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Yercaud Travel Guide
Yercaud, a very popular hill station near Salem, Tamil Nadu, in the Servarayan range of hills (anglicized as Shevaroys) in the Eastern Ghats, is an ideal holiday location. It is at an altitude of 1,500 metres (4,920 feet) from sea level. The town, yercaud gets its name from the lake located at its center - in Tamil "Yeri" means "lake" and "Kaadu" means "forest". Yercaud is also famous for its coffee plantations and orange groves. It also has an orchidarium run by the Botanical Survey of India, which is a well visited place.
At the highest point in Yercaud, at a height of 5326 feet is the Servarayan temple, hence the Yercaud hill area is called Shevaroy Hills.
Some of the original and rare forests continue to exist in the Yercaud hills and contain several endemic species of plants and fauna. It is interesting gto note that the Yercaud hills have many faunal and floral similarities to the Western Ghats.
Wild life in these forests include bison, deer, ant-eater, rabbits, hares, foxes, mongoose, squirrels, partridges, snakes, bulbuls, kites, sparrows, swallows and the bird of paradise.
The main commercial crop of Yercaud is coffee. Coffee was first cultivated on the "Grange Estate" in the year 1820, the year in which coffee plants were brought from Africa to Yercaud by Mr. M.D. Cockburn, and hence claiming to be the first few towns to grow coffee.
Jack fruit, orange, guava and spices such as black pepper and cardamom are the other crops raised on the coffee estate.
Places to See:
Yercaud Lake, is one of the main attractions in this town. A view of the meandering hill roads of Yercaud from Lady's Seat is beautiful picturesque scenery one cannot afford to miss.
The best time to visit Yercaud is the warmer months between May and October. May and June are the months when tourist activity is high.
- Arthur's Seat: This is a vantage point, which can be reached by taking a steep, narrow road going north 1 km from the center of the town. It gives a bird's eye view of the huge Lake, Yercaud Town and the Shevaroyan Peak.
- Grange: This is one of the oldest buildings, built in the 1820s by M.D. Cockburn, who was the District Collector of Salem District at that time. He established the first commercial plantation in this area and planted Coffee, Oranges, Apples and other fruit trees brought from South Africa, which are still cultivated. During the Sepoy Mutiny, great efforts were made to strengthen the roof, and ramparts were built with Gun emplacements and 3 Canons were mounted at vantage points, which today accounts for a visit by anyone interested in history of this beautiful town. A large cellar, in those days was made to hold provisions for about 6 months in case there was a long siege and the Europeans of the Area had to hold off insurgents. However, this never happened and all was peaceful during those years. There is a well planned and executed resort alongside the Grange, set amidst coffee and orange plantations and silver oak trees, and today is a delightful get away for the well heeled traveler.
- Kiliyur Waterfall: This is 3 km trek from the Yercaud Lake. The best time to visit this place is immediately after the monsoons. The surplus water from the Yercaud Lake reaches of the Shevaroys Hills, and falls deep into the Kiliyur Valley in the form of a 300 feet waterfall. The views from both the bottom and top of the falls are breathtaking. The trek to the bottom of the falls is only for hardcore trekkers as it takes about one hour from the lake to reach the bottom of the falls which is heavily wooded, but a good 2½ hours to get ones breath and trek back again.
NOTE: The road to the falls is very narrow and only one vehicle can pass at a time. It is not advisable to take a vehicle to the falls. If you do so, park it at the big platform after about 3 km. beyond that the road is very narrow and steep and you cannot turn your vehicle back. The only way back down is to drive it in reverse gear on steep and winding slopes: that is life threatening.
- Bear's Cave: This is situated within a private coffee estate owned by a Mettur based business man. The main part of the cave is situated about 7 feet below the ground level and contains a deeper gorge which is believed by the local people to lead up to the cave situated in the Shervaroyan Temple.
- Mettur View: You can get a Telescope view of Mettur from Ladies Seat. A clear view of Mettur is visitable from Shervaroyan Temple Peak, maintained by MALCO.
How to get there
Nearest Airport: The nearest Airports - Trichy (163 km), Bangalore (230 km) and Coimbatore (190 km). Both are connected to Chennai (Madras). Trichy has an international airport.
Nearest Railhead: The nearest railway station is Salem Junction (35 km)
Road: There are good roads connecting Yercaud to various places in South via. Salem. It is 358 km from Chennai (via. Tindivanam) 222 km from Bangalore (via. Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Yercaud) 190 km from Coimbatore (via. Avinashi) 163 km from Trichy (via. Namakkal) 271 km from Madurai (via. Karur) 80 km from Mettur (via. Toppur) 144 km from Hogenakkal (via. Dharmapuri) 176 km from Tiruvannamalai (via. Harur)
Bus Service: There are regular bus services between Yercaud and Salem, which is connected to Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Tiruvannamalai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Pondicherry and Tirupati among other places.
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