Kolli hills – the ugly or the ‘real’ part
On a recent visit to Kolli hills (also projected as the Herbal mountain) located in Namakkal district in central Tamil Nadu, I had high hopes of going to an hill station secluded away from the world, all pristine and beautiful. Kolli hills is not yet popular as its famous counterparts, the Yelagiri hills or Yercaud but of late is slowly becoming popular with the weekend crowd and the distance from Bangalore is just lower than 300kms, a potential tourist spot in the making. Reaching there is a driver’s delight as you need to counter 70 hairpin bends to reach the small village at the top of the cliff and nevertheless to say the highway is neatly laid out and is a cruise from Bangalore.
Mid-way, while we stopped to enjoy the views (it was dry and hot being summer), a look below the walls and the scene was petrifying. Beer bottles grew on trees and the ground was plastic’d completely. Further, the next couple of stops that we did and the scenes repeated…slowly I began to realize the place been infested with plastic bottles and beer bottles!
With uncertainties and sapping in the hot sun, we reached our place of stay ‘Nallathambi Resort’ that looked quite clean and well maintained or I thought so! On the outlook, everything looked fine until I looked over the compound wall in disarray, again a plastic trash city over there. I went around different directions peeping over the walls and it was the same sight everywhere. Sooner, I realized not only this resort, other resorts/hotels too bore the same sight!
Sigh! To make mockery of the situation, the bus stand had a board stating ‘No Plastics’.
With a troubled conscience hitting me hard, I set off to the ‘touristy’ places nearby and the overall situation looked grim, far worse than I thought. We walked up and down to the Akash Ganga falls (the 1200 odd steps fatigued us no end) and it was infested with hordes of people (as expected), some bathing, some relishing and some sunbathing and yes littering was common.
Arappaleshwar temple is a favored place for many visiting Kolli malai it was not anymore surprising for me to see a huge dump yard right in front of the temple. The visit to the small falls/stream opposite to the temple yielded more signs with the stream littered with clothes/plastic/bottles. What I expected was a quiet hill station offering solace to the weekend traveler and what I saw was a notorious ‘plastic station’ infested heavily with plastics and garbage. The signs of herbal mountain turning into a garbage mountain doesn’t seem too distant.