A Journey to Akash Ganga [ Kolli Hills ]

This is about a journey through the beautiful Tamil farm villages to Kolli Hills or Kollimalai.  The attractive Kolli Hills is situated 1300 meters above sea level, in the Eastern Ghats Mountain Ranges.  The distance from Namakkal to Kolli Hills is 65 km.  There are bus services to Kolli Hills from Salem and Namakkal. 


Kollimala Root

On either sides of the way from Namakkal to Kolli Hills, we can see highly fertile agricultural lands.  Coconut trees, banana trees, paddy, potato, onion, etc. can be seen cultivated here.  We can see the alluring scenery of vast areas of paddy fields which are becoming rare sights in our own state.  The place is full of sights displaying traditional village culture.  I reached the greenery of Kolli Hills after a thrilling drive from the valley named Karavalli and through 71 hairpin bends.  


Kollimala Root

Wherever my eyes went, I could see the panoramic views of natural beauty.  Kolli Hills is a favorite spot both for adventure sports like hiking, trekking, etc. as well as for enjoying the beauty of nature.  Moreover, Kolli Hills is a place best suited for agriculture as well.  The main farm products are black pepper and coffee.  Kolli Hills is also a place known for varieties of jackfruits. 


Kollimal

From here, lorries loaded with different kinds of jackfruits reach the markets of Namakkal, Salem, etc.  There is a nursery where different varieties of jackfruit trees are grown. Semmedu is the headquarters and main center of Kolli Hills.  There we can see a number of shops that look similar to the cart eateries [thattukada] of our place.

Kollimala

These shops include hotels, grocery shops, vegetable shops, etc.  It is a place where modern civilization has not spread its wings.  Whatever it is, there is no tourist rush spotted in this place.  The reason is not clear. The major attractions of Kolli Hills are Arappaleeshwarar Siva Temple which is said to have been built between the 1st and 2nd centuries, the nearby Agaya Gangai or Akash Ganga Waterfalls, Kollipavai Amman Temple, Murugan Temple, Seekupara and Selar Nadu Viewpoints Masila Waterfalls, Swami Pranavananda Ashram, botanical garden, children’s park, etc. 

Akash Ganga

There are 2 mythological legends associated with Kolli Hills.  According to one legend, the people in this region believe that taking bath in Akash Ganga Waterfall heals all diseases as there is presence of power of Shiva who is also known as Arappaleeshwarar.  Another legend says that the sages picked out Kolli Hills as the best place to do their penance peacefully. 


Akash Ganga Root

When the sages began their rituals, the power of their meditation brought about a lot of changes in the atmosphere making the life of the people difficult.  It is believed that Goddess Kollipavai saved the people by restoring the atmosphere with her enchanting smile.  This place where goddess lives came to be called by them as Kolli Hills.


Kollimala Root View Point

The Kollipavai Temple is also situated nearby.  Kolli Hills is also famous for its ancient history.  A group of people believe that Kolli Hills is the same Madhuvanam or honey forest of the monkey king, Sugreeva, that has been depicted in the ancient Indian epic, Ramayana.  Kolli Hills are featured in classical literature like Silappathigaram.


Akash Ganga

Agaya Gangai or Akash Ganga is a gorgeous waterfall where water cascades straight down from a height of 300 feet.  All 4 sides of this waterfall are surrounded by hills.  Akash Ganga Waterfalls can be reached by climbing down a flight of 1001 steps from Arappaleeshwarar Temple.  The steps are made of cement, and there are handrail supports.  Walking down enjoying the chill of the majestic forests and the melodious bird songs is an amazing experience.