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Kolli Hills Road in India

An amazing but dangerous ghat road with 70 continuous hairpin bends

Kolli Hills Road

Also known as Kollimalai Ghat Road, Kolli Hills Road is like no other road in the world. This scenic mountain route features 70 hairpin bends and has a length of 29 mi (46.7 km) covering a small mountain range Kolli Hills, which are also known as Kollimalai. Located in central Tamil Nadu on the east coast of South India, the mountains are part of the broader Eastern Ghat range and have an elevation of 4,265 ft (1,300 m) covering about 70,000 acres (280 km²).

The road that starts in Kalappanaickenpatti is an exhilarating and beautiful experience. It goes through a dense tropical forest with panoramic views of the lush green plains below. The mountains feature the Arapaleeswarar temple that receives many pilgrims. The Kollimalai and its Goddess Ettukkai Amman are full of myths and legends. Ettukkai Amman was the local deity who, according to a legend, chased away the demons from the mountains with her enchanting smile. Due to scenic waterfalls, the area is extremely popular with hikers. It can be visited at any time of the year. The chilliest month in the Easten Ghats is January.

How to reach Kolli Hills road

Part of Namakkal district, Kolli Hills road is the closest to the city of Salem. The city has a railway and a bus station with a regular connection to the capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai. The distance between Salem and Kolli Hills is about 52 mi (85 km). If you don't have a car, the best way to get to Kolli Hills from Chennai is to ride on a bus, and then hire a taxi in Salem to ride through the mountains.

Is Kolli Hills road safe

Kolli Hills road is hard to drive due to its numerous hairpin bends, but it's not too dangerous by ghat road standards. The most tricky section of the road is an ascent that starts from Karavalli and ends at Solakkau. This 12-mi (20-km) route features most of the bends and an elevation gain of 3,149 ft (960 m). It's quite steep with a gradient of about 5%.

Where to stay: Kolli Hills resorts

Kolli Hills area famous for its pristine nature features many hotels and lodges, also called resorts. These 2- or 3-star resorts are quite affordable. Semmedu offers the largest choice of accommodation. It's also an excellent spot to stop for lunch or dinner. If you stay overnight, you can visit beautiful pepper plantations, medicinal herb farms, and paddy fields. There is also a popular scenic outlook: Seekuparai viewpoint and the Agaya Gangai Falls in just a few miles from Semmedu.

Kollimalai tourist places

The biggest tourist attraction of the area is Agaya Gangai Falls fed by the river Aiyaru. Agaya Gangai is translated as Ganges of Sky. The waterfall can be reached from the Arapaleeswarar temple located on top of the Kolli Hills. One has to go down 1302 steps to get to the falls from the temple. Agaya Gangai is 300 feet (91 m) tall. Other attractions include the caves of Kalaanginatha Siddhar and Korakka Siddhar in the jungle nearby. There are also coffee and tea plantations in the area.

Practical info

How many hairpin bends are there on Kolli Hills Road?

The Kolli Hills Road is 29 miles long, has 70 hairpin bends, and runs through a tropical forest with stunning views. Though challenging to navigate, it's not considered dangerous. The route starts at Kalappanaickenpatti village and is part of the impressive mountain range in central Tamil Nadu, where the hills rise to 4,265 ft (1,300 m). Show more

What is the height of Kolli Hills and how much of it is covered by road?

Kolli Hills stand 4,265 ft (1,300 m) high over 70,000 acres (280 km²) in Tamil Nadu. Kolli Hills Road runs for 29 miles (46.7 km) through dense tropical forest, covering only a fraction of the hills but boasts 70 hairpin bends, providing dramatic views throughout. The area is perfect for a scenic drive, surrounded by lush greenery, and is accessible via Salem or the picturesque Kalappanaickenpatti village. Show more

What is the best way to get to Kolli Hills if I am coming from Chennai airport?

From Chennia Airport to Kolli Hills, it's advisable to take a bus from the city to Salem, a railway and bus hub. From there, a private taxi or the scenic Kolli Hills Road will bring you to the hills. Located in the Namakkal district, tourists can also access the hills via Salem, which has an 85 km route to Kolli Hills that passes some charming places such as Semmedu, where you can stop for a meal or a visit to the Aiyaru-fed Agaya Gangai Falls. Show more

What are the tourist attractions near Kolli Hills resorts?

Kolli Hills is a beautiful preserve of nature with numerous accommodations. Among the resorts and hotels in Kolli Hills, Semmedu comes out on top, offering tourists breathtaking views of pepper plantations, dense jungles, and fertile valleys. Popular tourist attractions include the awe-inspiring Agaya Gangai Falls, the mystical caves of Kalaangi Natha Siddhar and Korakka Siddhar, and paddy fields inhabited by wildlife such as birds, elephants, and leopards. Show more

What is the significance of Agaya Gangai Falls, and how to get there?

Agaya Gangai Falls is the highest waterfall in the area, reaching 300 feet (91 m), and is the source of the Aiyaru River. Visitors can only access the falls via the Arapaleeswarar temple, situated atop the Kolli Hills. Downward, visitors must take a 1,302 stair descent. Located near the falls is the Kalaanginatha Siddhar and Korakka Siddhar caves along with the robust coffee and tea plantations of Tamil Nadu. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin