Any talk about hill stations of South India is likely to include Ooty, Coorg, Munnar , favourites of travelers. Yercaud,in Tamilnadu, for reasons unknown, has been relegated to backseat. Situated at height of 5000 ft., in Sheravoy hill range, it is situated just 28 kms from town of Salem. My recent visit there has convinced me that its beauty is highly underrated. It has its own charm and has retained, more or less, characteristics of the town of yore.
With trusted Canon 7D in tow, we undertook a journey to Yercaud on picturesque mountain road consisting of 20 hairpin bends.Each curve of the road brought a beautiful vista in sight. With not much written in praise about Yercaud, my expectations were pretty low. And to be frank, the first sight did nothing to elevate that feeling. But as the hours passed its special charm grew on me.
Yercaud’s name is derived from lake at its center. Yeri means lake and Kaddu means forest. Established by British, it came to be known as Yercaud. Life of this tiny town revolves around its lake. It is worth spending time at the lake at twilight which makes its water shimmer with wonderful glow. Eating corn cob and enjoying the setting sun can be highlight of the evening.
Our stay was arranged at Lake Forest hotel. Its colonial buildings and wooded environment transported me to another world.
Anyone visiting Yercaud must spare few hours to take 31 kilometers scenic drive in Sheravoy hills. Our drive took us right up to Cauvery peak and back.
Beauty around is seen to be believed. Coffee, pepper and orange plantations abound. Teak plantations are in plenty. Peeping in the woods, one can find lovely colonial planter’s bungalows.
Misty atmosphere and smell of vegetation prevails. We stop frequently to enjoy the beauty which I have rarely seen in my frequent travels around India. Hidden charms of Sheravoy hills are on display through entire route. I feel this is a must do thing for any traveler to Yercaud.
Strong smell of coffee covers entire town of Yercaud. For coffee lover like me it is a heaven. Town , though not quite big, can be quite crowded during working hours. We visited Vinayak Coffee shop and bought some freshly ground coffee. Owner explained to us that ideally coffee should contain 12 to 15% chicory and not more. Pepper is another thing to buy from the market here.
There are few typical “points” to visit which all hill stations boast of. Lady’s seat, Pagoda point, Killiyur’s waterfalls to name a few.
Highest point in Yercaud is Sherveroyan temple. Temple is inside the large rock. One needs to bend and go inside to pray to the deities Sherveroyan and Cauvery.
Enjoy dinner of “Hot and Tasty” chilly Bhajiyas at the lake. Not to forget the hot corn cobs and Malabari parattha.
Highlight of our stay was Patsy’s cake. Visit her and Suhas Kunder’s home “Windermere” and order some amazing chocolate cake and chocolates. Head to The Pear Tree café for best food in town.
This charming little hill station doesn’t have much to offer like its other stellar competitors. And I think therein lies its attraction. From Hotel Lake Forest to its scenic drive to its shimmering lake in twilight it holds your interest. For people living in South India it will be a wonderful way to spend a long weekend.
Being a photographer, its charm made my creative juices flow.
Sonali Dalal is an avid hobbyist photographer. Passion about photography and travel combined has taken her to many places all over the country. Very recent entrant to the field, she has soon established herself in her chosen field. She is a proud recipient of the Gold Medal at The 73rd International Photographic Salon of Japan. Recently she is awarded grant by Lalitkala Academy of Gujarat for holding her second solo exhibition. She held her first solo exhibition called “Chiaroscuro” in 2012, showcasing all monochrome images. She has also participated in many group shows. Her work can be enjoyed at: