Authored by Sushant Pandey
Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful creations of Mother Nature. They are often a source of freshwater for local communities, while at the same time, attract tourists for their beauty, which naturally boosts local economies.
World famous for their scenic beauty, prominent falls include Angel Falls in Venezuela, Niagara Falls in the United States / Canada, and Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Incredible falls are present throughout the globe, and the same is true for India.
A subcontient often considered to be a microcosm of the world, and home to some of the wettest places on earth, India is home to thousands of falls ranging from a few meters to hundreds of meters in height.
Of course, you won’t have the chance to visit every single one, so here we’ve listed 10 of the best waterfalls; the most renowned for their beauty, of which you absolutely shouldn’t miss!
Ten Amazing Waterfalls in India
Why not start with the highest plunge waterfall of India? Nohkalikai is one of the tallest and most dramatic waterfalls you’ll encounter in India; it is the tallest plunge waterfall, with water falling from a height of 340 meters.
In the East Khasi Hill district in the state of Meghalaya, Nohkalikai is close to the town of Cherrapunjee, which is one of the wettest places on earth, and the only place in India to receive rainfall throughout the year.
The waterfall can be reached with a 55 kilometre drive from the capital city of Shillong. There is a viewpoint walk where concrete stairs lead a few hundred metres, and if you’re adventurous you can continue on to the base of the falls (though note that it’s a steep climb back up!).
Late morning to midday offers the best lighting for viewing the falls, and you should be aware that the weather in Cherrapunjee can be quite fickle; it’s worth checking the weather to make sure cloud cover won’t obstruct your visibility.
Gerusoppe Falls aka Jog Falls
Jog Falls is the second-highest plunge waterfall in India with a height of 253 meters. The waterfall lies in the Shimoga district in the state of Karnataka, and it is a prominent tourist attraction from all over India.
The water of the Sharavati River feeds Jog Fall, which is an important river of the Western Ghats of India. This isn’t just one, but a collection of four waterfalls known as Raja Falls, Roarer falls, Rocket falls, and Rani Falls.
The tourism department has built a watchtower and staircases to enjoy the waterfalls. You can take the train or bus to Sagara from Bangalore, from where you can get buses to Jog.
The best time to visit is just after monsoon season (between August and December). You’ll be disappointed if you visit outside these months, as it’s dry during summer.
Athirappilly Falls is one of the main attractions in the state of Kerala, also nicknamed “God’s Own Country” for its scenic beauty. The waterfall is formed by the Chalakudy River in the Thrissur District, surrounded by the Sholayar Reserve Forest.
This is an impressive 80 foot waterfall, which is often referred to as the Niagara Falls of India. There are two viewpoints, one at the top of the falls and one down at the base. It’s a 10 minute walk to get to either.
If you’re taking the trail down to the base of the falls, note that this goes through the forest and is a reasonably tough 10 minutes. It’s also often closed if there’s been heavy rain for safety reasons. You will get wet taking this path, so it’s worth having a towel and a rain jacket!
You can swim in the rock pools, but it’s important not to enter the roped off area, as the power of the flow can cause injury. The best time to visit is during the monsoon when the water is heavy, and covers the whole rock face.
Athirappilly is featured in a lot of Indian movies and is the most famous waterfall in Kerala. It’s 70 kilometers from the city of Kochi, and you can either take a bus or taxi, depending on your budget.
Image: Jan Joseph George ( CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikipedia Commons
The Birthi Waterfall is the highest waterfall in the state of Uttrakhand. While Uttrakhand is famous for the Himalayan Mountain Range, the Birthi Waterfall holds its own importance as the major attractions of the region.
The waterfall lies in the Munsiyari Tehsil in the Pithoragarh district of Uttrakhand. The height of the Birthi Waterfall is 125 meters, but it is the turbulent flow of water which makes this waterfall famous.
Unlike the waterfalls mentioned above, you can get to the base of the waterfall without any difficulty and enjoy it in its full might. This is 500 km from Delhi and 400 km from Rishikesh, it can be reached from either place.
The state of Goa is known for its beaches and unique culture, yet very few know that it is also renowned for its rich flora and fauna.
Dudhsagar Falls (meaning Sea of Milk) is a waterfall 80 km from the charming Portugese-influenced town of Panaji. It is a four-tiered cascading waterfall with water falling from 310 meters into a deep green pool surrounded by the rugged Western ghats and overlooking unspoiled tropical forest.
The waterfall lies in the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and takes a two-hour drive from Goa. Indian Railway operates a rail route through the waterfall, and this is a must to do journey while visiting the Dudhsagar Falls.
Unlike other mentioned falls in this post, Dudhsagar is visible year round, though the best time to visit is (as usual) during and directly after the monsoon season, from June to mid-December.
Joining an organized day tour is the most popular way to experience the falls, which will include a beautiful (but bumpy!) jeep ride through the forest, and you can swim in the plunge pool at the bottom to cool off from the humidity and heat.
It’s worth noting that if you want to take the trek to the base of the waterfall, this often becomes inaccessible during monsoon season, so it’s best to visit from October – April.
One of the best waterfalls I have ever encountered in my life, Rainbow Waterfall in Meghalaya is a plunge waterfall, and although the water doesn’t fall from a significant height, the pool at the base of waterfall compensates for the altitude.
Another important reason for the beauty of the Rainbow fall is that it is unknown by most tourists, thereby keeping the serenity intact. The waterfall requires four hours of rigorous trek, so most travelers don’t visit.
The Rainbow Waterfall lies on the trek route en route to the Double Root Bridge of Meghalaya, which is another famous tourist attraction of the state. You’ll want a full day for this excursion.
The Vasudhara Falls is another famous waterfall in the state of Uttrakhand. The waterfall lies in the Chamoli district and requires a rigorous trek of 5 kilometers to get a glimpse of the waterfall.
Vasudhara Falls is deep-rooted in Hindu Mythology, and it is believed that after the Mahabharata War, Pandavas visited this waterfall en route their journey to Swargarohini (way to heaven).
The Badrinath Temple, which is one of the important religious shrines of Hinduism, is close by, and with the waterfall being so close to the India-China International Border, it provides the opportunity of visiting some of the endpoints of India like the last village, last eating post, etc.
Vasudhara Falls is 560 Kilometers from the national capital Delhi and 300 kilometers from Rishikesh, and can be taken as a day trip from either location.
Vantawng Falls is a spectacular two-tiered Plunge Waterfall in the far eastern state of India. The waterfall is also known as Vantawng Khawhthla Khawhthla in Mizo language and lies 90 kilometers from the Mizoram State Capital Aizwal.
At Vantawng, water falls from a height of 210 meters, and it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the North-East of India. It requires an hour of a trek to reach the base, but there is also a watchtower to enjoy the waterfall from a distance.
Vantawng Falls is a seasonable fall, so it’s therefore recommended to visit during the monsoon season.
Image: Bodhisattwa (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikipedia Commons
?: Madhya Pradesh
Dhuandhar Falls is the most famous waterfall in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The waterfall is formed by the Narmada River, which is one of the important rivers of India.
Here the Narmada river flows through the world-famous marble rocks (which is natural marble having been carved out by the river over time to create a beautiful gorge), before plunging into the falls. The local marble is mined and carved into various figures and transported all over India.
The word Dhuandhar is a combination of two Hindi words meaning smoke (Dhuan) and flow (Dhar). Although the height of Dhuandhar is only 10 meters, it is the force with which the water falls which makes it extraordinary; the plunge creates a bouncing mass of mist, is so powerful that its roar is heard from a far distance.
Like Athirappilly Falls, the Dhuandhar fall is also a prominent place for shooting scenes in Hindi Movies. The waterfall lies 30 kilometers from the city of Jabalpur and 300 kilometers from the state capital Bhopal.
?: Arunachal Pradesh
Nuranang falls is also known as the Bong Bong Falls or Jung Falls due to the proximity to the town of Jung. Water here falls from a height of 100 meters, but it is the intensity of the water which makes it a worth to visit.
The waterfall was largely unknown throughout the 20th century, but became famous after appearing in Bollywood films in 1997. It is easily accessible from the town of Tawang (only 30 km away), or 400 km from the city of Guwahati.
Visiting Tawang Monastery, the second-largest monastery in the world, and the India-China Border at Bum-La are other things a tourist can do while visiting the Nuranang Fall.