Namakkal

HISTORY

LOCATION AND  PHYSIOGRAPHY:
Namakkal  District  is situated at 11o  00' and 12o  00' of the North latitude and 77o 40' and 78o 05' of the East longitude.  The altitude of the district is  300 metres above MSL.

Namakkal District comes under the North Western Agro climatic zone  (Excluding Tiruchengode Taluk) of Tamil Nadu.  It is  situated in the  dividing portion of  two watersheds between   Cauvery and the Vellar System with the Taluks of  Attur, Rasipuram and Namakkal on the  East and  Salem, Omalur and Mettur on the West.  Tiruchengode taluk alone is placed  under Western Agro -climatic zone.

Besides above two zones,  Kollihills in Namakkal and  few isolated hills and  ridges scattered over Namakkal  Rasipuram and Tiruchengode along with the  Valleys and  rolling  topography contributes to the characteristic physiography of the district.

Kollihills the Garden of  Namakkal district comprising of 14 village panchayats  called 'Nadu' is having an  area of 371.03 sq. km at an altitude of  1300 mts.

The Northern  portion of Namakkal are  mountains and the Southern  areas are  plains.  The plain  area of the district can be divided into 3  elevating stages.   The lower elevation (below 150 m)  has  Namakkal and Paramathy taluks which are  being  benefitted by Cauvery river.  The mid elevation  (150-300 m above M.S.L.) occupies the major area in all Taluks.  The high  elevation  area (between 300-600 m)   spreads over  mainly in Rasipuram and Namakkal Taluks.  The chief river run through in the district are Cauvery Aaru, Karipottamaru and Thirumanimuthar.  The Cauvery  flows South and  South west hugging the  border

The famous  Cauvery river flows  along the Western and Southern  boundaries of the district at an elevation of 150 m.  It benefits most of the cultivated  lands in Paramathy and  Mohanur Block.  Its tributories are  Sarabanga and Tirumanimuthar.

HISTORY
Since, the Namakkal District is a part of the Salem District, the historical background of Salem and Namakkal remains the same. After the struggle between the Cheras , Cholas and Pandiyas, the Hoysalas rose to power and had control till the 14th Century followed by Vijayanagar Kings till 1565 A.D. Then the Madurai Nayakas came to power in 1623 A.D. Two of the Polygons of Thirumalai Nayak namely, Ramachandra Nayaka and Gatti Mudaliars ruled the Salem area. The Namakkal Fort is reported to have been built by Ramachandra Nayakas. After about 1625 A.D., the area came  successively under the rule of Muslim Sultans of Bijapur and Golkinda Mysore kings and then the Marathas, when about the year 1750 A.D. Hyder Ali came to power. During this period, it was a history of power struggle between Hyder Ali and later Tippu , with the British.

The Rock Fort in Namakkal is a special feature of the Town. The Fort covers an area of one and half acres of flat surface and is accessible from South-West by a flight of narrow steps. Namakkal was in the hands of Atikula King called Gunasila who has marriage with Pallava King. Later the taluk was over run by the Cholas in the Kongu Mangalam which has over run by the Cholas in the 9th Century and passed on to Vijayanagar under the Viuroyultry of madra. Namakkal was held by Killdhar (Caption) on Hyder Ali until it was captured by British in 1768.

COMMUNICATIONS

The district is well served by road transports. NH-7 and NH-47 pass through all the taluk headquarters, other towns and most of the villages are connected by motorable roads.

Tourist Places:
1.    KOLLIHILLS
2.    AGASH GANGAI FALLS (130 Mts)
3.    Arappaleeswarar Thiru koil, Kollihills.
4.    Melkalingam Ettukaiamman Koil, Kolli Hills
5.    Seekkuparai View Point, Kolli Hills.
6.    Vasaloorpatty Boat House. Kolli Hills.
LIST OF HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
1. Pandian,Namakkal 1
2. Devi Annapoorna, 1
3. Nala. 1
4. Golden palace 1
5. Priya Towers 1
6. Saravana Bhavan 2
7. Sri Bhavan 1
8. Jothy, Tiruchengode 1
9. Kolli Palace Kolli hills.

KOLLIHILLS;
Kolli Hills   is    a   major   mountain    range  and   is  an   outliner  of  the  Eastern Ghats. It is eighteen miles      ( 28 Kilometeres)   long (north south)  twelve miles(19 Kilometers) wide(east/west) and the Koll Block covers  441.4  square   kilo meters.   It falls within the following coordinates:- Rest Longitude 78º  17'05" to 78º  27'45" and North Latitude 11º 55' 05"  to 11º  21'10". The  name Kolli Malai    refers   to   the   mountain's   once  hostile nature; the unsuspecting and unaccamatised aliens,  attracted   by   natural   beauty.    Viewed  from  plains  of Namakkal the  mountain  appears as  a flat-topped  mass.  The mountain has   been inhabitated   from   prehistoric times.  It is much celebrated in the Tamil Literature of the Sangam period; at least eleven poets mention it in their poems.

As per Census 2001, t he population of the Kolli Hills is 36852. There are 14 village panchayats and 275 hamlets. The population predominantly  consists of scheduled tribes called Hindu Malayali whose spoken language is only Tamil. In two pockets SC population is found which is around 700.

Cultivation of Jack Fruit, Guvava, Hill Banana, Pineapple, Pepper, Coffee, Cardamom,topioca, honey and rice are the main agricultural activities.

The government reserve forests are seen in Ariyur, Puliyan Solai, Selur and Vazhavandhi Nadu. An area of  200 hectares is in the process of reforestation. Tigers and elephants which were once common in it are now extinct; only small animals such as black bears, hares, porcupines, and wild dogs are seen.

Legends have it that the hills were part of the famous Madhuvanam (Honey Forest) reserved by Sugriva of the epic Ramayana. The Maximum elevation ranges from 3500' to 4500' with the tallest peak Vettakaramalai, is rising to 4663' above sea level.

The hills formed a natural boundary between the Kongu Nadu and Chola Nadu. At the beginning of the Christian era the Mountain and its habitants were rules by Mazhavars and the King Vaivil Ori ws much celebrated among them. Legends have it that he was a great archer and  released a arrow by him pierced first and elephant, then went through the open mouth of a tiger, then a deer and the a pig and then hit a monitor lizard killing instantaneously all. A statue was erected to honour the king in 1975 by Thiru Kalaingar M. Karunanidhi, Honorouble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the Government sponsored festival (VALVIL ORI VIZHA) every year named after him. Apart from known abode of the Saints, the Buddhists, the Jains set up a number of retreats, those fell prey to time. A stone image of Theerthangar reminds the existence of the earlier Jain influence. The famous Shiva Temple called Arappalleeswarar Temple dating back to 12th century situates at periakoviloor near the famous water falls Akasa Gangai. Reportedly an ancient and powerful deity called Kolli Paavai of Ettukkai Amman is also at Kolli Hills. It attracts large pilgrims on fiew moon days originally a Jain retreat.

The glory of Kolli Hills and the Charity of the King Valvil Ori is liberally sung by the Sangam  literature like Agananooru, Purananooru, Kurunthogai, Pathitrupathu and Natrinai.

Numerous streams originate from Kolli Hills. The major rivers traversing the hills are Aiyar, Varattar etc.

At present Kolli Hills could be reached through a ghat road which was 70 hairpins bends. The village at the foot hill is Karavalli.. From Namakkal to Kolli Hills the distance is 55 KMs.. The ghat road alone 26 KMs. The district  administration taking steps to form an another ghat road called Nariankadu-Mullukurichi road which, when formed will have only 2-3 hairpin bends.

For the convenience of the tourists the Panchayat Union has constructed six cottages at Semmedu. At near Arapaleeswarar Temple  an Youth Hostel is also available which could accommodate up to 30 persons. This could also be used as a training center. An excellent lawn and a rose garden greets the visitors. The inmates can avail the tasty Kollihill food supplied from the canteen run by the Women Self Help Group. All these accommodations are available fro rent from the Commissioner, Kollimalai Panchayat Union, Semmedu (Phone No. 04286 247425). Apart from these at present two private lodges with boarding facilities are available.

WATER FALLS (AKASA GANGAI)

Akasa Gangai is an enchanting 300 feet waterfall of river Aiyaru, located near Arappaleeshwarar temple. Thousands of steps lead down to the falls. It is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by the mountains at all sides. Enroute, the natural beauty of the valley and the vegetation-covered peaks . The location is ideal for trekking and the breeze is pleasant, the cascade of silvery water touching and brushing the innumerable herbs which are abound in Kollihills keeps everyone spell bound and fresh with its herbal qualities.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The wilds of Kolli Hills are known for their medical herbs and plants. The vast expanse of forests of Kolli Hills boasts varieties of rare medical plants and these are regular sources for the preparation of indigenous Indian Medicines. Major tree species are Neem,Veepaloai,Usil, Velvel, Neermathi, Tamarind, Seetha Odai, Naval, Illupai., Silver Oak etc. Lemon grass is also prominent in most of the Reserve Forest areas. Wild animals like Rabbit, Wild boar, Bear, Hare, Peacock, Jackal, Jungle cat, Monkeys and variety of birds are seen in forest.
VIEW POINT

The important sight seeing places are Telescope House (at Solakadu), Government Herbal Farm, Botanical Garden, View Points at 34,35,36 and 37 hairpin bends. Picturesque vies point at Solakkadu, at Akasa Gangai, Selur Nadu view point, Boat lake at Vasalurpatti, view point at Seekkuparai. Arappaleeswarar temple, Kolli Paavai Temple, Jain temple and ofcourse a pleasent never ending landscape crisscrossing 441 Kilo meter Kolli Hills range.

ARAPPALLI ISWARAR TEMPLE

A Shiva temple in the Valappur Nadu situated on the stream Aiyaru. Its is dedicated to Arppalli Iswarar. The deity's other names are Thiru Arappalli Ashavar, Thiru Arappalli Mahadhevan and Thiru Arappalli Udaiyar, The Deity's consort is Archalai. It is a 12th century temple. Valli Amman, also known as Sucmathamba, and Thayammai. Because of the belief that Arappalli Iswarar resides in the small fish of Aiyaru, the temple has also the name of Fish temple. It is customary for the pilgrims to catch the sacred fish by hand, adorn them with gold or silver nose rings in fulfillment of vows. The Hindu legends of the temple’s origin claim that the lingam in the main shrine was unearthed during the ploughing of a field. The scar on its top is supposed to have been caused by the plough.

BOAT HOUSE  AT VASULURPATTY

The Boat  House at Vasalurpatty is located at Km 9/2 of Solakkadu – Thinnanurpatty road.    It is one of the most beautiful spot with small natural island in the lake covered with huge rocks and greenery on all sides. Perennial water source available in the lake throughout the year. At present 4 fiber boats are available and for the conveyance of tourist a boat parking bay has been constructed