Palaruvi waterfall is one of the most scenic and prominent falls in Kerala along with the likes of Athirappalli, Thusharagiri and Meenmutti.
Situated about 75 kilometres from Kollam, in the Thenmala ranges,
Palaruvi falls is encircled by forests, Kallada River and several minor
Palaruvi, a 300 ft drop, is regarded as one of the tallest falls in Kerala. Heavy downpour forms a visual treat of milky white and hence named stream of milk. The pool formed beneath is perfectly suited for swimming and splashing.
Though Palaruvi waterfall is two stepped, visitors usually limit themselves to the bottom fall and pool.
The top fall forms a pretty pool amidst layers of rock, nevertheless it is considered unsafe.
Palaruvi waterfall is a popular picnic spot. Protected by guards and served by lifeguards, it is regarded safe and family friendly.
Alcohol prohibition is strictly in place especially because of the history of deaths in the unsafe upper pool. As per authorities, mishaps were somehow linked to intoxication.
A government related body, Palaruvi River and forest conservation society - Palaruvi Puzha/Vanam Samrakshana Samithi - is in charge of this plastic free zone. Nominal fees apply for entry, parking and treks.
The healing falls
Water of Palaruvi pools is believed to have healing properties. Many locals, who never otherwise venture out to any waterfall, visit here to just take a dip in the medicinal waters. Hence you may see large crowds, especially so, during peak season of overflowing fresh water.
As a testimony, some Ayurvedic Physicians consider Palaruvi dips akin to herbal bathing and therefore suggest it to patients. Their substantiating fact is that water reaches the falls after flowing through areas of medicinal herbs.
The popularity of bath is so much that separate bath and change facilities for men and women are constructed.
Palaruvi is a popular trekking destination. Of the two trekking trails here, the first one - Palaruvi Trek - leads to the top of waterfall. To and fro trek covers 5 kilometres through a landscape of forests, caves, streams and small waterfalls. It is quite popular since many visitors take up this 3 hour challenge, to add a bit of adventure to their Palaruvi tour.
The second trek, though not that popular, has a tinge of adventure to it. By crossing streams and taking less trodden forest paths, trekkers reach the State’s border. Named Kurishumala Trek, it explores the wild side of Palaruvi rain forest.
The nearby Thenmala forest region is well known among adventure tourists for exciting trekking trails.
Holding up Palaruvi as their summer getaway, Travancore kings built a palace in the 17th century. Later, they somehow felt the creepy notion that this place is unlucky.
Superstition or not, they immediately shifted from this Kerala waterfall region to Courtallam falls in Tamil Nadu. Remnants of ancient structures and a stable in the vicinity paint a picture of abandoned past.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Palaruvi waterfall is in the monsoon season when water gushes down with a wild roar casting great glory. Another reason is that water dries up in summer.
For those who seeking accommodation near waterfall, the choice is limited. It narrows down to a KTDC motel and a PWD rest house. Contacting them in advance if you want to stay at remote Palaruvi is probably a good idea.
Palaruvi is located in the Kollam- Shenkottai road. It takes a two hour car drive from Kollam to reach here. There are regular bus services from Kollam to Aryankavu.
The interstate border of Aryankavu is 5 kilometres away from the waterfall.
Alternatively, the town of Punalur 35 kilometres east can be reached by train or bus. From there, get on a bus that service to Aryankavu.
The choice of morning visit allows for sufficient trek time, especially so, for those who opt public transport to travel to Palaruvi.