Kutralam Five Falls

Courtallam, Tamil Nadu, India

About Kutralam Five Falls

Hiking Distance: almost roadside
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-11-19
Date last visited: 2009-11-19

Waterfall Latitude: 8.93073
Waterfall Longitude: 77.23797

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

The Kutralam Five Falls (or Coutrallam Five Falls) was one of the cluster of about nine waterfalls that Julie and I understood to be collectively known as the Courtallam Falls.

I’d imagine that this collective was named as such because they were all near the town of Courtallam (pronounced “kor-TAH-lum”; also known as Kutralam).

Five_Falls_020_11192009 - The Kutralam Five Falls
The Kutralam Five Falls

The thing that all of these waterfalls had in common was that they apparently had Ayurvedic healing properties since their streams were said to pass through groves of naturally growing herbs with medicinal properties.

In fact, I was told that some doctors even recommended bathing in these Ayurvedic waterfalls as treatment.

And since we thought India was well-known for producing doctors, maybe they were onto something.

Experiencing the Kutralam Five Falls

As for the Kutralam Five Falls itself, as you can see in the photo above, it was true to its name in that there really were five strands of segmented waterfalls coming down roughly in parallel.

We noticed there was some infrastructure built around the base of these short waterfalls to support a public bathing environment.

Five_Falls_011_11192009 - Focused on the women and kids side of the Kutralam Five Falls
Focused on the women and kids side of the Kutralam Five Falls

Railings were put in to segregate the gender types (i.e. there was a ladies only area to the left of the railing and a gentlemens only area to the right).

Thus, the ladies got the two thinner waterfalls to the waterfall’s left side while the males got the three thicker waterfalls on the right (as seen in the photos at the top of this page).

Naturally, there were also changing rooms segregated for both sexes (with separate entrances for the different sexes of course) in a building opposite the face of the waterfalls.

There were easily thousands of people in the general area and hundreds at the waterfall bathing area.

Since Julie and I were racially different from everyone, it did feel strange and uncomfortable to be stared at by almost everyone there.

Five_Falls_016_11192009 - Focused in on a bunch of males trying to gain the Ayurvedic benefits of bathing beneath the Kutralam Five Falls
Focused in on a bunch of males trying to gain the Ayurvedic benefits of bathing beneath the Kutralam Five Falls

I guess that kind of attested to how few foreign tourists outside of India knew of these intriguing waterfalls let alone come here.

We didn’t take long for our visit as we only spent merely 30 minutes or so here.

However, I’d imagine that if we joined in with the rest of the folks here, we could’ve bathed and spent much more time here getting wet then toweling off.

As it was, we were just content to soak in the atmosphere and stay dry.

Kutralam Five Falls and Some Religious Practice

Around the Kutralam Five Falls, we noticed that there was a tiny Hindu shrine near the changing area.

Five_Falls_028_11192009 - Some kind of temple set up in the general area of the Kutralam Five Falls
Some kind of temple set up in the general area of the Kutralam Five Falls

We also saw plenty of food and souvenir stands to try to capitalize on the high amount of human traffic (mostly local Indians) to this area.

Our Keralan driver told us that we happened to be here when devout Hindu males had just begun fasting and abstaining for 40 days.

We weren’t sure exactly for what particular purpose the fasting and abstaining was for, but apparently the Ayurvedic properties of the waters here would cleanse them of impurities.

Moreover, I thought our driver mentioned something about becoming worthy at the end of this trial before making a pilgrimage into some hills where there was some sacred temple that they can go into and pray.

I didn’t get the location of this temple, but I speculate that it’s somewhere either in the Indian Himalayas or in Nepal.


Kutralam Falls resides in Kuttalam (Courtallam) in the Tenkasi District (formerly in Tirunelveli District) of Tamil Nadu State, India. It is administered by the Tenkasi District Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can visit their website.

Five_Falls_002_11192009 - A marketplace right at the car park for the Kutralam Five Falls
Five_Falls_005_11192009 - Direct look at the people who were so preoccupied with their bathing under the Kutralam Five Falls that they didn't stare at us
Five_Falls_007_11192009 - Focused on the larger mens only side of the Kutralam Five Falls

We were a little bit disoriented as we were driven around the Courtallam area, but I think the Kutralam Five Falls was some 15 minutes drive from our hotel in the heart of the town of Courtallam.

By the way, that town was within walking distance from the main Courtallam Falls).

Courtallam was said to be about 115km from Thiruvananthapuram (or Trivandrum for short) where we ended our India trip (I recalled it took at least 3.5 hours drive).

As for other towns, Courtallam is also 40km from Tirunelveli and 640km from Chennai (major city of the state of Tamil Nadu, I believe).

Find A Place To Stay

Left to right sweep of the Five Falls and the plethora of locals bathing in its waters

Tagged with: courtallam, kutralam, tirunelveli, tamil nadu, ayurvedic, india, waterfall, bathing, courtallam falls, kutralam falls

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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