Nov 25, 2008

Misty, Rainy, Chill Yercaud

The last time we decided to go to Yercaud a year and a half ago, there was unexpectedly some bundh called in TN. We did bravely start traveling hoping there will not be any problems, but a little before Hosur the road was jammed – as they were not letting any vehicle from Karnataka to TN at the border. So, we somehow managed to turn back and cancelled our trip to Yercaud, with a heavy heart…..

This time again, I was kind of having some doubts, whether we’ll be able to make it or not! And again, near Hosur there was a big traffic jam! Since it had been raining for the past week, a huge bus has got stuck in the slurry and that had blocked the road almost completely. Uffff…. all we could do was to wait till it was cleared off, as we could not even turn back and take any alternate road. After about half an hour, but seemed to be the longest wait, the vehicles started moving…. And here we were on Salem road!
Well, the roads are very neatly laid, and the drive was good, except that at every village on the way, a flyover is being constructed, and since the work was in progress, there were hitches in driving. There was a slight rain for sometime and it was really nice to drive in rain! But one thing we noticed is that the land looks so barren and dry….. No trees at all and nowhere did we feel like stopping for a rest, though we wanted to as there was absolutely no shade. Unlike when traveling to Mysore or Hassan just after we cross Bangalore, the green fields will be so inviting!

Ok! So we reached Salem by noon, took directions from local people there and headed towards Yercaud through the ghat section, with 20 hairpin bends. Well, the surroundings suddenly changed, with more flora now. As we started ascending, the temperature too fell, and it was good. The lake was big and calm, but I felt the place is quite too commercialized now. Lot of small hotels around the lake and the place is not so clean.
Well, we headed towards CM Lake forest hotel, which is on a road off the lake road. It was formerly a British bungalow, now converted to a resort. They have deliberately kept the interiors, etc unchanged, to give a touch of antiqueness, and we liked it.
Well, it was unbelievably colder, and the chillness increased as the day progressed! Food was good and reasonably priced, and having hot masala chai in such a chill place is one experience!

Ok, the next day, we planned for a drive around Yercaud on the so-called loop road. We took the map and instructions from the resort people and started the drive. The first stop was at Rajarajeshwari temple, where they also sell some herbal oils. After that there is a small deviation to the right, which leads to the Shevaroyan Temple. We got to the viewpoint there, and started exploring the surrounding place. The weather which was bright and clear till now, suddenly got colder and filled with fog. In no time, we were in the middle of thick clouds, with as little as 8-10feet visibility! It was an awesome experience.
We waited there for sometime, seeing bauxite ore mining, which is almost destroying the forest. After the fog cleared a bit, we started our drive. I managed to drive a part of it, first time on ghat section, with very narrow roads! I must admit I did get scared a bit, but managed reasonably well. We passed through some hamlets like Nagalur, Kaveri Peak and Manjakuttai. The 30km drive seemed longer, may be because of the narrow roads, and the limited speed we can drive at, but it was one of the nicest drives!
After crossing these hamlets, we stopped at another viewpoint which again had a nice view of the mountains. We got back, planning to visit the lake in the evening, but there was a downpour by 3pm, which didn’t seem to stop at all till it was dark. So, missed the boating :(. We went out for a night walk around the lake, after it stopped raining. It was still drizzling, and pretty cold, but enjoyable.

The next morning we went for a walk in and around the plantations and then started back to Bangalore after a good breakfast. It again started pouring and we drove back in rain and mist! It was fun!

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  1. wow...looks like you guys had a cooool break ! Reminds me of baba budangiri hills, when we were caught amidst thick clouds....awesome feeling it was :-)