Kolli Mlai or the Kolli Hills, located in the Namakkal district, the central of Tamil Nadu, is a range of small mountains. These mountains stands at a height of 1,000 to 1,300 meters, and spreads in about 280 kilometre square. In order to reach the top of the Kolli hills one has to pass through 70 hair pin bends. The mountain range of Kolli hills is a part of the Eastern Ghats, which runs parallel to the east coast of southern part of India. Kolli hills is one of those rare tourist spots which is not influenced by commercial tourism, and completely excel in its natural beauty.
Bus services are available to Kolli hills, y both State as well as private transportation sector from all the major towns near the hills, like, Salem, Namakkal, and Rasipram. The nearest Railway station to the area is Salem and is 80 km away from the hill. If yu are traveling via train, hail at Salem station and catch cab or a bus to Kolli hill. The nearest airport to the area is at Trichy, which is 150 km away from the spot.
Kolli hills are of great historical importance and have been referred in many Tamil literature works like, Manimekalai, Ainkurnuru, and Silappathigaram. During the 200 A.D the region comprising the Kolli hills was ruled by the Valvil Ori, who is well known as one of the seven brilliant philanthropists of the ancient Tamil history. His brilliance and talents were praised by any number of poets, and his exploits had been sung as folklores, even today. It is believed that, the Kolli Hills are guarded by the ‘Kollipavai’, or called ‘Ettukkai Amman’. According the legends told by the natives, sages who visited the Kolli Hills in order to conduct peaceful penance was disturbed by demons, and the penance was broken. The sages are said to have prayed to the ‘Kollipavai’, who appeared to the prayer and chased away the demons using her enchanting smile. The natives of Kolli hills still worships the ‘Kollipavai’, and still believes that her smile would protect their home from devils. It also believed that, the author of Arthashasthra; Chanakya was born in the hills, and he later migrated to North India, in order to continue his education at Takshashila. Other than these, the mountains have several historica stories attached to them, in which more than half are still unrevealed.
As a tourist spot, Kolli Hils have many attractive sceneries and places, one among them is the Agaya Gangai waterfalls, which is located near to the Arapaleeshwara Temple situated on the topmost part of Kolli Hills. The waterfall is measured to be 300 ft in height and is surrounded with mountains on all of its sides. Other than just enjoying the sight of the waterfalls, one can also explore the beautiful valley and the green vegetation covering it. It is believed that Paambaati Siddhar’s cave is located very near to this spot.
The hill is also a devotional centre due to the presence of the great Arapaleeswarar temple situated atop of the mountains. This Siva temple is of great religious value among pilgrims. According to the beliefs, the temple was here in the hills amidst the Sangam period, and is believed to be built by the Valvil Ori, in the 2nd or 1st century, during his period of rule. It is said that the temple possess a secret path to the Siva temple located in Rasipuram. According to the myth, the idol of Shiva Linga placed in the temple was found by a farmer while he was ploughing his field. The farmer is said to have accidentally hit the Shiva Linga which caused it to bleed. It is said that, even today, if you take a closer look at the idol, you still see that wound mark caused by the hit.
Another one of the waterfalls in Kolli hill is the Masila waterfalls. The water falls is about 200 feet in height, and gives a spectacular view of the natural beauty in the area. On top of the waterfalls Masi Periyaswami temple is located.
The other important places in the Kolli hills includes the Kolli Pavai temple dedicated to the Goddess Kolli Pavai. Seekuparai, which is located atop of the Kolli hill, and serves as a view point and also trekking site. The Siddhar Caves, which are believed to be the residence of sages who used to practice medicine in the hills centuries ago. These caves are surrounded by many grooves and are fully covered with medicinal plants.