A Road Trip to Kollli Hills - Conquering 70 Hair Pin Bends!

by Shreyas Panduranga


Posted on 29th May, 2015




Serene Kolli Hills
Image Credit - Simply CVR(cc)

What better way to spend the Independence day (and the following weekend) than riding solo wherever I want to! At least I couldn’t think of anything else and went riding away from Bangalore into the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu! I had heard about a hill near Namakkal with a lot of hairpin curves and decided to ride there. I did not plan the next two days in detail, but I wanted to visit the temples of Srirangam and Tanjavur/Tanjore, continue towards the coast and ride along the coast till Pondicherry and return back to Bangalore. Pretty audacious!

I started a bit late than planned, I stayed up late the night before to finish this lettering piece :-)

Get Lost in Natural Beauty
Let's all get lost in the beauty and the vastness of the natural world!

Since it was independence day quite a few people were riding, some with the Indian national flag fluttering on the back of their motorcycles and some, like me, without. I took the highway towards Salem and except a few initial jams due to construction work the road was great to ride on. With views of small hills all around it was a pleasant few hours. By the time I reached Salem, the sun was right over my head. I decided to enter the city to check it out and take a break for lunch. It is only when I stopped there did I realize the full intensity of the sun. I wandered around the city for about an hour and failed to spot a good place to have lunch. I settled for a big cup of ice cream and got onto the highway as soon as possible.

The road to Kolli hills is a deviation from the highway and goes through a town called Rasipuram. All the while I kept my eyes open for a place where I can have my lunch. I did find one in a village, it was a simple village hotel in a hut and did not disappoint me :-).

A few more kilometers later I reached the starting point of the ascent to the Kolli hills. It has the most insanely looking roads (zoom in on it in the above map), a total of 70 hairpin curves! It was late afternoon when I slowly started the ascent and it was easy to feel the drop in temperature from down below. The hairpin curves come in quick succession and are simply a joy to ride. The forests on the hill were very thick and green.

Kolli Hills Road
Riding up Kolli Hills.

Halfway up the hills, the views were getting better. The forests were so thick that I couldn’t even see the road that lead me up to the hill.

Kolli Hills Views
View from half way up the hill

As I rode the second half of the hairpin curves the views kept on getting better! The Kolli hills are more like a plateau, a highland that rises from the hot flat land below and has many smaller hills and sharp cliffs on the top. There are a couple of great view points to enjoy the views of the greenery below.

There is a small village named Semmedu on the top with a few hotels and resorts around it. I rode around the hill all evening on roads that are rarely taken by visitors who stick around the village. I found a nice spot to sit and peacefully watch the sunset from.

Kolli Hills Sunset
Sunset on Kolli hills

I even accidentally made it near a waterfall on the hill, about 25 km from the village, but it was too dark to go see anything and I had to get back to find a place for the night. Once I got back and started asking for a place I realized it was going to be a hard time to find one as it was a long weekend and people would have booked in advance! I finally found one, it was no more than 6 ft x 12 ft, roofed with asbestos, with no bathroom or electrical sockets and some weird looking insects on the walls and floor. But the choice was simple, I had to sleep there or sleep on the street. So, I obviously took the first one and with great effort fell asleep for a few hours, I had a couple days of riding ahead of me. I woke up early and waited for the sky to turn a little blue. I luckily got some hot water to tidy myself up a bit and left the place a little after 6 am.

The ride down the hill was even better than the ride up. It had rained a lot the previous night and everything was damp and green. There was little else that I could ask for! Oh, there was no mist that day, I would have loved some mist.

Kolli Hills Road
Riding down Kolli Hills.

Kolli Hills Road
Curvy roads of Kolli Hills. 70 hair pin curves in all

I didn’t have a clear plan for the day when I got down. After the bad experience of staying in a tiny and terrible place and the intense heat that was going to soon show up, I started contemplating the choices. I could ride to home in Mysore or forward along the river Kaveri towards the Srirangam and beyond. Well, that’s what I’ll tell you in my next post!











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About the Author: Shreyas Panduranga

Shreyas Panduranga

I like to go around exploring on my bicycle or motorcycle and stumble into unknown places and people far away and close to home! Feel free and explore what I have written and comment on the posts and connect with me personally via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Tags:

Kolli Hills, Tamil nadu, Namakkal, hair pin bends, Natural Beauty, Serene