Rewind Time at Yercaud

coffee estate, yercaud, tamilnadu

Imagine a place in the hills, where the wind sometimes wafts, sometimes freewheels. The mercury is too cautious to cross the 30th degree mark, and the homes are the old world. Where a thousand greens tinge the same hill. The forests become lakes and lakes become forests in a wink. And a dozen peaks take your eye to the furthest horizons. More than 173 years ago, Sir Thomas Monroe, the governor of erstwhile Madras Presidency, found such a place. Not enough has changed in Yercaud. Like many of its sisters, it has avoided the ravaging beast of urbanity. The whirls of smoke don’t choke its forest air, and time is sedentary. Yercaud resorts take pride in showcasing the antiquity of the place, giving you much to marvel at.

Yercaud Forest walk, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

Shevaroys for the Quaint Nature Lover

Nestled in the Shevaroys Range in Eastern Ghats, Yercaud is some 5,000 feet above sea level, and, luckily for the reserved, sparsely populated. The jewel of South India, it heavily contrasts the bustle and chaos of regional metropolises. Like many hill stations, it still retains its colonial buildings and institutions like the prestigious Montfort School, Fairholme Bungalow and Grange summer resort. Central to its charm is the Yercaud Lake, a silvery body of water lined by hills, dense parks, and natural shoals. When you’re not boating, the lake-side parks, which include The Botanical Garden and The National Orchidarium, offer irenic strolls.

yercaud lake, botanical garden yercaud, tamilnadu

Botanical Garden, Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by solarisgirl

The undulating landscape attracts trekkers from around the country to see the enchanting Kiliyur Falls empty into the valley below as it swells with the waters of Yercaud’s lakes. On the way to the highest point of Shevaroys Hills, where its famous temple stands, is the hill station’s oldest cottage, Norton’s Bungalow. Situated nearby, the Bear Cave is a short potholer’s journey of a few hundred metres.

High Points and Horticulture Delights

Yercaud hill station, yercaud, tamilnadu

Hill station in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

When the British developed this hill station, they introduced fruits to sustain its economy, a trade that still continues. Visitors to Yercaud can stroll through its citrus fruit groves, banana plantations and coffee estates, where the coffee bloom dots the forests with white flowers in fairy-tale effect. The plantations transport you to old-time India, where regional cultures blended seamlessly with borrowed British idiosyncrasies.

Coffee estate in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by V.v

During the time of the British, trekking to Yercaud Hills’ vantage points wasn’t uncommon for both men and women. The topography is home to old and new temples and fascinating places to visit in Yercaud that you may stumble into. East of the hills lies the popular Pagoda Point, where the sun drowns in into the vast, dense jungles of Yercaud edging towards the brightly-lit Salem city – a breathtaking sight for an evening picnic with friends and family, where you can indulge in archery after your picnic, depending on the Yercaud hotels you may be staying. Like Pagoda Point, these hills are home to many other vantage points: Tipperary Viewpoint, Karediyur viewpoint, Arthur’s Seat and Lady’s Seat, which aristocratic British women had been known to visit. A short distance from Lady’s Seat is Yercaud’s renowned Silk Farm and Rose Garden, both popular attractions that immerse you in the artistry of nature and man.

yercaud hill station, tamilnadu

Hill station in Yercaud, Tamilnadu – Image via Flickr by Joseph Jayanth

Because that is really what a holiday in Yercaud is all about: witnessing the endearing relationship between its few residents and its overwhelming nature. Whether you’re starting from Chennai, Hyderabad or Bangalore to Yercaud, your travel will be comfortable thanks to the fine roads.

 

This is a guest post by Nanditha, who is a travel writer by profession and works with HolidayIQ. She is a lover of world cultures, languages, and food, and guides travelers to make travel adventurous with her experience.
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Alleppey Grows More Beautiful When it Rains

Backwaters, Alleppey, Kelara

Rabindranath Tagore regarded monsoon as the ‘queen’ of all seasons. If you visit Alleppey in the monsoon you’ll no way but agree with the great poet. The wild beauty of Mother Nature bathed in monsoon rain is simply a treat to the eyes that you’ll cherish forever.

Alleppey or Alappuzha in Kerala is located 70 km south of Cochin, the major port city in Western India. The place is famous for its lush greenery and tranquil backwaters. Due to its numerous lakes and canals creating a network of waterways Alleppey is popularly called the “Venice of the East”.

Backwaters, Alleppey, Kelara, Monsoon Travel
Alleppey backwaters – Image: kvtholidays.com

How to Reach

The district of Alappuzha or Alleppey is well-connected to most of the important southern cities via railway networks. There are direct trains from Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.

The NH47 connects Alleppey with other cities including Cochin, Bangalore and Chennai. You’ll find direct bus services operating from Cochin to Alleppey regularly. There are overnight luxury buses to Alleppey from Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore.

The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport. After you land in Cochin take a train or bus to Alleppey.

Things to do

Though there are ferry services available, for a perfect leisure trip cruising in the backwaters on a houseboat is a must do. It is, perhaps, the best way to observe and enjoy the divine beauty of Alleppey. In addition to its scenic landscapes Alleppey’s rich cultural heritage is a major tourist attraction.

St Mary’s Church in Champakulam and Sreekrishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha are famous for their religious sanctity as well as architectural grandeur.

Watching the traditional snake boat race held in August and September every year is a bonus for travelling Alleppey in the monsoon. If you want a closer look to the boat race rent a boat instead of standing in the crowd on the banks.

Nehru Trophy, Snake Boat Race, Alleppey, Kerala, Monsoon Travel
Nehru Trophy Snake Boat Race – Image: mavaraholidays.com

When you feel tired after a daylong sightseeing trip, pay a visit to Krishnendu Ayurveda Wellness Center near Alleppey for a rejuvenating herbal spa treatment.

Alappuzha Beach is a perfect place for a quiet hangout in the light of setting sun. Take a stroll along the promenade and have a cup of coffee with your companion at the Indian Coffee House while watching countless waves breaking on the shore.

Where to Stay

Alleppey thrives on eco-tourism. It houses a number of nature resorts and hotels. Located in secluded beaches these resorts are surrounded by tropical plants and coconut trees. The green rice fields nearby create a vista that soothes the tired eyes of urban travelers. Keeping in harmony with their environment the cottages are built in traditional Kerala fisherman’s hut style featuring thatched roofs and open courtyards. You can also stay in the beautifully adorned houseboats where you get to savor some delicious Malayalam dishes during your stay.

House boat in Alleppey, Boat house, Alleppey, Kerala, Backwaters, Monsoon
House boat in Alleppey – Image: alleppeybackwaters.com

Responsible travel

As part of your nature travel in Alleppey you should maintain the following etiquette as a responsible traveler. Respect the sanctity and cleanliness of the place.

  • Don’t throw away plastic bottles, wrappers and other non-biodegradable materials into the water or in the fields. Rather you should keep all your disposables in a plastic carry bag and drop it only in the garbage.
  • Don’t drop anything, not even food items, into the water during your cruise in the backwaters. You may get fined for this.
  • Don’t lean too much to touch the water. It may unbalance the boat and cause accident.

Monsoon, lasting from June to September, is typically a season in which most tourists avoid Alleppey because of heavy rainfall and water logging in the streets.  Those who have the courage to face these odds are sure to have a rewarding experience. Another advantage of visiting Alleppey in the monsoon is that you may get discounts on booking hotels.