Posted on 29th May, 2015
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 :-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Kolli Hills, Tamil nadu, Namakkal, hair pin bends, Natural Beauty, Serene