Riding through wafting clouds

Riding through wafting clouds

Weekend Getaway

Riding through wafting clouds

At the end of your stay in Yercaud, you’ll feel closer to heaven.

Affordable and serene, this hill station is about 230 kms from Bangalore. Drive through an excellent, well maintained national highway and you are there with plenty of accommodation options at your disposal. The ‘head in the clouds’ experience begins as you wind yourself up the hill roads. Plenty of greenery, coffee plantations, orange groves, trickling waterfalls, bands of monkeys with their antics and a panoramic view as each hairpin bend takes you higher.

The reverse side of your toll ticket tells you the history of this stretch. The construction of the road started in 1872, was washed away and non-motorable from 1933 to 1934. That the first motorcycle was seen in 1918 and the first wireless radio came to Yercaud in 1928 (courtesy of missionary priests). All this gives you a feeling of a quaint holiday awaiting you. Although, the leisurely drive through the loop road and around the hills to the viewing points is a challenge, it is enjoyable.

Clean air & savoury food

The clean air will whip up your appetite. Satiate, which you will, from restaurants and hotels, roadside eateries and the inviting aroma from the meals on wheels carts. Also, you can gorge on an A La Carte to piping hot bhajjis or the usual Chinese fried rice and noodles combo.

If you have reserved rooms in advance, you can reasonably ascertain that it will come with a view where clouds are going to go wafting through. The sight of an oncoming rain cloud is both breathtaking and humbling. If there are accompanying thunderclaps, you have been favoured with a breathtaking  presentation by nature. Also, you can have more of Yercaud to yourself on weekdays compared to weekends, which draw maximum visitors from the plains.

Perched atop many hills are lookout points like Pagoda Point, Lady’s Seat, Shevroy Temple. They all offer a breathtaking view of the plains below and hills around. Fortune here must favour you with a partial holding back of wispy clouds. A view from these points at night can be yet another exhilarating experience. Sadly, these places have piles of rubbish. Each point is a mute spectator to our careless, insensitive littering of plastic and other garbage.

But, the beauty of this place is still very much there, intact and splendid. Testimony to this thought are a number of architectural delights like the a vintage building from British Raj era that still stands here. There also various Christian institutions abound the area — immaculately maintained structures aged over a 100 years with gardens and grounds maintained with discipline, dedication and rare aesthetics. 

Yeracud is also home to well established, age-old schools, which have seen generations from towns and cities coming to this place, seeking education. Open, spacious, admirable buildings house classrooms and vast playgrounds that truly could produce a sound mind in a sound body. A walk to the Montfort School or The Don Bosco grounds with its famed lookout point and Sundial will provide ample exposure to the zeal and enthusiasm with which these antique structures and grounds have been preserved. The local population is helpful and welcoming enough to guide you to many spots of interest, eating places and even the local blacksmith, if you need to get yourself some handcrafted garden implements.

Prized place for plants

Talking about gardens, for all those plant lovers, Yercaud is yet another paradise. If ferns — those wild ones sticking out from rocky outcrops are your passion, this place will steal your heart and tempt you to clamber up the jagged slopes for a closer look. Well-run private nurseries nestle around tiny cottages. The government run nurseries especially are worth a visit and have an astounding variety or ornamental, medicinal plants, orchids, forest and fruit tree saplings.

Prices are reasonable and the miscellany not easily available elsewhere. The botanical garden managed by the Botanical Survey of India is a prized location, dedicatedly maintained and sheltered. It contains the rare ‘Pitcher Plant’ known to be carnivorous. Speckled on the hill slopes are also outlets offering products like powders, pills, perfumes, herbal medicines and preparations developed to confront and tackle anything from a simple toothache to migraine or more complicated afflictions.

Having vacationed and inhaled the clean crisp air, there is much faltering in the decision to leave and drive down the hill. At the end of your stay, you will feel closer to heaven. And it’s never far away. It’s here, just about 5000 ft above sea level.