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Old 7th January 2009, 21:34   #1
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Default Getz to Yercaud - January 03, 2009

This was in the planning for a long time. Even though I have been driving since 2006, I haven't done a lot of highway trips. This was also due to the fact that our daughter was born in early 2008. But now that she is of the age where you can take her on long drives, we decided not to delay it any further.

First the summary:
Wheels: Hyundai Getz GLS 2006
Route: Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Salem - Yercaud and back
Persons: 5 adults and 1 child
Total distance: 500 km
Fuel: ~ 32-34 litre Indian Oil Extra Premium

The planning for this started way back in November 2008. Since this was to be our first major drive, we requested our friend Anil and his wife to join us. They agreed readily and I got a couple of rooms booked at the Sky Roca via TravelGuru.com for the 3-4 of January. Then we waited.

Day 1 - January 3, 2009:
Anil and his wife had stayed the night over at our place so that we could start early. We had planned to start by 5 - 5:30 in the morning. But we could start only at 6:30 am (Reason? Have you tried waking up a baby early in the morning and tried to get her ready? That and the fact that there was a power cut from 4 - 6 in the morning). Anyways, at 6:30 am, I, my wife, my kid, her governess, Anil and wife started off in my Getz.

Since I live in JP Nagar 7th Phase, I had planned to take the NICE Road to Hosur Road. So I took an inner road that took me to Bannerghatta Road (near Reliance Mart) and then turned towards Meenakshi Temple. But I guess, I must have missed something... I never found the NICE Peripheral Road at all! I asked a few people on the way and they had not heard of the NICE Road! Finally after asking directions to Hosur, I was able to join Hosur Road near the Biocon office. (I have taken the NICE Road from Kanakpura Road towards Mysore Road, so I know it exists... Could anyone please tell me how to get on to it from Bannerghatta Road?)

Now back on track, we set off towards Hosur. The road till Hosur is not really great, with road construction going on in many locations. We stopped for breakfast at Adyar Anand Bhavan. You get this after Hosur on the left, along side a HP petrol outlet.

The road from here on is pretty good and gets even better once you cross the Krishnagiri Toll Gate. Now I have driven on the I-5 in the US, but trust me this stretch is just as good, if not better. The only thing missing are the entry/exit ramps and the lane discipline. I was able to maintain speeds around 90-110 kmph.There are few streches where one direction of the road is closed off due to ongoing construction, but even here I was able to drive at 80 kmph. The Krishnagiri to Salem section is around 85-90% complete.

After reaching Salem we took another break and then started the climb on the ghat section to Yercaud. Before the trip, I had asked for tips from fellow BHP-ians on this ghat section and those came in pretty handy here. The climb is not very steep and also the traffic is less. There are 20 hair pin bends which generally do not pose a big challenge. However, at one of the left turning hair pin bend, a bus infront of me took crossed lanes into the right and took the outer curve on the way up. So the traffic coming down accordingly cut into the inner curve. It can be a bit confusing but one of the fellow members (GreenmachinE) had mentioned (Hairpin bends on Yercaud route) this and so I was ready for it. Thanks a ton, GreenmachinE!

Hotel Sky Roca is on the 20th hair pin bend. Check in was smooth and in no time we were ushered into our rooms. The room has a french window which opens into a landscaped balcony and the view from there is simply awesome. You could see the Salem city from there. In the night the view just gets even better. Here's a tip: If you stay at the Sky Roca, ask for rooms on the 2/3 floor. This is because the rooms on the first floor do not have the landscaped balcony.

Had lunch (buffet which is ok but expensive) and took a short nap for a couple of hours and then we were off to Yercaud town in search of places to vist and ... alcohol! Another tip: If you like a glassy or two, make sure you carry the booze from your city. There are only two wine shops in Yercaud and choice is extremely limited. In the end we settled for a bottle of Signature.

After this we went to the Pagoda point which offers a nice view of the Salem city. This is about 7 km from town center. After this we came back to our hotel, set up the bar on the balcony. By now the dusk had fallen and you could see the lights of Salem from the balcony. Went out for dinner to Hotel Shevroys and were disappointed with the food in Yercaud again.

Day 2 - January 4, 2009:

After having the breakfast at the hotel, we explored the areas in and around the hotel. Came back, packed up our bags and checked out of the hotel.

We now headed towards the Servarayan Temple. Although not very far from the town, the road is narrow and broken in some places and has few steep hair pin bends and gradients. However nothing to get alarmed at.

Servarayan Temple is located at the top of the hill and the view from here is good. The temple itself is located inside a low roofed cave and one had to has to bend to reach the deity.

After this we came back to the town and started our descent back to Salem. Again was able to negotiate the ghat section without any problems.

Had lunch at a restaurant called the Green Park in Salem which is quite decent. After that on the road back to Banagalore at around 3:30 pm. Only now there was more traffic on the highway especially after Krishnagiri. Lots of cars returing from their weekend outings. Was able to reach E-city by 7 pm. This time did not try the NICE adventure and sticked to the conventional route of Hosur Road - Silk Board - BTM Main Road back to JP Nagar.

Standard Disclaimer: This is my first travelogue, so go easy on me folks.
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Old 7th January 2009, 23:40   #2
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@Count. Good Narration there. Please post some pictures. What was the weather like?
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Old 8th January 2009, 11:34   #3
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Dont have too many pics of the route... camera was in the boot during the drive
But on the brighter side I have lots of pics of the hotel and from the viewpoints... will upload them today evening

The weather was moderate ... sunny during the day and slightly cold in the night
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Old 8th January 2009, 12:57   #4
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Can you share some more details on Sky roca like ambience, food, cost of accomodation per night, etc.

Will be helpful.
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Old 8th January 2009, 14:35   #5
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@SBR sure will do by today evening
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Old 8th January 2009, 14:54   #6
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Good write up and thanks for tips. It will be handy for fellow bhpians if they want to travel to Yercaud. Do post pics.
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Old 8th January 2009, 20:19   #7
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Default Pics from the trip

Here are the pics and info of the hotel Sky Roca as promised earlier:

We stayed in the category called "Valley View" and this costs Rs. 2500 per night plus tax. I felt that the pricing is slightly on the higher side, especially considering Yercaud's called the Poor Man's Ooty. Guess I took that too literally.

However the hotel does justice to the price with its breathtaking view, the landscaped balconies and well appointed rooms. Also the glass bottomed Sky Walks (pics below) are a nice novelty. The staff is very courteous and respond promptly to any requests. On the downside the the buffet lunch is expensive (Rs. 250 + tax) but does not offer much on variety or taste. However the breakfast which is complimentary was pretty good. On the whole, all of us were very happy with the experience at Sky Roca.

The front of the hotel
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The room itself
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View from the room
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View from the balcony
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At the entrance of the room
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Glass bottomed sky walk
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Another view of the landscaped balconies
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View from Pagoda point
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View from the Servarayan Temple
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The Servarayan Temple on the left and my Getz on the right
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