Courtallam (Tamil: குற்றாலம்) or Kutralam, Spa of South India, is a panchayat town situated at a mean elevation of 160 m (520 ft) on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, India. Many seasonal and few perennial rivers such as the Chittar River, the Manimuthar River, the Pachaiyar River and the Tambaraparani River originate in this region. The numerous waterfalls and cascades along with the ubiquitous health resorts in the area have earned it the title the Spa of South India. The falls carry a good amount of water only when there is a rain on the hills, so it is advisable to see the weather forecast, when one plans to come to Courtallam . Season begins from June of every year till September. The South West Monsoon brings in the cold breeze with mild temperature. From October to December North East Monsoon sets over in Tamil Nadu and the climate is cold and the rains are very heavy sometimes. Sometimes the falls get flooded and people are not allowed to take bath during floods.
Thenaruvi Falls (Rare Video)
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Courtallam has scenic surroundings. The hillocks which dominate the scenery disappear into the blue mist of Agasthiarmalai, the mountain bearing the name of a sage who made immense contributions to Tamil literature and is believed to have lived in the area. The closest towns to Courtallam are Sengottai and Tenkasi at 5 km (3.1 mi) respectively. The closest airport is Tuticorin Airport (TCR) approximately 90 km (56 mi) away and the nearest railway station is Tenkasi, 5 km (3.1 mi) away.
Falls in Courtallam
Courtallam has nine waterfalls.
- Peraruvi (main falls) the biggest falls in Courtallam, is about 60m high. The flow of water is interrupted by the Pongumakadal, a 19m deep crater and comes down with greatly reduced impact, making a bath safe.
- In Chitraruvi (small falls), the flow is thin. Here naturally separate places for men and women are there to bathe. Chitraruvi leads to other waterfalls such as Shenbagadevi and Thenaruvi and the herbal farm.
- At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. There is also a temple there, dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman.
- About 3 km from this is Thenaruvi (honey falls), 40m high and cascading between two large stones. In places where there is no water, one sees big honeycombs.
- Aintharuvi (five falls) is one where one thoroughly enjoys being in a crowd of bathers. Five separate cascades of water form this waterfalls.
- From the orchard above flows Pazhathotta Aruvi, the ‘VIP falls’.
- The Pazhaya Courtalla Aruvi (Old Courtallam falls) used to fall into a valley from between two rocks. The valley was closed and the rocks were broken to change the course of water and make bathing easier. It was reopened later.
- The artificial Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls) has a moderate flow of water which collects in a lake and is diverted for irrigation,sometimes tigers visit this place for water.
- There is another small falls inside the Government Horticulture Park above Five Falls, but it is off limits to the public.
The three major waterfalls reachable by road are the Main Falls, Five Falls, and Old Courtallam Falls. Other waterfalls like Shenbaga Devi Falls and Honey Falls are reachable only by trekking on the mountain.
Places to visit
- Therkumalai Estate can be reached from Honey falls in 1 hour, which is roughly at 2000 ft altitude.
- Boat Houses near the Five Falls and Old Courtallam Falls.
- Snake Park nears to the Main Falls
- Aquarium near the Main Falls.
- Children’s Park.
Nearby Tourist Interests
Tenkasi is a town located in the foothills of the Western Ghats near the Courtallam Waterfalls, close to the Tamil Nadu – Kerala border in Tirunelveli District. Tourists prefer staying in either courtallam or Tenkasi and the close proximity allows tourists to frequently travel between the two. The Palaruvi Falls is across the state border in Kerala.
- Courtallam is not just waterfalls; its temples too attract visitors. The most important among these is the Chitra Sabha, one of the five sabhas with Nataraja, Shiva in the dancing posture as the main deity. The paintings at the Chitra Sabha were renovated about 100 years ago. The others are the Rathna Sabha at Thiruvalangadu, the Kanaka Sabha at Chidambaram, and the Velli Sabha at Madurai and the Thamira Sabha at Tirunelveli). The temple at the foot of the hill is conch-shaped which has special significance in Hindu tradition.
- The Tamil poet Thirukudarasappa Kavirayar sang about the beauty of this place in his “Kutraala Kuravanji” standing on its highest point at 1565m.
- The temple at the foot of the hill is conch-shaped which has special significance in Hindu tradition
- Thirukutraalanaadhar Kovil in Main falls. During the Thamizh month of Chithirai a ten day festival is arranged which ends in a special prayer on Pournami (Full Moon Day).
- Thirumalai Kovil in Panpoli, 8 km from Kutraalam.
- Kumaran Kovil in Ilanji, 3 km from Kutraalam.
- Kasivishuwanathar Kovil in Tenkasi, 6 km from Kutraalam.
- Dhakshinamoorthy Kovil in Puliyarai, 12 km from Kutraalam.
- Papanasam Ulagaambihai & Sivan Kovil in Papanasam, 35 km from Kutraalam.
- Ariyankavu Iyappan Kovil in Kerala, 35 km from Kutraalam.
There are numerous resorts, hotels and lodges in Courtallam. Most of the luxurious hotels are located near to the main falls and Old Courtallam.
Modes of Transport
Courtallam is mainly connected by bus transport to the two main cities of Tenkasi and Shenkottai. Madurai to Shenkottai buses are frequently available in Courtallam. Buses are frequently available only during the season time. In the remaining months most of the buses takes Ilanji to reach Shenkottai. Like buses to Old Courtallam also available during the season time only.
There are no railway stations in Courtallam. But from the Tenkasi Railway station, one can reach Courtallam within 20 minutes by road.
- Podhigai Express which comes from Chennai Egmore to Shenkottai and vice versa.
- Shenkottai to Madurai Passenger and vice versa.
- Shenkottai to Tirunelveli Passenger and vice versa.
Some special trains from Chennai Egmore and Tuticorin are run by Southern Railway occasionally during season and festival time.