Banatheertham Falls, Papanasam, Thirunelveli
Banatheertham Falls located inside the picturesque Karaiyar Dam in Thirunelveli district is a natural cascading waterfalls situated at Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. The medicinal property of the water is acclaimed and it is believed that the legendary sage Agasthiyar wandered here in search of rich herbs found in this forest. It is a great place to take herbal bath flowing from the healing waters of Agasthiyamala Biosphere Reserve.
Don’t miss to take a shower in this natural treasure unfolding from great height and also enjoy the boat ride on the Dam surrounded by breath-taking mountains. A 20-minute boat ride takes one from the dam across the lake. A 10-minute trek takes one to the magnificent waterfalls. Not many people knew about the waterfall as it was inside the forest. Bana Theertham Falls shot to fame after the super hit song ‘Chinna Chinna Aasai’ from the mega hit film ‘Roja’ was shot here in 1992. Since then they are popularly known as Roja Falls.
Unlike Courtallam, which is season-oriented, the Banatheertham fall is perennial, with December and January being the peak season. Surrounded by dense forests, the waterfalls present a magnificent sight when viewed from the lake. The boat ride also offers a breathtaking view of the adjoining hills. This range is also known for its plant diversity. The Thamirabarani River meets the Karaiyar Dam at Banatheertham Falls. The waters of Thamirabarani River are believed to have traces of copper in it, thus giving the river its name.
The best season to visit these perennial falls is from December-January as the temperatures are highly pleasant during this time and one can escape the humidity. Bana Theertham Falls is also called Vaanatheertham Falls or Karaiyar Falls. It is worth noting that visitors are charged entrance fee to the falls and the visiting time is from 6 am to 6 pm. Banatheertham Falls can be reached from Papanasam to Karaiyar Dam Road. Karaiyar Dam is located at about 15 Kms from Papanasam.
To visit the falls, head to the Karaiyar Dam and park your vehicle there and walk to the boathouse – a distance of one kilometer. The walk is refreshingly beautiful as you meander along a forested road. To reach this magnificent falls, you will need to take a boat ride from the Karaiyar Dam, across the lake. This scenic boat ride takes about 20 minutes and as you wind your way through the dense forest, the sight of the magnificent waterfall thundering down is mesmerizing. The mist-soaked hills cloaked in green form a serene backdrop to the deafening waterfall. Once you alight from the boat, it is a ten-minute trek up a small hill to Banatheertham Falls.
You will reach the bathing area at the falls’ mid-level. You can enjoy a refreshing shower here at the edge of the falls. However, do not try to swim here as the waters are deep and many people have lost their lives. Papanasam is located at about 52 Kms from Thirunelveli, 16 Kms from Ambasamudram, 34 Kms from Tenkasi, 215 Kms from Madurai and 140 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.