The Athirappilly Falls is situated on the Chalakudy river, which originates in the upper reaches of the Western Ghats. Many endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna are found in the forests of the Athirapilly-Vazhachal area. This area is the only place in the Western Ghats where four endangered Hornbill species are seen. The Western Ghats is one of the most important biodiversity hot spot in the world. This valuable natural world is already degraded by mining and hydro electric projects. Environmentalists claim that Athirapally is a one-of its-kind riparian ecosystem in Kerala. V.S. Vijayan, Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board and former Director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore, has been quoted in Down to Earth magazine as affirming that the Vazhachal forest division is the second most biodiverse area in the State. The International Bird Association has declared it an ‘Important Bird Area' and the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation has recommended that the area should be declared a sanctuary or a national park, he points out.
The Wildlife Trust of India says it represents one of India's best elephant conservation efforts. “Any disruption to this fragile ecosystem will spell disaster,” says Vijayan.
Athirappilly is popular among tourists. Athirappilly Falls is one of the best places to visit in Kerala. Another popular waterfall to visit is theVazhachal Falls. Athirappilly Falls is a part of Chalakudy river and it is approximately 80 feet in height. Athirappilly is easily reachable from Chalakudy by taking a vehicle for rent or by bus from the Chalakudy private bus terminal.
Proper precautions are taken on site to prevent mishaps while swimming and a police camp is always positioned there. Athirappilly is situated on SH-21 highway connecting Tamil Nadu and Kerala, night driving is not advised. But you can enjoy the adventurous drive in the middle of jungle.
Route through Valparai
Distance details are as follows:
Coimbatore-Pollachi 40 km-Valparai 65 km From Pollachi onwards, the road climbs up steeply thorugh tea estates to Valparai. From Valparai, the road goes through dense wild jungles after Malakkiparai. Route is as follows: Valparai-Malakkiparai 22 km-Sholayar 24-Peringalkuthu Dam 25-Vazhachal 5-Athirapalli 5-Chalakudy 33 km.
There is absolutely no human settlement between Malakkiparai and Peringalkuthu Dam. Wildlife - elephants and bison - spill over onto the road, and night driving is discouraged. Both Vazhachal and Athirapalli are on the same Chalakudy river.
Athirapalli falls is best visited during rains, rest of the year there is water flow but hardly the spectacle it is during Jun-Oct.
Noted Tamil film director, Maniratnam, has a huge fascination for this spot that a lot of his movies are shot here. Raavan was almost fully shot in this location. The movies Dil Se, Kannathil Muthamittal, Iruvar, Guru have songs shot here.
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