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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weekend Retreat at Yercaud !!!

With the rains wrecking havoc in Wayanad, we had to postpone our planned trip to this picturesque hill station for the umpteenth time (God knows if we will ever get there). But since we had kind of made up our minds to take a break, we quickly googled for other options in Bangalore's proximity. And we got lucky when we stumbled upon Yercaud, a hill station near Salem.

Yercaud is one of those lesser known and hence not quite commercialized hill stations of Tamil Nadu. Located in the Shevaroys range of the Eastern Ghats, it has an altitude of 4970 feet above sea level. With the road connecting it to Bangalore being in top shape, it takes just a little less than four hours to reach by car.

Starting off from Marathahalli at 6:30 am, we traveled through Hosur - Rayakottai - Palacode to reach Salem at just after 12. A breakfast break and the traffic in Salem slowed us down but the overall journey itself was quite nice. We traveled though a enchanting stretch of forest land and the countrysides were dotted with numerous beautiful hills and mountains. The climb up the Yercaud Main Road was awesome with the stretch comprising of 20 hair pin bends and numerous other curves. The verdant passage was almost deserted except for a lone truck or two and we could slow down whenever we wanted to soak in the beauty of a particularly breathtaking view. Two groups of photography enthusiasts had also set up their equipment along the stretch.

We had booked a room at Hotel Shevaroys, which is one of the few good properties of Yercaud, the previous night. The friendly staff quickly completed the check in procedure and led us to our room which was quite cozy (apart from a few fixtures that needed repair). After a refreshing shower, we took a walk around the premises which is quite huge and even included a walk through a coffee plantation. Tried from the journey and the short walk, we opted for a quick lunch at the in-house restaurant 'Silver Oak'. And were frankly surprised by the food and the hospitality. Our relationship manager Mr Johnson suggested that we go for some of their specialties like the Bamboo biryani and the Naduru Kozhi curry, both of which turned out to be good. Even the plain Naan and yellow dal were awesome, much better than the stuff one finds at most hill stations.

Refreshed with a two hour nap, we decided to venture out of the hotel around 5 pm. The Yercaud Lake was at a 10 mins walking distance from our place. Very scenic and well kept, it offers boating facilities at a reasonable price. And these guys are so obsessed with safety that they have made it mandatory to wear life jackets !! There is also a nicely maintained garden where one can sit and look over the emerald waters of the lake which seems to have settled into the cozy lap of Mother Nature with mountains protecting it from all sides .

Since the deer park adjacent to the boat house was closed by 6 pm, we decided to venture to the Anna park which is situated on the other side of the road. This is the place for flower lovers and despite it being off season, the park was a riot of colors. There is also a play area with swings, slides and other stuff for children. We roamed around for half an hour till it was closing time. Like other hill stations, this place has practically no night life. Even the regular profusion of shops selling tourist memorabilia/ knickknacks is absent. Hence we decided to go back to the resort which offered some indoor games. An early dinner followed by another long walk inside the resort and we were more than ready to hit the sack.

Getting up late the next morning, we took a quick shower before heading to the restaurant for a buffet breakfast (included in the room charges). It was a decent spread and though we were late, food was available in plenty. After the breakfast, we headed out for a sightseeing trip. As we were not too sure about the condition of the roads, we hired an auto and ended up covering most of the places within a short span of three hours. Yeah, Yercaud is a small place and the tourist attractions are certainly limited. However, the sheer beauty of nature offered by the stunning view-points of this place make up for the lack of everything else.

And ofcourse the numerous coffee estates !!

The Shevroyan Temple (dedicated to Lord Vishnu) is situated at the highest point. While this cave temple is certainly ancient and not to be missed, one has to walk another 50 meters to reach the viewpoint which offers an amazing  Do not forget to carry a jacket or a stole as it gets quite windy up here.

The Gent's seat, Ladies'seat, Children's seat, Rose garden and Rajarajeshwari temple are the other places we covered. I personally found the view from Gent's seat to be the most spectacular of all. Sadly the Horticultural Research Station and Botanical Garden were closed on Saturday and I could not get an eyeful of those Kurinji and bell flowers. Also, the Killiyur waterfalls were dry and off our itinerary. However the resort guys had arranged for a bonfire and some music and games in the lawns which kept us entertained on Saturday evening.

Saving the best for the last ! The most memorable and romantic click of the trip...something about this couple left me quite stirred.

Photo clicked at Rose Garden, Yercaud !!

Overall, we had a great time relaxing and reveling in the hospitality provided by our resort. Add some great food, a couple of good books and Yercaud is just the kind of getaway one could wish for.


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