White waters cascading through steep hills, the loud thud just as they hit the surface, the cold splash on your face, verdant slopes surrounding you and all you can hear is the gushing sound muffled with winds and chirping – paradise, right? Waterfalls are nature’s best example of heavenly sights. And India is blessed with lots of them! Here are 10 that will take your breath away.
1. Nohkalikai Falls: Meghalaya
The fourth highest in the world and tallest in the country, the Nohkalikai Waterfalls of Meghalaya drop from a height of 1,115 feet in the wettest place on Earth – Cherrapunji. Its not only a visual spectacle, but the legend behind the name of the falls is also quite extraordinary. It is believed that a woman named Ka Likai jumped from the cliff after finding out that her husband had cooked her infant daughter and fed it to her in a meal. The story sure is tragic and gory, but the stunning beauty of the white waters falling down amidst green slopes takes away all the negativity filling you with just good vibes. The waterfalls are 5 kms away from Cherrapunji and can be accessed through a drive to the tableland and a short hike after. There are several view points and staircases around the cliff from where one can take different views of the falls.
Read more: 8 Top Places To Visit In Meghalaya
How to reach: Nearest Airport – Guwahti (120 Kms from falls). If you want to take the road, the NH-40 connects Guhwati to Shillong and Shillong to Silchar is connect through NH-44.
Best Time: November – February
2. Dudhsagar: Goa
Located on the borders of Goa and Karnataka in the Bhagawan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, the Dudhsagar Waterfalls plunging from a height of roughly 1017 feet making its place among the tallest waterfalls in the country. Rightly called Dudhsagar or ‘Sea of Milk’ the waterfalls give you an illusion of milk falling from a goblet. The milky waters on touching the surface form foamy clouds and make for an awe-inspiring view. The best sight can be captured during monsoons when the falls are in full force. However, the trek there can be a little dodgy. You can get to base of the falls via a train, by a jeep or if you’re feeling adventurous enough – trek. The months of September to May are for enjoying the slow gush and have a picnic around. The monsoon months are for the thrill seekers!
Also read: Goa is Just a Ship Away!
How to reach: Nearest station to the falls – Kulem. If you prefer road travel, you can take a taxi or a jeep from Mollem Village. However, both options require a bit of walking if you want to get to the base.
Best Time: November to Feb, June to September.
3. Nohsngithiang Falls: Meghalaya
North-East India holds so many secrets, but what they couldn’t keep hidden away are the spectacular Seven Sisters Waterfalls. The Nohsnigthiang Falls are located 1km from Mawsmai Village in the East Khasi Hill District. Forking out in seven streams, these waterfalls fall from a height of approximately 1,033 feet and are 230 feet wide! Lush green covers of Cherrapunji and the exotic flora and fauna of the region are not the only natural wonders adding to its beauty. Exactly at sunrise and sunset, the sunlight reflects on the falls, giving it a glistening effect and painting a striking picture. The seven streams most definitely make for another arresting moment. The splendor and majesticity of the falls makes it all too beautiful.
How to reach: Nearest airport: Guhwati (166km from the airport). Nearest Railway Station: Guhwati (99 Km from station). Hire a taxi from Cherrapunji city.
Best Time: June to September
4. Athirappily Waterfalls: Kerala
India has its very own Niagara Falls nestled amongst the luscious forest cover in Kerala. The Chalakudy River originating in the Anamudi Mountains of the Western Ghats passing through the Vazhachal Forest cascades down magnificently as the Athirappily Waterfalls. Rightly called the Niagara of India, these waterfalls may not be as tall as others, but is definitely wider, making it grander than all. What makes the view of these silver sizzling waters even more spectacular is the wildlife that surrounds it. One can find species like the Great Indian Hornbill, the Asiatic Elephant, Bison, Sambar and many others in the forest. With flora comprised of teak, bamboo, eucalyptus and 35 other endemic species of flora and fauna – the area around the waterfall is also a biodiversity hotspot. Thick green forests in the background and white milky waters hitting the dark stone – will definitely up your Instagram game! If that doesn’t convince you, well, Aishawarya Rai danced to Barso Re in front of these falls – how about now?
How to reach: Nearest Railway Station – Chalakudi Railway Station (30 Km from the falls). Nearest Airport – Kochi International Airport (55 Km from the falls). The falls are also easily accessible by road. One can take a bus or taxi from Chalakudi.
Best Time: June – September
5. Talakona Waterfall: Andhra Pradesh
In the Sri venkateshwara National Park of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh is the Talakona Waterfall plummeting down from a height of 270 feet making it the tallest in the state. The trek to the waterfalls is splendid as well. Blessed with abundant wildlife, you can spot endangered species of animals like Slender Loris, the Great Indian Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Porcupine and more. Giant plants and vibrant butterflies complete the picture. You do get a few glimpses of gushing streams as you make your way to the top. However, the upper reaches are where you can witness the beauty of the falls in one single look. More than their allure, it is believed that the water at Talakona has healing properties. Some might believe in mysticism, but the healing properties could also be credited to the medicinal plants and herbs that the water passes through before it makes the plunge. Another attraction is the Lord Siddheswara Temple close to the falls. Since there is more than one route, trekkers can chose what they’re comfortable with.
How to reach: Nearest Airport: Tirupati (75 Kms from falls). Nearest Station: Tirupati Railway Station (65 Kms from falls). You can also take a bus to the Talakona Bus station.
Best Time: November – January
6. Dhuandhar Falls: Madhya Pradesh
Just as the Narmada River plunges down from a height of 98 feet hitting against the cold rocks it forms a misty effect giving an illusion of smoke arising from the river bed. Hence, the name ‘Dhuandhar’ translating to smoke-flow in English. Also called the Smoke Cascade, the falls are located in Bhedaghat, 30 kms from Jablapur in Madhya Pradesh. Besides the steamy visual of the falls, the major reason why tourists flock to this area are the Marble Rocks. The holy water of Narmada forms gorges as it passes through the glistening tall standing marble rocks making for a divine spectacle. There are boat-rides that take you through the gorges during full moon nights that give you the best view of the marbles. One can also get a picturesque view of the falls from a cable car that runs from the east to the west bank of Narmada.
How to reach: Nearest Airport – Jablapur (265 kms from the city of Amarkantak). Nearest Railway – Pendra Road (17 kms from the city of Amarkantak). You can also take transport buses from Pendra Road, Shahdol and Bilaspur.
Best Time: November – March
7. Umbrella Falls: Maharashtra
Amidst the lush green covers of the Sahyadri Ranges lies the seasonal waterfall of Bhandardara – Umbrella Falls. Located under the Wilson Dam, these falls are fed by the monsoons and its allure is not due to its height, but the immense volume of water that flows. As for the name, the water when hits the rock below given an impression of a giant umbrella. Visitors can best observe the falls from footbridge. One can also take a boat ride at Arthur Lake near the falls and if one waterfall isn’t enough, Randha Falls close to Umbrella Falls also make for a spectacular scene!
How to reach: Nearest Airport – Mumbai (Bhandardara is 163 kms from the airport). Nearest Railwa Station – Igatpuri (Bhandardara is 43 km from Igatpuri). The drive to Bhandaradara from Mumbai is also beautiful. It takes approximately 4 hours.
Best Time: July – October
8. Hogenakkal Falls: Tamil Nadu
Unarguably southern India’s best, the Hogenakkal Falls on the Kaveri River are a mesmerizing sight. The Kaveri River forks out into multiple streams and falls on the unique rock arrangements giving a misty smoke-y look. The waterfall owes its appeal to the semi-circle formation of the rocks. The water falls in a circle and finally hits the small pool in the middle that is surrounded by some of the oldest carbonite rocks. Apart from the cascading white waters, South-Asia’s and the World’s oldest rocks, the coracles are a major attraction. Coracles are circular bamboo boats that can carry upto eight people at a time. Visitors are more thrilled to get a ride around the fall in this unique boat.
How to reach: Nearest Airport: Bangalore (130 kms to falls). Nearest Railway Station – Dharmapuri Railway Station (46 kms to falls). You can avail direct buses from Hogenakkal bus station, one km from the falls.
Best Time: October – March
9. Elephant Falls: Shillong
A British officer once spotted a rock near the falls that resembled an elephant. The rock was destroyed in an earthquake, but the name still remains. One of the busiest spots in Shillong, the Elephant Falls can be viewed in three parts. Yes, you’ll see a different part of the falls from three different vantage points. The first part is comparatively broader and is tucked between dense trees, the second part gets narrower and finally the last one is the tallest of all and is clearly visible because of the contrasting whites on the dark rocks. This serene location is a paradise for tourists due to its easy accessibility and its short-distance from Shillong (12km). Yes, of course the splendor of the falls itself calls out to visitors!
How to reach: Nearest Airport – Umroi Airport. Nearest Railway Station – Guhwati. One can also drive from Shillong city. It is a few minutes’ drive from Shillong Peak.
Best Time: November – February.
10. Jog Falls: Karnataka
India’s second highest waterfalls after Nohkalikai are the Jog Falls of Karnataka with a 830 feet long drop. The Sharavati River flowing through the Western Ghats, magnificently splits into four channels, named – Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket. The tallest, out of the four is evidently ‘Raja Fall’ with the longest continuous plunge. Visitors can access the steps made by the tourism department at the bottom of the hill to get a clearer and a beautiful view of the Jog Falls. The dense green cover, the natural habitat of the region and the white thick smoke like water enhances the beauty of the waterfall.
How to reach: Nearest Airport – Hubli Airport. Nearest Railway Station – Talaguppa (13 km from location) and Sagara (30 km from location). Nearest bus Station – Sagara, Siddapura and Jog Falls Bus stop.
Best Time: August – December
11. Chitrakoot Falls: Chhatisgarh
Called the Niagara Falls of India, the Chitrakoot falls stand tall at the height of 29 meters. It is known to the widest waterfall of the country as it kalahandi region of Odisha, enters Andhra Pradesh and finally flows into the Godavri River. Also known as Chitakote Falls, on the left bank of the fall, a Hindu shrine of Lord Shiva is located.
How to reach: The nearest airports are Allahbad ((135 kms from Chitrakoot), Khajuraho( 175 kms) and Varanasi (275 kms). By rail, the nearest station is Karvi (8km). You can also reach by state connected buses from Allahbad, Kanpur and Banda
Best Time: Monsoon