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Old 4th January 2007, 18:48   #1
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Default Trip to and Trekking in Yelagiri

Trip to and Trekking in Yelagiri.

Yelagiri.... probably the hill station closest to Chennai (counting out Tirupathi). A hill station which many have heard and not many have visited. We (wife and I) decided to make a visit but more for trekking than as a hill resort.

Yelagiri is about 220 kms from Chennai and on the Chennai / Bangalore Highway. Its about 22 kms from Vaniyambadi. If by train, you get off at Jolarpet. Its about 30 kms from Jolarpet.

Day-1

We left Chennai at 11:00 AM and reached Yelagiri at around 02:30 in the afternoon.

Yelagiri consists of 3 main villages and hosts of hamlets. The main villages are Athanavur, Mangalam and Nilavur. Yelagiri is at a elevation of 1400 mts above MSL. The climb consists of 14 hair pins bends and offering a fairly consistent drive.

Yelagiri boasts only a few hotels and we chose one blindly. We ended up in school turned resort. For a tariff of Rs.1800 per night, it was quite expensive.

The first evening we explored a man made lake in the center of the town. The lake was more of a Collection Pond than a lake per se. Neverthless, it offers some boat rides and a pleasant garden to walk around.
Yelagiri offers few trekking routes only since it consists of only 4 major hillocks. For day-2, we planned to trek to a place called 'Jalagamparai'. Jalagamparai is a small water fall situated in the plains. You have to trek all the way down and you have an option to take a bus back to the hill. We fixed a guide to take us the next morning.

Day-2.

The guide was to come at 07:30 Am and he turned up at 09:00. He reeled off 100 excuses for postponing and later we found out he had some other work to do. We ditched that guy and fixed another old man to take us. The deal was to trek down and also trek up. The total distance was around 16 kms both ways.

We finally started around 10:00 AM. We walked to Athanavur and then plunged into the hillside. Yelagiri has quite a spread of virgin forest. The shrub jungle consists mostly of Lantana bushes. Cultivation is also plentiful and consists of Sesame Seeds and other pulses.

We quickly went past the civilization and entered the forest. Half the distance was on near level ground. We were criss crossing the stream which eventually comes down as the waterfall. As the level of water was low, we were able to cross with ease. The second half was fairly steep climb down. We reached the foothills at 12:00 Noon taking 2 hours for the trek.

After a short break we started the climb up. The hill side is mostly rocky creating strong radiation heat. We managed to climb the steep portion taking about 1 1/2 hours. Then we took a diversion and headed towards Nilavur village. The route took us through a series of hamlets. We stopped at many places and chatted with village women. Most striking feature was all the villages were extremely clean. And the people wonderfully friendly. They were quite amused to see a lady (my wife) walking and we willing to pay to walk their countryside. We reached the resort late in the afternoon doing around 20 kms that day.

Day - 3.

We wanted to explore the other side of the hills and visit a hill top shrine. The place is called 'Swami Malai'. There is a road to the base of the climb but we preferred a walk all the way from the resort. The trek up Swami Malai was mixed. The path was through thick Lantana bush forest. Being a Shrine, they have laid stone steps half the way. Climbing the stone steps was most painful. The steps cause angular movement of the limbs which is painful and irritating. Finally we reached the top and the villagers have built a small temple underneath a huge rock. This place offers a panaromic view of the Yelagiri hills and the nearby Javathu Hills. We turned back doing around 10 kms for the day.

With nothing else to see, we left for Chennai around 02:30 PM.
Yelagiri is small but still unspoilt. It is still a overgrown village. But charming. Yelagiri offers some amount of bird watching too. With even common birds disappearing from Cities, we could see Drongos, Sparrows (what did you last a see a common house sparrow ?), Fly Catchers, Thrushes etc. And lots of Butterflies. While, Yelagiri habitats Bears, we neither saw or heard of any recent citings.

The trip was 3 days of nice drive by car and excellent medium intensity trekking.

My Baleno was a pleasure and gave an FE of 14.75 for the entire trip (400 highway and 170 city).
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Old 5th January 2007, 12:44   #2
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Nice Trip Subbu, i always like Yelagiri as quiet weekend getaway from Blr...Although I am yet to do the trek, will do it next time...You always get attracted to the nice virgin jungle...

In my last two visits we stayed in Yelagiri Hills Country Club in the first visit (in 2005 by bike) and in Hotel hills in the second (in 2006 by car)...
I suggest guys to put up Hotel hills nice place...Also dont have food inside the hotel have in joints opp to the hotel (they make awesome dosas)

Abhi
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Old 5th January 2007, 12:46   #3
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BTW: Where are the pics?
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