Skip to main content

Waterfall showers & spices

Ask any South Indian about Courtallam & the first thing you'll hear is getting soaked under a waterfall. Yes, growing up, the teenage years brought forth raised eyebrows & wisps of condescension about a crowd of people getting drenched under falling water fully clothed, but then one really has to experience it to form a truthful opinion, and chances are that it would be a positive one.
The day trip to Courtallam was a reward for the young 'uns for patiently bearing with us for the previous days temple visits. (which is material for a separate post, coming up in the next couple of weeks).
Packed a brunch for the kids, while setting off early morning from Tirunelveli , risking the possibility of venturing into unknown street food territory in an unfamiliar little town. Boy, did that end up almost  being the highlight of the trip!
The village of Courtallam lies nestled in the shadow of the Deccan plateau range on the border between the Southern Indian states of Kerala & Tamil Nadu. The main attraction is the multitude of gorgeous waterfalls that cascade down from the mountains, In fact the name Courtallam is synonymous with the waterfalls. We picked the one named 'five falls' to let the kids loose & it was delightful. Pure, clean, crystal clear rainwater cascading over rocks & onto ones head... Jacuzzis can take a HIKE. It did not take much persuasion to hand over the DSLR to the car driver & dive in... Fully attired (which seemed to be the dress code, In fact, my 2 yr old drew plenty of attention to herself outfitted in swim diapers & a tiny swimsuit, stuck out like the proverbial Yankee tourists!). It is mandatory to scream at the top of ones lungs, simply because that is the only way to breathe. The cascading water is pretty forceful!

The only negative aspect about the otherwise delightful experience is the tendency of the  visitors to use this landmark as a communal shower!, They come armed to the teeth with massage oil, shampoo & soap (despite plenty of signs posted to refrain from doing so)! net result, the downstream turns into a murky disappointing sight.
As with most tourist sites there are a profusion of shops selling deep fried goodies & plenty of fruit vendors. One of the most delightful (& healthy) brunches that I've ever enjoyed. A true picnic...

Freshly Pickled & 'porcupined' mango

Toddy palm kernels (served in an eco friendly boat made from palm fronds), Add a cup of the fruity, floral & sweet toddy palm sap, & you're set for the day. fabulous start to a unique breakfast!

Thats the entire shop...a huge basket with a large pot of toddy palm nectar known as Neera
huge bunches of toddy palm fruit & an evil looking sickle to cut them open, all loaded onto a motorbike..

Weighing out 1/2 a pound of fresh Rambutan!

The sweet sour & extremely tannic wild  rose apple..resulting in a  purple stained tongue at the end of the pigging out session. thats the pit of the wild fruit on my palm.

Hungarian wax pepper... before (above)

and after (below),
Now that would have been a great contribution to Food52's chili pepper themed contest!

Deep fried lentil vada

Pickled Malay gooseberries..(as puckeringly tart as it gets, the salt & chilli pepper do nothing to stop the extreme face scrunching induced by biting one of these!)

Pickled mango (Above) & the non stinky cousin to the durian.. the Jack fruit

 & the star attraction... The ever present, thieving Coutallam monkeys!!

Coming up... The spice market!


  1. I just love the article you have written, so much information that I learnt! Beautiful photos as always, which makes reading this v interesting!! Keep it coming...!


Post a Comment

I'd love to hear feedback from you, your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Popular posts from this blog

Sputtering back....

I seriously feel like this scene from the movie 3 idiots .. remember this one? The way I kept racking up drafts and eventually stopped doing that as well. Lulled into complacence by the quick high from Instagram posts. Recipe measurements hastily scribbled into a Moleskine notebook faithfully depending upon my moods. The truth is that I keep over thinking the backstories needed to make the post more interesting while in reality the truth is that ideas and inspirations just occur spontaneously (like little itches , sneezes or twitches) whenever the opportunity happens to strike. Some really cool ideas that scare the beejeezus out of me and yet prove to be utterly delightful and simple in the end. Others, that seem so trivial that I feel it wouldn't be worth crowing about -- even if there are enough other recipes in that genre that get so much publicity simply because the author happens to have the right marketing knack. So in the past 4 years that I've been

Product Review: Ninja Mega Kitchen system and a recipe for Masala Dosa

 One of the biggest reasons for attending conferences is the priceless experience of meeting fellow bloggers and get an invaluable exposure to all things  culinary. This includes vendors with new products to savor and get inspiration from. I had no complaints about whatever appliances I had for making traditional Dosa (Traditional South Indian rice & lentil crepes) batter, a sturdy tabletop stone grinder that you could add the Urad dal, turn the timer on , and 30  minutes later, come back to a container full of fluffy, batter with the consistency of whipped egg whites. The The cons of this is the cleaning up, of the various parts, the roller, the grinding bin, the multiple trays on which the rollers need to be placed while transferring the rice & lentil batter, the invariable drips of thick batter on the counter.... you get the point, It takes quite a bit of time. I was pleasantly surprised when the appliance company, Ninja asked me if I'd like to try any of their

Pickling & preserving the Buddha's Hand!

 Got your attention with that sacrilegious sounding title on this post, didn't I? Well, I'm as spiritual as the next person out there, and never in my life will I ever commit that variety of Blasphemy, so nothing to fret about. I still wonder why these curious looking citrus entities (other than the obvious visual reason) were called such. It turns out that these fruits are used as a religious offering to the Buddha. My neighboring Whole Foods Market (which is quite some distance away, in Princeton) had a stock of these weird looking citrus and I must have been the oddball customer who immediately went cuckoo on spotting them. Since I had never seen one before, I immediately went for the biggest fruit with the most tentacles (since they were sold as individual units rather than by weight) The first three 'tentacles' were peeled off for their zest, dried in the oven and went into making a citrus salt for my Food52 Secret Santa .     Making