Kolli Hills – A Serene Hillstation Getaway for Chennaiites

Kolli Hills is a small mountain range located in central Tamil Nadu in India. The mountains are about 1000 to 1300 m in height 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.

Kolli hills enjoys a salubrious climate throughout the year. This fertile pocket in Namakkal district is where exotic tropical fruits and medicinal plants grow in plenty. The land is still relatively untouched by time, with 16 quaint little tribal villages that once constituted the hill kingdom of Ori. Much of the charm of this hill country still remains. For if you can’t stand the milling crowds of Ooty and Kodai, this surely is one place where you can head to for a quiet holiday.

Read more on this beautiful hill station..

The history of Kolli Hills is closely linked with ancient Tamil literature. It is believed that in the Ramayana, these hills are called madhuvanam (forest of honey), the abode of the monkey king Sugreva. In the ancient Tamil epics Silapadikaram and Manimekalai, there is an interesting reference to Kollipavai, the deity in the sacred grove, who is also considered the guardian of the forests here. According to this legend, the sages were looking for a peaceful place to do their penance, and they chose Kollimalai as their abode. When they began their rituals, the demons invaded the hills to destroy their penance. The sages prayed to Kollipavai, who according to the myth chased away the demons with her enchanting smile. The Kollipavai is still worshipped by the people here and her smile is revered. The Kollipavai temple is located in one of the 15 sacred groves here and can be approached only on foot.

According to the references in Tamil Sangam literature, Kolli Hills was once ruled by the benevolent and most valiant King Ori, who lived sometime during 200 A.D. The region, consisting of 18 nadus (villages) including the present Rasipuram and Senthamangalam, were under his rule. His reign was perhaps the most prosperous, as far as these hills were concerned, as paddy, millets and spices grew abundantly and the king himself was a patron of arts and the most generous among all rulers. The Tamil literary works also talk about his extraordinary valour and archery skills. It is believed that he once killed an elephant, tiger, deer, wild boar and monitor lizard with a single arrow.

Kollimalai Arappaleeswarar Temple

The Arappaleeswarar temple in Kollimalai hills near Salem is a very ancient one and it dates back to the period of Appar, who has referred to it in his Kshetra Kovai Tiruttandakam. Arunagirinathar has sung of the Subramanyar shrine here. Kollimalai is also referred to as Madhuvanam, or the forest of the monkey king Sugreevan. This temple is also associated with Matsya Muni – believed to be a Siddha. There are several beleifs associated with the numerious fish in the streams on the hill.

This temple is associated with the ancient tamil ruler Val Vil Ori, who ruled this region. This temple is held in regard by the tribes of this region and by several around. It is believed that the shrine has the power to bring back to life, severed fish – taken out of the streams flowing on the hill. A three-day festival concluding with Pathinettaam Perukku in the month of Aadi attracts several here. This temple is home to several fine bronzes. It is also said to have had an exquisite chariot.

There are many such legends and interesting myths associated with these hills, which make it all the more interesting and worth visiting.


The drive up the hill will take you to Solakkadu, the main town here, which is also one of the highest points in the hills. But for the few shops, bus stand, a Highways Department Guest House, a higher secondary school and the weekly shandy, Solakkadu is just an overgrown village. The viewpoint inside the Highways Bungalow compound is worth visiting, as one can have a spectacular view of the surrounding hills and plains from here. The bi-weekly shandy (dawn market) on Wednesdays and Saturdays attracts fruit vendors and wholesale dealers from the plains. The shandy begins on the previous evening as tribals trickle in with their produce. Many walk all the way from their villages, and camp at Solakkadu for the night, for the actual business begins at 5.00 in the morning and is over by 10.00am. Plantains, Jackfruit, Pineapple, Orange, Pepper, Coffee and Honey are what Kolli Hills is famous for, though you may get a better deal from the vendors than the tribals themselves.

Arppalli Iswarar Temple

A Shiva temple in the Valappur Nadu situated on the stream Aiyaru. Its is dedicated to Arppalli Iswarar. The deity’s other names are Thiru Arappalli Ashavar, Thiru Arappalli Mahadhevan and Thiru Arappalli Udaiyar, The Deity’s consort is Archalai. It is a 12th century temple. Valli Amman, also known as Sucmathamba, and Thayammai. Because of the belief that Arappalli Iswarar resides in the small fish of Aiyaru, the temple has also the name of Fish temple. It is customary for the pilgrims to catch the sacred fish by hand, adorn them with gold or silver nose rings in fulfillment of vows. The Hindu legends of the temple’s origin claim that the lingam in the main shrine was unearthed during the ploughing of a field. The scar on its top is supposed to have been caused by the plough. 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. The Shiva temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled this area.

Aagaaya Gangai

Agaya Gangai (Tamil: ஆகாய கங்கை) waterfalls is located in Kolli Hills of the Eastern Ghats. Panchanathi, a jungle stream cascades down over 150 feet deep as theAgaya Gangai (Ganges of the Sky), near theArapaleeswarar temple atop the Kolli Hills in Namakkal district, Tamil Nadu.Agaya Gangai is enchanting 300 feet waterfall of riverAiyaru, located near Arapaleeswarar temple. It is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by the mountains at all sides. En route, the natural beauty of the valley and the vegetation-covered peaks. The location is ideal for trekking and the breeze is pleasant, the cascade of silvery water touching and brushing the innumerable herbs which are abound in Kollihills keeps everyone spell-bound and fresh with its herbal qualities.

Water is so cool, if you want to bath you need to swim across the poll which is of 7 Meters minimum, there is one more way in which you need to jump across rocks, monsoon time there is no way to reach the fall. We need to just stay away and see the majestic view!! I believe it is falling from the height of 90+ meters. People who does not know swimming can bath in the pool with caution, just stay in the start of the pool. Even if you use mugs for bathing you will feel the same as the bath in fall. Really the water was so refreshing.

Two viewpoints – one at Seekuparai and another at Selur Nadu

Two viewpoints – one at Seekuparai and another at Selur Nadu – are being developed to encourage tourism. As of 2007, creation of a park and formation of an approach road to the Seekuparai viewpoint were nearing completion. The government maintains a pineapple research farm where hybrid varieties are created. Research about medicinal plants is also pursued on these mountains.The government holds a tourism festival in August. 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. Recently, the local administration has been in full swing to create a Botanical Garden, a Boat House and giving an overall face lift to the view points.


There is a trekking trial with yellow & red arrow marks which leads to Pampatti Siddhar Kugai(The cave in which Snake charming Sage stayed). 30 Mins of trek you will reach a rock, in white paint they have written the name in Tamil, opposite to that writeup you will find the cave, in which only one can go inside at a time, beware of bats. Trek down another 30 mins, and the route does not end there, people say it leads further down to another cave called Agasthiar Kugai.

Note of caution : This trek is not recommended for people who are not physically fit. Be sure to carry Water everywhere.

Special attractions

Be sure to taste the Aatukal Soup which is made up from a root of some tree local to the mountains. It does 100% resemble the Goat leg soup. You can get bananas(some unique variety), Pineapple, Guava and honey here.

If you stand under the Jack fruit tree, you will feel as if it is drizzling.. actually it is an insect which extracts the water from the tree and spits. People cultivate pepper under these trees, they grow better than the one cultivated in other places due to the constant spraying of water.

Seeni Kolli (Killer of sweetness) is just part of a plant, once consumed will disable your taste buds which senses the sugar temporarily.

Accommodation :

Semmedu is the only relatively big village atop the hill. Semmedu has a couple of resorts & hotels.

There are few Resorts/Lodges that are available. A well-known resort called “Nallathambi Resorts” has been operating for the last 15 years. It is situated in the highest point of the hills and offers medium and high-end budget accommodations. Recently it underwent a thorough renovation/refurbishing.

Nallathambi Resort
semmedu, kolli hills ,
Namakkal -637 411

Recently a new resort has been opened by name “Kolli Hill Resorts” Near the Petrol Bunk, Semmedu.It is a six swiss cottage tented accommodation with good luxury on top of a lake and so the stay will be pleasant.

Kolli Hill Resorts,
Muthankulam, Near Petrol Bunk, Vazhavanthi Nadu, Kolli Hills
Namakkal District-637411
Resort No: 9488682485/ 9655116509

Government Resort

The Govt Resorts & Dormitaries are available here. – Ph: 04286 – 247425

Reaching there

Total distance is 300 km.

The nearest railway station is Salem, 100kms from Kolli Hills. The nearest Airport is at Tiruchirapalli, 90kms from here.

Kolli Hills can be reached by road from Chennai, Salem, Namakkal or Tiruchirapalli. National Highway 45 from Chennai is the road to take till Ulundurpettai, from where you will have to branch off on the road leading to Salem. A further southward diversion at the main town of Attur, will lead to Malliakarai, Namagiripettai and Belukkuruchi, at the foot of the Kolli Hills.

If approaching from Salem, you can take the Rasipuram-Namakkal road via Kalappanayakanpatti, and reach Nadukombai from where the ghat road begins.Totally 70 hairpin bends, 1200/1300 meters above MSL.

The drive up the 70-hairpin bend ghat road is truly an enjoyable experience. Contrary to ones expectations, the ghat road here is quite wide and well-laid, thanks to the tribal welfare funds allotted by the government. The road winds through 13 miles of beautiful scenery and thick forests, where you could pause just to take in the fresh mountain air, or just stop and stare at the monkeys, mongooses or squirrels that frolic on the hillsides. But hairpin bends are frequent and plenty, so it would be wise to be cautious while driving.

Posted on December 12, 2011, in Stay, Transportation, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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