Saturday Suttings(Translation: Saturday Wanderings) is our attempt to get away from the monotony of daily life in search of some fresh air. A Saturday Sutting is all about day trips from Bangalore. Here is the latest one of the series
A 5.5 hour drive from Electronic City, Kolli hills has typically been part of bikers circuits because of the 70 hairpin bends that you need to negotiate in order to reach the top. You gain about 700 meters in height and the view from the top on a clear day is breathtaking. The relatively clean and extremely good roads that get there ensure that you dont have to sacrifice much apart from a few hours of sleep.
Definitely recommend an early start as the general rule is more distance you cover before sunrise, the lesser traffic you need to negotiate and more time you get at destination. The roads are really good and most sections are pretty wide (as compared to Kalhatty or devaramane) and not really a challenge. You climb up 600 meters over the 70 hairpins and the view only gets better after every loop.
If you look at gmaps, you will realize that Kolli hills as such is not a small hill, it’s actually a pretty large set of interconnected hills. Hence you will end up driving quite a bit from one point to another. Roads are again mostly good with minimal traffic. It gets interesting as you can stop where every you want and experiment be it behind the wheel or behind the camera.
We spent time driving to Seeku Parai view point, Valappurnadu viewpoint, Aagaya Gangai falls, Maasilai falls and spent close to 4 hours checking out these spots. Seeku Parai viewpoint was fully clouded out and all we could see was experience was being in the clouds. Valappurnadu viewpoint was a much better experience and we spent quite some time trying to get the best shots.
Aagaya Gangai falls is the mona lisa of Kolli Hills and you just can’t view this maiden without paying a price. The price in this case is 1100 steps downhill to view this maiden plummet down the rocks and then a stiff climb up, so we were told, as we decided to skip the same and head to the other falls while other in our group went ahead to view the falls.
Maasilai falls is a small 10 feet falls where you get to stand under the same and take a cold shower. Sunday afternoon ensured that the place was packed with well-oiled bodies (there is a guy there waiting with an oil bottle & massage service) waiting to get pummeled by the water.
After a quick bite near the falls, we drove down 70 hairpins and zipped back home after battling some weekend traffic till salem.
Points to consider before heading to Kolli Hills:
- Easily doable as a day trip from Bangalore or can be combined with a Yercaud/Salem trip if needed.
- Not a lot of stay option on the hills. Even those that are there, don’t have great reviews online.
- If you want to stay and not drive ~600 kms up and down, then the best option would be Salem.
- Food available is only basic south Indian fare – dosa & parota (not paratha, this is the south indian parota).
- Apart from one very badly maintained restroom near Aagaya gangai falls, I didn’t see any others.
- Didn’t see any petrol pumps on the hills. Do tank up before the climb.
- Mobile network on top of the hill is patchy. Hence do keep gmaps & navigation on and dont close once you reach the top.
Route taken: Krishnagiri – Dharmapuri – Salem – Rasipuram – Kalangani – Thirumalapatti – Karavalli – Solakkadu – Kolli Hills
Gmaps – https://goo.gl/maps/Mzc1ZtHFUi62
This is probably the best route to take as roads are exceptionally good except for a small 2 km stretch before Karavalli
Krishnagiri – Salem – Kalangani: Good 4/6 Lane toll roads
Kalangani – Thirumalapatti – Karavalli: Decent 2/1.5 Lane roads with a small bad stretch of 2 kms a few kms before Karavalli. Nothing to worry about as any car/bike can easily handle the stretch.
Karavalli – Solakkadu: Mouth watering 70 hairpins with some really good roads. Most sections can easily accomodate 2 tempo travelers and hairpins bends are wide. Easy drive uphill.
Preferred Pit Stops
- Shri Krishna Inn, Shoolagiri
- Saisangeet, before Thoppur
- Sri Saravana Bhavan’s Aasai Dosai, Salem
- A2B, just before Rasipuram
Best Time to Visit
Anytime when there is not a lot of cloud cover. Sunset is probably the best time to be here but then you will be driving downhill at night.