Kolli Hills Salem temple waterfall Quick Visit - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Kolli Hills Salem temple waterfall Quick Visit

-2020 update: Had to remove photos due to technical issue (site where I had uploaded them went down)- will try to restore -

Just like Vizag, Kolli hills was on my target list for long time. Finally made a lightening visit to Kolli Hills last Sunday.

My expectations from Kolli Hills were limited- I was told/had read it’s a fairly small hill with couple of waterfalls and temples. An ideal way to explore Kolli hills would be to trek/camp around spending couple of days. However I didn’t have the luxury of time and had to complete the exploration in under 24 hours, ex-Chennai.

We left from Chennai by Saturday midnight, reached Salem by 6 AM, went to a Praveen’s place by 6.30 (Praveen is an entrepreneur who runs Salemjilla.com and online marketing business named Auxil Solutions) left for Kolli Hills by 7.15 or so to reach on top of the hill just before 9 and explored it till 2-2.30PM before starting return journey.

I’d expected the top of Kolli hills to have a fairly smaller surface area (similar to Horsley Hills or Nandi hills), but it turned out to be large enough, similar to Yercaud. Various tourist destinations are spread in different directions. We went direct to a place which looked like town (with a bus stop and few small hotels, where we had breakfast, at an economic cost of Rs 138 for 6 people).

Then went back to the main temple called Arapaleeshwar Temple, several kms away. The Arapaleeshwar Temple is fairly small and typical of any other temples. Photography is banned here and it is believed that this god has some wired powers-of destroying photographs taken by devotees. Ram had written in his post as to how he had clicked a photo secretly and when the role was developed, the photo was just not there… The inside of the temple is fairly dark, as in any temples and no quality photo can be taken without using flash. Anyways, if the god can ensure that no one can take photos, then why ban it? People can be allowed to try their luck, since god would anyway delete those pics. Anyways didn’t find this temple and its photo ban powers worth worrying about.

Two waterfalls exist near the temple. The main one is far and one needs to climb down several hundred steps to reach there. We didn’t have time for this one and had to skip. The other one was a smaller water fall, shown here.

Other tourist attractions on Kolli Hills are a viewpoint, another waterfalls (which looks great from a distance, full view won’t be visible once you go near), a small natural lake with boating and a Shiva temple (though boat ride was priced at 15 Rs for 20 mins, we found all boats unoccupied- either the service was not there or no one preferred the boat ride.
Another destination was Pot Burial-a different kind of cremation ground. An entrance which called itself Botanical Garden was closed and when Dhruv peeked inside, he found nothing exciting. We stopped to buy jackfruits, honey and other fruits at the bus stand and commenced our return journey.

A resort called Nallathambi Resort exists on top of Kolli hills, but this is a small building with few rooms and not really a resort. They didn’t even have a restaurant to serve food. Wildorchidcamp, which provides Swiss tents, seems to be another option to stay there, but I didn’t notice any signboards pointing us to this place. Not sure where it is located. Salem will be the nearest town for luxury hotel rooms.

Kolli Hills also has few residential schools.

Best way to Visit Kolli Hills:
If you’re a leisure tourist, you can make a weekend trip to Kolli Hills-start Saturday early morning from Chennai/Bangalore, reach by afternoon, stay at Wildorchidcamp/Nallathambi or few other accommodation option available on top of Kolli hills and commence return journey by Sunday  afternoon. Yercaud will be more interesting place for casual tourists, but Kolli can be taken up as a onetime visit.  Maruti Omnis are available on rent at the bus stand to take tourists around.

If you’re trekking enthusiast, better option would be to take overnight train to Salem and take public transport to Kolli Hills/(or drive all night) spend 2 days trekking along the hills and camping and return. Haven’t done trekking here, but hills are visually more appealing for trekking and camping.

If you’re crazy you can also plan a 24 hour action packed trip-like what we did-enjoy driving through 70 hairpin bends and most of the tourist places and go back. Had to force people to hurry up so as to keep up the timings. Per head cost came to about 1700 Rs, ex-Chennai. Was driving most of the time and ran out of battery on camera, hence don’t have much photos.

Similar: Yercaud trip * Hogenakkal * Yelagiri * Vellore * Nandi Hills * Munar *


  1. One day is actually too short to explore this place. You should have planned at least 2 days.


  2. Thanks for the mention. BTW, it is "Arapaleeshwarar Temple". Though it is small, it is considered to be an ancient temple and main tourist attraction of Kolli Hills.

    And also, one of our friend Vaidhee spent sometime in the temple trying to take the photo of the god, but unfortunately he could not even manage to click. Not sure its god's power but we too failed in that. :)

  3. Thanks Praveen, updated temple name.

    Do you know the names of waterfalls?

    Btb the inside being too dark, obviously photos won't come nice.

  4. The name of the main falls which we missed is "Aagaya Ganga"... (I've went there two times in my childhood.) Since it is the temple of Lord Shiva and there is a myth that the River Ganga falls from his head, it is named after that. Also it is said to be the highest waterfalls in south India.

    Here is the virtual tour of that water falls... Really amazing..


  5. Very beautiful pics... The water fall looks stunning so do the views!!

  6. Thanks praveen.

    Thanks. But the main waterfall we missed is believed to be several times better...

  7. I was working near Salem but was unaware of this place to visit. So near the well but still thirsty!


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