If you are looking for a weekend getaway from Bangalore that will have you hobnob with nature and yet not be a very long drive, Yercaud is the perfect destination for you. The added bonus of driving down to this place is that a small detour on the way will bring you to Hogenakkal Falls.
Places of interest
Nestled in Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats, near Salem, Tamilnadu is a quintessential hill station Yercaud. Yercaud in Tamil would mean Lake Forest (in Tamil “Yeri” means lake and “Kaadu means forest), a name that it rightfully owes to the presence of forests in the hills and the Big Lake in the middle of the town. The town is also full of coffee plantations and orange groves. If you are looking at rubbing shoulders with nature and taking a break from the humdrum life this is the place to be in. With nothing much to do you can rest assured you will get the break you deserve. The main attraction of this quaint hill station is the Big Lake situated right in the middle of the town.
A picturesque and scenic view awaits you at this lake. If you are looking at reliving some childhood memories like boating, savouring cotton candy or bhajji/ pakoras this is the right place for this. You can choose either a pedal boat or a rowboat and enjoy a ride on the silent water. Close to the lake is a park with a mini zoo of sorts which is ideal to visit if you are travelling with kids. Drive down to Shevaroy temple situated atop Servaroyan Hill to see the highest point in Yercaud. This place is supposedly 5,326 feet above sea level. Since I am not much of a temple goer we did not visit the temple that is dedicated to God Servaran and Goddess Kaveri, who are the local deities of Shevaroy hills and Cauvery River.
However the view of the hills from here was spellbinding. There are strategically located viewing points too that you can climb up to for a better view of the town. The other must-see places are Killiyur Falls, a 300 feet high waterfall and the Botanical Garden, which houses an orchidarium which unfortunately we did not visit as we wanted our holiday to move at a snail’s pace. Hogenakkal Falls, commonly referred to as Niagara Falls of India, are waterfalls on river Cauvery. It is not a single waterfall but a series of waterfalls offering an overwhelming view especially right after monsoons when the river is brimming. You will not be able to resist an exclamatory remark when you see them. The Falls are a short walk from the parking area to the river. Here you will need to hire a coracle boat to reach the foot of Hognekkal Falls.
Given my fear of water it was bit of challenge for me to do this boat ride. But once I overcame the initial reservations, more so for the sake of my daughter (what all fears one can get over just to present a brave face in front of their children. Phew!), it was a smooth ride. In fact I’ll have to confess it was lot of fun as the boat rocked and tossed a little over the raging water. After a short ride the boatman will harbour at a point from where he will carry the boat and you will walk up few rocks to get your first view of these majestic falls. Oh! What a sight it was.
The torrential water gushing down the rocks in full fury, the roaring sound of falling water, the breeze carrying mild showers of water; it was a moment to savour. You need to get into the boat again and the boatman will take you through the beautiful river, snuggled between gigantic rocks. He may also take you under the mini waterfalls on the way, where you can drench yourself if you wish to. Also be ready to take a spin in your coracle boat as your boatman may show you an antic or two without a warning. After a ride through these waters it is time again to climb a few rocks, walk a short distance, wade through water a bit to reach the other side of the falls.
This side of the waterfalls too is majestic and you can imagine many movie songs being shot here. But this area may not offer you the serenity that you may be looking for, as here you may find a lot of people enjoying a picnic. When we were there some college goers were having a water splashing match, full desi style, boys versus girls. If you are not physically fit you may feel a bit tired at the end of this expedition as you need to walk back again before you can get some rest in the boat.
HOW TO GET THERE
BY ROAD Hogenekkal Falls are 180 km from Bangalore and only 46 km from Dharmapuri. You will see sign boards guiding you to reach the waterfalls from here.Yercaud is 227 km SE of Bangalore. It takes about 4 hours by road and makes for a perfect weekend getaway. Take NH7 to Omalur via Hosur, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri and then SH to Yercaud.
If doing nothing is your ruse then Yercaud is your perfect muse. If you have only a weekend to get away then spend some time in Yercaud amidst nature and check out Hogenakkal Falls to admire God’s beautiful creations. It’s a perfect place to unwind and get charged to return to routine life full-on.