocky walls of Pothigai Hills. The river Tambiraparani (Tamirabarani), which flows from the Western Ghats of the Pothigai Hills, reaches the plains at Papanasam. You can find a shrine of Agasthiyar Munivar at the falls and every year his idol is brought out as a procession to the Papavinaseswarar Swami temple to witness the marriage anniversary of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvathi.


The water of the falls is believed to have healing powers and get rid of sins of the people, who take a drench in it. The Papanasam Falls are believed to cleanse the sins of those who bathe in their holy waters. They are rightfully called Papanasam, which means the destruction of all sins. The Pothigai Hills beautifully provide background to the Agasthiar Falls. These falls are created by the River Tambraparani.


The best time to visit the Agasthiar Falls is in the morning, at the time of sunrise. One can bask in the beauty of the hills surrounding these falls, along with friends and family. However, one needs to be careful of the monkeys inhabiting the area and attacking the tourists occasionally. The falls have a stable flow of water all year round; therefore, one need not wait until the monsoons subside, to visit this cascade.


The entire region is extremely beautiful; it is completely surrounded by Western Ghats hillocks; the ultimate sound of waterfalls and the divine feel due to proximity of temple. It is an ideal destination for those who love nature. It is not very popular like Courtallam waterfalls and other similar places in South India. It is little known and located in a remote and serene location.


Other Places of Interest
Agasthiyar Munivar Temple:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Sadhu Krishnaveni Amma Mutt:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Kalyani Theertham:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Kodeeswarar Temple:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Thalaiyanai Dam:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Servalar Dam:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Papanasam Dam:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Karaiyar Dam:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Papanasanathar Temple:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Banatheertham Falls:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Culture
The Tirunelveli district administration organizes Chittirai Vishnu festival every year during the Tamil month of Chittirai (April - May), during the Tamil New Year day. The falls is usually frequented by devotees of the Papanasanathar Temple, who take a holy dip in the falls before visiting the temple. The falls is also frequented by tourists to Sabarimalai during the November - December season in a religious circuit in the region and Kutralam falls. Flood warning is issued during North-east monsoon when excessive rain results in overflow and the falls remain closed for the visitors.
Connectivity
One can reach the Agasthiyar falls by trekking a distance of 3 Kms from Papanasanathar Temple. Papanasam is around 52 Kms from Thirunelveli, 16 Kms from Ambasamudram, 34 Kms from Tenkasi, 215 Kms from Madurai and 140 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.

2 comments:

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