Weekend getaway to Yercaud
Yercaud is the ideal escape from the noise of everyday city life, especially if you are in Bangalore, or surrounding cities. Yercaud is a short 4-5 hour drive from Bangalore, and is perched at 4970ft (1515m) atop the city of Salem, which during the summers go up to 38℃, so it is no wonder that it becomes a regular weekend getaway for those in Salem.
When in Yercaud, the itinerary spells relaxation, right from the drive to the hills from the scenic routes to the different points of interest. The drives were my favourite part of my trip to Yercaud, besides taking in the panoramic view from my hotel room balcony.
The drive to Yercaud, located in the Shevaroy Hills is through the infamous Loop road, which has 20 hair pin bends. The drive takes you through a change in vegetation from wild forest trees to coffee plantations.
The troops of monkeys along the latter part of the drive uphill are sure to keep the kids entertained, and to be honest, adults as well, as who can resist falling in love with the infants clinging onto the females as they languorously while away their time swinging from branches, or just at the edge of the road.
Things to do in Yercaud
1. Tour a coffee plantation and factory
The Cauvery Peak coffee plantation offers a tour of their plantation with a guide on foot, or by your vehicle. This is a good option for those who are really interested to know more about the seed to bean process. They also have on sale the coffee from their plantation here, and at a couple of locations along the Loop road. The coffee shop on the plantation serves freshly brewed coffee, but unfortunately, no snacks to go with it! The tour costs ₹400 plus taxes per person.
2. Shevaroy Temple
The 2000 year old Shevaroy Temple is located at the highest point in Yercaud, atop the Shevaroy Hills ( (1623m/5326ft). The view from near the temple of the rolling hills below, is breathtaking. The cave temple has two deities-Servaraya Perumal, considered God to the 67 villages of the Shevaroy hills, and Goddess Kaveri, of the Kaveri river.
Legend goes that this cave extends over 400km till Talakaveri in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, the supposed origin of the Kaveri river. The facade of the temple is rather unassuming, quite unlike the architectural marvels that are the temples of Tamil Nadu. It is a functioning temple, so if it is crowded with devotees, visitors may not be allowed inside.
3. The Big Lake
The Yercaud Lake forms the heart of Yercaud, drawing large crowds every day to enjoy the scenic beauty, and to cruise across the lake on paddle/motor boats. Around the lake there are many street vendors selling souvenirs, toys, and freshly prepared food! There is also a horse awaiting any eager tourists at the entrance to the boat house.
4. Karadiyur Viewpoint
Located 12 km from Yercaud, it is a must visit, as the view from here is different from the rest of the viewpoints in town. It is an approximately 1 km hike to the viewpoint, but it is fairly easy, as it is through rocky, yet flat terrain. It was named so, owing to the many bears that once inhabited the hills, unfortunately they are rarely seen today.
5. Kiliyur Falls
The falls are fed by the excess water from the Big Lake, which means the ideal time to visit the falls is during or immediately after the monsoons. The hike to the falls is not easy with steep slippery stairways, and rocks, but the sight of the falls make it all worthwhile.
6. Lady's Seat, Gent's Seat, Children's Seat
A collection of naturally formed rocks that resemble seats on the Yercaud Hills named Lady’s Seat, Children’s Seat, and Gent’s seat are three popular view points that give an expansive view of the city of Salem and Ghat road. The Lady’s seat received its curious title owing to an English woman, from the time of British occupation, who spent her evenings seated on the rocks admiring the stunning view.
7. Sacred Heart Church
A rather offbeat stop in Yercaud is the Sacred Heart Church, which is atop a small hill overlooking the residential settlement of the town.
8. Please your adventurous side
Adventure seekers can have their fill with a choice of activities from zip lining, kayaking, trekking, driving an ATV, or off-roading in a four wheel drive, and more with the many upcoming adventure tourism providers.
9. Must do drives
If you love driving through scenic roads, these two drives are a must do when in Yercaud- the drives to Shevaroy Temple, and Cauvery Peak. These drives are through coffee plantations, tall forest trees, and rolling hills- so so beautiful and relaxing!
How to get there
The closest airport is in Salem, 47.2 km from Yercaud. There are regular bus services from Salem.
Best time to visit
October to June when the weather ranges between 13-25℃