Courtallam (Kutralam), the Spa of South India

Courtallam or Kutralam is a heavenly place with a vegetation as exuberant as in neighbouring Kerala. Kutralam has been called the “Spa of South India” owing to its many waterfalls, which are said to have therapeutic properties.

Courtallam, a heavenly place in the mountains of the Western Ghats

The most famous waterfalls in Courtallam are: Peraruvi, Aintharuvi, Pazhaha, Shanbagadevi, Puli Aruvi, Thenaruvi, Palaruvi, Pazhathotta Aruvi and Puthu Aruvi.

The best season to enjoy these waterfalls is from June to September. Note that the waterfalls may be prohibited from access after the heavy monsoon rains.

Peraruvi (the big falls)

The main falls of Courtallam, falling from a height of 60 m

Peraruvi are called the ‘big falls’ of Courtallam and, rightly so, because they are the most impressive; the waterfalls flow 60 meters high and it is said that this water has therapeutic properties because it crosses a forest where a large number of medicinal plants grow.

The ‘gopuras’ of the Thiru Kutrala Nathar temple and the Peraruvi waterfalls

Near the Peraruvi Falls stands the Thiru Kutrala Nathar Swamy temple, built and enlarged by the kings Cholas, Pandyas and Nayaks at different period of time. Legend has it that the temple was originally dedicated to Vishnu and that the sage Agasthya installed a lingam, symbol of Lord Shiva, by compressing the statue of Vishnu.

Pazhaya (old falls)

The rock of Pazhaha Falls is cut in several steps

Pazhaha is located 10 km from the city center, along the Tenkas road. The rock is cut in several steps to break the fall of the waterfall. This site is popular for swimming; you can enjoy a natural toning massage there!

N.B .: men and women bathe separately.

Invigorating natural massage guaranteed!

Aintharuvi (the five falls)

Aintharuvi are fairly popular waterfalls due to their bucolic side. This waterfall is divided into five (hence its name) and legend says that these are the five heads of the cobra of Lord Vishnu.


Shenbagadevi, surely one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Courtallam

The falls of Shenbagadevi are among my favorites for the atmosphere of the place but also because to reach it, a short hike of one hour is necessary, which takes you through beautiful landscapes.

Shenbaga flower, a variety of magnolia

Upon arrival, an ancient temple welcomes you, that of the goddess Shenbagadevi, an avatar of the goddess Durga. The Shenbaga is also a variety of magnolia that abounds near the temple. The flowers of this tree are traditionally offered to the goddess. The temple is particularly active on full moon days when large numbers of worshipers go there for Hindu rituals.

Shenbaga Devi temple

The Shenbagadevi waterfall is located just after the temple; it arises from the rocks and end its course in a basin where it is very appreciable to bathe.

An invigorating swim! 🙂

Thenaruvi (Honey Falls)

The picturesque honey falls | Photo :

Thenaruvi waterfalls are located 4 km from Peraruvi waterfalls and are also known as ‘honey waterfalls’ due to beehives that form on the walls of the waterfall during the dry season. A moderate two-hour trek is necessary to reach it through the forest and huge rock formations but the effort is worth it, the place is sublime!

Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls)

The tiger fall | Photo : yesmk Photography

Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls) is called ‘tiger waterfall’ because tigers sometimes come to drink there. The place is furnished and children can easily swim there.

Ayyappan, one of the most revered deities in South India

Next to these falls stands the Sastha temple, which is a pilgrimage site for the faithful of Ayyappan, one of the most revered Hindu deities in southern India.

Agasthiyar falls (Papanasam) 45km

In Pasamam, a 45km drive from Courtallam, your can visit the Agasthiyar Falls and the Papansanathar Temple standing just below. A short trek of three kilometers is necessary to reach the site. Not to be missed!

The splendid Agasthiyar Falls | Photo : Sankaracs

According to a Hindu legend, during the celestial marriage of Shiva and Parvati, a huge crowd gathered at Mount Kailash, the home of the divine couple and the sage Agasthya could not attend the event. He begged Shiva to come visit him during their wedding. Shiva, who knew the unconditional devotion of the sage, granted his wish and appeared before him and his wife Lopamundra accompanied by Parvati in their wedding attire. Shiva thereafter made of this place one of its terrestrial residences and the Papansanathar temple was built near the waterfalls which were named ‘Agasthiyar’ after the name of the holy man.

Statues of Agastya and his wife Lopamundra at the temple of Papansanathar | Photo :

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