Yercaud is a hill station in Salem District, in Tamil Nadu, India. It located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats; the Yercaud hill area is called the Shevaroy Hills. It is situated at an altitude of 1515 metres (4970 ft) above sea level. Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance apart from bananas, pears and jackfruit. Scenically, Yercaud is as enchanting and picturesque as the hill stations on the Western ghats and trekking here can be one of the most pleasurable ways to pass time.
GETTING INTO YERCAUD
The nearest Airports Kamalapuram, Omalur [no service ] (30 km) Trichy (163 km), Banglore(230 km) and Coimbatore (190 km). All are connected to Chennai (Madras).
The nearest Railway station is Salem Junction[SA] (35 km).
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PLACES TO VISIT
- Yercaud Town – The Yercaud town is situated at an altitude of 1515 metres above sea level. The Taluk headquarters is in Yercaud. The town has a number of seminaries and convents where brothers and sisters of various religious orders have their training schools. The Montfort School and Sacred Heart Convent are famous in the country. There is a large native Shandy (bazaar) every Sunday and a smaller one on Wednesdays, where vegetables (Chiefly native produce) and fruits are sold.
- The Big Lake Or Emerald Lake – The first thing one sees as you enter the Yercaud town is this placid lake in a wonderful surrounding of hills and natural shoals. Also a beautifully landscaped garden on one bank. It has boating facility. This lake is the only natural lake among all the hill station lakes in the South. A floating fountain is constructed by MALCO , at the center of the lake. The lake is surrounded by a “Deer Park” and “ leisure park” and “Tamil Nadu Hotel”. Boat services are available at reasonable rate [ Rs. 75 /- for 2 seats and Rs. 95 /- for 4 seats ]. Self Pedaling [ 15 min ] and Rowing boats [ 30 min ] are available. You have to pay the same amount as caution deposit. The safety measures are followed strictly. The minimum time can be spent : 20 min. The Natural shoal seen around the Petrol Bunk, Round Tana and adjoining the Anna Park are about the oldest shoals of natural species of trees that one can see around the Shevaroys. Another shoal of this type can be seen adjoining the Orchidarium. In the interests of conservation this last stronghold of original trees should be preserved and replenished for the future.
- Deer Park – Situated in the Lake. Suitable for Kids to playground. It will be closed by 5.00 p.m.
- Anna Park – The park is situated next to the Lake. It is typical park used to host the “Flower Show” in the month of May. The “Japanese Park” inside Anna Park is a must see. Children can play around and elders can take rest. The entrance ticket will be Rs. 2/- for adult and Rs 10 /- for Camera. The minimum time can be spent : 30 min for laymen.
- Arthur Seat – A bird’s eye view of the Big Lake, Yercaud Town and the Shevaroyan Peak is available from this vantage point, which is reached by taking the steep road going north from the centre point of town 1 km from town.
- Lady’s Seat, Gent’s Seat and Children’s Seat – This is a cluster of Rocks on the South West of the Yercaud hills over looking the ghat road and the town of Salem to the South. There is a natural rock formation in the form of a seat where reportedly a white English Lady of yeaster years spent her evenings viewing the magnificent panorama before ones eyes. There is a sheer drop of about 200 feet at this point into a private estate in the valley below. There is a man made viewing tower with Telescopes. One can see the magnasite deposits on the plains and on clear days a view of Mettur Dam. One should not miss the night view of the Salem town with millions of twinkling lights. On the right of Lady’s Seat are Sterling Resorts, Gents Seat and Children’s Seat. There is a mini park and it is a breath taking spot for a picnic. 2 km from town.
- Orchidarium-Botanical Survey of India – This is one of two orchidariums run by the Botanical survey of India. It has a large collection of native orchids. One can see the rare Ladies Slipper, an insect eating Orchid. A rare tree Shevaroys Bombax which was reported on one of the private estates has also been identified and multiplied in this farm. A treat for plant lovers. Botanical garden is closed during Saturday, Sunday and National holidays.
- A “Bell Rock” in the BSI campus makes bell sound when you hit with stone. You have to climb to reach the rock. The entrance ticket will be Rs. 3/- for adult and Rs 10 /- for Camera. It remain closed on Sundays and National Holidays. The minimum time can be spent : 25 min for laymen few days for Nature lovers.
- Horticulture Farm – It has “Rose Garden” and “Children Seat”. The Rose Garden is filled with various verities of Roses from Button Rose to Very Big Rose. A “Green Rose” plant is grown along with beautiful rose plants. Saplings of various plants are available at reasonable price. The entrance ticket will be Rs. 2/- for adult and Rs 10 /- for Camera. The minimum time can be spent : 35 min for laymen few days for Nature lovers.
- Silk Farm & Rose Garden – One can see the cultivation of Mulberries, the growing of silk worms and the method of spinning silk. The Silk Farm (go little ahead from Lady’s seat and take a mud road on the right) does not allow outsiders The season for breeding is during monsoons. The Rose Garden – one can see a good collection of colourful Roses and also purchase nursery plants from here 2 km from town.
- Pagoda Point – This lies on the Eastern side of the Yercaud hills and is also known as Pyramid Point. The name comes from the hill tribes having made four piles of random stones in a Pagoda or Pyramid formation reportedly to mark some event. Today there is a Rama Temple which lies between these Pagodas. One can get a grand view of Attur and Ayothiapattinam from this picnic spot. 5 km from town.
- Montfort School – Montfort School was established in 1917 in Yercaud by the untiring effort of Bro.Denis. The school was named after the founder of the Order of St.Gabriel. St.Louis Marie Grignoin de Montfort. Its vast campus with attractive buildings, spacious play grounds, well planned and beautiful gardens, and a swimming pool which is the envy of all the schools in the South.
- Retreat – The Retreat belongs to a Religious Society founded by St.Don Bosco (1815-1888). The Saint wanted his spiritual son, popularly known as Salesians of Don Bosco, to work for the poor land abandoned youth through schools, technical institutes, agricultural and trade schools. The Retreat serves as a Novitiate house where students of the religious order stay and study.
- Kiliyur Falls – This delightfully breathtaking water falls is 3 km from the Yercaud Lake and should be visited after the South West or North East Monsoon. The surplus water from the Yercaud Lake and the other reaches of the Shevaroys Hills fall deep into the Kiliyur Valley in a breath taking 300 feet fall. The views from the bottom and top of the falls are breathtaking. The view from the top of the falls into the Valley is heart stopping. The path to the falls is now an easy trek on a concrete path that was recently constructed (as on 2nd October 2011). Anyone should be able to trek to falls now, since iron stairs have been put up at the steep paces, about 250 steps down the concrete and steel stairway. Rethink with old people and small kids. The parking point is 3km from town and it is another 2km trek from there. In dry season, it is completely dry. It also provides a beautiful view of the valley.
- Sri Raja Rajeswari Temple – This is said to be the Goddess of all Gods in the Hindu Pantheon and by praying to her one can attain wealth and prosperit and be elevated to higher levels of spirituality. This temple was founded by Tirukovilur Thapovanam Srila Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigals Parampara Disciple HH Swami Poornananda Giri in the year 1983 and now succeeded by his son V Sri. In this temple the Godess Sri Raja Rajeswari is seen surrounded by a plethora of Gods.
- Shevarayan Temple – The Shevarayan is a flat-topped hill with a plateau. The view from the summit on all sides is magnificent, one looks down on a mass of mountains and hills far and near, with the plains spread out like a map between the Shevaroys and the nearest hills. The Yercaud town and Nagalur is well seen from this hill. The Shervarayan Temple is situated at the top of this hill. It is dedicated to Lord Shervaroyan. The temple itself is a narrow and dark cave and seated inside are God Shervarayan and Goddess Kaveri representing the Shervaroyan Hills and the river Kaveri. The annual festival in the month of May is a colour event in which thousands of tribal people of the hill take part.
- Bears Cave – This is a private property to which one does not have access except with permission. The old European Bungalow was once owned by Norton a famous Criminal lawyer of Chennai. Adjoining this bungalow is a cave which goes deep into the hill. After the first 60 feet or so one has to go down on all fours to proceed further in.
- The Grange – This is one of the oldest buildings in Yercaud, built some time in the 1820’s MD Cockburn the then Collector established the first commercial plantation in this area and planted Coffee, Oranges, Apples and other fruit trees brought from South Africa. The other coffee plantations in Tamil nadu are said to have originated from this humble beginning. During the Sepoy Mutiny, great efforts were made to strengthen the roof and ramparts were built with Gun emplacements and 3 Canons were mounted at vantage points. A large cellar was made to hold provisions for about 6 months in case there was a long siege and the Europeans of the Area had to hold off insurgents. Well this never happened and all was peaceful during those years. There is a well planned and executed Resort alongside the Grange, set amidst coffee & Orange plantations and Silver Oak Trees, a delightful get away for the well heeled traveller.
- Fairholme Bungalow – One of the many colonial bungalows on Tipperary road that are well maintained to this day. It is complete with antique furniture that takes one back to the days of tea parties and hunting. It is currently being run as a heritage hotel and is open to visitors.
- Heaven’s Ledge – A Scenic west-facing cliff that has beautiful views of the sunset. It is situated in “Gowri Estate” on the loop road and has been converted into a campsite to promote sustainable tourism.
- Kottachedu Teak Forest – The hills tribes who cultivated these lands are said to have abandoned this area after plague struck the area. These lands were than utilized by the Government for a Teak Wood plantation. Vaniar River passes through this Teak forest and leads to the Vaniar Dam. Bisons are frequently seen in the Teak Forest. 11 km from town.
- Bears Hill – This hill is the one diagonally adjacent to Monfort on the South Eastern side of Yercaud. It also lies to the East of Sacred Heart Convent; one gets a panoramic view of the portion of Yercaud covered with Schools and Seminaries. 2 km from Yercaud Town.
- Tipperary View Point – One can reach this southern most view point of Yercaud by taking the Tipperary Road. From there one can see the Elephant Tooth Rocks. Which are reportedly said to be the remnant of a meteorite which fell to earth. It is pure white rock compared to the Black Granite available on these hills. The Estate adjoining known as Tipperary Estate was once a posh hotel catering to the elite of British India from 1930 to 1940. The night view from this spot-with the lights of Salem in the distance is mesmerizing. 2 km from town.
- White Elephant Tooth – One is on the Southern Spur of the Shevaroys below the villages of Guntur and the other is in the east overlooking the Ghat road, above the 60′ bridge. The larger one next to Guntur has two rocks about 120′ high and consists of pure white quartz, which is in stark contrast to the greenery around and the black of the granite available around. Easy to climb up but hard to climb down as the material is soft and crumbles beneath your feet. 9 km from town, it is a days trek up and down. Alternatively one can trek down to the plains and catch a bus to return to Yercaud. The Smaller one which can be reached on the short cut to the 60′ bridge from Tipperary Estate is said to have seen some Gold Mining Activity. It can be reached in about 2 hours time and from there another 1 hour to the ghat road, from which one could catch a bus to Yercaud or Salem.
The Yercaud boat house provides an ample opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the hilly terrain through boat riding which one shouldn’t miss when visiting Yercaud. The boat riding is available for minimal costs.
You can also do “Dirt Biking” in a place close to Grange Resorts. It is around 4 kms from the lake. Take the road to Pagoda point from Anna Park and it is carried out next to the T junction to the right. It is indeed an adventurous experience. There are different tracks available for the Dirt Biking and all of them are available at different rates. Rs 100 is charged for the basic ride and Rs 400 for a detailed one.It has fair varieties of Dirt biking bikes including one for kids.
Trek up a nearby hill. There are many you can find in the vincity. If you speak with a Resort/Plantation staff, you can trek in their private land.
one can buy natural oils, perfumes,coffee powder and skin care product from yercuad. they are really good and effective.
some good sellers are there like’Agathiar Herbarium’ founded by Former Prime Minister Shri,Chandra Shekhar on the way to Shervaroyan Temple and Bhavini’perfumes,on the way coming back from ladies seat. These oils are of extremely good Quality. The varoius oils can be used for Knee Pain, Joint pain and Hairfall. Ask any local person they will tell you the address for lots of this type of places.
Sarvana Bhavan Elite located very close to the main circle and lake provides excellent south indian food in the self service format, though a few tables are available to sit. Very hygienic and a reasonably priced restaurant. The quantity will be very less for each dish which you order. You may get a small rice bowl for 100/-.
Renowned for some of the best food in South India, The Regent Hill Side offers contemporary gourmet cuisine with a focus on the highest quality ingredients fresh from the local markets each day. The dinner menu changes daily with a starter, main course and a choice of two delicious desserts. The cuisine is predominantly poultry with influences from Italian & Sri Lankan; our chef is equally at home making some of the most delicious & innovative Indian curries, string hoppers and sambars.
Hotel Shevaroys has 3 restaurants serving multi-cuisine, Chinese and pure vegetarian (Hotel Malar) food respectively. Hotel Malar is not actually a hotel, but a restaurant and provides only a the very good south indian thali.
Capsicum fries are sold by roadside vendors by the lake. They look pretty formidable but are not hot to taste, only hot to touch. To be eaten hot from the pan only.
Next to the Yercaud lake, you will find a lot of pakoda kadaikal who sell Melaga Bhajji (Fried Green Chillies),Egg(Mutta) bonda with spicy chutney (Sauce). Nice and very cheap to eat. Also available are a lot of local tea shops and coffee bars where you can relish a hot cup of tea/ coffee.
There are a lot of Avacado, shops on the lake side. One can enjoy Avacado on the lake side.
Sleep. Stay Safe
There are plenty of scenic holiday cottages that are built on the hill slopes.
Check out Star holidays Inc which is just a mile away from the lake. This property is average and here cottage means a separate building and little else. The manager is a warm and helpful guy. The restaurant has a limited menu that gets further limited during low occupancy.
Hotel Shevaroys – honestly a nice resort with 3 restaurants, bar, super market, beauty parlour and rooms rents from Rs900/- to Rs4900/-. it’s a 15 acre property.
GRT Nature Trails – Sky Roca hotel is a lovely resort at the top of the mountain. Hotel is set into the hillside with great views of Salem. Includes a “glass bottom ” walkway, good restaurant.
GlenRock Estates – Near Pagoda Point . A fantastic coffee growing estate with other spices….In between this is where you stay , on Tree Houses , Tents & dormitories for co-orporate groups….all at an unbeatable price in Yercaud .
Hotel Grand palace is another popular hotel in Yercaud. Sterling Resorts also is a good place to stay with rich scenic beauty around the cottages
Hotel Tamilnadu located at a walkable distance near the lake, offers economic stay that can be booked online. The double rooms are old but well kept, though they could be managed in a better way. The restaurant offers tasty food and a complimentary breakfast for stay.
There are many good hotels available at Yercaud for nominal cost. You can also check out religious residences for simple and neat stay. [ belongs to Brothers, Sisters and Fathers of Christian Missionaries ]. Another option is that you can stay at Salem Town and reach Yercaud. But Night Stay at Yercaud is a pleasant experience.