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Old 31st August 2007, 16:32   #1
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Default Yercaud Trip Report - August 2007

This was a three-day trip with my wife Sumi and my second son Bharat (who is just 7 months old). We started from Chennai on 20-Aug-2007 morning and reached Yercaud early in the afternoon. We had made advance reservation at Sterling, and stayed there for three days. Checked out on 23-Aug-2007 and drove down to Kerala directly from Yercaud. Our car: Wagon R Vxi 2005, Wine Red.

We had a great time. During our three days there, weather was generally cool, sometimes foggy, sometimes bright, sometimes rainy and sometimes windy.

More details..

This was our first visit to Yercaud. We started from our place (@Ashok Nagar, Chennai) at about 6:40 am, had breakfast at Data Udupi Hotel near Porur, and hit the highway at Poonamallee at 8 am.

We took the NH4/NH46/NH7 route to Salem. That is via Sriperumbudur-Vellore-Ambur-Krishnagiri-Dharmapuri. I have made a record of the timelines, trip meter readings and toll details in another post - please read it here : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/546521-post8.html

Upto Krishnagiri we were on the GQ (NH4 and NH46), and I don't need to tell you about the quality of the road. Here are some photos for those who haven't been on this road:



Isn't she a beauty!


We stopped for tea at 9:45, at 146.9 km on my trip meter:


Here is another shot of NH46:


After the dream drive till Krishnagiri, it wasn't fun driving on NH7 towards Salem. Four-laning was in progress in most places, and the condition of the existing road wasn't great. It was driveable, however, till thoppur. After Thoppur there is a bad stretch for some distance. Then, closer to Salem it is 4 lane and almost as good as the GQ.

We had lunch at the Reliance A1 Plaza about 20 km from Salem. I also filled the tank here.

As we approached Salem, we could see the Shevaroy hills on the left. Using our binoculars, we could even recognize Sterling Resorts on the hilltop (recognizing it was easy, having seen the resort's photographs earlier, and having located it in wikimapia before our trip). Sterling is located at Lady's Seat in Yercaud, and is probably the only building(s) in Yercaud that is built on the face of the hill overlooking the Salem valley. We couldn't wait to get there, as the views promised to be good!!

Once in Salem, we didn't have any difficulty in finding our way to Yercaud, as there were signboards along the way. Yercaud was about 25 km from Salem. It was a hot day, and Salem was hot. We hoped Yercaud would be better. To feel the change in climate, we turned off the AC and opened the windows.

The ghat road was in reasonably good condition and the views were excellent. It was a clear day. There were 20 hairpin bends on the way. The first one we passed as soon as we were on the ghats but most of the remaining ones came a long way after, almost near 1000m above sea level. Then they came in a series, one immediately after the other. Soon we were in coffee country! Coffee plantations on both sides with tall trees forming the canopy. The temperature fell considerably. And we could see the imposing and inviting hillside facade of sterling resorts on our way up.. and hoped we would get a room with a view there (and we did).

Here are some pics taken on the ghat road on our way up to Yercaud (some of them were taken on our way down on 23 Aug)..



A friend we met on the way..


Thankfully there were no potholes on the road..


A watch tower on the way


It was so green all around as we made our way up..

That's Sterling Resorts high up on the hills..


Sterling zoomed up close..


More images of the ghat road..

















We reached Yercaud and enquired our way to Sterling. At the Yercaud lake, we had to take a right and head towards Lady's Seat (which is a prominent view point in Yercaud, overlooking Salem). Sterling was located just next to the Lady's Seat view point.

They had a compact apartment ready for us, with a great balcony overlooking the valley. We could see the ghat roads, the hills and the plains from our apartment. What a view it was! During our three days there, we could see the hills and the valley in different moods and hues and it was difficult to capture them all in my camera. But I will try to post some of them here (in my next update).

Regards
Jay
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Old 31st August 2007, 18:16   #2
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Default Update: At Sterling Resort

In this post, let me share some snaps taken at Sterling..

Sterling Resorts - Reception:


They had several apartments built at different elevations, all with good views of the valley..



That's me on our balcony..


The place tested our fitness, as we had to climb a lot of steps everytime to go to the restaurant, the grocery store, reception, or to the parking space. It was an ordeal each time. I don't have a photo that shows the steps all the way up, but here are couple of pics just to give you the idea.

The first pic features Sumi and Bharat.






There were two elevators set at different heights, but we found them to be not working when we wanted them most.


View of the ghat road from our balcony:


The valley - different moods:


Here's Salem for you, on a foggy morning:


There were several hills around Salem, presenting postcard-like views..


There were puffy clouds over the valley at times..


And at times it got foggy right up here..


Time for a break.

I will give some details of our outings in and around Yercaud (with more pics) in a later update.. keep watching this thread.

To those using dial up connections and those having download limits: I am sorry about all these MBs loaded on this thread. I hate giving thumbnails instead of full pictures, as the effect will be lost somewhat.

Cheers,
Jay
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Old 31st August 2007, 19:41   #3
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WOW!!! Amazing pictures, Looks like this place is worth visiting before moving out of south India.

Last edited by greatDrive : 31st August 2007 at 19:43.
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Old 31st August 2007, 20:05   #4
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Very nice pics! But taking ages to load.

Hey, how do you rate the car for long journeys? Me too having WagonR VXi.
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Old 31st August 2007, 21:17   #5
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That is fantastic, and I'm tempted to make the trip.

What was that hairpin stretch like? Mostly second-gear? I've never driven on roads like that. Yet.
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Old 31st August 2007, 21:34   #6
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Wow!! that must have been a great trip.. let the download limits exhaust,,, The pictures are worth downloading.. great pics....
I will be looking forward for such trip.. that apartment and balcony looks really romantic...
Good pics and reports,, keep them coming..
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Old 31st August 2007, 21:37   #7
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Fantastic pics Ajay, excellent report as well...

@TEG: You can easily do the ghat road of 40km in 2nd and 3rd gears...road is very good.

@GD: Are you moving out of South India?
You easily do Yercaud in a weekend from Bangalore...

Abhi
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Old 31st August 2007, 22:16   #8
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Thanks for the comments..

@ CrAzY dRiVeR: Wagon R is a fine car. I haven't done long distance (as a driver) in any other car except Xing, and I feel both are equals, with certain pluses and minuses here and there.

@ Thad E Ginathom: Yes, Abhi is right - you can do these hairpins on 2nd and 3rd. It depends on the traffic in opposite direction too. If you have to slow down, 3rd is out of the question (esp. with family and a sizeable holiday luggage).
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Old 31st August 2007, 23:16   #9
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Nice shots jay!! hope you had an excellent time
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Old 3rd September 2007, 15:24   #10
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Photographs are excellent. I enjoyed all the stills. Hope you continue this thread with travel to Kerala report
--------

It took 5 hrs for you to reach Salem, distance of 353 kms (including breaks). Your average speed work out to 70.6.

I did a comparison of this average with my trip from Mysore to Chennai. It took 9 hours to cover 470 kms, which works out an average of 52.2.

Even if I exclude my break of 1.5 hrs ( bangalore traffic 1hr adjusted with ur break), the average speed is 61.46

Most of the times, I was doing 100-110 and occasional 120-130 to attain the average speed of 61.46.

Whats your top speed? how did u manage with kid onboard?

ps: i not questioning ur timing, just wanted to learn if theres any trick
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Old 3rd September 2007, 15:34   #11
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Good write-up and Great pics. Will look forward for your continuations.
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Old 11th September 2007, 13:04   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surprise View Post

Whats your top speed? how did u manage with kid onboard?

ps: i not questioning ur timing, just wanted to learn if theres any trick
My top speed was 120 on that trip. There was no real trick other than the GQ . While on the GQ, I could drive at around 90-100 over long distances.
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Old 11th September 2007, 13:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -GT- View Post
Good write-up and Great pics. Will look forward for your continuations.
Thanks, GT. I will post a continuation thread (maybe Part II) with more pics soon. Have limited access right now as I have just relocated from Chennai.
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Old 13th September 2007, 10:49   #14
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Hi PJ, beautifully documented trip Have driven to Coimbatore a few times down that route myself. I thought Yercaud was close to Vaniyambadi - a cousin of mine studied at DB there. Was surprised to see that you have to go all the way to Salem to reach Yercaud ! All the times that I've been down that road, I too have stopped at that A1 Plaza on the outskirts of Salem... Small world isn't it The last time I saw, the 4-laning in & around Krishnagiri & Salem is scheduled to be completed by December 2008.

Your trip & it's attendant documentation has inspired me ! Me & a fellow team-bhp member were debating whether we should drive down to Coimbatore for the track-day being organized by McLaren at the end of this month. And I was like "it's almost a day's drive", & "it'll put 1K on the odo", & stuff - but now, I might just go for it !
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Old 13th September 2007, 12:20   #15
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Hi guys, sorry, my mistake - I guess I confused Yercaud with Yellagiri...
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