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Old 21st September 2009, 01:53   #1
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Default Kalpakkam - Yelagiri trip!

I have been planning a hill driving escapade for about 2 months now. I mean in my mind. Everytime something comes up, or I am too lazy to make a move. Well this weekend was perfect. Monday is a holiday for ramzan, my dad's off coincided on Sunday and Monday too ( He gets 2 days off every 6 days, so its an 8 day week).

So Saturday (Sept 20) evening I told him, dad we shall go to Yelagiri tomorrow. He asked where is it and what etc, I said I have everything charted out.

Plan was to start on Sunday late morning, and start back early afternoon on Monday! We called up Hotel Hills, they said they will have accommodation after 5 pm. We didn't commit anything.

Sunday ( Sept 21 ) 11:00 AM, we started. First had to negotiate some bumpy, highly cambered, pot holled, speed breaker filled, bone jarring irritating , highly trafficked SH58 from Kalpakkam to Kancheepuram. We had our lunch there in Saravana Bhavan.

Then we hit the NH46. 120 km of non-stop, 4-lane tarmac! Theoretically it must be mouth watering! But practically I was so disappointed with the quality of the road. It was so bumpy and inconsistent, even my town ship roads are better! I could not believe it! May be if you own a Mercedes or even a Ford Fiesta may disagree but, in Hyundai Santro boy oh boy! you have to reduce speed on a clean empty stretch of road, just because the road is too bumpy and to avoid the passengers being tossed around. The steering too was quite a handful because of the eneven terrain. But even then we managed about 110-130 kph most of the time. Covered 120 km in about 70 minutes. It was not so bad after all.

Then we took left and started the Yelagiri climb. I was looking forward to climbing this 12 ( or 14) hairpins named after ancient Tamil poets. Well some of them were fun, but they were not too challenging. Some of the hair pins provided great views of the land below. The roads were really narrow, you could say 1.5 lanes in all.

This hill climb is where the automatic really came handy. There is no worrying if you are in too high a gear for the climb. Well thats the job of the ECU. I always had enough torque. Never was it found wanting, I didnt even have to push hard. All this in "D". But we drove in "2" just for some engine braking and in case we needed some quick surge of power. "L" was not needed at all for this hill. "L" would be an overkill here. Well Santro Xing is known for its torquey engine, and it proved itself here, in spite of the A.C being on.

Coming to the hill. It is just some villages. The climb was over too soon, and I was shocked. The only great looking things were some hotels. And the hill was not lush green. It was just dull, barren green. May be things would look up during rains. But frankly my house in my hometown of Vaikom, Kerala is more lush green.

I expected, being 960 odd meters above sea level, it must be atleast pleasant. No! It was warm, almost hot! Guess I expected too much from a small hill. We aimlessly drove around. Went to a park. Saw the boating area. It was a small lake/pond with dirty water.

So after about an hour there. We started back.! But I think that was the beauty of the trip, no special plans, no particular destination. Just explore.

So let me put in Jeremy Clarkson style. If you want a tarmac scorching high speed rip, there are better roads available. If you want winding hairpins to show off you car's handling, there are better roads available. If you want the real thrill of hill driving, there are more challenging hills available. If you want to be astonished by the beauty and climate of a hill station, there are better hill stations available. But Yelagiri is a jack of all small trades. Its not for the serious adventurist. If you want a casual quick drive on a weekend, without putting much though to it, you can try out Yelagiri.

After all, the journey is as important as the destination.

Last edited by rageshgr : 21st September 2009 at 02:03.
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Old 21st September 2009, 12:30   #2
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Hmm. I was thinking of doing this. So you conclude there is nothing great in Yelagiri. Thanks you saved me at least 5 Grand :-)
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Old 21st September 2009, 12:36   #3
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Yes dude, I wrote this post manily coz I wanted to inform the reality so that people can make an informed decision.

Ya atleast 5 grand you saved, but hey I don't want to discourag you. We had planned, we will stay in a suite costing 4k because it was only for one night. But not worth it . May be you can try Yercaud instead. It is also same distance from Bangalore.

Though I didnt try, heard there are two or three trekking paths. One trek leads to a water falls, but again I heard its almost a creak

Last edited by rageshgr : 21st September 2009 at 12:41.
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Old 21st September 2009, 13:15   #4
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Ragesh,

Thanks for the headsup. I was planning to do a trip to yelagiri on Sep 26th. Good that I read your post, I should change the plan and go to Ooty instead. Hey anyway you should have avoided the SH58 from Kalpakkam to Kancheepuram and instead took the Singa perumal Koil to Kancheepuram road. I heard it has a fresh layer of tarmac..I know it might be a kind of detour. Justa note buddy, if you want to test the limits of your car I would advise a stretch of raod which you are familiar with. New places always pose hazard as you wont know when to slow down and where to give the car a run for their money.
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Old 21st September 2009, 13:38   #5
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Hey ElantraGT,

Well may be you can read on other Yelagiri drives in Team-BHP before deciding. In case they found something interesting to do in Yelagiri.

But Yelagiri and Ooty are on two different planes, I guess. I think you can blindly go for Ooty.

Thanks for the suggestion buddy, next ( if there is ) I will try that route.

And I didn't push the car much. And I had a driver also with me who was familiar with that route.
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