Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thalaiyar Falls, Kodaikanal

Thalaiyar Falls, Kodaikanal
Thalaiyar Falls, also known as Rat Tail Falls is located in the Palani Hills of Dindigul DistrictTamil Nadu State, South India. It is 975 ft (297 m) tall and is the highest waterfall in Tamil Nadu, the third highest waterfall in India and the 267th highest in the world. Thalaiyar falls also known as rat tail falls located in the Palani hills. The falls got the name of a Rat tail falls because it can be spotted as a silver line from a long distance on the way.

Hiking is allowed near the falls but only to their bottom and that too in the dry season, as there have been accidents when hiking to the top part of the falls. The hike usually begins at the Manjalar Dam proceeding along the path through the Mango orchards and potato fields around the Manjalar Reservoir and then goes up along the watercourse till the small shrine of Goddess Kamakshi. It is located at a distance of 40 Kms from Kodaikanal & 485 Kms from Chennai.
As you drive up the Ghat road to Kodaikanal, you can’t miss spotting the falls as they cut a silver swath through the mass of foliage enveloping the mountains. Legend has it that Lord Muruga used to visit this rock on his way to Palani.

Thalaiyar falls attracts many animals as it is a popular watering hole for them. Many regular sightings have been reported. At Dum Dum Rock there is a view tower in the park from where you can get an awesome view of the falls and the Manjalar Dam.
Thalaiyar Falls are quite inaccessible so it’s best to drink in their beauty from the roadside benches. If you are a regular trekker or hiker, you could climb up to the peak. However, be warned it’s an arduous trek and is most certainly not recommended during the rainy season. Nevertheless, if you are up to it, then you will be enchanted by the beauty of nature as you make your way up the mountains through winding forest paths, mango orchards and potato fields. There is a tiny shrine dedicated to Meenakshi Amman which is scenically located in a copse of teak trees. The hike is 16 kilometers up and down and will take you a whole day.

Trekkers can climb the falls during the dry season starting the hike from Manjalar dam. While hiking through the falls, a trail through potato fields and mango plantations can be enjoyed. September to May is the best months to visit the falls. The entry is free for tourists, but Thalaiyar Falls can be visited only from Mondays to Saturdays between 10:00 am to 06:00 pm. The location is the elite place for photography enthusiasts.
On a clear day Rat Tail Falls is visible from the Dum Dum Rock viewpoint on the Batlagundu-Kodaikanal Ghat Road, 3.6 kilometers (2.2 mi) away to the west. It appears across the valley as a long thin white strip of cascading water on a background of black rock cliff face that juts out of the foothills.

The very edge at the top of the Falls has a low concrete wall on either side concentrating the flow of water to focus the falls into a better rat tail shape. One can walk along the wall and get near the center of the falls. Just below one wall is a large flat rock about 5 ft (1.5 m) wide. One can get down to the edge of the rock to look directly straight down to see a little river at the bottom continuing placidly through the forest. Looking back up to the side, one can watch the water in freefall, mostly silent. The noise of the crashing water below doesn't rise up. The only noise is the water pushing around the stone walls, and some smaller falls just upstream.
The river water coming to the falls, though 9 km (5.6 mi) downstream from Perumal Malai village and apparently clear, may be polluted, and visitors to the area are advised to avoid drinking it.
Rat Tail Falls is considered inaccessible to the general public, as there is no road to it. The top of the falls is a rewarding and challenging hike destination. Hikers should be cautious, as two Western tourists were killed in 2006 when they fell from the top of the Falls.
It is possible to hike to the bottom of the falls in the dry season, beginning at the Manjalar Dam. This difficult hike proceeds along a path through Mango orchards and potato fields around the Manjalar Reservoir and up along the stream as far as a small shrine, dedicated to the Goddess Kamakshi. The legend is that Kamakshi was born here at the foot of the falls in a bamboo bush and hence she is called Moongilanai Kamakshi. This place is called Amma Machhu, meaning in the middle of a grove of teak trees.
Beyond this point one must climb up along the stream, going up, over and around increasingly large boulders with difficulty, till arriving at the bottom of the falls, where there is a pool about 30 metres (98 ft) by 60 metres (200 ft). The return hike is more difficult. The full hike there and back covers about 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) and takes a full day.
Manjalar Dam is at the end of Manjalar Road about 5.5 kilometers (3.4 mi) north from SH-36 at Devadanapatti town beginning along Kamatchi Amman temple road. Thalaiyar falls is located in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu. It is situated at 10°13′25″N 77°35′54″E coordinates.
Taxi: Taxis are available for local transportation.
Bus: Tourist bus services are plenty to reach Kodaikanal from Madurai (Rs 400), Coimbatore (Rs 500), Bangalore (Rs 600), Trichy (Rs 450) and Chennai (Rs 550). Tourist service providers offer many deluxe, A/C luxurious buses to Kodaikanal at a rate of nearly Rs 3 to Rs 4 per km.
Train: The nearest Railway station is Kodai road, which is about 80 km away from Kodaikanal. Coimbatore junction is the major rail head which is well connected to cities like Delhi (Kerala Exp), Kolkata (Guwahati Exp), Chennai (Duronto Exp) and Bangalore (Bangalore Exp) along with various other small and big cities across the country.
Air: Nearest airport to Kodaikanal is Madurai airport which is at a distance of 120 km from the city. Madurai is air connected to Chennai and Coimbatore. Coimbatore is the nearest major airport which is connected to many cities in India and the world.

Others: There are no auto rickshaws, Cycles are also available in Kodaikanal for rent, and these are much preferred by tourists and locals alike. You can rent out a cycle or a bike for a day in order to travel around Kodaikanal and charges for renting a bike will be around Rs 300 to 350. This is the generally preferred mode of travel.