January first of 2016 saw an extended weekend, so was the Christmas weekend just one week before. We had just returned from the Bandipur trip and wanted to go to some nearby hill station on the first weekend of 2016. Since most of the hill stations in South India like Ooty, Munnar, Kodaikanal would be crowded. So to avoid the crowd, we decided to go to Yercaud from Bangalore on our car. Recently Yercaud has been topping the list of weekend gateways from Bangalore since it is not as famous as other famous hill stations. It is often referred to as ‘Poor man’s Ooty’.
Yercaud is at a distance of 225 Kms from Silk board junction in Bangalore. We started around 11.30 in the night. In December, it was really cold. We were 6 people. Four were in the car (Hyundai Eon) and two on the bike (Royal Enfield). Looking at the weather condition of Bangalore in December, we decided to take jackets, cap, muffler, gloves and wear shoes for the people who were going to drive the Royal Enfield. While for the car people, we took a blanket.
Road to Yercaud is straight from Silkboard until Salem. You just have to follow a single highway until Salem. Salem is 200 Kms from Bangalore. From Salem, you have to drive through the city to Yercaud. We also decided that we will take a break after every 50 Kms. So our first stop was supposed to be Hosur. Which is around 35 Kms from Silk board Junction. But we could not stop in Hosur as we drove over flyover most of the times. Highways pass on flyovers to avoid city traffic in the cities. So we decided that we will meet somewhere on a roadside Dhaba as soon as we seen one.
After Hosur, the temperature started dropping. It was very cold outside. The guys driving the bike had to literally fully cover themselves. Until Krishnagiri, the highway is a 6-lane road. Krishnagiri is around 50 Kms from Hosur. But there was not a single Dhaba open in the night until Krishnagiri. There is just one Mc Donalds just after the Hosur near HPCL petrol bunk. As we approached Krishnagiri, the road began passing through the hill area and the cold increased. In the night, there was not much traffic. You can easily drive up to 120kph.
After crossing Krishnagiri, there was still no sign of Dhaba. So we decided that we will try to find some Dhaba in Dharmapuri, the next major town. Dharmapuri is again around 50 Kms from Krishnagiri. But around 2’o clock, we found a Dhaba. We had our first tea there. There, two of us switched from car to bike. After Dharmapuri, a series of Dhaba began.
One good thing about the Dhaba in this side of Tamilnadu is that most of them will have a bathroom. So, we decided to stop at one of those as some of us were feeling cramps in the stomach. We got fresh. We also took some selfies. It was not as cold it was nearer to Krishnagiri. I could simply sit at the back of the royal enfiled in my slippers and tracksuit trouser.
Around 4’o clock, we reached Salem. You will have to leave the highway in Salem. We used google maps for the road to Yercaud from Salem. From Salem town, Yercaud is around 30 Km uphill. There are also 20 hairpin bends en route. But these hairpin bends are not as thrilling as en route Theppakadu or Masinagudi to Ooty.
It’s not like that the hilly road will just start from the Salem town. You will have to drive around 10 Kms from Salem and then, the hilly road begins. Road from Salem to Yercaud is just a double road that means two single lanes. We started around 4.30 climbing up the road to Yercaud. Just at the beginning of the hilly road, there is a local toll. You will have to pay Rs. 40 for the car and Rs. 20 for the bike. The hilly road is around 20 Kms in total to Yercaud.
That was almost full moon night. We got many beautiful views of Salem city on the way to Yercaud. That reminded me of Dehradun at night from Mussoorie. We stopped at many points to take pictures of the Salem’s night view. You need to be careful while driving up. We saw big trucks coming down the same road. Sometimes, at the curve, there would not be much space left. So, you need to be careful seeing the large vehicle coming down the hill. Another point of concern was monkeys. There are really naughty and daring. Be careful with camera and eatables.
We also watched sunrise midway to Yercaud as we made a lot breaks in between. Also if, by chance, your vehicle starts following a bus or truck then maybe for next 15 minutes, you won’t be able to overtake them and you just have to follow them. We also saw a lot of illegal limestone mining on the other hills. However, the most beautiful moment was when orange sun rays fall on top of the hills while bottom were still dark. That’s more like a mix of orange color at the top and bluish shade at the bottom.
Around 7.30 in the morning, we were near the Yercaud lake. There were some local shops open there. We had vada and tea there. Then we decided to go to Kiliyur falls. From Yercaud lake, Kiliyur falls is around 3 Kms. The road is single and sometimes steep also.
There is parking point near the Kiliyur falls where you can park the vehicle for free and you will walk like 100 meters to 150 meters down the road from there steps to Kiliyur falls begin. Steps are really steep and those are 80 in number. We were lucky to see water gushing down the Kiliyur falls in the month of January. Most of the times, water is only there in the falls after the monsoon. The height of Kiliyur falls is around 300 feet or 90 meters. Kiliyur falls is more like a cascading waterfalls.
Also, the scenery en route Kiliyur falls is very photogenic. There are also some shops near the Kiliyur parking area where you can buy water bottles, biscuits and eat Bajiya. Climbing up the stairs takes time than going down but its a fun to do.
After we returned from the Kiliyur falls, we were confused if we should book a hotel or not. Just nearer to the Yercaud lake TTDC hotel is there. TTDC is official Tamilnadu Tourism sign. But the rooms were full. I think that was because of first January and long weekend. Next we left for the Yercaud lake. There are three types of boating there.
- Row boat where a person rows the boat and you seat
- Motor boat, it gives you a 10 minutes ride around the lake
- Paddle boat
We went for the paddle boat. Paddle boat in Yercaud lake cost us 140 for the four-seater boat and 70 for the two-seater boat for half an hour. You will have to submit the double the amount of the boating charges in advance. After the boating is over, rest of the money after deducting the booting charges will be refunded.
The we had lunch near the lake. There are some good restaurants there. There is also a petrol pump near the Yercaud lake. The we decided to go to the Lady’s seat viewpoint. There is also rose garden en route. The entry charges for the rose garden and lady’s seat is 30 rupees per person. The weather was warm near the lady’s seat. So we took out the blanket and laid down on the grasses. The view from the lady’s seat is really spectacular on a clear day. You can see blue sky, forests, trees and much more.
After taking some rest, we decided to return to Bangalore. We started around 2 in the afternoon and reached Bangalore around 11 in the night.