Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vandy travels to Yelagiri

I was itching to make a trip out of Chennai, after a planned trip with friends to Pondy fell apart.I was thinking about Tranquebar, but after I roped in my Mom into this impulse trip, she suggested Yelagiri. I researched both places , and it seemed like Yelagiri was a better choice for chillaxing, and so that’s where we finally went.

It took us about 4.5 hours of drive from Chennai,with a half-hour stop at Saravana Bhavan,Velur for breakfast. I booked a driver for our car, since I wasn’t used to driving highways or hills. He let me drive on the highways from Porur to Velur,teaching the zen like code of conduct followed by highway drivers, compared to rash city drivers.Somehow,my  mom managed to  maintain a facade of calm, while I learned to weave between tanker lorries and buses  at 100kmph:)

Views from the resort
 I booked the Taj Zeenat Resorts based on favourable net reviews and the reasonable prices they charged.And it ended up meeting all my expectations.The resort consists of  11 and a half acres of beautiful  garden and forest, with  basic cottages thrown in.Awesome food was also provided at the resort,which made it very convenient,since there are not too many  good restaurants in Yelagiri.The only negative would be the slow service,but that didn't bother me since I just came to Yelagiri to relax.

Yelagiri itself is a charming hill station,an unassuming poor cousin to the Queen(Ooty) and the Princess(Kodai).It luckily hasn’t yet fallen prey to over commercialisation found in the popular stations, making it a haven for people who just want to get away from the madding crowds.On the other end,you don’t even have a petrol  station or good food choices in Yelagiri,so be prepared for it.It’s just a place to go if you want some peace and calm among the beautiful hills.

@Puganoor Lake
 After a great lunch and some rest we headed out to the Puganoor Lake.The lake is a popular spot for boating,and is surrounded by a park with a separate play area for kids.If you have lots of time to kill,boating could be an option.It doesn’t cost much,and the place is mostly empty,except on weekends.

@Nature Park

We moved onto The Nature Park,just a few km from the lake.This spot definitely deserves a visit,and if you have time to see only one spot in Yelagiri,this is it.A very well maintained park,with scores of flowers,trees,rock gardens and fountains.The only minor irritant here would be the occasional ‘louu jodis’ in the park. They seemed quite restrained in their PDA in the park(compared to Chennai at least),but irritatingly felt the need to mark their love on plant leaves and rocks with eternal proclamations of love.I’d rather they have their PDA,and leave those poor plants alone!

The rest of the evening was spent in with pleasant chit chats with my Mom and reading Dork on the park swing of the garden in the resort.Total bliss! After an excellent dinner,I completed reading the rest of Dork and had a wonderful nap.

The next day was just spent lazing around in the resort,enjoying the pleasant weather,and stuffing ourselves with the awesome food. I also managed to squeeze in a short trek to the top of a nearby hillock with a guide,in midst of all this obvious decadence.

We left for Chennai at 12 pm,and made it in by 4 pm.A halt at Ambur for biriyani in between,just gave the finishing touches to a perfect day.

Vandy's Travel Tips:
  • Yelagiri is a good choice for people from Chennai(250 km)/Bangalore(160 km)  who just want to be in the hills and enjoy the pleasant weather(18-25 degree C).Not too many places to see or things to do.
  • Trekker’s delight with multiple trekking options.I enjoyed my short trek,and next time I’m taking the Swami Malai trek from Mangalam at sunrise.
  • Food choices are not too many,so it might be better to eat in the hotel/resort that you stay in.
  • I would definitely recommend Zeenat Taj Resorts as a mid-range accomodation option  with a price tag of Rs 1500(+12.5% tax) for a cottage.You can get yummy home cooked food for a decent price tag of around Rs 450(lunch,breakfast,dinner). Service will be slow,but who cares have all the time in the world here :)
  • If you’re planning on driving here,fill up your petrol/diesel before you climb up the Yelagiri hills.
  • The forest honey and jack fruit sold here is a worthwhile buy.
  • Recommended travel website: