Waterfalls of India
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India Waterfalls are amongst the most unsung attractions of subcontinental Asia. For when one thinks of this dynamic country, all sorts of adjectives and place names come into play such as the Taj Mahal, spices, Kashmir, tigers, Bollywood, Slumdog Millionaire (confronting poverty), Hinduism, doctors, outsourced IT jobs, etc. But one thing we've come to realize when asked to summarize our experiences in this country is that it's really hard to associate India with any one word or phrase for it'd be selling so many things about the country short. Indeed, the subcontinent was never as we had expected it to be regardless of how many Indian friends we've spoken to, how much we've read or learned about India, or how many pictures we'd already seen in the literature. It's a place that we just had to come and experience for ourselves, and become transformed in the process.
And it's this confounding property about the country that we've come to realize that it is also the case with the waterfalls of India. For as unsung as the natural attractions are, waterfalling here had definitely put us well off the beaten path (see map
), out of our comfort zone, and right into the heart of some of the best as well as some of the most worrisome aspects about the country's Nature and how the people dealt with survival let alone land management.
Our waterfalling experiences were pretty much limited to the following subregions - Northeast India
, South India
, and West India
. I'm sure our subregion divisions seemed pretty arbitrary, but that pretty much reflects how very little of this huge country we really saw. As crazy as this might sound, I actually look forward to coming back to see the parts of the country that we had missed the first time around.
The Northeast India subregion was pretty much the hanging corner to the northeast of Bangladesh. So this included the states of Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, and Mizoram. Our waterfalling experiences here were pretty much limited to the Cherrapunji (Sohra) area, where we saw Nohkalikai Falls
as well as Elephant Falls
The South India subregion pertained to the states comprising the southern tip of the subcontinent. This included the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry. Most of the waterfalls that we've seen in this subregion were pretty much limited to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Among some of the waterfalling highlights of this subregion include Athirappilly Falls
as well as the Kuttralam Main Falls
. The Courtallam or Kuttralam area was memorable because all of the waterfalls there apparently held Ayurvedic healing powers so scores of people would bathe under the waterfalls. Also memorable in this region was the houseboat cruise we took on the Kerala Backwaters.
The West India subregion is what we're defining to include the states of Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. This area perhaps had the most impressive waterfalls that we've seen along the Western Ghats, including Jog Falls
as well as Dudhsagar Falls
. While this area was well known for Mumbai as well as Goa, we were pleasantly surprised by places like Murudeshwar, which our waterfalling adventures helped us to consider.
Even though we've visited India in November 2009, it followed a weak (and late) monsoon with many locals blaming Global Warming and Climate Change. So the states of some of the falls were a bit on the disappointing side. Whether our experiences were more of an anomaly or a worrying long term trend remains to be seen. This was also the first time when our waterfalling experiences were impacted by some political instability from separatist groups (e.g. Maoists, Naxalites, etc.) thereby preventing us from seeing Chitrakoot Falls in Chattisgarh, Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls in Simlipal National Park in Orissa, and Hundru Falls in Jharkhand. For sure we'll target those waterfalls if we're fortunate enough to return.
Nonetheless, we felt a trip out of our comfort zone and head first into the best and worst of India was both transformative and rewarding. For it was through this experience that we got to see the country as its genuine self. We hope by checking out the pages in this region that you too might be motivated to take a chance to go waterfalling here and experience the essence of India. Besides, our humble sampling of India Waterfalls merely scratches the surface of what's here. It's a real big country and there's only so much that we could see on our limited time and budget so surely you're bound to find some spectacular ones that haven't gotten any love from us. Some of these parts of the country could certainly use the increased attention (and accompanying infrastructure and potential for economic improvement as well)!
In any case, have a look at our humble sampling below.
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To get a glimpse of what each waterfall looks like, check out the table below. Click on the waterfalls to read more about them.
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