A short trip down south, a long retained holiday in memory

You have a week’s leave in the Dusshera to Diwali month. You can’t make it far by road, for time taken to travel would consume an unnecessary chunk of it, whereas air travel would be uneconomical. Best is settle for a short trip to a place or two, travel by road in your own or booked vehicle, take in the sights in relaxed fashion,  have a whale of a time and return rejuvenated to the routine grind which would not seem as tedious as otherwise.


If you are in the South in places like Hyderabad, Bangalore or Chennai, it would be very convenient, but if in the North or between, then too you could manage a leisurely fun trip that would get you back on track, fresh as ever after the week. You just need to hit Bangalore, travel to your destination, come back from the holiday to again return to where you started from.


Reaching tourist destination Yercaud via Salem


The picturesque Yercaud near Salem city of Tamil Nadu, a hill-station at an average height of approx. 5000 ft. above sea level, promises a good stay, with plenty and new every day, to make it memorable in every way. Lush greenery, plenty of nature’s beauty and lovely spots, keep you enchanted and thrilled every day of the holiday. Over time it has gained in preference and popularity as one of the most visited tourist destinations preferred for its soothing environs, popular for the diverse and engaging places of interest for all ages of visitors.


As part of the Eastern Ghats, this region has unique vegetation and natural beauty that has earned it the title ‘Jewel of the South’. The green forests have a lot of wildlife, with plenty of unique species in flora and fauna and for nature lovers offers breath-taking climbs and photographic scenes and scenery to make it ‘worth the while’.


Just a little beyond 200 Km. plus from Bangalore through the Electronic City route by road, close to between four and four and a half hours on an average, the NH44 highway makes it a smooth and pleasant start for a nice time ahead. There are three ways to go from Bangalore to Yercaud, with two other routes taking at least an hour and a half longer because of the increased distance. All are nice to travel by and one can opt the route most convenient if time is not of essence.


One’s own conveyance is the best way to travel with the leisurely cruise to moderate speed, and further, moving about to the places to see in Yercaud and later sightseeing at Salem, being an attractive proposition. That apart, there is public and private road transport from Bangalore to Salem, and plenty there on to Yercaud.  Journey by train from Bangalore to Salem is also convenient with road transport for the last mile, hour’s journey connectivity. The nearest aerodrome is at Tiruchirapalli which is close to 150 plus Km. from Yercaud.


A good time to visit Yercaud


The time to visit is the October to February months with the best being the Dusshera to Diwali festive period when the winter temperature is still in the comfortable to tolerant range, when one need not hesitate to move around freely. Other times of the year could be stifling to humid. Monsoon has its own thrills when the vegetation is blooming green and there are plenty of natural falls of water descending in cascades at various places of height. The proximity makes people from Bangalore and other places nearby, visiting Yercaud every now and then for the relaxation and rejuvenation.


The starting point for the daily sightseeing


One could have one of two options, either of which could work well, depending on preferences and local situation for the stay. One could be putting up at Salem itself and make daily trips to Yercaud, taking in some sights daily. For those with own conveyance and not fussy about daily travel from Salem and back, this would be ideal. It could also serve well after finishing Yercaud to visit some spots at Salem as well, before returning to Bangalore and further thereon. The other alternative is of course trying to book at some hotel in Yercaud for a few days, return to Salem, continue to Bangalore or some other place and reach one’s return destination.


The second option has its limitations by way of cost, for those desiring economic spending, and more importantly, lack of availability due to season rush.


The places to explore in Yercaud


Yercaud is a tourist’s delight, a hill-station of Tamil Nadu, filled with Nature’s bounty of greenery, flora and fauna, lovely sights and enchanting heights that serve nicely for a honeymooner’s paradise, a holidaying family’s dream or a fun-filled trip of like-minded friends. If one were to take in the exotic locales of Yercaud, capture the sights in photographic film or a video shoot, it would be an enjoyable trip now and later down memory lane of a wonderful journey of a lifetime.


Yercaud Lake


One of the widely visited spots of Yercaud for its gardens, wooded trees and an overall soothing and tranquil atmosphere, the Yeracud Lake also provides an opportunity to its visitors to taste spicy dishes of Tamil Nadu, that delight both epicurean and gourmet tastes. Soft streaming boat rides across the lake, past picturesque sights add to the pleasure of the visit.


32-km Loop Road


The 32-Km Loop Road a 32 kilometre stretch, that begins from the Yercaud Lake, goes past the well-laid roads and agricultural plantations of Yercaud. A leisurely trip down this stretch, with stops at a few places, gets one to see local people in their habitats, know a little about their habits and culture and get a feel of the lives that the coffee and bamboo plantation workers lead. A person in the group, knowing the local lingo would be a great help in the interactions.


Kiliyur waterfall


This is a 300 ft. waterfall, located in the Servaroyan hill range, that provides a good sight for the tourist to take wonderful pictures of. A secluded place not reached easily, those that get close to it feel happy that they have achieved something.  This is close to the Yercaud Lake and together they provide a visual delight never to be forgotten. If adventurous enough one can even bathe in the water at the base for a pleasant experience.


Pagoda Point


A place in the clouds because of being in the heights of Yercaud, a place of utmost peace and calm, it is where many would like to visit for sure. One gets to see besides a breath-taking view of the whole place below, making many a visitor just relax and spend some time enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.


The Servaroyan Temple


The Servaroyan Temple, built by one of the ancient tribes of Yercaud, is a dedication to Goddess Kaveri. Being at the peak or highest point of the place it gives a panoramic view of the places around Yercaud. The Mettur Dam far below is a sprawling sight. There are historical structures of religious significance that are quite captivating. The pathway to the temple would be a trekker or adventurer’s delight for the rugged and uneven terrain leading to it.


Lady's Seat


A rock that was naturally formed in the shape of a seat, makes a comfortable seating place to have a good view of the close-by clouds & mists, as well as refreshing greenery all around. During the British Raj, it was a favourite recreational place for the British females residing at Yercaud. In fact it was a sort of gathering place for all their parties and light hearted activities. The setting sun sets off the beauty of the place magnificently with the sun’s rays soaking up a large area all around the hills, including Lady’s Seat. a watchtower close by offers a fascinating view to the visitors of the place.


Silk Farm and Rose Garden


A little diverse from the regular tourist spots but never the less interesting for what it contains, the Silk Farm and Rose Garden is two kilometers distant from Yercaud. Fabric lovers and history seekers who visit Yercaud do not miss this destination since it gives them insights about silk and its cultivation, the preservation of the art of weaving as adopted in this place.  Here one also gets to know about the historical background of how the Chinese produced it and how it travelled to India.


The Rose Garden is a lovely creation where many different species of roses are grown. A magnificent sight and inspiration to budding horticulturists, it is a visual delight for the vacationer and the visiting expert.


Deer Park


A soft - looking, pleasantly ambling creature is the deer, a pet one would like to have if circumstances allowed; be it a family with animal loving children, or just a nature-lover. A lovely picnic spot and a picturesque scenery-filled sight, Deer park is a photographer’s dream-come-true, with great opportunities for filming and shots that could fill a gallery. Open only till dusk, never the less the park is a great spot to take in during the daylight hours.


Montfort School


A good place to visit to know the history of Yercaud! A school with its inception in June 1917, that had witnessed the growth and changes of this place since, it is supposed to have seen excellent days as a much regarded European establishment during the World War then. Built by the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel, with a laudable ‘Virtue and Labour’ as its motto, this co-educational school provides for moral education and how as Indian citizens one can lead a practical and useful life. It has seen its ups and downs with notable names like Shashi Tharoor, prominent Congress minister and Nagesh Kukunoor, famous director of off-beat films, figuring in its alumni.


Norton’s Bungalow


A historic place of importance, not open to public view without prior permission, Norton’s Bungalow served as a summer retreat or resort to British officers and commanders during hot scorching summers. Norton whose bungalow it was, was a reputed criminal lawyer who had it built in European style.


Bear’s Cave


Close to Norton’s Bungalow, a cave once supposed to be inhabited by bears that also served as the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan’s secret hideout and escape route later is a major tourist attraction for its quaintness. Though rocks are strewn about sometimes blocking the entrance, enthusiastic visitors choose to move them and explore the inner portions of the cave to the extent possible.


Kottachedu Teak Forest


A forest of teak wood that is filled with flora and fauna, of endemic species, rich and rare, Kottachedu Teak Forest also gives glimpses of what life could have been in the Stone-Age era and the process of evolution that has taken place thereafter. Definitely a must-see for the adventurous and knowledge-loving types!


Anna Park


Anna Park is a major tourist attraction which offers incredible insight into the natural species of plants and animals around Shevaroys Hills of Tamil Nadu. Adjacent to Lake Yercaud, it is a worthwhile place to visit during the picnic trips to the high altitude spots. The park also features a wide collection of natural plants and species that are found in the Eastern Ghats.


Like any park of amusement that has its swings and slides for children, it also offers scope of entertainment for adults as well. Flower shows in the summer months, especially May are popular attractions. A delight for horticulturists and botanical enthusiasts is the Japanese Park in a section of this park that showcases primitive and ancient Japanese forms of horticulture.


The Grange


High above sea-level, 1500 metres above it, located well-within the near habitation evergreen forests of Yercaud is The Grange, a holiday resort meant for adventure and exploration activities for all types of visitors. Green coffee, pepper and orange cultivation fields add to the aromatic charm of the resort. Quaint sport like ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) rides, are a thrilling prospect for visitors. There are other attractions too like a restaurant and boutique shop that charm the tourists.


Orchidarium


A garden that features a large range of varieties of exotic and rare orchids, some even likely to get extinct if not properly cared for is a major tourist attraction, situated close to Lady’s Rock or Lady’s Seat. It includes the well-known but spectacular ‘Insect Eating Pitcher’ plants and ‘Neelakurinji’, the plant that blooms once a year. So colorful is the garden which includes Rose, Bamboo and Sylvan plants that some South Indian film dignitaries have had their films shot in this place.


Places to Stay at Yercaud


There are some resorts in Yercaud that are the hub for tourists who flock the place. To name a few you have Grange Resort, Golden Nest Resorts, Clifton Inn Resorts, The Grand Palace Resort, Wellington Hills Resorts etc., each having their own type of accommodation, price range and level of comfort. Needless to say that a tourist destination always provides enticing and attractive environs that would always keep the place filled with visitors. So too with these places to stay.


Tips for a comfortable time in Yercaud


While one seeks adventure, one should also be enlightened enough to be slightly prepared for about a week’s stay. A small suitcase or better still a backpack comes in handy with items to carry along for the trip.


Light jackets and sweaters for weather changes since it is at great height. Monsoon visits call for raincoats too. Other small and sundry items would be OTC medicines, torches or flashlights, mosquito repellents, good trekking footwear, a thermos, some throwaway plates and plastic glasses and of course the all-important camera.  This helps when one gets adventurous to seek to camp outdoors. Small board games, playing cards could come in handy if stuck at some place due to the weather.


Motto – Travel light, Keep the mood bright.


What after Yercaud?


Yercaud maybe a scenic place, a tourist’s delight, but unless you leisurely travel to all places or have your mind set to soak in the history, culture and nature’s panaroma to the full and return with a lifetime log of memories home, the trip could finish at average pace within two to three days. If  you are still game and wish to take in the places nearby while you are there with a day and a half to spare, Salem itself has its sights to explore.


Basically known for its temples and textiles Salem has Kalangi Siddhar Temple, 1008 Lingam Temple The Kandhaswamy Kovil or Murugan Temple, The Sugavaneshwarar Temple and some others. The Mettur Dam location is a picnic spot situated 60 km from Salem., the Sankakiri Fort - one of the historical attractions of Salem, Jama Masjid, the oldest mosque of Salem, Kurumpapatti Zoological Park, a small zoological park situated at a distance of 6 km from the city of Salem, The Paravasa Ulagam Water Theme Park, situated at 16 km from Salem, that comprises a green and calm environment, complimented by water games, go-karting, biking, a wave pool, video games, a science park and waterfalls are its non-religious destinations.


But for a good end to a fabulous trip one could always return to Bangalore, shop to heart’s content and return to the mundane world of job and tasks with a fresh mind and new purchases.

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