We went off piste.
Neither Courtallam or nearby town Tenkasi are in the guidebook. But we wanted somewhere quiet and picturesque towards Kerala and geographically this place fitted the bill. We were reassured when our friend, Giusto, at the antique shop in Kanyakumari was seriously impressed with our destination choice, convinced we must have read about its beauty somewhere.
It has been brilliant, exactly what we needed! It’s quiet now because it’s the dry season so all the waterfalls in the area are more like trickles. This is the main falls, it was a 10 minute walk from where we stayed at Pandian Lodge.
The reason the waterfalls are so acclaimed is that the water travels runs off the mountains where ayuverdic plants grow and is said to take on the healing qualities of the herbs; people travel from miles around to use them. That was perfect for us, a sleepy village for us to explore without being hassled, and the waterfall trickles were enough to give you a pretty powerful head massage and cool you down in the heat of the day.
The main waterfall in the village had a pretty giant peaceful temple by it which was lovely to look round, before Pete did some blending in with the locals at the waterfall…
Check out this picture of the amount of water at high season! The atmosphere must be electric, with hundreds of Indians vying for a space under the healing waters.
We walked to tiger falls, a kilometre outside the village, and that was literally dry. There wasn’t a drop of water. But, Brucey bonus, we saw some beautiful horned oxen being used to work the land by two men, who didn’t seem to mind us watching or taking photos of their amazing cattle. They did enjoy pretending to run Soph over while she was filming them, which was pretty funny.
The best waterfall we went to was Five Falls, which is one fall right now, five kilometres out of town. We went there twice as it was pretty mesmerising, a great place for people watching, admiring the physics of nature, and standing fully clothed under a jet of water. Seeing the women immerse themselves with their saris on is pretty bizarre, but beautiful at the same time. Little children were less keen on being stripped naked, carried by a parent to the fall, crying, then being put under the main gush of water… Wonder why.
This is the view from our lodge, there’s some really nice old buildings in Courtallam. Made better by their decrepitness.
The mountains loom over the town, this is a little further out but it’s a nice view.