Archive for February, 2011

waterfalls of madhya pradesh


Madhya Pradesh has a variety of marvels for the tourists of today, both domestic and international, but here I am going to concentrate only on the waterfalls.  The rivers of Madhya Pradesh (Narmada, Tapti, Tamsa, Chambal, Son, Ken, Betwa etc and their various tributaries) take monstrous shape in the monsoon and thus the best time to visit the waterfalls would be post-Monsoon.  A catalog of the tallest waterfalls from the state perhaps doesn’t exist but after much data collection the following have been ranked in a descending order.

Bahuti falls (142 m, Odda river, Rewa)

It is probably the tallest waterfall from the state falling from a height of 142 m on the Odda river in the Rewa plateau. Odda is a tributary of the Bihad river which in turn joins the Tamsa river. It is located near two other falls of much the same height, Chachai and Keoti, which rounds off the top three from the state. The trio is relatively unknown because waterfall tourism is still not a big thing in India and none of them are located near cliched tourist destinations. The nearest town is Mauganj. I couldn’t visit this waterfall during my trip to Rewa becasue of lack of time. World Waterfall Database doesn’t make a mention of this waterfall though it exists!

A video can be seen here

Chachai falls (130 m, Bihad river, Rewa)

chachai falls

chachai falls

It is the 2nd tallest waterfall from the state and can be accessed from the town of Rewa or Satna. The internet is full of pictures that show the Chitrakoot falls of Chhattisgarh (Bastar) as the Chachai but they are located much farther apart. One can though definitely say that Chachai, Keoti and Bahuti bear an uncanny resemblance owing to the same topography and water flow the year around! The heights are also almost the same.

I visited this waterfall on 18th October, 2013 via Satna and realized that the Bihad river has been damned behind this to feed irrigation canals and the majesty has been considerably reduced though the pool at the bottom and the canyon that follows is a delight to watch along with the Egyptian Vultures encircling overhead. There is a small resthouse with an old man passing off as the caretaker.

A video can be seen here

Keoti falls (130 m or 98 m, Mahana river, Rewa)

keoti falls

keoti falls

It is interesting to note that four of the tallest waterfalls from the state are located in close proximity and in the same district which saves much on time and expense if a tourist decides to visit them all. Mahana is a tributary of the Tamsa in the Rewa plateau. These are examples of knick-point falls and look somewhat similar in full flow.

I visited this waterfall on 18th October, 2013 via Satna and realized there is an old fort near the waterfall. There are no barricades much like Chachai and no one to man the area. A dangerous waterfall and one needs to be very careful here. A huge pool is formed at the bottom followed by a majestic canyon. People often make merry near the top of the edge of the waterfall which can prove fatal.

A video can be seen here

Rajat Prapat (107 m, Hoshangabad)

rajat prapat from the view point

rajat prapat from the view point

Rajat is a Hindi word which means silver and prapat is the Hindi for waterfall and it is thus named because of its appearance as a thin line of silver when the sun rays fall on it. It is located at the famous hill station of Pachmarhi (1015 m) within the Satpura National Park (SNP) and the trip can be coupled with a view of sunrise and sunset from Dhupgarh (1352 m), the highest peak of the Satpuras and the whole of Madhya Pradesh, along with other marvels SNP has to offer.

rajat prapat from near the base via the jungle trek

rajat prapat from near the base via the jungle trek

I visited this waterfall on 14th October, 2013 and since we had to trek to its base, which is possible through the jungle, we visited again on 15th October, 2013. The trek is a little arduous and a registered guide of the Satpura National Park is a must in case you don’t want to get lost in the jungle. We also bathed at the pool formed by the waterfall and it had to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life thus far.

A video can be seen here

Gatha falls (91 m, Panna)

It is the 5th tallest waterfall from the state and can be accessed via NH 75 from Panna or Khajuraho. Information on the river and the actual frontal view of the fall is not available.

Tincha falls (90 m, Indore)

tincha falls – pic source: google

It is the 6th tallest waterfall in the state and located near the city of Indore and an ideal weekend destination for picnickers. It attracts quite a plentiful number of tourists owing to easy accessibility but the nearby Patal Pani falls is far more popular. Information on the river is not available.

A video can be seen here and here

Purwa falls (70 m, Tamsa river, Rewa)

purwa falls

purwa falls

Yet another waterfall in the top ten from the district of Rewa and nestled in the Rewa plateau. It can be accessed from Satna or Rewa and the nearest town is Semaria (Rewa district). It’s located near the pilgrimage spot of Basaman Mama, a yaksha who is revered and worshiped by locals and thus receives a considerable amount of tourists. Lately the edges have been marked off by railings but it’s still a dangerous place. One needs to be very careful near all the waterfalls of Rewa.

I visited this waterfall on 18th October, 2013 via Satna. There was another huge waterfall a few miles downstream and locals called it the Chachai falls which actually is located a few miles away from Purwa on the road that leads to the town of Sirmaur. I had a near-fatal slip at the edge of a cliff here but fortunately fell at the other side and escaped with a minor injury only. The cliffs here are ideal for Egyptian Vultures and they are often seen hovering in the sky.

A video can be seen here

Patal Pani falls (61 m, Indore)

patal pani – pic source: google

One of the most visited waterfalls in Madhya Pradesh owing to its proximity to both Indore – the commercial capital of the state and Mhow. It is believed that the pool of water formed at the base leads to hell (patal in Hindi) and reports of drowning are often reported from the fall. It nevertheless is a popular picnic spot for the citizens of nearby areas. Information on the river is not available.

Jamuna Prapat (46 m, Hoshangabad)

jamuna falls aka bee falls

jamuna falls aka bee falls

It’s located near the much taller Rajat Prapat at the hill town of Pachmarhi in Hoshangabad district in the buffer area of the Satpura National Park. It’s a hit with picnickers who throng the place for bathing underneath it. It’s locally called the Bee Falls for the stinging effect of water on people who bath here.

I visited this waterfall on 14th October, 2013 and also bathed underneath it. Considering the height, the stinging effect was rather moderate. The huge crowd of people pissed me off for most of them had made the surroundings a garbage bin. The height is often quoted at 46 m but it certainly looked taller – at least 60 m for sure.

Kapil Dhara falls (31 m, Narmada river, Anuppur)

kapil dhara – pic source: google

It is located in the holy town of Amarkantak where three of the state’s important rivers emerge out including the Narmada, the Son and the Johila. It rivals the Patal Pani, the Tincha and the Dhuandhar in terms of popularity and number of visits and is believed to be the place where the famous sage, Kapil lived and wrote the Sankhya philosophy. It’s a place of immense natural beauty with forests, caves and numerous water bodies all around and also a huge number of temples and pilgrims.

Pandav falls (30 m, Panna)

pandav falls - pic source: www.unexploredweekendgetaways.com

pandav falls – pic source: http://www.unexploredweekendgetaways.com

Located within the Panna National Park on a tributary of the Ken river it gets its names from the legend which says that the Pandav brothers visited the place during the Mahabharata period. There are many caves nearby where the five brothers are supposed to have lived with their mother. It can be coupled with a trip to the famous temple town of Khajuraho and the beautiful falls of Gatha and Raneh that are nearby. Information on the river is not available.

Raneh falls (30 m, Ken river, Panna)

One of the most exotic waterfalls from the state forms a canyon 5000 m long and 30 m deep made of pure crystalline granite in varying shades of colors. There is a series of waterfalls in the canyon some of which run throughout the year and merge together in the monsoon. The Ken Gharial wildlife sanctuary is located down the fall where the Ken meets the Khudar river.

Dhuandhar falls (30 m, Narmada river, Jabalpur)

dhuandhar falls – pic source: google

Located at Bhedaghat and not far from the state’s 3rd largest city, Jabalpur, it is quite renowned for its volume and scenic beauty. A visit to the famous Marble Rocks and the Chausath Yogini temple rounds of a trip to the area.

the ten tallest waterfalls of india


India is a store house of waterfalls but not even one features in the Top 100 of a list maintained by world waterfall database – henceforth referred as WWD. Nohkalikai, Jog and Joranda are though definitely famous for their near vertical plunges and rival the best in the world. Also, many waterfalls in the Himalayas and elsewhere (including the Western Ghats) may be higher but are either undiscovered or undocumented. Nonetheless, height is not the only parameter of judgment. We have some of the most stunning waterfalls in the world – remote, voluminous and beautiful and few of them fall from a great height too.

It is very difficult to come up with a list of the ten tallest waterfalls in India due to lack of accurate data. In many countries – the USA for instance, it is considered an adventurers’ delight to cover the top ten or something of anything.

Nonetheless, of the known and documented ones and based on data collected from various reliable sources India’s ten tallest waterfalls are:

Kunchikal falls (455 m, Varahi river, Shimoga, Karnataka)

attukal and not kunchikal

Attukal falls in Kerala’s Idukki district is often passed off as Kunchikal so a picture of Attukal is given above for clarification. Barkana falls (detailed later in the post) is also passed off as Kunchikal. There are very few pictures of Kunchikal on the internet (one given below) and since it’s not a plunge waterfall it gets very difficult to even arrive at a gross estimate.

kunchikal falls

kunchikal falls

It is allegedly India’s tallest waterfall located in the district of Shimoga, not very far from the famous town of Agumbe. It is relatively mysterious and rarely visited by tourists. Not much information is available on the internet either and as a result it remains, till date, one of the most sought after waterfalls by enthusiasts of the same.

WWD says the waterfall has a height of 183 m and if that is true this goes out of India’s top 10.

You can read more about it here

Barehipani falls (399 m, Budha Balanga river, Mayurbhanj, Odisha)

barehipani falls

It is one of the wildest of India’s top ten waterfalls because of its location within Simlipal national park which is a hotbed of left-wing extremism (peaked in 2009). The nearby Joranda falls is equally stunning (or maybe more) if not as tall. Despite the infamy, it is comparatively easily accessible due to tracks leading right to the view-point. The nearest railway station is Balasore though a rail station also exists at Baripada. Visited the falls on 22nd April, 2011 and would recommend it to everyone. Contact me for any further details on how to visit this place.

WWD says the height of Barehipani is 217 m and if that is true this also goes out of India’s top 10. I have great trust on the above website but I am somewhat skeptical on Barehipani. I have seen it myself and I am kind of sure it falls from a height greater than 217 m.

You can read more about it here

Thoseghar falls (350 m, Satara, Maharashtra)

thoseghar falls

This huge waterfall is perhaps the ugliest fallout of a nation that doesn’t believes in maintaining records and promotion of the same. Located in the beautiful district of Satara amidst the Western Ghats which features some of India’s most amazing waterfalls, it is nowhere mentioned as one of the tallest falls in India except by certain bloggers who have an eye for records and details. As with most falls in India the height remains unverified but nonetheless the one that is doing the rounds and a general look at the height qualifies it to be between 300 to 350 m. Wikipedia quotes the height at 500 m.

It’s presently unplaced by WWD on their website but a chat with them indicates they believe it to be anywhere between 120 to 200 m. If that is true this also goes out of India’s top 10!

Langshiang falls (337 m, Kynshi river, West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya)

langshiang falls

Located near a large fluvial island, Nongkhnum, it is yet another waterfall unknown to Indians by large and rarely visited and photographed. The nearest town is Nongstoin while the above is one rare photograph of the fall. I did reach the near-end of Nongkhnum road on 1st September, 2011 but it was already dusk and Langshiang was a further trek of almost 20 km (to and forth) or maybe even more. We had to skip the idea and return back to Shillong (our driver didn’t approve of the idea of staying at Nongstoin, the nearest town). Of all the falls I have embarked to visit this was a major miss but I will return again and this time fully prepared and with full planning. Its location is perhaps the most intriguing amongst all the major falls in India. It would be sheer delight to see it in real.

I did go there for the second time on 2nd January, 2012 but yet again reached the place a bit late. It’s a fascinating and desolate place and would require lots of walking. I did see the amazing Weinia falls but missed Langshiang all over again. Maybe I will be third time lucky. Contact me for any further details on how to visit this place.

WWD says the height of Langshiang is 85 m and if that is true this also goes out of India’s top 10.

Nohkalikai falls (335 m, East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya)

nohkalikai falls

The tallest waterfall in India according to WWD is one of four in the top ten list seen by me – the others being Barehipani, Nohsngithiang and Kynrem. It is fed by a bunch of streams and is perhaps the most striking if not the most visited waterfall in the whole of east and north-east India. It’s relatively easily accessible owing to its proximity to Cherrapunji, a popular tourist destination in Meghalaya. It is named after a local Khasi woman, Ka Likai who jumped to her death from the cliffs after hearing the tragic death of her daughter who was killed by her husband. A most beautiful gift of mother nature. I have visited the waterfall twice. Contact me for any further details on how to visit this place.

WWD says the height is 340 m and ranks it the TALLEST waterfall in India.

Nohsngithiang falls (315 m, East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya)

nohsngithiang falls

It’s one of the four in the top ten seen by me – the others being Barehipani, Nohkalikai and Kynrem. It is located in Cherrapunji near the village of Mawsmai and is also known as the Seven Sisters falls because of the seven marked streams of water plunging down the cliff. It is easily accessible because of its proximity to Cherrapunji and quite well-known amongst tourists who venture out for Meghalaya. I have visited the waterfall twice. Contact me for any further details on how to visit this place.

Dudhsagar falls (310 m, Mandovi river, Sanguem, Goa-Karnataka)

dudhsagar falls

This monster of a waterfall lies on the Goa-Karnataka border and the nearest major rail station is Kulem. It is one of the most popular of India’s waterfalls and particularly hit with foreigners. According to legends, a princess who used to bathe at the base of the waterfall had to cover her modesty by a stream of milk given by a maid when it was brought to her notice that a prince was stealing glances at her from a hiding, giving the fall its present name.

Kynrem falls (305 m, East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya)

kynrem falls

It is amazing to note that four of the top ten waterfalls in India are from Meghalaya, three of which are from one district, East Khasi Hills, including this one. It is clearly seen from the popular Thangkharang Park located in Cherrapunji and a road takes one to the base as well. It appears to be falling from a greater height than any of the ones ranked above but that is a matter of debate. The plains of Sylhet in Bangladesh are clearly visible from the base of the fall whose waters end in that country. I had missed seeing it on my first visit of Meghalaya (November, 2008) but not during the second time (September, 2011). Contact me for any further details on how to visit this place.

Meenmutty falls (300 m, Chaliyar river, Wayand, Kerala)

meenmutty falls

It is the tallest waterfall in Kerala and located near the town of Kalpetta. It is slowly catching up with tourists who are spoiled for choices because south India is dotted with numerous big and small waterfalls and are comparatively well documented and advertised.

Thalaiyar falls (297 m, Manjalar river, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu)

thalaiyar falls

It is the tallest waterfall in Tamil Nadu and located in the Palani Hills and one of the most photographed amongst the top ten probably because of the clear view from the Dum Dum viewpoint. It is one of the most beautiful falls in the country and slowly catching up with trekkers from the world across.

Since Kunchikal, Barehipani and Langshiang are perhaps out of India’s Top Ten and I am not too sure about Thoseghar’s height, for the sake of synchronization with one of the best database on waterfalls, I would also include Barkana, Jog, Khandadhar, Vantawng, Vajrai and Penchalakona. The Khayang falls of Manipur is alleged to be of the same height as Vantawng but for lack of a good source (no mention at either Wikipedia or WWD), I will not include it here. People interested about it can read here.

Barkana falls (259 m, Sita river, Shimoga, Karnataka)

barkana falls

Located in Shimoga district which also has the Jog falls, Barkana has been clouded over by its much popular cousin. It so far lied in relative obscurity but the recent tribe of adventurous Indians have ensured that this mighty and majestic fall gets its share of popularity.

Jog falls (253 m, Sharavathi river, Shimoga, Karnataka)

jog falls in full flow

jog falls as a trickle

By far the most popular amongst the Indian waterfalls, the Jog falls barely makes it to the Top 10 (8th according to WWD). It is a paradoxical waterfall in that when flowing in full force (and that is rare since the construction of the Lingamakki dam in 1964) it could easily be one amongst the most magnificent waterfalls in the world but because of the reduced flow it has been stripped of its former glory. Most tourists who land at the falls at the wrong time (anytime other than Monsoon) are actually appalled at the falls. It was recently ranked by world waterfall database as the 13th best waterfall in the world. It is also India’s widest (610 m at its peak – 472 m per WWD) and the 2nd most voluminous (after Shivanasamudra falls) discharging an average of 153 cubic metre per second.

Khandadhar falls (244 m, Korapani river, Sundergarh, Odisha)

khandadhara falls

Another relatively unknown waterfall from India. Amazingly Barehipani was dropped from the list and another one from Orissa was included. Located in the naxalism affected district of Sundergarh not many outsiders know of this amazing waterfall. Of all the waterfalls in the list, after Barehipani, this is closest from my home and a visit to it would surely happen sooner or later.

Vantawng falls (229 m, Lau river, Serchhip, Mizoram)

vantawng falls

vantawng falls

Located near the town of Thenzwal, it’s the highest waterfall in Mizoram and largely obscure from the collective psyche of Indians.

Even though WWD mentions the height of Vantawng the same as what is mentioned at Wikipedia a chat with them indicates they believe it to have a realistic height of around 60 to 70 m. If that is true this also goes out of India’s top 10.

Vajrai falls (225 m, Urmodi river, Satara, Maharashtra)

vajrai falls

Located near the village of Bhambavali, it will be the highest waterfall from Maharashtra if Thoseghar has a height of less than 200 m as estimated by WWD (sourced through a chat with them). Various other sources put the height up to 280 m. Since neither Thoseghar nor Vajrai is on WWD’s website, Kune with a height of 200 m is the highest according to them.

Penchalakona falls (219 m, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh)

penchalakona

penchalakona falls

Located near the town of Penchalakona, it’s the tallest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh.

It’s presently unplaced by WWD on their website.

I know of some unnamed waterfalls in the Himalayas which are possibly around 300 m or higher but for want of more information I have refrained from posting about them here.

This was my way of paying tribute to a form of nature I worship so dearly. Waterfalls attract me no bounds and I am sure there are few people on earth as crazy as me when it comes to waterfalls. I have tried my best to provide exact details of the falls along with their locations, features and personal experiences as relevant. I have pictures of the ones I have visited but I preferred putting pictures from Google. Kindly drop a comment or contact me at easyvivek@gmail.com, facebook.com/easyvivek, twitter.com/vivekbabaji if there is an anomaly you see, or if there is anything you want to discuss about this post in particular and waterfalls in general. The pleasure would be absolutely mine.