Athirappally is the closest Western Ghats experience you can get when you visit Kochi (COK). Kochi or Cochin is a famous seafront cultural and heritage travel destination located in central Kerala. If you are a nature lover or interested in spending a weekend amidst nature, Athirappally, a small village that rose to fame due to a magnificent waterfall of the same name, is the best choice for you. You can reach the destination in an hour’s drive from Cochin.
f you enjoy forests, especially tropical ones, Athirappally won’t disappoint you. The core area is a typical evergreen forest with tall trees and rich biodiversity. However, some areas will also have deciduous trees with seasonal shedding. This forest mix can probably be the reason for such diversity in the flora and fauna in Athirappally forests. Athirappy is on the banks of the Chalakkudy River, the woods’ lifeline. It will be interesting to know that this freshwater river is home to an adorable fish now used as pets called ‘Miss Kerala.
Athirappally, forests are connected with many forest reserves and national parks spread across two states, i.e., Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We are listing a few such destinations below. Please remember that a trip to one of them may entail long road travel, trekking, securing different permits, etc.
1.Vazhachal Forest Reserve: (20 Minutes Drive) Situated close to the Vazhachal Waterfalls, a few kilometres away from Athirapplly Waterfall is an excellent place to explore nature. Easily accessible by road, it offers sightings of various animals, such as elephants, leopards, and numerous bird species. The best time to visit is from October to February.
2. Sholayar Reserve Forest: ( Valparai 3 hours drive) Known for its scenic beauty, the Sholayar Forest is home to animals like the Indian gaur and lion-tailed macaque. The best destination to explore the Sholayar forest is Valparai in Tamil Nadu. There is a great trekking trail that connects Athirappally and Valparai. You can also reach Valparai through the forest road from Athirappally in 3 hours.
3. Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary: (1 hour) With its diverse habitats like grasslands, riparian forests, and teak plantations, Chimmony is a treat for wildlife enthusiasts. One can spot endangered species like the Nilgiri langur here. It’s best to visit between September and March.
4. Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary: (2 hours) If you are a bird lover, it is a must-visit birding destination in India. Known as the “Birdwatchers’ Paradise,” it is home to over 300 bird species. The best time to visit is from October to March, which is the ideal time to see residents and migratory birds here.
5.Parambikulam Tiger Reserve: (4 hours) It is a tiger reserve located on the border with Tamil Nadu. If you are keen on trying to find a tiger or leopard, Parambikulam offers some chances. Many nature lovers and wildlife photographers take the Athirappally, Valparai, and Parambikulam trio for a week-long expedition. It is indeed a great itinerary to see and experience the birds and animals of the Western Ghats.
Athirappally, forests are suitable for trekking enthusiasts. A few long treks lasting for days will allow you to experience the best of the Western Ghats’ experience. Before you finalize your plans, you must check with your tour operator or guide for the permission requirements. Below are five popular top treks that let you experience the elegance of the Western Ghats.
1. Charpa Falls Trek: A moderate trek starting near the Charpa Waterfalls, this route offers mesmerizing views of the falls and surrounding landscapes. The trail takes around 2 hours to complete, and the post-monsoon season is the ideal time to do it.
2. Vazhachal Forest Trek: This easy trek leads you through the lush Vazhachal Forest Reserve. It’s an excellent opportunity to spot wildlife and experience the beauty of the Western Ghats. The trek takes about 3 hours and is best done during winter.
3. Peringalkuthu Dam Trek: This moderate trek takes you through dense forests and offers glimpses of diverse wildlife. The trek lasts around 4 hours and is popular in the year’s cooler months.
4. Anakkayam Trek: A relatively challenging trek, Anakkayam takes you to a serene reservoir surrounded by thick vegetation. The trek takes around 5 hours and is best undertaken during winter.
5. Athirappally Forest Range Trek: This trek is known for its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife. It’s a challenging route that takes approximately 6 hours to complete. The best time to explore this trail is during the dry months of the year.
Athirappally is a nature destination suitable for all kinds of travellers. Birdwatchers come here to observe birds like the Great Indian Hornbill, Malabar Hornbill, Malabar Trogon, and other endemics. There are also jeep safaris to explore wildlife, though sightings are rare. The waterfall is a marvellous sight to behold. Honeymooners may find the place ideal for their romantic escapes. Families, especially children, will feel excited about exploring the waterfall and nature around it.
Though many resorts and hotels are available in and around Athirappally for all kinds of budgets, we have selected the two best ones based on their ratings and the nature experiences they provide. Please check them out below by clicking on the tiles.