Kolli Hills (Tamil: கொல்லி மலை) is a small mountain range located in central Tamil Nadu in India. The mountains are about 1000 to 1300 m ASL and cover an area of approximately 280 km². The Kolli Hills has 72 hair pen bends to reach the top of the hills. The Kolli Hills are part of the Eastern Ghats, which is a mountain range that runs mostly parallel to the east coast of South India. The mountains are relatively untouched by commercial tourism and still retain their natural beauty. They were sometimes known as "Kolli Malai", the "Mountains of Death". Kolli Hills is an unspoilt , unknown Hill station. Located at -Latitude: 10°12' - 11°7'N, Longitude: 76° - 77°56'E. The Hills is situated in the Eastern Namakkal, part of the Trichy & Namakkal Forest Division in the state of Tamil Nadu. Its a pretty hill station with a pleasant cool climate. Kolli hills temperature never rises above 30ºC or falls below 13ºC. This is one hill station where one does not feel the biting cold of winter. With such a salubrious climate, kolli hills can be visited round the year, clouds are seen round the year- its another amazing scene in south India.
History: The Kolli Hills are featured in several works of classical Tamil literature such as Silappathigaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru andAinkurnuru. The region was ruled by Valvil Ori around 200 A.D., who is praised as one of the seven great philanthropists of ancient Tamil Nadu. His valor and marksmanship are sung by several poets, and his exploits are a popular part of folklore. Ori is said to have killed a lion, bear, deer and a boar with a single arrow.
The hills are said to be guarded by Kollipavai, the local deity. According to legend, the sages chose Kolli hills when they were looking for a peaceful place to do their penance. However, the demons invaded the hills to disrupt the penance when the sages began their rituals. The sages prayed to Kollipavai, who according to the myth, chased away the demons with her enchanting smile. The Kollipavai is still worshiped by the people here and her smile is revered. The mountains have several mythological legends associated with them, and often come across as an eerie place in contemporary tales due to the unexplored and less traveled terrain.
The Kollihills is a sub taluk and forms a part of Namakkal district. Semmedu is the headquarters for the Kolli hills and Semmedu is connected by road to Namakkal and Salem. There is also one Horse track used by the Britishers connecting Semmedu to Chinna Pallamparai at plains through Vasalur Nadu.
Farming & Vegetation: Apart from its historical significance, the mountains are covered with evergreen forests, but increasing areas of forests have been cleared for farming. Important farm products of the mountain ranges include coffee, tea, jackfruit, pineapple, black pepper and other spices. Rice and other minor millets form the staple food of the tribal people who inhabit these mountains. The jackfruit grown on these mountains is well known for its taste and fragrance and is often soaked in wild honey that is also harvested from these mountains. The mountains are covered by lush green vegetation in the spring and monsoon, and are streaked with streams which add to the natural beauty. There are three reserved forests that are controlled by the Government of Tamil Nadu, namely Ariyur Solai, Kundur Nadu, Pulianjolai It is not correct to regard the name kolli hills as being due to the incidence of deadly diseases such as malaria!It is because early literature records the existence of an image called kollippavai on top of these hills.This image was believed to represent the spirit of a maiden who lured wayfarers by her beauty and then killed them.
Religious Significance: The mountain is a site of pilgrimage, because of the Arapaleeswarar temple, which is believed to have a secret path to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram. This Shiva temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled this area. "Arappaleeswara sathakam" is the poem which praises the Lord Arappaleeswarar. It is believed that this temple exists during the Sangam period itself.
Tourism: Kolli Hills has to be explored in a leisure space. Kolli Hills has been the top choice for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, trekking clubs and meditation practitioners among hill stations in Tamil Nadu. In comparison to other hill stations in Tamil Nadu, Kolli Hills is not commercialized, less polluted and offers unique mountain ranges.
Some of the famous spots are
Agaya Gangai Waterfalls
Ettukai Amman Temple
Masi Periyasamy Temple and falls
Selur View Point
German swami's ashram
Puranikadu Sat Dharma sangam ashram
What do u do in Kolli Hills
Watching local folklore/Folk dance with campfire.
Aakasha Ganga waterfalls:
The waterfalls is truly like the Ganges river from the sky. All those who have visited this spot shall not deny this fact. The river that flows here is the Panchanathi and it flows down from a height of 300feet to form the Aakash ganga waterfalls. One real exciting fact is that we can take bath in this waterfalls that falls from this supreme height.
To reach this waterfalls, we have to descend (climb down) nearly 1100 steps. But the steps and the route are well laid and it is completely maintained by the forest officials. The route goes amidst the thick forest and so the route is shady and chill throughout. One important thing to
remember is that to reach the waterfalls, the tourists must be in the spot by 4pm as after that the officials strictly restrict anyone getting down the steps.
The only lazy part in this trek is that after having a gaala time in the falls, one has to climbup again the whole 1000 steps to reach the parking area, which may be quite tiresome for some people. But i assure you that it is a lifetime trekking experience and it is throughly enjoyable.
This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is exactly in the spot where we start our trek down to Aakasha Ganga waterfalls. The temple belongs to the 2nd century and was said to be built by Valvil Oori king. Like all our other temples here too we can find some stone inscriptions. This is a very cute, small temple typical to any hill station. This is one of the 275 Padal Petra Stalams, glorified by the hymns of Nayanmars.
This is comparatively a small waterfalls and the height is quite lesser. There is a small trail (concrete path) few meters the tourists have to walk to reach this spot. A bath in this cascade refreshes you.
Kolli pavai temple: This temple is very small and is dedicated to godess of the kolli forest called Kolli pavai. She is said to be the protector of the Kolli hills. This temple is amidst the fields (mountain cultivation) and is in a different environment.
Seekuparai and Selurnadu viewpoints:
This boathouse is a vital tourist spot in Kollimalai. The lake is quite small and there is a natural island in the middle of the lake. A small park has been developed here in this island. As such there are 4-5 pedalling boats available for the tourists to have a ride in this small lake. The boathouse is on the Solakkadu-Thinnanurpatty road in Kollimalai.
Route to Kollimalai:
* From Chennai take the NH-45 road and travel uptill Ulundurpet.
* From Ulundurpet take the SALEM-ULUNDURPET ROAD and travel till Attur.
* From Attur take SH-79, pass through Namagiripettai and reach Seerapalli.
* From Seerapalli take left turn and travel for approximately 7km and then take another left turn to catch SH-95. Continue straight in SH-95 for another 7-8km and you reach Kalapanayakanpatti.
* From Kalapanayakanpatti, take the left turn to catch the hair-pin bend road (kolli hills road) and proceed to reach Kollimalai.
For the people coming by train, get down at Salem, travel through NH-7 and take a left turn to catch the Sendamangalam-pudansandai road. Travel for another 8km approx and take a left turn to catch the SH-95. Now travel for another 3km approx, and take the first right cut to catch the Hair-pin bend road. People coming from Salem and down south, need not travel upto Kalapanayakanpatti as you have a deviation to kolli hills, much before.
Accommodation: At Kolli Hills resort , beautiful swiss tents for luxury stay for 24 people maximum with attached bath & toilet. Food served are Veg and Non veg. Alcoholic drinks are personal.However food type are limited to availability as its a remote isolated place.
There are quite few hotels available for the tourists to stay in Kolli hills. Having visited the place twice, i would recomend the following 2 hotels.
Family accomodation: PA lodge (PA Holiday Inn) is the best. Individual cottages are available here for staying. The resort is extremely serene and has a large Eucalyptus farm. There is also an open ground available for the tourists to play badminton, volleyball and few such games. We can also have a long walk in trail inside the resort that gives an exact forest trek feel. Tariff: Rs. 1000 onwards.
For bigger group accomodation (10-15 or more): Nallathambi resort is a better option. Here also there are landscaped gardens and ample rooms and cottages available for accomodation. Tariff: Rs. 500 onwards.
(Nallathambi resort campus)
(The cottage we stayed)
Food is available in both the resorts and it is better to have food in the hotels where we stay as there are no proper restaurants available in Kollimalai as of now during the sightseeing.
In Kolli hills except for Vodafone and BSNL no other cell phone towers are available. So people using other cell phone operators kindly make sure of this point.