Kolli Hills near Namakkal is a little known hill station of Tamil Nadu and a good weekend getaway if you are looking for a hill station sans the crowd. The approach to Kolli Hills is in itself pretty exciting with 70 hair pin bends over the Eastern Ghats. The famous Arpaleswar Temple is the only well-known attraction at Kolli Hills. Since Kolli Hills is not yet developed for tourists the facilities are rustic but the scenic mountains and waterfalls make it an interesting getaway.
Kolli Hills is located on the Eastern Ghats, 80 KMs from Salem in Namakkal District.
The best way to reach Kolli Hills is by Road from Salem. Take the Rasipuram turn from the Salem-Namakkal highway and go past the Rasipuram Bus stand. Take the Athur Main road for a KM till you reach a right turn into Senthangamalam Peria Road. Take this road and a half hour drive on this will eventually take you to the foothills. Seventy hairpin bends await you to take you to Kolli Hills! Make sure you carry candy, chewing gum or pop corn to beat the nerves of the curves!
Adayar Ananda Bhavan in Dharmapuri is a good option for a food break. It is located just before the toll plaza as you come from Krishnagiri towards Salem. Another good option is the Rs 140 meal at Saravana Bhavan next to Salem Bus Stand.
There are regular buses from TNSTC that ply between Rasipuram and Kolli Hills. Rasipuram is well connected to both Salem and Namakkal by road.
Alternatively you can take a bus from Namakkal bus stand to Kolli Hill directly. There is a service every 2 hours.
Only BSNL and Aircel have good connection on top of Kolli Hills. Vodafone can be managed as well. Other connections wont work.
I stayed at Nallathambi resort. The facilities are basic and room rates low.
Kolli Hills is a relatively unexplored Hill station and the best way to spend your time here is to just drive around the tribal villages. The landscape is picturesque and dotted with coffee, tea, jackfruit, pineapple & black pepper plantations.
Arpaleswar Temple is a famous pilgrimage destination for devotees from all around Salem and Namakkal. The temple dates back to 12th century and is located at Periakoviloor. Legend says that there is a secret path that leads directly from Arpaleswar Temple to a Shiva temple in Rasipuram.
Akasa Gangai is a lovely picnic spot near the Arpaleswar Temple. However, it requires a fair bit of stamina to climb down the 1000 steps and more importantly to climb back up!
The river Aiyaru falls down from a height of 300 feet at this spot.
Those seeking an adventure can look for the lost cave of “Paambaati Siddhar”. Local historians claim that the Cave is located somewhere near the Akasa Gangai falls.
The Boathouse at Vasalurpatty provides Pedal Boats for boating on the Lake. There is a Play Area with a few swings for kids in the same compound.
Masila Falls is another waterfall where water falls from a height of 200 feet. Masi Periyasami Temple is located on top of the Water Falls.
Every Hill Station worth its salt has a few scenic view points. Kolli Hills is no exception. Seekuparai and Selurnadu viewpoints provide panoramic view points of Eastern Ghats.
Kolli Hills has been featured in classical Tamil Literature like Silapathikaram, Manimegalai, Purananuru and Ainkurnuru. The charity of King Valvil Ori and glory of Kolli Hills in general is usually the subject in these classics.
In ancient times Sages had been attracted by the tranquility of Kolli Hills and came here to do meditation. However, demons followed them soon and disrupted their meditation. The sages prayed to Kollipavai the local deity who chased away the demons with her enchanting smile.
Chanakya, the famous teacher of Chandra Gupta Maurya and author of Arthashastra was born in Kolli Hills! He migrated to North India at an early age to pursue his education at Takshila University.
For my travelogues on other Hill Stations, visit Great Hill Station Vacation Ideas.