Yercaud is a picturesque hill station near Salem City in the southern Indian State of Tamilnadu. Nestled on the Shevoroy Hills, Yercaud is famous for Coffee plantations and Citrus Fruits. The weather is pleasant most time of the year making it a good weekend getaway. Yercaud gets extremely crowded during summer and holidays and hence it is advisable to do an off the beaten path plantation stay. Read on for exploring Yercaud away from the crowds and stories like that of a Scotsman who brought Coffee here from Arabia and became the father of Yercaud!
Yercaud is located 35 Kms from Salem. You can drive down from Salem to Yercaud in just under an hour. The Road is smooth but you will have to encounter 20 hairpin bends!
Plenty of buses are also available from Salem Bus Stand. Yercaud is 220 Kms from Bangalore and the drive would take 4.5 hours. The road from Bangalore to Yercaud is excellent and is via Hosur, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem. Adayar Ananda Bhavan at Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri is the best restaurant to stop along the way.
Salem is well connected by Train to cities like Chennai and Bangalore. Travelers can engage a Taxi or a local bus from Salem to Yercaud.
I would advise a Plantation Stay rather than a Hotel at Yercaud, although there are several Hotels available. Hotels are located in city center and are pretty noisy and crowded especially during holidays. The beauty of Yercaud is best experienced from a quiet plantation.
There is no local public transport in Yercaud. Most people get around using their own vehicles. The best way to explore Yercaud is on a bicycle! As long it is not summer, you can try the humble bicycle and enjoy the ride.
Doubles is even better!
Many resorts provide bicycles for hire. Cycling turns out to be a great way of exploring the beauty of Yercaud while you get some exercise breathing the fresh oxygen as well.
Yercaud is surrounded by the Shevoroy Hills and there are plenty of scenic points to watch the Sun Rise and Sun Set Points. Pagoda Point is a good option for Sunset.
It is located 4 kms from the Lake and is on the Eastern side of Yercaud. There is an interesting arrangement of 4 piles of stone, supposed to have been set up by the Tribals. The stones are in a formation of a Pyramid. There is a Rama Temple as well.
Pagoda Point offers splendid views of the Hills, Salem town and Kakambadi village and is best visited at dawn and dusk.
Yercaud is full of coffee plantations. Fruits like banana, pears, orange and jack-fruits are also grown abundantly. Sandalwood, teak and silver oak trees are very common.
You can relive your childhood memories by climbing a teak tree!
A walk through these plantations is the best activity that can be done at Yercaud! It is a refreshing and rejuvenating experience.
Did you know that there is a Father of Yercaud and his name is M. D. Cockburn! Cockburn was Scottish and district collector of Salem in 1820s. He was also a pioneering coffee planter. He introduced coffee plants from Arabia and started cultivating at the Grange Estate which can be visited even today. More than 9000 acres is under Coffee cultivation today.
Located just 3 kms from Yercaud Lake are the Killiyur Falls. It is a splendid spectacle during the monsoons as water comes gushing down 300 feet into the Killiyur Valley.
The Yercaud Lake is the nerve center of tourists at Yercaud and is always buzzing with action. Pedal and Row boats are available for boating on the Lake. Unlike most Hill Station of South India, the Lake in Yercaud is a Natural one. A floating fountain is at the center of the lake.
Located adjacent to the Yercaud Lake is a Deer Park for children. It is a must visit for kids. There are deer, hamsters, rabbits, geese and birds in the Park.
Kids will also enjoy mounting on the huge T- Rex Statue and scores of other animal statues.
A great way to spend time at Yercaud is to take your fishing gear and go to any of the numerous tanks, lakes and streams spread all over Yercaud. The marine life is rich and even a novice strikes pay dirt at Yercaud!
Most Estates and resorts will lend you Fishing gear at a nominal cost.
On top of the Servaroyan hill is the famous Servaroyan Temple. The temple is a narrow and dark cave having the God Servaroyan and the Goddess Kaveri inside. Situated at a height of 5326 feet, the Servaroyan Temple happens to be the highest point on Yercaud. The temple is believed to run deep into the cave and touch the River Cauvery. The deity is supposed to be the custodian of the people of the 67 villages around Yercaud. There is a colorful festival celebrated by the local people here in the month of May.
The route to Servaroyan Temple is full of large oak trees and some have hollows big enough to hide you!
On the way to Servaroyan Temple, near Norton’s Bungalow there lie an interesting set of caves called Bear Caves. The Bear Caves are 7 feet below ground level and the central area is carved out of a single rock. As per folklore, the Bear Caves are supposed to be an abode of Lord Murugan.
The Bear caves were used as a hideout by Tipu Sultan during his fight with the British.
The Botanical Garden at Yercaud has a collection of rare and endangered species of plants. The pitcher plant is one such species. The highlight of this Garden is the sighting of Kurinji flower which blossoms once in 12 years. The National Orchidarium is located inside the Botanical Garden and has a collection of over a hundred species of orchids.
For my travelogue on the most enchanting Hill Station of South India, visit Enchanting Munnar.