Banatheertham falls is a beautiful fall situated near Tirunelveli in the Tamilnadu state of India.
It is part of the Agasthyamalai biosphere reserve which was declared as a biosphere in 2011. Agasthyamalai biosphere reserve is spread over Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala and Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts of Tamilnadu state. 2000 varieties of medicinal plants, including some 50 rare plants, are found in these biospheres. It is awaiting approval from UNESCO – as a participant in Man and Biosphere Programme.
Banatheertham falls or Panartheertham Falls is part of the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is part of the Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and inside the Karayar Dam.
Panartheertham falls can be reached by taking a 20-minute boat ride inside the Karaiyar dam, which offers a magnificent view of the surrounding forests. After the boat ride, you need to trek 10 minutes inside the forest.
Banatheertham falls or Panartheertham Falls have water all through the year, even though December, January, and February are ideal months to visit Banatheertham falls.
Banatheertham falls is a magnificent fall when viewed from the lake with the dense forest as background. Tamirabarani River is fed by this fall.
These areas have diverse plants, including medicinal plants. The legendary Sage ‘Agasthiya’, father of Siddha Medicine, is believed to have covered these areas to collect medicinal plants.
Banatheertham falls is also known as Vaanatheertham Falls or Karaiyar Falls or Panartheertham falls.
Song ‘Chinna Chinna Aasai …’ of the Tamil mega-hit movie ‘Roja’, directed by the ace director, Mani Ratnam, was shot here.
Vaanatheertham or Banatheertham Falls can be reached from Papanasam to Karayar dam road (near Ambasamudram) in the Tirunelveli district of South Tamilnadu. Tirunelveli town is 65 kilometers away.
Manimuthar Dam and Falls (at around 38 kilometers distance), Courtalam Falls(Courtalam old falls, Courtalam Five falls, Courtalam Tiger falls) at 60 kilometers away, and Papanasam Falls are some of the other major waterfalls in the nearby areas.
Kumbarutti Falls which can also be spelled as Kumbhavurutty Falls and Palaruvi Falls are some of the nearby falls to Banatheertham fall, in Aryankavu panchayath, in the neighboring Kerala state.
How Do I Go to Banatheertham falls or Panartheertham Falls?
Tirunelveli is the nearest Town to Banatheertham falls. Tirunelveli is well connected by train (‘Tirunelveli Junction’ with station code ‘TEN’ is the name for the railway station). Tirunelveli is connected by roads to the rest of India. Tuticorin Airport (TCR) and Madurai Airport (IATA: IXM, ICAO: VOMD) are the nearest airports to the Banatheertham falls, Tirunelveli.