||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (November 2012)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||TN 76|
|Sex ratio||1:1 ♂/♀|
Courtallam (Tamil: குற்றாலம்) or Kutralam, Spa of South India, is a panchayat town situated at a mean elevation of 160 m (520 ft) on the Western Ghats in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, India. Many seasonal and few perennial rivers such as the Chittar River, the Manimuthar River, the Pachaiyar River and the Tambaraparani River originate in this region. The numerous waterfalls and cascades along with the ubiquitous health resorts in the area have earned it the title the Spa of South India. The falls carry a good amount of water only when there is a rain on the hills. Season begins from June of every year till September. The South West Monsoon brings in the cold breeze with mild temperature. From October to December North East Monsoon sets over in Tamil Nadu and the climate is cold and the rains are very heavy sometimes. Sometimes the falls get flooded and people are not allowed to take bath during floods.
As of 2001[update] India census, Courtallam had a population of 2368. Males constitute 41% of the population and females 59%. Courtallam has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 78% and, female literacy is 74%. 7% of the population is under 6 years of age. Although very close to the Kerala border, the entire population of Courtallam is homogeneously Tamil.
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Courtallam has scenic surroundings. The hillocks which dominate the scenery disappear into the blue mist of Agasthiarmalai, the mountain bearing the name of a sage who made immense contributions to Tamil literature and is believed to have lived in the area. The closest towns to Courtallam are Sengottai and Tenkasi at 5 km (3.1 mi) respectively. The closest airport is Tuticorin Airport (TCR) approximately 90 km (56 mi) away and the nearest railway station is Tenkasi, 5 km (3.1 mi) away.
Falls in Courtallam
Courtallam has nine waterfalls.
- Peraruvi (main falls) the biggest falls in Courtallam, is about 60m high. The flow of water is interrupted by the Pongumakadal, a 19m deep crater and comes down with greatly reduced impact, making a bath safe.
- In Chitraruvi (small falls), the flow is thin. Here naturally separate places for men and women are there to bathe.
- At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. There is also a temple there, dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman. Shenbagadevi leads to Chitraruvi.
- About 3 km from this is Thenaruvi (honey falls), 40m high and cascading between two large stones. In places where there is no water, one sees big honeycombs. Thenaruvi is very dangerous and it is restricted for public. But it is very common to see people vising and bathing in Thenaruvi.
- Aintharuvi (five falls) has five separate cascades of water form this waterfalls.
- From the orchard above flows Pazhathotta Aruvi, the 'VIP falls'. Only VIP's are allowed in Pazhathotta Aruiv.
- The Pazhaya Courtalla Aruvi (Old Courtallam falls) used to fall into a valley from between two rocks. The valley was closed and the rocks were broken to change the course of water and make bathing easier. It was reopened later.
- The artificial Puli Aruvi (Tiger Falls) has a moderate flow of water which collects in a lake and is diverted for irrigation, sometimes tigers visit this place for water.
- There is another small falls inside the Government Horticulture Park above Five Falls, but it is off limits to the public.
The three major waterfalls reachable by road are the Main Falls, Five Falls, and Old Courtallam Falls. Other waterfalls like Shenbaga Devi Falls and Honey Falls are reachable only by trekking on the mountain.
Places to visit
- Therkumalai Estate can be reached from Honey falls in 1 hour, which is roughly at 2000 ft altitude.
- Boat Houses near the Five Falls and Old Courtallam Falls.
- Snake Park nears to the Main Falls.
- Aquarium near the Main Falls.
- Children's Park.
Nearby Tourist Interests
Tenkasi is a town located in the foothills of the Western Ghats near the Courtallam Waterfalls, close to the Tamil Nadu - Kerala border in Tirunelveli District. Tourists prefer staying in either courtallam or Tenkasi and the close proximity allows tourists to frequently travel between the two. The Palaruvi Falls is across the state border in Kerala.
- Courtallam is not just waterfalls; its temples too attract visitors. The most important among these is the Chitra Sabha, one of the five sabhas with Nataraja, Shiva in the dancing posture as the main deity. The paintings at the Chitra Sabha were renovated about 100 years ago. The others are the Rathna Sabha at Thiruvalangadu, the Kanaka Sabha at Chidambaram, and the Velli Sabha at Madurai and the Thamira Sabha at Tirunelveli). The temple at the foot of the hill is conch-shaped which has special significance in Hindu tradition.
- The Tamil poet Thirukudarasappa Kavirayar sang about the beauty of this place in his "Kutraala Kuravanji" standing on its highest point at 1565m.
- The temple at the foot of the hill is conch-shaped which has special significance in Hindu tradition.
- Thirukutraalanaadhar Kovil in Main falls. During the Thamizh month of Chithirai a ten day festival is arranged which ends in a special prayer on Pournami (Full Moon Day).
- Thirumalai Kovil in Panpoli, 8 km from Courtallam.
- Kumaran Kovil in Ilanji, 3 km from Courtallam.
- Kasivishuwanathar Kovil in Tenkasi, 6 km East from Courtallam.
- Dhakshinamoorthy Kovil in Puliyarai, 12 km West from Courtallam.
- Papanasam Ulagaambihai & Sivan Kovil in Papanasam, 35 km Southeast from Courtallam.
- Ariyankavu Iyappan Kovil in Kerala, 35 km Northwest from Courtallam.
There are numerous resorts, hotels and lodges in Courtallam. Most of the luxurious hotels are located near to the main falls and Old Courtallam.
For information about the temple of Courtallam visit www.courtrallanathar.tnhrce.in
Modes of Transport
Courtallam is mainly connected by bus transport to the two main cities of Tenkasi and Shenkottai. Tirunelveli to Shenkottai buses are frequently available in Courtallam. Buses are frequently available only during the season time. In the remaining months most of the buses takes Ilanji to reach Shenkottai. Like buses to Old Courtallam also available during the season time only.
There are no railway stations in Courtallam. But from the Tenkasi Railway station, one can reach Courtallam within 20 minutes by road.
- Podhigai Express which comes from Chennai Egmore to Shenkottai and vice versa.
- Shenkottai to Tirunelveli Passenger and vice versa.
- Shenkottai to madurai local Passenger and vice versa.
In popular culture
Owing to its scenic beauty, Courtallam has featured in many films.
- Poova Thalaya (1969)
- Aravaan (2012)
- Vettai (2012)
- Mirchi (film) (2013)
- Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2013)
- Suvadugal (2013)
- Anjala (film) (2014)
- "Tamilnadu Destinations Kutralam Waterfalls". Tamilnadu.com. 18 February 2013.
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- The cascades of Courtallam Frontline Magazine , pg 60, Sep 15-28, 1990
- The cascades of Courtallam Frontline Magazine , pg 60, Sep 15-28, 1990
- "Palaruvi Falls". World of Waterfalls. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Thiru Courtallanathar Thirukovil Sri Courtralanathaswami Temple
- "Aravaan had to be visually stunning". Rediff.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Sameera injured during Vettai shoot". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Prabhas’s Mirchi shooting in Kutralam". Chitramala. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Mirchi shooting at Kutralam". Supergoodmovies. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "SVSC to shoot in Kutralam, TN, from Feb. 6". IndiaGlitz. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "SVSC in Kutralam". Maa Stars. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "Venkatesh, Mahesh’s SVSC Kutralam schedule wrapped". Way2movies. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "MSV's live recording for Suvadugal". Kollybuzz. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- "KR Vijaya and Monika escape unhurt". Nowrunning.com. Retrieved 29 October 2013.
- Sharanya CR (22 February 2014). "Reality check for Nandita". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 February 2014.