Last October, my expedition group planned a tour of Chennai and its nearby locales. The trip lasted about seven days with heritage and food walks, nature treks, and a relaxing day on the beach. As the end of the vacation neared, we thought of doing something memorable and absolutely thrilling, something we would hold on to forever. So we decided to head to the Kolli Hills in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu. Surprisingly, it was a maiden trip for every one of us and we were all excited, albeit not knowing what to expect from the journey.
To Kolli Hills
We rented a licensed and quality car in Chennai with Savaari and set out in an SUV, considering we all wanted to be in one car and it was a mountainous road.
En route, our driver gave us a brief introduction of what this place is actually about.
Locally translated as ‘The Mountain of Death’, these hills on the Eastern Ghats rise up to 4265 feet and above. But the highlight of these mountains are neither its sobriquet nor its height or the scenic views it offers, but the road that cuts through it.
In about six hours we reached the base of the hills. This is when the real adventure began.
A real rollercoaster
The foothills were a splendid sight to savor with lush fields, coconuts groves, and forested mountains stretched across the horizon. As we started the climb, the joy of witnessing a beautiful scenery transformed into thrill and soon into fear. But it was rather a feeling of fright mixed with excitement and wonder. With a hairpin bend at almost every second kilometer and the constantly increasing incline, the drive felt like a real-life rollercoaster, with us screaming and shouting like five-year-olds.
There were no less than 70 curves till the peak of the hills. In fact, at the end of every bend, there was a stone marker, so we would know how many more were yet to come.
The irony of this drive is that the views on either side of the road are so stunning that you cannot turn away and if you do, even for a split-second, you can drive off the edge and into the valley, or bump into an oncoming vehicle. I was so glad we were in a cab.
A respite from the ride
It took us a few hours to cross the spiky road and reach one of the most popular viewpoints on the hills. There were four major viewpoints - Selur, Sirumalai, Binnam viewpoint, and Seekuparai viewpoints which offered panoramic views of the hills and valleys.
We finally got out of the car and to straighten ourselves out after a zigzag ride, we walked to the AgayaGangai waterfall. The 300 feet high cascade drops down solid rocks. There were steps cut out of the rocks that led to the water below. The cool water felt inviting after a tiring journey. While some of us stood under the cascade, the rest of the group went for a splash.
As we came back the next day, winding down the same road, I realized it was not fear of what could happen but the thrill that a child finds in doing something dangerous!
Even as I pen down my experience right now, my mind drifts back to that day and brings back those feelings all over again.
Book an affordable cab from Chennai to Kolli Hills so you can take it all the way through the hills.
Do not travel right after meals, especially if you have a problem with winding roads.
Plan your trips after monsoon but before winter to enjoy the locale in its full swing.
Don’t forget to stop at the Tampcol Medicinal Farm on the way back in Valapoor.
The views presented in this article belong to the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of You & I.