Ok, I had 2 right guesses in the last post. That too as the first 2 comments. Congrats Jij & Senthil. It is indeed Akash Ganga, Kollimalai.
This Independence Day came on a Sunday and I was at Karur. Obviously we planned for an outing. After thinking about a couple of genres we decided on mountains. A couple of options and we finalized on Kollimalai. 2 bikes, 4 friends, 1 destination. I was excited coz this was one trip with a decently bigger number of people. But then, next day morning, with one person with a bad hangover, we ended up with just 2 of us.
Same Apache of Mayanur and the same 2 of us and the print out of the blog posts of blogger friend Megarajan. As I got ready, it started to pour down. We waited for some more time, and when the rain subsided a bit, at around 8 AM, we started off. With a couple of stops in between, thanks to the rain, we finally reached the destination. We rather overshoot the location where we had to take a right turn and reached a point where the board directed to Salem and Chennai. We took a reverse again and got the right point to turn left!!!
And then started the amazing drive upon 70 hair pin bends to reach the peak located at 1300 m above sea level. Believe me, 70 odd hair pin bends. This is the maximum in Tamil Nadu. It was not too populated. It was not scarily lonely.
The wind was chill, the climate was cool, the air was moist with the rain – it was just perfect. Then as we gained altitude, we were just in midst of the clouds and it was a paradise!!!
Kollimalai is a precious herbal spot. Even the wind seemed the carry a medicated herbal essence. The hill range has been spoken of in several Tamil Literatures. I remember once in school days, I read a poem ‘Kollimalai enakkilaya Chellimalai Amme…’. Well. I forgot who wrote it and in which literary work was it!!! Does it ring a bell to any of you guys? Many of the mountain kings like, Paari, Ori were great rulers of this locality.
After stopping at a couple of view points, we reached the peak where there was a board that directed us to Arappaleeswarar Koil & Akash Ganga. We headed to the temple. We found a small hotel there where I enquired for breakfast,. The lady there asked, why not meals; It was only then did I realize it was past 12 noon. After basic prayer offering, we headed to the Mini Falls first.
From the temple, a right took us to the mini falls and the left to the Akash Ganga. With just 100 steps to reach it, it was a really a ‘mini’ falls. Rather, it was just a stream!!!
We came back up and took the left to the Akash Ganga. Climbing down was not tough. There were some impressive view points. The path went swirling down!!! Walking in the midst of the mist and fog and cloud was a great feeling!!! And after climbing down completely, there at a distance I could spot the waterfalls. It didn’t seem big. A few more steps and the last lap was a walk through rocks & boulders – and there I was in the front of the impressive, huge, magnificent Akash Ganga. It was massive, no other better adjective for it!!!
This is called Aagaya Gangai in Tamil. The river called Pancha Nathi aka Iyaaru (5 rivers) falls down here from 300 feet to form this magnificent waterfalls. Unlike Hogenakkal, here the water was pristine and its not polluted.
Somehow, I dunno why, but I didn’t feel like venturing right below the falls. A stream of water was between me and the waterfalls. A stream, less said. It was something between a stream and a river. The water current was furious!!! However some make shift arrangement were made to reach the waterfalls. A rope that ties the position with the iron rods below the falls, was use the hold and walk to the falls without getting carried away by the current!!!
After some time, we started to climb up the stairs. Yes, this was definitely more hectic than climbing down. It was difficult. Really really difficult. Lemme tell you now, its almost a thousand steps!!! At a point we both ran out of breath. Somehow I managed, but I friend had a real difficult time and finally we made it to the top. On the way, I realized the biggest mistake we did – Not carrying enough water for the climbing!!!
Just as we reached the end of the never-ending steps, a store had a delicious display of cool drinks (This is marketing which IIM doesn’t teach!!!). No one can resist the temptation to buy a bottle of some cool drink here. Yes, we too did.
From there we started to the Ruined Jain Temple (Samanar Koil) which has been recently excavated which was built during the Pallava Period. A right cut from the Dharma Vidyalaya enroute, was the road that leads to the temple. The Ettukkai Amman temple is also pretty near to the Shiva Temple. Rather, that was what we were told. But unfortunately, with the road being built now & with the rains, the road was rather pathetic. It was impossible to drive thru it. I suggested my friend to leave the bike and to take a stroll to the temples. He said ‘Leave my new bike here on the road!!!’..??? Well, I dare not say a word after that!!! We returned and enquired for the next place – Mudhumakkal Thazhi.
Mudhumakkal Thazhi is nothing but the burial urns. This also has been recently excavated and this is solid 2000 years old. Know what, this is what I love about India. I get to witness my history right since 2000 yrs old!!! That’s why something that is of 1600C or 1700C (i.e. 300 to 400 yrs old) never ever excites me!!!!! This road too was muddy and freaky. And its been a stupidity to construct concrete stage around it that it has lost it old charm. Its easy to miss it and we did. It’s a small concrete platform on the left of the road.
From there we tried to find the Shiva Temple which again is a Pallava Architechture and been recently excavated. But by the time, dusk began to fall and we thought it better to start our return journey. Travelling through 70 hairpin bends is better done in day light rather than after dusk!!!
One day is definitely not enough to venture to every other place in Kolli Hills. Kolli has around 15 to 16 places to visit. I could venture only to 3-4 in a day. So imagine your scale of stay needed to enjoy Kolli completely. Hope I’ll go there some other day to check out the left out spots.
Again the 70 hair pin bends and by the time we reached Karur back we were bloody damn hungry that we preferred to stop over at a Dhaba and have a sumptuous meal!!! The hunger, the chillness together with a single meal day long, credited to the scenario, and should I even say we ate like pigs!!!!!
To Reach There:
Turn at Senthamangalam which is the base of the Kolli Hills.
To reach Senthamangalam:
From Namakkal: 11km
From Salem: 47 km
From Karur (via Namakkal): 44km
Semmedu is the only relatively big village atop the hill.
Semmedu has a couple of resorts & hotels.
The Govt Resorts & Dormitaries are available here. – Ph: 04286 – 247425
It would be a good idea to book rooms and then venture here. The number of resorts are really less to accommodate you if you just drop in!!!
Dedicated to Diwesh.