Weekend Getaway – Hill Station Yelagiri, a Nature’s Paradise
Yelagiri is small hill station in Tamil Nadu, which not throng by tourists much yet.
In fact there are very few things to see or do. So if you live in a big city where you experience traffic jam everyday, pollution, stress and enjoy doing nothing then visit Yelagiri. You can enjoy more by timing your visit according to your need.
Yelagiri Hills encompasses a total area of just 30 sq kms and an altitude of approximately 3500 feet. Therefore, the climate is rather moderate, and an evening breeze that can get a bit chilly (especially after a few showers), considering that the hills have a fair amount of forest cover. It’s peaceful and quiet out here in these remote surroundings.
What makes Yelagiri Hills an ideal weekend getaway is it’s proximity from Bangalore or Chennai; just about 3-4 hours. So, an early morning start can get you to Yelagiri by about 10 in the morning and if you leave the next day just after lunch, your home by nightfall. The main town of Yelagiri Hills is called Athanur – the nerve-centre of sorts – which is just one long, winding road through the hills, pocketed by isolated villages and thatched dwellings on either side.
Atop Yelagiri it looks like it is a valley. Do take long walks on the wandering roads after evening. I can assure you it is very enjoying. Take the help of local boys and for a agreed amount, these boys take you around and can also introduce you to wild forest fruits and a walk into gardens and plantations for a taste of fresh fruits and vegetables.
This is more like a pond than a lake. Besides the pond there is a garden. However, there is nothing much to see apart from the
traditional houses, scenic background and a devi temple.
Punganoor Artificial Lake-cum-Park
Perhaps the most popular landmark of Yelagiri Hills is the lake. Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you where it’s located. For want of anything else to do, most visitors to the Hills tend to take the short walk from their lodgings and perhaps go on a boat ride. The park adjoins the lake and is an ideal outing for kids to play around.
Picnicking isn’t allowed inside the premises. Also, there’s an entry fee to be paid to enter the lake and park. Worth it, simply because it helps pass time and kids can have fun too.
The River Attaaru, runs through the valleys of Yelagiri Hills, and at the village of Jadaiyanoor, flows over to form the waterfall. It’s perhaps the only distant spot from the main town (over 30 kilometres) and fairly frequented by visitors to the Hills. Larger groups picnic out here, but because of its isolation don’t expect too many facilities. Jalagamparai Waterfalls is also an ideal place to go on a day long trek and if you do decide to go there, just make sure you’re well-stocked with water and food.
A word of caution: the waterfalls are dependent on the river being full and the river is dependent on substantial rainfall. Yelagiri Hills hasn’t any monsoon season of its own; rainfall here is mainly a ‘spill-over’ of rainfall in nearby Bangalore or Chennai regions. Unless there is rain here, Yelagiri Hills can largely be dry.
Possibly the highest peak around and the best place to go on a lovely trek is Swamimalai. It’s an easy trek along a muddy path starting from the eastern side of the lake, which is about 3 kilometres long and pretty scenic too. Most visitors to Yelagiri Hills, who have trekking in mind, often climb up Swamimalai. Downhill can be pretty tiring as it is more of sliding down on the huge smooth mountain rocks than climbing down. So make sure to have good sports shoes with a nice grip to make it pleasant.
Make sure you have enough water and light snacks before you set-off up the hillock.
If per chance the need arises to seek divine intervention drop by at the Murugan temple to offer prayers and invoke blessings from the
deity. For whatever its worth, a trip or even a trek to the holy spot is bound to invigorate energy, health and peace of mind.
You come across this when you’re driving up the Hills. It’s supposed to be open on weekends, but one has always seen a huge padlock at all times. They say there’s a telescope housed inside and from where one can get a good view of places in the distance. But from the naked-eye one can easily get a view of Thirupathur Town or Jolarpet down below; no need for telescopes, really. Besides, it’s a waste of time and petrol to drive 2 kilometers to find a padlock at the gates.
It a theme park with nicely maintained lawns, waterfalls, aquarium and musical fountain. Best time to visit is at night. Entry fees – Rs 15 and Rs 25 to view musical fountain.
Moksha Vimochana Temple
It is temple founded by a saint 14 years ago in Yelagiri. One of the priest who guided us told one can get rid of their sin after particular period of time (42 days). He told, on the first Sunday of every month the saint gives darshan and listen to the devotees. I liked the atmosphere of the temple and the guided tour by the priest. They did not ask for any money. However, if you would like to give anything then you will have to drop your donation by your own hand.
Vainu Bappu Solar Observatory
Vainu Bappu Solar Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned and operated by Indian Institute of Astrophysics. It is located on Javadi Hills near the town of Kavalur in Tamil Nadu 175 km from Bangalore. It is claimed to be the largest telescope in Asia.
May and June each year is the time for a Summer festival at Yelagiri Hills. Main attendees are local village folk and like-minded people from nearby areas of Vellore District. The government-sponsored event aims to showcase the customs, culture and traditions of the tribal belonging to the areas that fall under Yelagiri Hills. Invitees include state ministers, government officials, members of various panchayat unions and local headmen.
Where to Stay
Le auroville, Zeenath Taj Garden Resort, Sterling resorts – should be good even for childre. If interested in a home stay, do talk to the locals, there are furnished rooms and houses available on daily rent basis. Local people are very helpful and talking to people will certainly help you to enjoy the visit.
Planning your Itinerary
If you love trekking then be there before 12 noon. After checking in to your hotel, you can ask the hotel guys to hire an auto for sightseeing. The typical charge is Rs 250. Keep Nature Park at the end of your visit. Finish your sightseeing on the first day and on the second day you can go trekking. Do start your trekking before 9 am. After the sun comes out it may become hot. If trekking is not their in your itenery then you can board the train Brindavan express which leaves Bangalore at 2.30 pm from Bangalore city railway station. You should reach Jolarpet in between 4.30 – 4.45 pm. Then you need to walk little bit from the rainway station to the bus stand. The bus number 253 goes to Yelagiri. If you get bus quickly then you should be atop Yelagiri before 6 pm. Once you are done with hotel check-in, tea – snacks, make your way to Nature Park. I suggest you spend your evening there. You will enjoy that much more than during day time.
Do not expect a Hill climate in Yelagiri. It is a 3500 feet high hill and the climate is not too chill compared to places like Yercaud or Nilgiris.
160 km from Bangalore and 210 km from Chennai
2 hrs by train + 45 mins by bus/cab from Bangalore and 3.5 – 4 hrs from Chennai.
How to reach there:
By train – catch any train going to Jolarpet junction station and from there catch bus# 253 to reach Yelagiri. You can also hire a auto or cab( it costs < 500).
By bus – KSRTC/Tamil Nadu buses ply to Jolarpet and then follow the same process as above. It takes little long by bus(4 hours).
If you are driving, drive via Hosur Road (NH7), hosur, Krishnagiri, Jolarpet junction, Bunneri to Yelagiri. It is a picturesque drive up the hill with 14 hairpin bends and not a tedious one.
If you are driving over to Yelagiri, make sure you have enough petrol/diesel in your vehicle. There aren’t any petrol bunks uphill and though some shops do sell petrol in ‘loose’ better not to take a chance and there are better chances you get adulterated petrol. Besides, the cost per litre is atrociously high.
Better to carry Cash as most of the hotels out there do not encourage cards.
Beware of monkeys and avoid eating or carrying food in the open while going up the ghat road. Yelagiri is pretty much nature at its best with snakes and so be careful going near bushes and walking out of the walk areas.
Posted on November 30, 2011, in Adventure, Attractions and tagged chennai, hill station near chennai, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Javadi Hills, Tamil Nadu, travel, weekend getaway, Yelagiri. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.