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Timings : Sunrise to Sunset

Time Required : Less than 1 hour

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Catherine Falls, Kotagiri Overview

Catherine Falls in Kotagiri near Ooty is made popular by its seclusion from the cacophony of the urban areas. The falls are nestled amidst the lush greens of the Nilgiris and are a pristine location to witness the beauty of nature. The water of the Kallar River, cut off by the Mettupalayam - Ooty road beyond the mountains, falls in a double cascade from over a height of 250 metres as it forms the Catherine Falls, making it the second highest waterfall of the Nilgiris. Located near Kotagiri, this tourist-favourite spot is often visited by people travelling the Ooty-Coonoor region for a place cut off from the crowd.

Catherine Falls is truly a place in the lap of nature for the travellers to soak in the ambience, for the explorers to discover all that nature has to offer, for the trekkers to take on the adventurous path and for the shutterbugs to capture some of the best sceneries. The emerald forests and tea gardens of the Nilgiris make the place look like a paradise of freshness and an abode for all the wilderness possible. An ideal spot for the tourists and the occasional wanderer soul as well - it is one of the best places to visit in the whole district of Nilgiri.

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Etymology of Catherine Falls

Unlike most of the other waterfalls in this part of the country, this waterfall has an English name. This is because it is named after Catherine Cockburn, the wife of M. D. Cockburn - who is known to have introduced coffee plantation in Kotagiri and Yercaud. South India is famous for its coffee plantation, and this is a tribute to the family who started it in the local neighbourhood. However, the waterfall has a native name of its own, given by the local people, "Geddhehaada Halla" which translates to "Foothills of Dale River" in English; though the reason behind this naming is not clear.

Things To Do at Catherine Falls

The entire area around the Catherine waterfalls is covered with beautiful greenery of the forest of Nilgiris, tea plantations and the plains of Mettupalayam. A climb to the top of Dolphin's Nose which is a spectacular viewpoint at 1000 feet above sea level, reveals the most picturesque view of the Catherine waterfalls along with the whole stretch of greenery around it. The tip of this unique rock formation resembles the snout of a dolphin from which it gets its quirky name.

Catherine Falls has some fantastic trek routes as well. Apart from the 2-3 kilometres walk from the road to the falls through the pine forests, travellers interested in exploring a bit more can start walking from the small town of Aravenu as well. Other than that, trekking through the nearby Longwood Shola forest is quite a popular activity here for trek groups. The trips are easy and short ones, but trekkers need the permission of the Forest Department to do it.

For obvious reasons, a visit to the Catherine Falls is a heavenly experience for the nature lovers. The foaming water against the tropical background paint the greenest of pictures one can imagine. However, reaching the foot of the fall is not geographically possible. Spending some time at the top, sitting on the rocks and enjoying the water falling below as a mere spectator of nature's bounty is an experience in itself.

Photographers, both professional and those who take a liking towards clicking nature, will have the best time clicking the most beautiful snapshots of the surroundings.

Best Time To Visit Catherine Falls

Since most of the streams of South India are non-perennial and depend largely on the Indian monsoon, the time after the rainy season, from September to around March-April is the ideal time to visit.

Tips For Visiting Catherine Falls

1. Try to avoid the summer months as the water level goes down and the waterfall mostly tends to be drier because of the scorching heat.
2. Though monsoon is the main season when the rivers and waterfalls show their real self, it is not safe to visit during this time, and also quite inconvenient in the wet weather.
3. Wear good shoes while trekking - better be safe than sorry.
4. Carry food and drinks while trekking in the forests because there are no shops or shacks near the waterfall.

How To Reach Catherine Falls

Kotagiri is well connected with main cities like Ooty (36 km) and Coonoor (21 km) via buses and cars. Catherine Falls can be reached via the Moon Road off the main Kotagiri-Mettupalayam Road, from a small town called Aravenu. A small distance needs to be walked through the lush tea estates to reach near the falls from where the cars are parked.

The road to the falls is pretty narrow, so if you are driving your own vehicle, you need to be very cautious. The directions to the falls in not properly marked. You need to ask the local people for the correct directions.

Though many trekkers start their walking journey right from Kotagiri or Aravenu to enjoy the scenery, private cars can also be taken inside to the falls but with prior permission of the District Forest Officer.

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