Kolli Hills or Kolli Malai or Kollimalai Hills is a small mountain range located in central Tamil Nadu in Namakkal district of India. The mountains are about 1000 to 1300 m in height and cover an area of approximately 280 km². The Kolli Hills has 70 hair pin bends to reach the top of the hills. The Kolli Hills are part of the Eastern Ghats, which is a mountain range that runs mostly parallel to the east coast of South India. The mountains are relatively untouched by commercial tourism and still retain their natural beauty.
Kolli Hills were sometimes known as "Kolli Malai", the "Mountains of Death". The reason is that early literature records the existence of an image called Kollippavai on top of these hills. This image was believed to represent the spirit of a maiden who lured wayfarers by her beauty and then killed them.
The Kolli Hills are featured in several works of classical Tamil literature such as Silappathigaram, Manimekalai, Purananuru and Ainkurnuru. The region was ruled by Valvil Ori around 200 A.D., who is praised as one of the seven great philanthropists of ancient Tamil Nadu. His valor and marksmanship are sung by several poets, and his exploits are a popular part of folklore. Ori is said to have killed a lion, bear, deer and a boar with a single arrow.
The Kolli Hills are said to be guarded by Kollipavai, the local deity. According to legend, the sages chose Kolli hills when they were looking for a peaceful place to do their penance. However, the demons invaded the hills to disrupt the penance when the sages began their rituals. The sages prayed to Kollipavai, who according to the myth, chased away the demons with her enchanting smile. The KolliPavai hills is still worshipped by the people here and her smile is revered. The mountains have several mythological legends associated with them, and often come across as an eerie place in contemporary tales due to the unexplored and less traveled terrain.
The Kollihills is a sub taluk and forms a part of Namakkal district. Semmedu is the headquarters for the Kolli hills and Semmedu is connected by road to Namakkal and Salem. Nowadays the Bus service is provided up to Arappulishwarar Temple.
There is also one Horse track used by the Britishers connecting Semmedu to Chinna Pallamparai at plains through Vasalur nadu.
The Kolli Hills is a site of pilgrimage, because of the Arapaleeswarar temple, which is believed to have a secret path to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram. This Shiva temple is said to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century when he ruled this area. "Arappaleeswara sathakam" is the poem which praises the Lord Arappaleeswarar. It is believed that this temple exists during the Sangam period itself.
Two viewpoints - one at Seekuparai and another at Selur Nadu - are being developed to encourage tourism. As of 2007, creation of a park and formation of an approach road to the Seekuparai viewpoint were nearing completion.The government maintains a pineapple research farm where hybrid varieties are created. Research about medicinal plants is also pursued on these mountains.The government holds a tourism festival in August.
Kolli Hills has been the top choice for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, trekking clubs and meditation practitioners among hill stations in Tamil Nadu. In comparison to other hill stations in Tamil Nadu, Kolli Hills is not commercialized, less polluted and offers unique mountain ranges. The district administration has recently developed a botanical garden, Boat house, Cave house, New waterfalls called Masila Falls. The administration also celebrated "Ori festival" with lot of cultural events.
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