From imposing mountains to deserts, jungles and beaches, India is home to more than its fair share of natural wonders.This includes a seemingly endless collection of stop-you-in-your-tracks waterfalls, each with its own personality. From thunderous cascades and mile-wide torrents to cliffside chutes, India’s waterfalls are in their own league.
Located in eastern India, wedged between Bhutan and Bangladesh, Nohkalikai is the highest waterfall in the country, rising an estimated 1,110 feet.
The story behind the name is not quite so uplifting. As the sad tale goes, a woman named Ka Likai plunged into the falls after her husband murdered her daughter from a previous marriage then fed her the remains.When she discovered her daughter’s fingers in her food, Likai jumped off the cliff into the churning depths below.
Another showstopper in Meghalaya is Nohsngithiang, which provides a slightly unconventional “waterfall” experience.
Flanked by green hills, the river splits into seven distinct streams (hence the nickname) that plummet 1,033 feet down a vertical limestone cliff.
Stretching 980 feet at its fullest point, Chitrakot is considered the widest waterfall in India and, as you’d imagine, quite the sight to behold.
Bearing geometric formations on all sides, the horseshoe-shaped falls reach full volume during monsoon season.
From about July to September, the water blasts across the cliff with violent momentum.
Considered a spiritual place, the area also draws pilgrims, who pay respects to Hindu deities such as Lord Ram and Lord Shiva, or participate in one of the many religion festivals held here.
Just off the western coast of India in Karnataka state, Jog is the country’s second highest waterfall, pouring from a height of roughly 830 feet.
It’s not just one fall but four: There’s Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket and together they form Jog.While the whitewater torrents will stay etched in your mind, the green scenery completes the wild and wonderful picture.
When it comes to dramatic scenery, it’s hard to compete with Dudhsagar Falls.
Located in Goa, on the border with Karnataka in western India, this epic waterfallclocks in at a staggering 1,017 feet tall and 100 feet wide.
Like fingers reaching over the green mountainside, the cascade breaks into several streams that gush across multiple tiers of mossy rock before reconnecting again in a misty cauldron.
Adding to the allure of it all, the canopies of Bhagwan Mahaveer Sanctuary and Mollem National Park hug the misty falls.
Where: Andhra Pradesh
What Talakona’s 270-foot cascade lacks in height it makes up for in beauty.
Set within Sri Venkateswara National Park in Chittoor, in southeastern India, the tumbling falls spill down tiers of mossy green rocks in a peaceful, forested environment that feels like it’s been plucked from a fairytale.
The walk to the falls is particularly pleasant, thanks to a well-maintained pathway that cuts through impossibly green scenery for roughly 2 kilometers.
Where: Tamil Nadu
Hogenakkal sits pretty in the wild terrain south of Bangalore in southern India.
The stunning waterfall gets its momentum from the Kaveri River, which winds through the rocky landscape until it spills off a craggy cliff in 14 different spouts, which range from 15 to 66 feet in height.
Though you can’t access the falls on foot, travelers can bathe in the pools or take a leisurely ride in a round bamboo boat called a coracle, which provides a front-row seat to the thunderous action.
Down south in Kerala, the imposing Athirappilly is 80 feet tall and nearly 330 feet wide. It’s fed by the Chalakudy River and is particularly powerful thanks to the region’s healthy rains.
The panoramic cliff, verdant surroundings and ferocious roar have earned it the nickname “Niagara of India” not to mention it’s starred in many a Bollywood film over the years.