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THE BACKPACKSTERS

A refreshing weekend in Yercaud!

If you've been looking for a quick and quiet weekend getaway, then look no further than Yercaud, the "Lake Forest"!

 

The scenic drive through the Shevaroy range of the Eastern Ghats

 

At a distance of about 210 kms from Bangalore, the drive normally takes 5 hours with a quick pitstop for snacks and refreshing. The best route is through Krishnagiri and Salem and the roads are much better on this route, than 'faster' ones that maps generally suggest. The roads wind through fields, forests and hillocks before beginning the ascent towards Yercaud in the Shevaroy range. There are about 22 hairpin bends along the ghat section before reaching the top!

 

At an elevation of about 1500 metres, Yercaud's cool weather is the respite to the summer heat

 

Yercaud has a number of scenic spots to explore:

 

  • The Yercaud lake is literally the "centre of attraction" and is very popular for a serene boating experience.

Boating at the Yercaud Lake

 

  • Some mesmerising sunset view points include Tippery Viewpoint, Ladies Seat, and the Manjakuttai Viewpoint. In fact, if you are staying at any of the popular resorts, the view points from there could be just as beautiful! Read more about it below.

 

You can find a magical sunset view point, just about anywhere!

 

  • The Kiliyur Waterfall is a treat to the eyes, especially during the monsoon! 
  • Shopping in the town centre can be fun too - homemade chocolates, coffee powder and natural oils that are sourced from the forests around.
  • If you are looking for something closer to nature, consider hiking in the hillside greenery - it is quiet and perfectly calm with the occasional calls of visiting birds. These are typical cloud forests, with different types of ferns and grass growing all around. You can even consider carrying a little picnic basket along!

 

The cloud forests of Yercaud

 

We stayed at the Grand Palace Hotel, a very popular resort in the valley near Kiliyur Falls. The hotel features a beautiful infinity pool, overlooking the valley with trees all around. It is also home to a Spa and offers a choice of four restaurants too!

 

The resort is perched at the top of the valley and offers the best panoramic views of the hill station

 

The most charming part of the hotel was the scenic infinity pool. Although it can get very chilly in the hills in the evenings, the mornings are perfect for a swim. Recliners on the decks, a patio to grab a quick drink and hang out, and bench seats to take you back in time - exactly what you'd need after a long, hard week at the office! Just look at this:

 

Lush forestry all around.

 

After a relaxing hour in the pool, we decided to grab a bite at one of the three restaurants: Orange, Altitude and Cloud 9. The variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is quite satisfying - but dont forget to try the filter coffee at Altitude! 

 

The "Bliss" spa at the resort is another must visit! After a day of intense sightseeing and hiking, the deep tissue massage is greatly relaxing and refreshing. On certain evenings, camp fires are also lit and visitors get to enjoy the chilly weather. On request, the hotel can also arrange for a romantic candle lit dinner in the clouds. Waking up early in the mornings is a treat in itself. The resort gets surrounded by clouds and it is the perfect time to explore the gardens and the forestry around. The soft morning glow from the sun, bouncing off the swiftly passing clouds, saturate the colors of the Gulmohar flowers. 

 

Endless hills engulfed in the cloud cover

 

Out door games and a children's play area can keep families busy all day long! There is something for people of all ages.

Mid-morning archery sessions, anyone?

 

The hotel also features a little fresh produce garden! If you walk around to the backside of the patio (by the pool), you'll find this small terrace farm growing organic veggies. 

 

Wild beans and other greens

 

Planning your own getaway to Yercaud? Here are a few pointers to help you:

  • Although the winter months (October to February) are the best for visiting the southern hill stations, the summer can also be enjoyable! Since it is the holiday season for most schools, you can expect to find many families in town, but it can have a wonderful effect on you if you are traveling from the other parts of the country, experiencing the scorching Indian summer! 
  • Pack some sweaters for wearing in the evenings. Don't forget to carry your swimming costumes along - it can be quite difficult to find one there!
  • The Grand Palace Hotel & Spa occasionally offers some great bundles for one-night, two-night and three-night stays. You can contact the concierge directly here. The double room rates start from as low as INR 3,000 including breakfast. Sightseeing facilities are available as an add on at the reception. Wifi is available, free of charge! 

 

Road-tripping from Bangalore?

  • Sticking to the main route through Salem is the most comfortable way of getting to Yercaud. Any other route can lead you into isolated villages and through some terrible roads.
  • Snacking tip: Stop at Shri Saravana Bhavan (the authentic one) on the Bangalore-Salem route for some mouth watering south Indian dishes. Their plate meals are just amazing and the soft Idlis and crispy vadas are accompanied by a tri-color chutney serving.
  • Consider stopping by the Krishnagiri Dam, on the way to Salem. The dam features a lush garden, and if you are travelling in the mango season, you are in for a treat!

 

The Thenpennai river flowing down from the Krishnagiri Dam

 

 

 

Yercaud is a great weekend destination, especially if you want to skip Wayanad, Pondicherry and Ooty. If you've got some suggestions to make the Yercaud experience even better, write to us about it!

 

 

 

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