Charming Yercaud: Why a quaint hill station in Tamil Nadu is heaven on earth

The coffee plantations for which Yercaud is famous were introduced by the Scottish collector of Salem, David Cockburn, in 1820

By Beyniaz Edulji  Published on  2 Jun 2024 6:38 AM GMT
Charming Yercaud: Why a quaint hill station in Tamil Nadu is heaven on earth

Hyderabad: Yercaud, a small hill station at 4,969 feet above sea level in Tamil Nadu can still largely be considered unspoiled, unlike most of the other hill stations in India.

Fortunately, Yercaud’s Silver Birch and Sandalwood trees, numerous coffee plantations and orange orchards have not been ruthlessly cut down to make way for houses and hotels. The coffee plantations for which Yercaud is famous were introduced by the Scottish collector of Salem, David Cockburn, in 1820.

When is the best time to visit Yercaud?

The best season to visit Yercaud is from October to June. The summer festival in May coincides with the annual festival of Lord Servarayan. The region celebrates a seven-day exhibition of flower shows, dog shows, boating races and a village fair.

Best place for a relaxing holiday

For a relaxing holiday, there is nothing to beat Yercaud, the tiniest hill station that I have visited. The pleasant drive from Bengaluru to Yercaud took us three hours via Hosur, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem.

After Salem, 20 hairpin bends with spectacular views kept us engrossed until we reached the quaint hill station of Yercaud. I was happy to see concrete pots kept at regular intervals along the hairpin bends for birds and animals (mostly monkeys) to drink from.

The allure of chilli bhajjis and masala tea

As we reached Yercaud, the aroma of hot chilli bhajjis made from giant green chillies hung enticingly from hand carts and steaming masala tea wafted through the cool air.

Finding peace at Yercaud Lake

The Yercaud Lake is the centre of this town. This natural lake is also called Emerald Lake due to its distinct greenish hue. There are always a lot of boats filled with tourists on the cool waters of the lake.

Anna Park near the lake is a great place for children to run about and play. Apart from the rich native flora, there is an exquisite Japanese garden inside the park.

A beautiful drive that never ends

One of the memorable experiences of Yercaud is the drive on the 32-km Loop Road. Beginning and ending at the lake, the road goes through thick forests and coffee plantations across the villages of Nagalur, Semmanatham, Kaveri Peak and Majakuttai.

Driving through this tree-fringed road is one of the most enjoyable experiences of Yercaud.

Magnificient viewpoints

There are many beautiful viewpoints like Gent’s Seat, Pagoda Point and Arthur’s Seat but the one we loved best was called Lady’s Seat. It overlooked the winding Ghat road and provided a breathtaking view. This view is spectacular at night with the twinkling lights of Salem town stretched out below.

Kiliyur Waterfall is supposed to be a wondrous sight during the monsoons but we found barely a trickle of water running through it as we were visiting in peak summer.

The temple inside a cave

Six kilometres away, Servarayan is the highest point in Yercaud. The Servarayan temple itself is a narrow, dark cave, with the idols of Lord Servarayan and Goddess Kaveri inside. The two deities are believed to represent the Servarayan Hills and the Cauvery River respectively.

We had to bend a lot to enter this tiny but beautiful temple in a cave. People come here in large numbers in May to celebrate the annual festival. The view of the countryside from Servarayan was spectacular.

Ecologically friendly hotels

The hotels in Yercaud suit every budget. We stayed at a heritage eco-hotel in the middle of a coffee and pepper plantation. Care had been taken to cut very few trees and we had a huge jackfruit tree growing out of the roof and a coffee shrub growing from the floor of our veranda.

Needless to say, there were birds and fireflies in the hundreds to enchant us.

There were many shops that sell all kinds of oils, perfumes, shampoos, aloe vera gels, coffee powder and even spices like clove and pepper. Bird watching, trekking and dirt bike riding are some of the activities people come to Yercaud for.

Yercaud is only 35 km from Salem, 355 km from Chennai and 195 km from Coimbatore.

The magic of cool weather

The weather being so good, with summer temperatures of 16°C to 30°C and winter temperatures of 13°C to 25°C, Yercaud always has a steady stream of visitors.

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