Yercaud: the jewel of the Eastern Ghats

Yercaud is a popular tourist getaway in southern India
Image courtesy: ©Shutterstock/ jayk67

Nearly an hour’s drive uphill from the city of Salem is Yercaud, a small hill station in Tamil Nadu. One can beautifully spend a day at this former English colony, which is holding on to the old-world charm.

Braving 20 hairpin bends from the Salem Junction Railway Station post an overnight train journey from Mahabalipuram, I reached Yercaud, a small and misty hill station in Tamil Nadu. Known for its coffee and spice plantations, Yercaud is an ideal destination for a blissful vacation amidst the beauty and tranquillity of nature. The hill station’s Tamil name was spruced up to Yercaud (yeri – lake, kaad – forest).

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Image courtesy: ©Supriya Aggarwal

Rested at 4,500 ft in the Shevaroy Hills of the Eastern Ghats, its unhurried pace is perfect to curl up with a book, go for walks, admire nature or do nothing. But the small and quiet hill station has enough to keep one occupied including boating, off-roading, plantation trails, stunning viewpoints, old colonial structures, gardens, parks and more.

Image courtesy: ©Supriya Aggarwal

My first encounter with Yercaud after a hearty lunch was the Loop Road. An Englishman traced the 32-km road in 1824 and since it starts and ends at the Yercaud Lake, hence the name loop road. As the car drove at nearly 20kmph, the pepper vines went passing by and the stunning view of the Eastern Ghats was unparalleled.

Image courtesy: ©Supriya Aggarwal

The sun’s rays started softening as I reached the Tipperary Estate, a heritage bungalow, which also organises daylong trips to its estate. I saw the most beautiful sunset from the porch of the bungalow, which also gives an amazing view of the Salem city downhill.

Image courtesy: ©Supriya Aggarwal

After an aromatic cup of strong black coffee and a walk around the estate, I spent some silent moments at the Big Lake. Also known as the Emerald Lake, the Big Lake is a human-made lake and is surrounded by natural, scenic beauty of the hills.

Image courtesy: ©Supriya Aggarwal

While I would have loved to do some introspection, it was time to witness the pristine serenity of 184-year-old sacred site – Holy Trinity Church with the backdrop of sun going down the horizon.

Yercaud can be good filler between two destinations during a long southern sojourn. Having experienced the calmness of the place one would want to come again and again.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Supriya Aggarwal is a Delhi-based independent journalist with deep-rooted interests in travel, heritage, culture, and food writing. She also writes her thoughts and experiences on her weblog. More on: www.thehummingnotes.com