Kolli Hills is a serene and secluded mountain range, which is located 257 km from Bangalore and 100 km from Trichy (Tiruchirappalli), Tamil Nadu. It is at an altitude of 1200 m above sea level. The hill is covered with medicinal herbs, and is beautiful since it is less-discovered, making it an off-beat trekking spot.
Kolli Hills gets its name from the local deity Goddess Ettukkai Amman, locally known as Kolli Paavai. According to a local myth, some sages chose Kolli Hills to perform their penance. They were disrupted by demons, who captured the hills just when they began the rituals.
The sages then prayed to Kolli Paavai, who appeared on the hills and chased away the demons just with her magical smile. To this day, the locals worship the Goddess and believe her to be the guardian of the hills.
The start point of this trek is at a small village called Puliyancholai, which is at the base of Kolli Hills. The final point is the magnificent Agaya Gangai waterfalls. The entire trek will last for two days, wherein the pit stop for day 1 would be the Arapaleeswarar Temple.
It is moderately difficult for a person who has trekked before, and could be tougher for a beginner. The trek can be reduced to a single day, however, the last time of entry to Agaya Gangai waterfalls is 3 pm. So it is advised to break the trek for two days if you want to go to the falls.
Best Time To Trek Kolli Hills
Post monsoon months of October to February is the best time to trek the Kolli Hills. That way, you will miss the monsoon rains which might make your way slippery, and also get to witness the Agaya Gangai falls brimming with water.
Apart from the monsoon months, weather here is relatively pleasant so trekking can be done at any time of the year.
Things To Carry For The Trek
Sleeping bag, tent (if you wish to camp, otherwise you can sleep in the temple premise in a sleeping bag), water bottle, snacks and energy bars, comfortable clothes, good quality shoes, simple cooking materials, medical kit, torchlight and toiletries.
Trekking Day 1
The trek begins on the nearby river bed in Puliyancholai, so the initial bit is quite simple. A walk of about 45 minutes along the river will take you to a small serene stream of water. You can take a dip or just spend some time near the cool and clean stream.
After the break, proceed through the terrain which will now be filled with huge rocks and stones. Depending on the season you plan on trekking, you might find more streams of water which you might have to jump to cross. Around midday, make a pit stop on the rocky terrain for lunch. Carry packed lunch so you would not have to waste time on cooking.
Up until this point, the landscape is rather flat. But here onwards, the terrain tends to get sloppy, slowly raising the level of difficulty to trek. The vegetation also begins to get a little thicker, and you will come across tall trees and shrubs.
A prominent view point is found here. You will know it when you reach a clearing on top of a huge rock, from where you can view the entire valley. You might want to take a break at this point, stay back and just relish the breathtaking view.
The trek is only half complete till here. The route of the trek is quite visible and defined, so you would not have the trouble of making your own path while walking. The trek from here might take another 2-3 hours, depending on the number of times you stop for a break.
On the way you might come across villagers and then a flatland which is actually a village, that is dotted with a few houses. If the trek until here has tired you down a lot, you could stop at this place.
In case you feel like you can continue, then climb to the peak that houses the Arapaleeswarar Temple. The way from the village to the temple is full of grasslands, slopes, a few peaks and streams.
If you began the trek by 9-10 am, you should be able to reach the temple by 5-6 pm, that is, if you took a number of breaks and trekked slow. You should be able to reach earlier in case you're a professional trekker.
Once you reach this final point, you can visit the Arapaleeshwarar Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva, relax for a bit and observe the tranquillity of the nature that surrounds it. You can cook a simple dinner or eat from any eatery available around, and rest for the day.
Trekking Day 2
The final treat of the trek is found close to the temple. Around 1000 concrete steps almost 500 ft downwards, will take you to the beautiful Agaya Gangai Falls. The entry fee to the falls is Rs 10.
Falling from a height of about 300 ft, the falls creates an enchanting mist as it gushes and falls on the rocks. A dip under the lashing waterfalls will lift all the pain in your body from the trek almost immediately!
Spend some time in the bottom of the Falls which has a depth of 3 to 6 ft. From here, you can either book for a bus back to the foothills, or trek back in the way that you climbed.