Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ride to Kolli Hills

Kolli Hills 27th Oct 2012

The travel bug had been lying low for sometime, until my biker friends suggested a trip to Kolli hills, a route which has 70 hair pin bends.
Unfortunately we couldn’t work out a group trip to this place .
But I got a chance to ride on 27th Oct 2012  when my wife had to visit her mother’s place  most of my friends where busy and couldn’t join, I did not want to miss this opportunity and decided to ride alone.

As normal on any previous trip I couldn’t sleep due to the excitement of riding and this ride comes along with a much claimed hair pins curves en-route.
Managed to get a wink at 1 am and woke up at 4.00 and was on the road by 5.30.
The route till Salem was uneventful and I reached there by 9.30 not before taking a short break in Krishnagiri where I gave an early morning visit to Anjaneya Temple.
I have travelled on this route twice this year and was quite familiar until Salem, from here I checked out Rasipuram and thereon towards Namakkal. Before reaching Namakkal a deviation to the left leads on to Kolli hills.

The only drawback I faced throughout was directions or places mentioned in Tamil, which I can speak but have no clue how to read the script. GPS helped me in getting the right directions to Kolli hills which was filled with greenery on either side of the roads and was quite scenic.
The excitement was getting over me to experience the much acclaimed 70 hair pin curves and couldn’t stop myself and accelerated ahead. The twisty’s are quite enjoyable provided safety is taken care of. Once the climb started I decided not to stop until I reach the summit, but the views en-route was so breathtaking that I had to stop myself to digest the beauty of nature.

At last I reached the 70th hairpin curve , I really felt there were more than 70 that I had covered and there were yet few more kms and curves to cover before I reach semedu( the main town ), it was around 10.30a.m and the odometer read 300 kms .
The hair pin ride now done, I wanted to take the downhill route to enjoy more, but before that there were few more places here worth visiting. First being the Akasha Ganga water falls, the falls  is around 14 kms further to the left from Semedu.

The village folk were quite helpful in directing me as my phone GPS failed cause of no network.
The first bad news since morning was the falls was closed for public as the security personnel there had found a dead body and had stopped entry to all visitors to the falls until the body was fished out. I badly wanted to see the falls and planned to stay in Semedu and visit the next day. The other attraction of kolli hills is Arapaleshwara temple which is just opposite to the entrance to Akasha ganga falls.
Visited the temple and had breakfast in a nearby village. I now planned to return to Semedu to arrange for a stay , en-route there is a small waterfall known as Masilla, which I found again courtesy the locals who were quite helpful again in letting me know about the place and provided directions to reach .
Took a much needed break under the falls, after a refreshing  bath and whiling away I started towards semedu and settled in Kolli hills resort. The resort manager Viji was quite friendly and suggested a few places that can be visited.

Taking his advice I visited the boat house and the botanical gardens which is just a few kms from the resort.
Both these places did not interest me much and the boat house was a small water body with a couple of small boats to paddle in. The botanical garden was again a small garden area with few flowering plants here and there, and few displays around a fountain.
The next place was the view point which is just 1 km from Semedu, this place was quite beautiful and  the whole valley below can be seen from the view point.  After a peaceful view of the sunset and the valley below I promised to be back for the sunrise.
The evening spent here watching the sunset and the valley below covered in mist was quite worth the trip, as it gets dark in the winter and there is not much to do I headed back to the resort and winded up the for the day.

Few Pics from Day 1
Hair pin bends to reach Kolli hills

70/70 - number of hair pin bends covered

Much deserved break after the twistys

Meeting in progress- — at Arappulishwarar Temple

The main deity Arappulishwarar

Arappulishwarar Temple

Masilla Falls

Masilla Falls - another view

one of the many paddy fields around the hills

This was not for abandoned :-) the owner of this cycle uses it to transport grass for his livestock

Boat house @ Kolli Hills

Found this scary guy in the botanical garden @ kolli hills

One amazing view @ Kolli Hills

Loved to watch the sunset - peace @ Kolli Hills

attempt to blend with the natural colors

The cosy home stay @ Kolli hills- can contact on the number for prior bookings

Map of the few places in and around Kolli hills

Day 2 Kolli hills:

The excitement of visiting the falls made me wake up early at 5, it was totally dark and cold when I opened the door and decided to watch TV for an hour. Since visitors are allowed to visit the falls only after 8 in the morning I decided to visit the view point I had been yesterday. Being hardly a km from the resort reached there in no time for a mesmerizing view of the valley, the villages were waking up in the valley below and specks of smoke could be seen from above. After spending nearly an hour and saying good bye to the valley went towards to the waterfall. Reached there in 30 minutes and after paying a quick visit to the temple, headed towards the gate which was closed yesterday.
Was happy to pay the entrance fee of 10 rs. the guard made me sign a register and informed to sign back when I return from the falls, precautions taken to ensure people who go down are accounted for on their return.

The steps were steep and few people were already climbing back tired. The gushing noise confirms the falls is near, after a few more steps a beautiful view is available where you can see the falls making you feel that the water is actually falling down from the sky. The days wait and the trek down to the falls was worth the view.  I could hardly stand there without getting drenched as the water was splattering around it was difficult to take pictures without getting your camera wet, a bit risky one too.
I was reluctant on taking a dip in the falls as it was hardly yesterday that a body was fished out of this place, but was happy in getting my feet wet from the flowing water. There were lot of bird activity and found a few varieties here, after satisfying myself to the content of my heart started my climb up the stairs, the downhill climb which was easy was not the same while climbing back, with a lot of panting and rest reached the top in half hour.

The climb had made me hungry; thanks to the few eateries near the temple I had a scrumptious breakfast.
It was around 10 and nothing much to do I decided to head back to my room and check out. On the way I came across a small waterfall which was quite tempting, since I missed a dip in the earlier falls I did not want to let go off this opportunity, how many falls do you get when you are in Bangalore .
I did not know the name of this falls and this was almost kind of secluded and devoid of any human activity , so made  myself comfortable and spent a while enjoying the beautiful and unpolluted nature.

It was now time to head back, went straight to the room and doing the necessary checkout prepared myself to enjoy another round of twisty downhill.
If I had enjoyed the uphill twisty yesterday it was not less while coming down, added that you get to see the beautiful valley down.
Once I reached the plains I gazed back to see where I had come from and promised to return. The return to Bangalore was just a breeze except to the extended traffic near the toll gates; good I was on a bike and was able to skip these long queues.
Reached home around 7 in the evening taking with me lots of memories of Kolli hills.

Few Pics from Day 2

one of the best view points to watch the sunset and the number of villages that dot the valley

yes, thats the stairs to reach the waterfalls - easy to climb down :-)

Akasha Ganga @ Kolli Hills - Magnificent waterfalls worth a visit

Moth Caterpillar

Wish I could stay there :-0

Scarlet Minivet

Indian Silverbills

View point across Akasha Ganga falls

The white speck between the ranges is the magnificent falls

One of the many streams found in Kolli hills

Love the curves :-) @ Kolli Hills