Kolli Hills – an unconventional Hill station in Tamilnadu

Kolli hill range
Kolli hill range 

Not many of them know that there remains an untouched hill station with its own myths and secrets in the Namakkal district of Tamilnadu.

Kolli Hills or Kolli Malai is a beautiful and scenic mountain range situated at a jaw-dropping height of 1300 meters (4265 feet) above sea level. It is also dubbed as one of the coolest places in South India. Situated along the Eastern Ghats, this lesser-known hill station is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurous trekkers. Also, the numerous myths attract many tourists and mystery enthusiasts to this place.

How to reach Kolli Hills

The nearest cities to Kolli Hills are Salem and Trichy. The major railway station is Salem and the nearest airport is Trichy. With a distance of 62 km from Salem and 107 km from Trichy, this hill station can be reached by taking a local bus or cab. Distance from Chennai is around 367 km. You can either travel to Salem by train from Chennai or take a flight from Chennai to Trichy. Other nearby cities include Coimbatore, Madurai, Bangalore, and Cochin. There are also many state-run buses from Salem which reach Kolli Hills within a couple of hours.

Temperature and the best time to visit Kolli Hills

Since Kolli Hills is situated at a high level, it is usually cool throughout the year. Temperatures drop down as low as 15 degrees Celsius during December and January. Hence, the ideal months to visit this place would be from February to November. 2 to 3 days are enough for sightseeing and trekking in Kolli Hills. If you plan to visit nearby places too, then you can plan an itinerary for a week at least. It is one of the coolest places

Tourist spots to visit near Kolli Hills

Though the tourist attractions in Kolli Hills are limited, the hill station provides a beautiful range for trekkers, hikers, and adventure seekers. Let’s see some of the popular tourist spots and things to do in Kolli Hills.

1. Arapaleeswarar Temple

It is a well-known temple ensconced amidst the scenic hills. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this architecturally wonderful temple is situated on the banks of Panchnadhi River. The history of this temple dates back to 2000 years ago. It was built during the reign of Chola kings and it is a renowned fact that the king Valvil Ori of the Ori kingdom prayed in this temple. There are many myths surrounding this temple which has increased its historical significance.

Some of the popular myths include the discovery of Suyambulingam in the farmland (where the temple is actually built), the existence of a secret path to Kailasanathar temple in Rasipuram, and the Nandi statue with a severed right leg. Along with the deity Shiva, his consort Parvati (Thayammai) and Lord Vinayaga are also present in this temple. There are also many bizarre rituals practiced in this temple, one of which is the practice of tying a nose ring on a big fish and leaving it in the river again.

2. Aagaya Gangai Waterfalls

This is another noteworthy place in Kolli Hills. The path to this waterfall is ideal for hikers and trekkers. It comprises of a 1 km trek from the Arapaleeswarar temple, which is much preferred by tourists. The 300 feet waterfall is a major attraction in this area. To have the best view of this fall, you have to climb down 1050 steps. Don’t miss this thrilling trek to the vibrant waterfall.

3. Siddhar Caves

Another adventurous attraction for trekkers. The Siddhar Caves are situated on the way to Aagaya Gangai Falls. These are small caves that can accommodate one or two persons at a time. You can find many materials used by Siddhars who used to inhabit these caves. There are also many medicinal plants surrounding this cave, which you can easily acquire. There is also another cave named Agasthiar Cave, which is at a distance of 30 minutes from the Siddhar Caves.

4. Vasalurpatty Boat House

A hill station is incomplete without a boathouse. The famous boathouse in Kolli Hills is the Vasalurpatty Boat House which is built on an artificial lake. With a beautiful green landscape surrounding you, you can definitely enjoy a peaceful boat ride with your family members and friends. Timings to visit are 6 AM to 6 PM. The entry charge is Rs. 5 per person and a pedal boat for two persons costs Rs. 20 per person.

5. Botanical Garden

This is also a must-visit place which is situated at a distance of 3 km from Semmedu. The botanical garden consists of a magnificent view-point of the Kolli Hills, a rose garden, children’s park, and eco-friendly cottages. You can stay in these cottages at affordable rates and enjoy the lush green scenery around you. Timings are 8 AM to 8 PM.

6. Tampcol Medicinal Farm

Since Kolli Hills is filled with medicinal plants and herbs, this medicinal farm is an ideal spot for sightseeing and knowing more about the medicinal culture over there. The various herbs from this farm are used to prepare Siddha, Ayurveda, and Unani medicines, which are then exported to various places. Timings to visit are 8 AM to 7 PM.

If you are prolonging your stay, you might try visiting these nearby places.

1. Ettukai Amman Temple

This legendary temple is situated amidst beautiful greenery. The path to this small temple is punctuated with amazing plants and trees. It is the shrine of the powerful deity Kolli Paavai or Ettukai Amman. The myth associated with this temple is that Kolli Paavai used to kill the demons just with her smile when the sages prayed to her to continue their meditation. It is due to this Goddess that the hills received its name as Kolli Hills.

2. Selur Viewpoint

Situated atop Kolli Hills, this viewpoint provides a majestic view of the entire hill station. Surrounded by valleys on all its sides, it also provides good spots for taking photographs.

3. Puliancholai

Dubbed as the Trekker’s Paradise, this place is situated at the foot of Kolli Hills. 24 paths of trails have been discovered till now and adventure seekers throng to this place to experience top-class trekking. One can even reach Kolli Hills via a two to three-day trek from Puliancholai.

Resorts near Kolli Hills

1. Ulo Rejoice Villa Resorts

spread over a wide area, Ulo Rejoice Villa Resorts is a couple-friendly resort. It also provides a pleasant stay for families and trekkers. There are options like villas, bungalows, and deluxe suites in the resort. Other amenities include an onsite restaurant, free Wi-Fi, sitting area, and an ayurvedic spa. Prices for rooms start from Rs. 1600.

2. Silverline Retreat Hotel

Situated amidst eye-candy greenery in the hills, this resort is a nature lover’s paradise. This eco-friendly hotel has different types of rooms and suites according to your needs. Children below the age of 12 can enjoy a free stay. Many special amenities like free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, dining rooms, and conference halls are provided in this resort. Cuisines include Indian, Chinese, Traditional, and Continental. The starting rate of deluxe rooms is Rs. 2300.

3. Nallathambi Resort

Yet another homestead surrounded by nature on all its sides in the Kolli hills area. Family-friendly rooms are available in this resort. Hygienic restaurant, conference hall, kids play area, outdoor activities and trekking are some of the excellent services provided by the resort. Room rates in this resort begin from Rs. 1500.

Kolli Malai- hill ranges
Kolli Malai

Things to shop in Kolli Hills

You can make your Kolli Hills trip a nostalgic one by shopping for the exclusive products provided by the hill station. Many traditional fruits and vegetables are available in the shopping markets (shandy) on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Medicinal herbs, powders, mixes, and drinks can also be shopped here. Solakkadu shopping market provides pepper, rice, coffee, and honey at affordable rates.

Kolli Hills is a beautiful and scenic mountain range situated at a jaw-dropping height of 1300 meters (4265 feet) above sea level. It is also dubbed as one of the coolest places in South India. Situated along the Eastern Ghats, this lesser-known hill station is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurous trekkers. Also, the numerous myths attract many tourists and mystery enthusiasts to this place.

How to reach Kolli Hills from Chennai

The way to Kolli Hills is laid with 70 hairpin bends. Once you get through this, you can enjoy the scenic views of the hills through various trekking and hiking activities. You can also plan for a road trip to Kolli Hills from Chennai. The distance from Chennai is about 367 km. It might take 7 to 7.5 hours to reach the top of the hills.

As shown in the below map the best route takes around 7 hours to reach Kolli Hills from Chennai via road.

Chennai > Dhindivanam > Vilupuram > Kallakurichi > Aathur > Kolli Hills

The other route is via Ambur which takes additional 1 or 1.5 hours you can take the route of  Chennai > Kanchipuram > Vellore > Ambur > Yelagiri > Krishnagiri > Dharmaburi > Salem > Namakkal > Kolli Hills

Here Yelagiri itself a cool scenic place with hills and a must-see location, so with this option you can first visit Yelagiri and then later Kolli Hills.

Other alternative way of travel from Chennai is to opt for a train or flight. You can take a train from Chennai to Salem and then take a taxi or choose a state-run bus to reach Kolli Hills. You can also take a flight from Chennai to Trichy and then travel to the hills by opting for a cab or bus.

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