Waterfalls have long found a place on the Indian tourist map, while being a staple in many mythologies, legends and stories. From providing stunning vistas to a perfect picnic spot during Summers and Monsoons, waterfalls are yet another example of nature’s bounty. Here is an amazing vertical drop that should make it to every traveler’s drop.
When I started off my day planning to go to Vazhvanthol, I had my own hesitations regarding how will I climb up the rocks. I was excited but at the same time I was filled in with many questions. The bus from Thambanoor to Bonacaud left the station at 9 in the morning. After one to one and half hour’s bus journey I reached Vithura. The bus proceeded to Bonacaud via the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvanathapuram and Vithura Jersey Farm. The bus stopped at the check post which divides the road to Bonacaud and Vazhvanthol. The road to left will take you to Bonacaud tea estate and Agarstyaarkoodam. But the road I had to take is to the right. My plan was actually to visit Vazhvanthol and Bonacaud tea estate, but the forest officials out there in the check post informed me that its closed due to some issues regarding the haunted house. It was actually a lose but later after trekking I had no chance to regret that lose. Anyone who enters the waterfalls has to register their names in the forest official records to seek permission from the forest officials’. The entrance fee is about 1500 for ten people. But I was accompanied by none and I had to pay 1500 fully to get entrance ticket. It is located at around 50km from Trivandrum railway station. The initial trekking starts from Kaanithara and it continues through the eucalyptus plantations. It seems to be easy at the beginning, but soon the situation changes and there come huge rocks to climb. Tall trees with their large canopies come as a welcome relief.
A guide named Ganga accompanied me for this one-day trekking programme. Ganga is one among the few women guides out there. From Ganga I got know many things about the waterfalls and even the life of tribes there. Ganga and her colleagues got job as guides only in 2019, before that only men were allowed to take tourists to the destination. At top you can enjoy the serene beauty of waterfalls and many rare species of birds. The atmosphere at the top is calm and rejuvenating. There is a lake down the forest, where you can get bamboo rafts, it would be adventurous and thrilling to raft through the natures lap. It is a hidden beauty because there are not many tour operators who offer tour packages to Vazhvanthol. Trekking through the forest area about two km will take you to a safe place to take rest and enjoy. Then I restarted my journey to half a kilometer to see the real beauty of Vazhvanthol Waterfalls. We should be very careful of slippery rocks while trekking. We can see leeches and snakes on the way, which is too big in size. For about two kilometers the path would be narrower. We have to climb the huge rocks to clear the narrow path. We will hear the roaring sound of waterfalls every time we climb a rock but then we will realize that we will have to walk more to reach the blistering waterfalls.
On the way back, the trekkers can enjoy a cool dip in the river. The water was really cold and refreshing. We can have a bath near the falls or during the return journey. We should be very careful while playing in water.
How to go?
From Vithura, there are buses which take tourists to Vazhvanthol. From Vithura, take Bonacaud route, after ten to twelve km there is a forest check post near Kanithadam. This is the same check post for Vazhvanthol and Agarstyaarkoodam. The entry fee is to be paid here. Its 1500 for ten people. But the same has to be paid for even by a single person if he or she wishes to visit the waterfalls. We can further proceed in our own vehicle for about one more kilometer and then we will have to walk around two and a half km through the dense jungle after the parking slot near the settlement area to reach the destination. It will take you one to one and half hours, depending on your ability to reach the point where beauty meets nature and brings heaven into the earth.
Best time to visit
The waterfall is a bit weak in the summer but it is the only time it becomes accessible. During monsoon, it will be dangerous because the rocky pathways would be slippery and there are chances of falling from the huge rocks. No permission will be allowed after 1 in the noon because it is the time when animals come out of the dense forest to drink water from the river. The best time to visit is between monsoons.
Make sure you carry enough refreshments and bottled water with you because you will be tired endlessly at the end of trekking. There are no restaurants near by and to have food you will have to travel back to Vithura.