Babymoon in Yercaud
Actually make that two. Two babymoons! Both sis and I were on the family way when we decided to visit Yercaud. Both of us were in our second trimester, the safest period to travel, and thought of making the best of it – why not have some fun while we still could!
We have some kind of an affinity with hill stations and zeroed upon Yercaud in Salem District in Tamil Nadu, some 220 km from Bangalore. As per our agreement, I researched on the area and the first thing that caught my eye was the fact that there were 20 hairpin bends uphill to Yercaud. Given our delicate conditions, this slightly caused some amount of concern. Would I end up puking? I hate that part! I have a cousin who pukes at the drop of a hat and that would generally end up in a chain reaction, with me taking the lead. I decided to block out that disturbing image from my mind and went ahead with making plans for the journey.
I looked for hotels and although the visit was still two weeks away, there were hardly any rooms available. Finally we got two rooms at MM Holiday Inn, located some way off from the lake which seemed to be a mid-town of sorts. That solved, we started out for Yercaud on a bright June morning in 2011.
We took the Bangalore-Salem-Yercaud route and had our lunch in Salem. While at lunch, I had to distract myself from thinking that the meal won’t be wasted on the way uphill along the hairpin bends. Thankfully, all my notions about the hairpin bends were dispelled once we actually began to ascend the hills. The lovely view along the way and the beauty of the road itself made the distance seem much shorter and in no time we had overcome the ‘dreaded’ hairpin bends. So, all you queasy people out there, if nothing happened to a freaked-out pregnant woman like me, nothing will happen to you, too. Thought I should mention this just in case there do exist people like me.
The hairpin bends
The meandering road...
Our hotel turned out to be an ok-ok type with the basic things in place. Anyways, we were not there to spend much time in the hotel when there was so much to explore. The best thing - it was secluded from the main town and the windows opened out to a coffee estate next door.
Again, I am running out of patience and I have a feeling so are you. So let’s make this a bullet point post once more.
- Sights – More than a year down the line, I can only remember the lake, Anna Park (opposite the lake), the mini-zoo adjoining the lake, the Lady’s and Gent’s Seat (view points), the rose garden, Monfort School, Pagoda Point and Kiliyur falls. Pagoda Point was close to our hotel and that was the first place we visited. Dusk was falling fast when we reached the point and the swirling mist around us lent a surreal touch. We had only our digicams with us then and the pictures just do not do justice to the view. The lake is a quiet affair and it is better to go on an early morning boating trip to take in the tranquility it offers. The keyword to enjoy the sights better in Yercaud is ‘to explore’. We stumbled across many off-the-track routes offering precious vistas which you won’t find on a map.
The Boat House and the Lake
- Food – Oh the tons of calories we must have put on during those two days! The cold weather automatically makes you wish for piping hot pakodas or bhajjis. There were stalls selling just those near the lake and at every view point. Baskets of vegetables would be laid out with onions, potatoes, raw bananas, cauliflower, chilli (capsicums) and also boiled eggs. You need to point out the ones you want and specify the number of plates. We ended up ordering a plate each of everything that we saw, and did encores of some more. Do not miss this delicious treat on your life, even if you have to run miles once you get back to your gym. For breakfast, we came across a small eatery with pictures of the dead LTTE chief Prabhakaran adorning all the walls. Whatever the reason be behind the pictures, the food there was wonderful.
- Shopping – There are a number of perfumeries and shops selling natural oils, although we did not buy any. Home-made chocolates are on offer in many shops as well. We also came across some villagers selling natural honey and bought a bottle. It is another story that we completely forgot about the bottle kept in the seat pocket of our car. The poor bottle saw the light of the day months later when we were about to send the car for servicing.
- Fruits and orchards and estates – Oranges and coffee plants everywhere were definitely an eyeful - it was magical! The oranges were still in their infancy and so we decided not to pluck them. But I wonder what happens when the oranges are ripe? I mean they were growing everywhere and anyone can pluck them. We also came across bunches (?) of jackfruits hanging onto their trees and heaps of them in the market place. Everything was so plenty, the air so pure, it almost seemed like a Utopian state.
- Kiliyur Falls – You have to climb downhill to reach the water fall and since we were pregnant ladies, we decided not to take that risk. There did not seem to be much water any way. But we did go to the point where you have to park your cars and it had a beautiful view of the hills and the clouds. Sigh!
Mini-Zoo near the lake
The Rose Garden
It seems Yercaud has earned a sobriquet for itself – Poor Man’s Ooty. We have been to Ooty as well. But Yercaud is by no means poor to Ooty, maybe only in terms of the cost. It is much cheaper than Ooty and much less commercialized. Considering the global warming factor, it is not far when Yercaud will be one of the many hill stations in India swarming with people from the plains seeking respite from the heat. I am just glad that we beat that crowd and had an amazing babymoon in Yercaud!
PS: I flicked some of the pictures from my brother-in-law, hope he is not too angry!