Sunday, August 11, 2013

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Yercaud...Chilling in Hills

Salient features:
Distance to Yercaud= 353  km from Chennai on GST road.
Car:  Our maruti Ritz Vxi
Time taken: 7 hrs ( with 2 to 3 breaks for Breakfast, tea etc)
One night halt

We as a family of four decided to visit a cool hill station we had often heard about but never seen yet...Yercaud, near Salem, TN.
We were ready to leave on Friday, a Ramadan holiday, at morning 5.30 am.
After filling up full tank, the driver informed me the meter starting reading as 3021.
The early morning had light rains and light traffic along Adyar- GST road towards Ulundurpet, the road we had chosen. We made good time traveling at 100 kmph thereabouts.

We stopped for breakfast at a nice place near SRM University called ‘Sappada Vanga’ a veggie restaurant and had steaming Idli vada for breakfast with Coffee. The restaurant is nicely furnished and there is even a small glass aquarium there.
We made good time again the rest of the way with GST road being butter smooth all the way.
What surprised me was the rest of the way i.e, NH 68 is also excellent with hardly any traffic to clutter up your path.

I was earlier advised to take the shorter Kuppanur Ghat Road, but we heard on the way at a tea shop that the same was quite narrow and besides the recent rains had made the conditions worse.
So we took the regular one via Salem town, often asking for directions, for Yercaud Main road up the enchanting hills that guards the town like a behemoth.
There are 20 hair pin bends on the way up and green scenery as we drove up is feast to the tired eyes of a Citizen.


We had some sickness breaks and all, so were delayed a bit but we managed to reach up to Yercaud after 7 hrs of our departure from home. Though Shyamala was feeling sick when the trip started, she considerably brightened up after reaching Yercaud and enjoyed the rest.

The hill town was bursting at seams with holiday traffic and we had a tough time in locating the small resort we had booked in called Thendral resort.
It is tucked away beyond Montfort school in atop a lovely hillock that overlooks the entire valley. It has only 6 rooms and small Veg-Non veg restaurant in the basement. Purely B- class in my opinion .
Call Ph no No,04281- 226800.
But then the view is breathtaking and compensates for the small and medium grade facilities in the resort, nee Lodge.

I advise only bachelors who want to party or make merry to stay here and not for families. The problem is you have to make booking well in advance for good resorts like GRT, Sterling, Shevaroys etc…

 The weather at this time of the year (August) is amazingly cool and nights are chilly too. Light blankets were given and we did not need the ceiling fans throughout.
The lunch was at a medium class place called Shevaroys -Silver oak restaurant.  On this weekend, there was severe staff shortage and even food shortage in most restaurants generally everywhere in Yercaud. Of course the rooms everywhere were fully booked for 3 day long weekend!!
There is a Malar restaurant and an Annalakshmi near the lake for vegetarians and we had to settle for whatever they could serve up under the circumstances of overcrowding and food short supply.

The places to see included lovely panoramic view spots called Lady’s seat, Rose garden and Pagoda Point on day 1. 


Boating had to wait for the next day as sunset arrived and we returned to the rooms.
In all, Chinmay and Sanmathi along with us made the most of the welcome break on this tour. 

The next day we took the pedal boats 4-seater one, for 30 mins and it costs 110 bucks with a  refundable deposit of same amount, but in case you are late, no refunds! Mercifully they give you, life jackets, albeit stained old ones!

There is a water fall called Kiliyur falls and the road to it was clogged with holiday traffic. It takes some 260 steps to get down to the falls and climb up on the return.
I am unused to such long hauls and chose to  stay put at the top with wife accompanying.

As many elderly and children came up huffing and puffing, complaining that steps were  steep and it was quite hard for them, I realized the authorities have to put not only warning boards but also some first aid medical facility midway there.

My children enthusiastically went about visiting the falls and here are some pics

There is an advertised Tourist spot called Botanical garden maintained by Central Govt, but know what?..They work only 5 days a week, and closed on Saturdays and Sundays!!   Isn't it ridiculous and ironical that they do such things in Holiday resorts?

We left shortly after 2.30 pm on Saturday and came down the hills pretty fast. There are still some drunk young road-ragers en route but we had an experienced Driver in Ramachandran who handled the conditions with ease.

 We stopped over for a break at Devi Towers in Salem.  We had hot Masala tea to help us get on with rest of the trip back.

  A small comedy board seen on the way... see the spelling!

Nothing to do with Jayalalitha's Amma canteens ...But a small Mess!

We had light dinner at Sappda Vanga again and were home by 10 pm. 
 The journey had consumed some 784 kms in all at the end...
A good brisk weekend getaway from Chennai!


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