History of Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills is associated with an ancient legend. It is said that once few sages came to Kolli Hills to practise penance in the calm ambience. However, they were disturbed and tormented by the demons who suddenly attacked upon them. The sages then began praying to Kollipavai. According to the myth the deity appeared and vanquished the demons with her smile. The people residing in the Kolli Hills pray to the deity and give her offering. Her smile is deeply revered by them.
Kolli Hills finds its mention in many popular classical Tamil literatures like Manimekalai, Silappathigaram, Ainkurnuru and Purananuru. Valvil Ori, regarded as one of the seven great philanthropists of ancient Tamil Nadu reigned in this region around 200 A.D. He has been praised by many notable poets who have written about his courage and valour. It is said that one Ori had killed a bear, lion, deer and a boar with just a single arrow. It is also said that the Kautilya also known as Chanakya, the poet in the court of Chandragupta Maurya was born here before he went to North India for his education.
Farming and Vegetation on Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills is also rich is vegetation and poses as a fertile farming ground. The mountains remain covered with evergreen forests. This calm and serene environment surrounded by greenery attracts the attention of the visitors. Presently, huge areas have been cleared the purpose of farming. Many farm products are cultivated here like the tea, coffee, pineapple, jackfruit, black pepper and many other spices. The local and the tribal people residing on the hilly regions remain dependent on rice and other minor millets. Hence these are also cultivated in huge amounts here. These form their staple foods. Jackfruit is also grown here on the mountains and is widely known for its fragrance and taste. It is also sometimes kept soaked in the honey for taste. Hence, honey is also harvested here in the mountains. During the spring and the monsoon months the hill remains enveloped with lush green vegetation. Narrow streams can also be seen flowing down the hills that add to its beauty. Three reserve forests are located here, namely, Pulianjolai, Ariyur Solai and Kundur Nadu. These forests are controlled and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Tourism of Kolli Hills
Kolli Hills also serves as a great tourist spot. Seekuparai and Selur Nadu are the two places that are being developed for the tourists. A pineapple research farm maintained by the government is also worth visiting here. Many medicinal plants are also found here in the mountains. In the month of August a tourism festival is organised for the visitors. Kolli Hills has also been famous for hiking, trekking, and for meditation practitioners. The mountain range also serves as a site for pilgrimage. The Arapaleeswarar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated here. It is said to be the secret route leading to the Shiva temple in Rasipuram. The temple is believed to have been built by Valvil Ori in the 1st or 2nd century. It is said that the temple was present during the Sangam age. According to a legend attached to the temple, the Shiva Lingam here was found in the field when a farmer was ploughing the field. He accidentally hit the idol that led blood of ooze out.
The Agaya Gangai, an important waterfall can also be seen here. It is located near the Arappaleeswarar temple. A part from these a botanical garden, cave house, boat house have also been developed here by the government. The 'Ori festival' has also been celebrated here with great fervour.
Kolli Hills are surrounded by several small and big towns that exist under the foothills. Some of the towns surrounding the hills are, Sendamangalam, Namakkal, Singalanda Puram, Rasipuram, Belu Kurichi, Koppampatty, Pulianjolai, Kalappanaiyakkan Patti, Thathaiyankar Pettai, Thuraiyur, Namagiri Pettai and Thammam Patti. These places provide a panoramic view of the hill and are well connected by different modes of transport.