There is something about water that draws people towards it like magnets. And when it comes to spectacular waterfalls, the attraction is even more! The magnificent Palaruvi waterfalls in Kollam district of southern Kerala is a popular tourist spot that attracts both the local as well as foreign tourists alike.
Among the numerous waterfalls in India, this waterfall is the 40th highest river waterfall and within Kerala itself, it is the third highest, with the first and second being Meenmutty and Soochipara waterfalls in the Wayanad district. The Palaruvi waterfall falls from a height of 91 meters and literally translates to ‘stream of milk’ in the local lingo. It’s a horsetail-shaped waterfall that is narrow at the top and fanning out in a sparkling cascade as it hits the bottom.
Located off the Kollam-Shenkottai road, it is about 4km from the small town of Aryankavu. It is about another 4km deep within the beautiful forest lands from the NH 208 and located around the Thenmala Ecotourism center. It is about 75km by road from Kollam city, which is another major tourist hub, owing to the famous Ashtamudi lake on which’s banks it is located. The nearest airport is in the capital city Trivandrum, an easy 86 km away. The falls are open to tourists from 8am to 5pm and life-guards and guides are available around the area. The best times to visit the falls is during the months of June through to January when the monsoon waters are aplenty; after that the waterfall dries up to a mere trickle. When going there, do pack your own lunch, as hotels are few and far in-between!
This seasonal waterfall shows its might during the peak monsoon season as it roars down the rocks in seemingly white threads that spray down in a white shower which has a wonderful massaging effect on the body. The pool formed at the bottom is shallow and swimmable. Due to the high number of tourists, bathing areas and changing rooms have been segregated for men and women, with women bathing a little downstream. Its scenic beauty has made this a popular picnic spot for families, with trekking facilities through the forest to the upper level of the waterfall also available for the more adventurous ones. However, do note that alcohol and plastic use are completely banned in this area.
The cold mountain fresh river water meanders through ever-green dense forests that are rich in medicinal plants and herbal flowers. For this reason, ayurveda physicians recommend bathing in this waterfall as they believe it has medicinal properties.
Another interesting fact about this area is that in the 17nth century, the Travancore kings had built their summer palace here, but due to some mishaps decided that the area was inauspicious and moved their summer retreat to the Courtallam waterfalls. Remnants of the old buildings can still be seen while trekking through the scenic forests.
Though the water falling down is lesser compared to other majestic waterfalls like Athirapally, the waterfall at Palaruvi is easily approachable with lower chances of mishaps. With so many eco-friendly things to do here for the nature-enthusiasts, a visit is a must which you can couple up with a trip to the Thenmala Eco-tourism center and the nearby Ashtamudi Lake and its awe-inspiring backwaters.