Travelogue – A Killer Ride to Kolli Hills

Posted: October 7, 2016 in Travelogue
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“Kollimalai yenakkuyilaya sellimalai amme

Kolundanaku kannimalai Palanimalai amme

Sellinamgal mulungukotta mailinamgal aadum

Thirukoodamalai yengal sellvamalai amme”

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When I memorized this above Kuttrala Kuravanji verse to get 8 marks in sixth standard memoriter section, little did I know that I’d be visiting this place. I’ve always wondered why people find it so tough to understand a poem. Yes, even I wouldn’t understand it without someone explaining me but after explanation I would be able to link it perfectly which others don’t understand how.

Day 1 – Back to Basics

After not having ventured out at all (not even an hour’s outing) for the past four months post the Har Ki Dun trip, I was itching to make this road trip to Kolli Hills, which was in my agenda for past couple of years. Thought of doing this as a get together ride before Ladakh but that unfortunately didn’t happen.

As I informed people about this only few days prior and as we had to start at noon, most of them weren’t interested. At last only Bhuvanesh was ready for it. Don’t know whether I’d have gone or not if not for him. Luckily for us, we got a room in Nallathambi resort which usually remains full for most of the year. We booked for both the days for Rs. 3100.

We finally started at 12.30 from office. I filled my tank at the petrol bunk near my office. It’s such a pleasant feeling to see a full tank. As soon as we hit the road and went to highways, all the problems, all the inhibitions seem to fly off. See the luck, I’m currently hearing ‘Rasaali’ song and the exact lyrics I was humming, sorry shouting from inside my helmet.

“Munnil Oru Kaatrin Kali Mugathinil

Pinnil Siru Pachaikili Mudhuginil

Vaazhvil Oru Payanam Ithu

Mudinthida Viduveno”

I remembered Narayan commenting on my photo which I had posed along with my bike and guitar, “Pachaikili missing bro…” Funny fellow.

At Chengalpattu toll gate we fixed Tindivanam as our pit stop for lunch and decided we’ll keep a steady 80 km/h. I had forgotten the name of the restaurant which had good reviews in the internet but after crossing Melmaruvathur I could see the hoarding of Haritham Restaurant. That rang a bell and I got to know that’s the restaurant I had read about. That was around 10 – 15 km before Tindivanam. We had a wholesome meal and a lime soda. My travel companion was a lime soda addict. It wasn’t as great like it was raved but wasn’t as bad as other restaurants also.

We started around 2.30 from Haritham. We decided that we’d stop in some tea shop once we get into Ulundurpet. Next one and a half hours was clean riding. We kept 80 km/h pace and reached a Kumbakonam Degree Coffee shop which had shade at 4 PM. Unfortunately it didn’t have tea, we ordered a couple of coffee which was served in brass tumbler and a butter biscuit. Coffee was priced at 20 rupees and one single biscuit was an atrocious 5 rupees.

After analyzing a couple of routes, one which takes the 70 hairpin bends and the other directly to Nallathambi resort, we decided that we would take the latter. We thought we’ll keep up the pace, if not slightly higher so that we could reach our destination at least by 7 PM before nightfall.

Once we turned into Kallakuruchi, I was reminded of Saravanan Meenatchi which my mom religiously used to watch. I was also thinking, how come everything is happening as per plan, “Kolli Malai” has a history of deaths and demons. Before even I could come out of that thought, a dog came in the middle, I dashed it in spite of applying break and fell down from my bike.

Bhuvanesh who was going in front came back running and people gathered around to lift my bike. Had various scratches all around. When asked how it happened I was like, “Nai kuruka vanthuduchu” (Dog came in the middle), and Bhuvanesh was telling how it was off road but the ones who were there hit it with a stone and it came in the middle. Even if it had gone on with the flow I would have escaped but at the last moment it tried to go inside the grass field again, that lead to the fall.

The person who hit the dog with stone felt guilty I guess so whenever people asked, “epdi vizunthinga,” she tried to change the topic and said that she lifted the bike from my leg. Anyways no point in analyzing. Only then I thought what would have happened if this happened in Ladakh where I didn’t have any protective gear. Good that I had helmet so it shielded me from majority of the scratches.

Bhuvanesh took me to the nearby medical shop and they gave me shot of TT, an ORS to drink, applied some iodine solution which stinged like hell, did some basic dressing with some ointment. I got reminded of not taking my first aid box which I usually do. When you get into accident you tend to think of all negative things.

I thought I’d tease someone saying that it’d have been nice if that person also had come as pillion but after the fall I thought, good that person didn’t come. I’d have felt bad if someone else had got hurt because of me.

Bhuvanesh asked whether I need to rest or to go ahead. I decided to go ahead. I thought I’ll manage. The person in front of whose house the accident happened kept on saying, “onnum illa, methuva ponga” (it’s nothing, go slowly) and also boasted saying that a car which had people from Bangalore, got punctured there and they left it in his farm to get to the mechanic. It reminded me of ‘Madras’ scene in front of the wall. “Kolli mela kavu vangiduchu.”

Post that we were extra cautious, whenever we saw animals we shifted to the next lane and kept our speed around 50 km/h in main roads where even TVS 50 overtook us and kept to 30 km/h in the winding roads. We hardly took any break but wound started to sting more and more as evening passed by. I guess it was due to the mist and coldness. But as it had become dark we could hardly see anything.

We went beyond our destination and asked the people there, route to Nallathambi Resort. They said that we had come in wrong way so we again had to detour around 10 km. My bike’s petrol too was going to reserve. I thought about me thinking just a few hours before that no mishap seem to have happened. But then everything had happened. Funny world.

We finally reached the resort at 9 PM and inquiries about my wound started right from there. The room was decent for the cost and resort looked good with good service. We had an out of the world Tea and a decent dinner. The medical shop guy had asked to not take non veg and coconut for a couple of weeks and then laughed saying “neenga porathae athuku thana” (You guys are going only for that reason isn’t it.) I think it was his way of hinting not to have drinks.

I took a couple of tablets prescribed by him, applied ointment and slept off watching TV, thinking how the same programs we watch at home becomes extra special when we watch during vacation.

Day 2 – In and Around with Limping Leg

Lol. Looking at the title makes me feel like a title for Western film. I took a snapshot of the places to cover which was present in the reception. Good that it was almost kept in the order of distance from the resort. We woke up at 8 AM, had Dosa and Idly as breakfast and started with the longest one first itinerary. We unanimously decided that I’m going to sit as pillion in Bhuvanesh’s bike. I didn’t really have a choice.

Arapaleeswarar Temple

It was not as majestic as I expected and there were some construction work going inside the temple and outside was given makeover for a fair as from the next day, the second half of Aadi, the locals said, it would be a grand affair. When I had a fall the previous day, the person who took care of the bike asked us why we had come two days prior. But we were actually relieved that we came before the crowd.

One more point about the temple is that we get Airtel tower right near the entrance. But amongst us only Bhuvanesh got and I didn’t.

Agaya Gangai Waterfalls

The major attraction in Kolli Hills. We got a Rs. 10 ticket to enter into the 1000 stepped waterfalls. At the entrance the security scrutinized and asked what was there in the bag. When Bhuvanesh said, “camera,” he was skeptical to allow it. But there wasn’t any camera fees mentioned at the entrance. When he told that photography was not permitted, which was absolutely illogical, we told that we would not involve in photography.

To walk with broken leg and helmet to the falls was kind of tough. There were couple of caretakers with water cans. They told they’ll take care of the helmet but we didn’t oblige as we would have to end up giving compulsory tips.

All the pain leading to the falls got lost once we saw the majestic waterfalls which was brilliant. By far the best waterfalls I’ve been to. Even the deserted ones during trek wouldn’t be half as good as this one. Unluckily, due to the dressing of wounds we couldn’t get into the water. Otherwise it’d have been even more majestic. But we got some decent clicks. While standing and watching the falls, it felt like the Ravanan scene where Vikram would be standing against the winds with a blanket on.

The steps back to the road was slow and steady as I had to land both the legs in each step to proceed to the next step. Thanks to the drinking water, we could quench our taste. The constant inquiry about my injury started for the day. After a while we came out of the falls and checked where is Siru Aruvi (Small Falls).

Siru Aruvi (Small Falls)

Bhuvanesh saw from the top and said that there weren’t much steps leading to the falls. We took a much needed Tea break. Tea was average.

To be able to see water from the top was such a relief. After about 100 steps max we reached a water body, people were going beyond it to see the top of Agaya Gangai but because of my problem both of us didn’t go. Luckily one guy came and showed us the video he took inside. I consoled myself thinking that it wasn’t a big miss.

We came back again to the same shop and had Muligai Soup made of herbs. One sip and taste was out of the word. I thought of buying the ingredients if available. Coming from me it’s such a big compliment. I never buy stuff when I’m on a trip. But it wasn’t available. The soup tasted like Aatu Kaal (mutton leg) soup.

By this time our dress and shoe had dried a little but still it was not comfortably dry.

Ettukai Amman Temple

Our next destination was this temple which was situated around 5 km from the falls. It again had steps. Bhuvanesh remarked, “intha oorla padiketilatha edamae ilaya” (doesn’t this village have any place without steps).

But the place was beautiful. The deity wasn’t much crowded. The landscape was beautiful with pond and ducks. Bhuvanesh badly missed Wide Angle Lens. Good that I’ve not tried my hands on that. Otherwise even I would have started feeling disappointed.

Post worship, we had amazing Kulipanigaram and Bajji in temple premises.

Namma Aruvi (Our falls)

We asked the jackfruit seller there whether is there any place nearby to see. He said there’s a falls at about a kilometer more. According to the resort itinerary it was mentioned post another temple. Good that we asked. Another example of traveler’s instinct working.

When we reached there, it was getting overcast and that made the falls even more beautiful. It was a small, almost deserted falls with two fellows in jatti taking selfie being the only person present there. Don’t know what they’ll use that photo for or where they’ll put it. To crop them and to take a photo of us with the falls background became a herculean task. Bhuvanesh had to hurt his hand to get a proper photo.

Masi Periyasamy Temple

From there we proceeded to the other end of the world. And had to take the toughest decision of the trip. To walk or not to. After a dilemma for 10 minutes, I decided that I’ll go ahead with it. If so many old people, women and kids could walk the mountain to the temple, it definitely must not be that tough. I thought I’ll return midway if I couldn’t proceed. The dilemma was mainly due to the fact that we were getting intermediate drizzles but luckily it didn’t rain.

I slowly baby stepped to the top of temple. This time without carrying the helmet. That temple looked like a deity which was worshipped as village protector. Bhuvanesh proceeded first and kept on having an eye on me. Only at that time thinking of my fate, I thought, “konja nanjamavada adnae…” Every time I would be the ring master of the trek with constant pushing and shouting but here I was walking than the slowest of the people who had come with me for the treks. But it was good to see a person genuinely empathizing my state. I would have been a sympathizer at max.

While reaching the top we saw a person bringing a headless hen. I got to know that it was a temple were sacrifices were made. It was bloody in most of the places. Because of the Medical Shop guy’s advice I couldn’t have any non-veg food. If not for that, I’m sure that we would have got amazing Padayal’s.

While returning back, we had the amazing herbal soup again in helmet shop. Only after being inquired about the injury. Bhuvanesh started laughing, “solli solli unaku vai valika arambichidum pola irukue da” (you’ll start getting mouth ache by explaining about the injury it seems). The soup seller mentioned that the place would be crowded beyond comparison from the next day. We luckily escaped it.

We were happy that the major task was over and were courageous to complete the list.

Masila Falls

En route to Semmedu we went to Masila Falls. I started getting headache. May be because of fatigue and pain, so had Parotta alone with muligai chalna and Tea in a shop in front of the falls.

This time we didn’t have to walk a lot and it was the worst of the falls. Naturally thus it was crowded. But crowded here means 10 – 15 people and not more than that.

We were happy with covering everything on one side of Semmedu. The things missing weren’t natural beauties so I wasn’t much worried to miss them.

Botanical Garden

It was closed when we went. The authorities cited that it was getting makeover for some function. Guess it was the same the accident place guy was talking about. He recommended us to go the Boat House nearby.

Boat House

The boat house was a nice little place with very few people to enjoy the scenery and have a good time. Thanks to my legs I couldn’t do boating as it was pedal boat. Unfortunately Bhuvanesh too couldn’t go because of that. We got one decent pic and came out.

Sikku Parai Viewpoint

While returning back to the resort we thought why not go to this point as well as only that was missing from the list. So we went there. Nothing great. A crowded view point with one not letting another to see the beauty of the hills. As there were lot of distractions we came back without taking any pictures.

In all it was a satisfying day. Once in resort after having tea I checked for warm water. Like every other hotels they too had an issue with solar heater so didn’t get warm water. We went to the General Hospital to check if anything special had to be done for the next day’s bike ride but the doctor informed to continue with the current medication and change the dressing.

We got back to the resort, had the same fried rice again, and took tablets. Only while going to doctor I got to know that I had not taken the pain killer the previous day. It seemed to have got stuck in the cover.

I slept off quite early at around 8.30 PM due to tiredness and pain but more importantly due to the fact that we had to get up early the next day.

Day 3 – The Return of the Kings

Our plan was to start at get up at 6 AM and start at 7 AM. But Bhuvanesh as usual didn’t wake up to first alarm. I got up at 7 AM and started getting ready. We started by 7. 30 AM. After paying the food bill we took the road which is famous for Kolli Hills. The 70 hairpin bend stretch with mist was as beautiful as it could get. I got a “worth dude” feeling going through it. It took about an hour to come out the winding roads.

We had amazing Dosa for ten rupees each. After a long time I had 3 dosas at a stretch. Not before being asked for my injury. After taking tablets I drove very cautiously. In fact it was scary to drive beyond 60 km/h. I constantly had a feeling that some mishap was going to happen but luckily nothing like that happened. Once we hit the NH we stopped in a Tea shop where I had Maaza and Bhuvanesh had tea. There the server looked at my injury but didn’t ask anything. We decided that we’d stop after a hundred kilometers.

So did us, after reaching Ulundurpet. This time in a coffee shop where Kalakapovathu Yaru finals was being played. Here the people looked at my injury and turned head immediately thinking that it would be indecent to look at some person in that way. Bhuvanesh told that he had seen some big restaurant near Melmaruvathur and definitely wanted to try that. So we fixed that as our next stop.

We reached that restaurant around 2.30 PM I guess. The restaurant’s name I think is Gupta Bhavan. Like he mentioned the restaurant was classy. Looked like Kannum Kannum Nokia location. He ordered meals, lime soda and I ordered fried rice. Food was decent. Ours were the only bikers among a hoard of cars. Here no one noticed by injury and even I forgot that I had an injury.

Look at the transition of people according to environment. Not that I complain but the clichéd saying that farther from the city, more the love kind of holds true.

Our next stop was in the tea shop behind the Mahindra City bus stop and then straight home. Thus a rewarding journey came to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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