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COURTALLAM –Spa of South India

COURTALLAM Spa of South India is 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 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, so it is advisable to see the weather forecast, when one plans to come to Courtallam. 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 that period.


Location

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 kms respectively. The closest airport is Tuticorin Airport approximately 90 kms (56 mile) away and the nearest railway station is Tenkasi,5 kms away


Apart from the dashing cascades it has temple, dedicated to Lord Siva called as Thirukutralanathar, which faces east. The Goddess is Kuzhalvaimozhi and is on the right of the presiding deity, Goddess Parasakthi is on the left. This is one of the oldest temples and is one among the 14 Sivasthalams of the Pandya kingdom. The name Kuttralam was derived from kutral the name of a forest tree under the refreshing shade of which God was said to have seated himself in the Company of his spouse. The sthala Vruksha of this temple is jack tree. According to popular legend, Lord Vishnu was there originally in the place of Lord Siva. During the marriage of Lord Siva, huge crowd assembled at Mount Kailash and this affected the balance of earth. The north started titling down and the south going up. In order to maintain the balance of earth, Lord Siva sent Agasthiyar to restore the balance. At Courtallam Agasthiyar found a Vaishnava temple and by his mystic power Agasthiyar converted it in to a Siva Temple. Vishnu changed into a Sivalingam the conch in his hand expanded as the temple and the chakra rose as the peak.


The Chitra Sabha (Hall of pictures) dedicated to Lord Nataraja and decorated with mural paintings of deities and devotees, Puranic stories and religious events is a few meters away from this temple. This sabha is one of the five sabhas where Lord Nataraja is in a cosmic dance pose. In front of this copper roofed sabha is a lily pond with a heavily ornamented gopuram. Nearby is the Koothar temple said to be the predecessor of the present main temple. The giant compound walls of the temple, the north and south gates and Choultry are testimony to the grandeur and artistic work of yester years.


Waterfalls in Courtallam:


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 bath. Chitraruvi leads to other waterfalls such as Shenbagadevi and Thenaruvi and the herbal farm.


Another interesting place is Thirumalai - 15 Kms. from Courtallam, where there is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Muruga on the ranges of the Western ghats.


At Shenbagadevi falls, the water flows through shenbaga (Michaelia champak) trees. There is also a temple there, dedicated to Shenbagadevi Amman.


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.



Aintharuvi (five falls) is one where five separate cascades of water form this waterfalls.


From the orchard above flows Pazhthotta Aruvi, the VIP falls



The old Courtalla Aruvi (old Courtallam falls) used to fall into a valley 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.


Courtallam Municipal township has all modern amenities, such as fine-road transport services, post and telegraph office, police station, telephone facilities, schools, college, library, park, tennis court, electric supply and protected water supply.


Places to Visit

  • Boat House near the Five falls
  • Snake Park near main falls
  • Aquarium near main falls
  • Children’s park

NEARBY TEMPLES

Thirukutraalanaadhar Temple is very near Main falls. During the Tamil month of Chithirai a ten day festival is arranged which ends in a special prayer on Pournami (Full Moon Day).



Thirumalai Kovil dedicated to Lord Karthik in Panpoli, 8 km from Courtallam Kumaran kovil dedicated to Lord Karthik in llanji, 3 km from Courtallam


Kasi Viswanathar temple dedicated to Lord Siva in Tenkasi, 6 kms from Courtallam Dhakshinamoorthy temple dedicated to Lord Siva in Puliyarai, 12kms from Courtallam Papanasam ulagaambihai & Sivan temple dedicated to Lord Siva in Papanasam, 35km from Courtallam.


Ariyankavu Iyappan Kovil dedicated to Lord Iyyappa in Kerala, 35km from Courtallam Murugan Temple dedicated to Lord Karthik at Ilanji, 3 kms. from Courtallam



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