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Yelagiri

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Revision as of 10:39, 23 May 2007 by 125.17.15.98 (talk) (Trekking)
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Yelagiri

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Yelagiri (also spelt Elagiri on some signboards) is a city in Tamil Nadu, a state in the south of India.

Yelagiri, at a height of 920 mt above sea level, stands majestically amidst four mountains. This is a hill station with a salubrious climate prevailing throughout the year so that winters do not keep visitors away. The main inhabitants of the area are the tribals who live in the 14 small villages which comprise Yelagiri. These tribals are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc. - all the occupations of rural hill folk, in short. Their customs and habits, and especially the structure of their houses is unique and attracts a number of tourists to this hill station.

Get in

Driving from Bangalore

Yelagiri is about 170 Kms from Bangalore, 210 Kms from Chennai (Madras) good for a 4 hour bike ride with breaks along the way. Take the NH7 out of Bangalore towards Hosur, turn towards Chennai (onto NH46) at Krishnagiri and continue until you get just before Vaniyambadi. You can see the Hills from quite a distance (on your right). From a break in the highway that comes approx 2kms after the toll gate, turn right into the underpass road that takes you to Tirupathur. Continue some 5 Kms and at Ponneri Junction take a left to Yelagiri Hills. The routes are all marked with signboards in English.

Driving from Chennai

Yelagiri is about 250 km from Chennai. Take the Poonamalee High Road out of the City to Ponamalee Town. From Poonamalee, take the Bangalore highway towards Vellore. The distance to Vellore is about 135 kms and the route passes through Sriperumbudur, Walajapet and Katpadi. Vellore would be a good place to plan a break, there are a lot of eating places right on the highway. From Vellore continue on to Ambur and then towards Vaniyambadi. Take a left at Vaniyambadi and another left at Ponneri towards Yelagiri. The roads are well punctuated with signboards in English, and the roads expecially the Chennai-Vaniyambadi stretch are excellent(in 2007)

There are 14 hair pin bends on the ghat road from Ponneri to Yelagiri and the road is pretty narrow so you can't actually park a car to enjoy the view except at some of the wider hair pin bends, bikes won't have this problem though.

By Train

If you are coming by Train from Bangalore, Chennai or Coimbatore you have to get down at Jolarpettai Junction.


Public Transport

If you prefer to take public transport buses are going from Thirupattur and Jolarpet. You can take Taxi also from these places. You can negotiate for about 350 INR (2005) to drop you in Yellagiri Hills from Jolarpettai Junction.


Please note there are no petrol stations in Yelagiri, thus you have to fillup the tank at the last available petrol station in the plains (there's an HP pump just outside Ponneri). Except for a few tyre changers there are no vehicle repair shops in the hills.

Also, please take your first-aid kit along with your regular medicines if any with you. There are no medical shops or doctors in the hills, except a government primary health centre. The nearest medical facility is available in Thirupattur only

Get around

As for getting around you may have to make your own arrangement for commuting in the hills. There are a few auto-rickshaws seen, but not sure whether they have come from the plains on some errand. But it is a great place for trekkers.

Each village has a Murugar Temple, small and big. At Nilavoor there is a devi temple for Kadavu-Nachiyar, which opens for puja only on fridays between 11.00 and 12.00 in the mornings. The villagers around believe this Goddess as very powerful and throng the place in good numbers on fridays.

See

On the ghat road, after a few hair pin bends, there is a sort of an observatory, with a telescope pointing towards the plains. It is difficult to park a car here owing to the narrow roads. Bikes should be fine...

Do

Trekking

• Swami Malai, (not to be confused with the town of Swamimalai, near Kumbakonam) the highest peak, soaring to 4,338 ft from Mangalam, a hamlet at its base, takes the cake. Its an easy climb of about an hour with infrequent breaks (about a 1000 foot climb). Smaller peaks with quaint names like Javadi Hills, Palamathi Hills and others are an easier climb. Start early though and be back before 9 am, for once the sun climbs up it can get rather uncomfortable.

• Jalagamparai Waterfalls: Jalagamparai water falls is a 5 km trek from Yelagiri downhill. Its a tough trek, but the view from the sides of the mountain, of the valley, is truly rewarding. April probably is not a good time to visit the falls, as there is no water this time of the year.Recently (19/05/07) we visited this place. There is no water in the falls. We were told by the tea shop owner that there is no water in this falls for the past 5 years. The tourist taxt operator may give you false information that recently there were some rain in this area and you may have water in the falls. His objective is to get money for the number of kilometers he runs the vehicle and not tourists interest and pleasure. Just check this with some bodybefore you make a trip to this place.Other wise it is a waste trip.Especiially if you go in the hot sun between 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. you will get headache. At the same time if one is interested in seeing the villages and the green pastures around you may like it. Next to the falls there is a temple at the top. We could not go to the temple, since we have already visited a similar murugan temple in Yelagiri may be few steps lesser than this temple at jalagmparai falls.

Boating on Punganur Lake

• It is an artificial lake, excavated in an area of 57 sq mt. The Elagiri Hills Development and Tourism Promotion Society runs the Boat Club, with pedaling and rowing boats. There is a newly laid flori cultural garden with a pathway along the bund with a panoramic view of the lake on one side and the garden on the other. A connecting bridge leads the pathway around the lake. The pathway around the lake is particularly good for birding. There is also a small watch tower constructed next to a tree and can be climbed. Recently (19/05/07) we visited this lake. It is so stinky. We found many dead fishes in the pond. There is another lake the government is making up like a dam. I think it will take atleast one year to get a final shape.

Science / Educational

• Vainu Bappu Solar Observatory (Elagiri): One of the largest solar observatories, it is situated in Kavalur, located 35 km from Thiruppathur, near Elagiri. Prior permission is required to visit this observatory. • Farm visits: Rose farms provide an interesting detour.

For Kids:

• A well laid out park on a 6 acre land adjacent to the lake, is established with varieties of children's play areas installed within the park. There is also a small zoo.But we could not see any animals there when we visited in January 2006.

Buy

There is nothing special to purchse in Yelagiri, except home grown honey. But you should be sure of the quality before purchasing the same. The weekly market (Shandy) assembles in Athanavoor on fridays. Again you will find the usual modern cheap plastic wares from the plains are sold, along with a few agricultural products from the hills.

Eat

Food is not a problem in Yelagiri, except if you are on trekking. Otherwise there are number of eateries offering south/north indian food at reasonable rates. Branded soft drinks and water bottles available. Look out for jackfruit - this area has plenty of it available especially in the summer months, and the fruit here is considered very good.

Drink

Carry your own as its difficult to get these locally. Some restaurants sell Beer.

Sleep

A number of hotels big and small are available in Athanavoor and Nilavoor in Yelagiri. There is an Y.M.C.A. in the hills, offering dormitary accommodation.YMCA is very good. It is 5 kms away from Athanavur. They have got a good hostel.Good double bed room accomodation with a balcony as sit out. The area is very big with good vegetation around. You can find mangoes just climbing down in all the mango trees. You can easily pluck it from your hand. You can find rose flowers all round in a variety of colours.There is a chapel. This is build by some christian father at YMCA, I do not remember his name. It is very good. A shady rock place about 200 meters above the ground level. They have constructed some steps to reach the top. It is not too hight.Prayers are conducted here.Very nice place to relax. They serve very good food. If you want non-vegitarian you have to inform them in advance on what you want. They prepare and give it to you in hot pack box.The charges are very very nominal. Of all the staff at the YMCA are very friendly and cooperative. They sell good Honey @ rate of Rs.95/- per 500 gram bottle. Strerling resorts have their branch in Athanavoor. There are also a few homestays though these are unlikely to be listed online. The rates for hotel accommodation range from Rs.500/-to Rs.1800/- per room.

Get out

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