What happens when I'm stationed at Salem for more than a month and I have exhausted all the usual touristy places such as Yercaud, Namakkal, etc? Scout for lesser known offbeat locations by speaking to the locals?. That's how I got to hear about Kolli hills about 62kms from Salem. Hands-down the most picturesque drive I can ever try documenting, not a wink away from the window. I'm blown away by the variety of vegetation grown in this region and the abundance of water.
We started our day trip a bit early by 7 30am right after breakfast so that we could cover more places. Take a guess how many we need to cross hair pin bents to reach this lesser known hill station ? Unbelievable 70 hair pin bents!! I can easily bet this is the hill station with the maximum bents possible. To my surprise I was perfectly fine after 70 bents and more so ever each bent was perfectly spaced out at both ends making it a smooth ride up.
With a population of less than 50k the hills are earlier known for siddha medicines and is supposedly famous for treatment rare diseases. Being a lesser known destination the place is less crowded and most notably fact being hardly any commercialisation has set in making it a pristine destination.
We decided to visit the the famous arpaleshwar temple followed by a small trek to Agaya gangai waterfalls. Prior to this trip I enquired with my local friend about the trek to the waterfall and the response I received was not close to being positive. Every trip I plan the primary most concern that crops up is safety and without doubt this falls is completely being misused.
Having heard an experience from my friend I decided to trek the 1050 steps downhill to Ganges of sky ( Agaya gangai waterfall). Though an easy downhill which takes less than 40mins I was more worried about the strenuous task of climbing uphill. Enroute you can spot many families and at the same time groups of teenage guys trying to have some fun.
The waterfall is best to be visited during monsoon when the flow is good making is a enjoyable experience. I was lucky enough to not spot a dried up water fall.
The downhill trek takes you into the wild jungles of eastern ghats giving it an adventurous touch. It's easy to get dehydrated, suggested to carry glucose and plenty of water. Climbing uphill takes close to an hour and fifteen mins testing a person's endurance levels.
Being a lesser known hill station, place is famous of non vegetarian delicacies. Being a vegetarian my choice of options for lunch were very limited as the hill town is famous for non vegetarian delicacies so I decided to stick on to their sustainable produce. Each household grows jackfruits, pepper and pine apple. Some of the best produce I have ever tasted. Not always do you come across an organic produce with sweet, tender and juicy substance . Though sounds like a fruit diet, please don't miss checking out the local produce.
By road Kolli hills can be reached from Namakkal. Plenty of bus options from Salem and Namakkal.
Best to visit during monsoon - June - September
Kolli hills - a small hill station that survives on sustainable living rather than commercialisation. Hope more such towns are protected and preserved