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Kookal Falls

Kookal – A Day in the Palani Hills

Kookal is a quaint little village located in the Palani Hills of Tamil Nadu in India. This village is 35 km from the much commercialized yet beautiful Kodaikanal. Kookal is mainly known for its charming lake, breath-taking water fall and psychedelic mushrooms but there are still many other yet to be explored places that will specially interest adventure lovers like me. “Kookal – A Day in The Palani Hills” post is going to be only about my experience on the journey, trek, stay, food, people, forests, and the umpteen number of waterfalls that I enjoyed thoroughly?


Drive from my hometown

My husband and I had started early on a Saturday morning, drove down to Kodaikanal which was 190 km from my hometown. The drive in the Ghat section on well laid roads of Tamil Nadu was fun and the view outside the window was amazingly beautiful. The drive to Kookal via Poombarai from Kodaikanal took us almost 1.5 hours though the distance was only around 35 km. I have the habit of downloading offline maps to the places I travel which really helped in this case because there wasn’t any cellular network after crossing Kodaikanal.

Reaching Kookal

We had come to a crossroad junction where we had to go straight if we had to reach Mannavannur or take right to reach Kookal. The last 8 km stretch to reach the village after taking the right turn had narrow roads. Having mountain on one side and deep pine tree gorges on the other side, it gets challenging when 2 vehicles in opposite directions must ply the same road simultaneously. It was only our car on what looked like a nicely laid no man’s road while commuting. After getting to the Kookal lake we let a sigh of relief.

Kookal lake
Kookal Lake

Kookal at First Sight

My trip was sudden, and I didn’t have anything planned in Kookal so I was ready to welcome anything that was coming my way. As soon as I reached the lake, I felt something mystical about the place and little did I know that I was going to uncover things that will blow my mind away. On the way to the village crossing the lake, there were many people asking us if we wanted to go to the waterfall. At first, I was wondering why somebody would ask if we wanted to go to a waterfall? I got my answers and soon you will, as you scroll through this post till the end.

Kookal Trek
Trek down the mountains

Trek to the Stay

As soon as we reached the village where the roads ended, we parked our car. I stayed at a friend’s homestay called “A Nomad’s Abode” and he was waiting for us in the village to accompany us on the trek down to his house. While trekking down I noticed that there was a road construction work going on which was an initiative by the estate’s owner/s in that area for his/their own use. This news had hit me hard because good roads in such delicate areas will bring more and more irresponsible travellers and thus more garbage and plastic waste to soil and the beautiful forests.

The trek down was steep and took us an hour to reach our friend’s place which was amidst nature and only that. I was able to hear a stream flowing nearby, birds, animals and we even got to see freshly shed snake’s skin.

Exploring places around the stay

The wind in Kookal did carry its mystery all the way down to the home. I felt something mystical about the place when I reached, and I was excited to uncover what more was waiting for me. The wooden logs that became the pillars of the house holding it steady along with stones that gave the house an elegantly rustic appearance, did cast its charm on me.

The house was in an estate which had numerous waterfalls with water puddles that are perfect for a relaxing dip. You should beware of the snakes though because I saw them in one of the waterfalls where I had just played few minutes before the snake decided to pay visit. I heard from our friend who hosted us that snakes are a common sight in Kookal.

As the sun had set, we decided to bade bye to the small waterfalls where we spent a lot of time playing and head back to the homestay. After a simple yet tasty dinner with engrossing conversations floating around, we decided to hit the hay around 9 pm. I remember that I was able to hear every small sound around the house as there was absolute silence and not a pinch of light.

As the sun sets

Sunday Morning at Kookal

We had woken up appreciating how amazing the previous day was and we were eager to see what was remaining for us to experience in Kookal before we left to Kodaikanal. Our friend cum host guided us to Thuthoor falls which was at a close proximity from the stay. We had to trek uphill for some time before we came to the junction to take a left and enter the dense jungle kind of an area. At the junction I felt my heart broken seeing so much plastic thrown by irresponsible travellers carrying polythene bags and water cans. I really wished there were strong rules to not allow such people into the area where they can get close to nature.


Thuthoor Fall

After a small trek of 20-30 mins into that dense jungle we got to see a waterfall that we wouldn’t even have been able to dream of. It was mind-blowingly amazingly majestic and I fell in love with the waterfall so deeply.  There was absolutely no one except me, my husband, and our friend. The joy I felt seeing that waterfall is something I can’t put in words. I heard that people climb onto the rocky edges of the fall, but it is very dangerous. Nature can treat you good or bad, depending on how you behave with her.

The majestic waterfall
Amazed by its size and beauty

On Sunday afternoon we trekked up the hill to reach the village which took us 1.5 – 2 hours having conversations with locals who cheered up us as we trekked uphill. My trip to Kookal had no itinerary and my plan was to stay in a place close to nature which I felt was accomplished at the end 🙂

Places to Visit near Kookal

  1. Kodaikanal
  2. Mannavannur
  3. Poombarai
  4. Munnar
Pine forests of Kodaikanal

Click here to read about my trip to Kodaikanal.

Aarthy Chinnaiya

Hola, you travel-prying soul! Welcome to my blog and thanks for stopping by! My name is Aarthy Chinnaiya, exploring new places, food and people gets me excited. I focus on budget travel and exploring places to the fullest in limited number of days (being a Software Engineer I don't get much leaves you see :P). Follow me for a constant dose of my travel stories, experiences, tips and much more.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pawan Hegde M

    It was a very good experience reading this blog ,i had gone to Kodaikanal and palani hills in my childhood.
    Though I haven’t visited the places which you have mentioned here,still i was able to relate to it ,when you were defining it’s beauty.
    Also i felt as if i was trekking there.Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience 🙂
    -from a passionate traveller

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