Yelagiri- The Tryst! Is It Worth?
My ‘father and sister’- in- law came for the first time after I moved to Chennai nearly 22 months back. I was planning for a good trip, either to Pondicherry or Yelagiri and perched on the later due to the aestival days. We embarked on to our tourney to Yelagiri in the dog days of summer, May; scorching heat and sun billowing fire.
We, totally 5 people(I, my wife, 20 months daughter and ‘father and sister’ – in- law) started at 640hrs on dot in my ‘Chevrolet Beat’ from Chennai on May 19’12. I am not acquainted with Chennai roads and took help of GPS (Wise pilot), which was always a saviour to me; I have taken the Kanchipuram- Vellore route. We reached at 830hrs to Hotel Woodlands that is on the left side after passing Kanchipuram. We had good breakfast, little expensive, but worth it. We reached at 1130hrs to Yelagiri. If a hamlet residing on hill is defined as hill station—then Yelagiri is hill station. It has 16 hair pin bends and sultry weather.
I booked “Hotel Yelagiri Holiday Home, Athanavoor” in advance. We checked-in to the hotel by 1220hrs after initially mis-judging with similarly-named “Hotel Yelagiri”. After checking-in the owner, Bhoopathy, came and told us to leave with scoff and resentment as he doesn’t have any intimation from Stayzilla (through them I have booked the hotel). I immediately called Stayzilla and they helped me speaking with this so-called Bhoopathy. He still claimed that they didn’t inform him and now all the rooms have been reserved. He navigated us for nearly 4 km to a cottage (R S COTTAGE). He said it charges Rs. 4000 but since it was not our mistake, he gave that cottage for that night. It is really beautiful cottage with tall jack fruit trees and it was like as if we were in the middle of small forest.
Yelagiri’s weather was dull, bland and the sun was just little less bright than that was in Chennai. We had our lunch at Hotel Surabhi (we are vegetarians and meal charged Rs 55/person). The word horrible was next to the lunch. We went to the boat house, Rs 10/person, again simply horrendously clean and charges Rs 50/person for the boat. I completely eschewed as there was rectilinear line and didn’t want to wait to rush out of the park. When inquired for the water falls (Jagadambara), they claimed that they are dried. So disappointed, really, slowly rode down to the cottage, but since the road was impeccable, I drove further and then found serene park in Nilavoor, about 5 Km from Athanavoor. It is an artificial lake and we spent about an hour, considering the fact that the musical fountain starts at 1900hrs in Nature Park, the only place that is really worth watching in Yelagiri. The musical fountain was better than that we saw in Brindavanam, Mysore.
I never had coffee in the last 25 years and since there was no tea available in the Nature Park, I reluctantly, hesitantly, inevitably had to have coffee. It was really nice coffee; probably the reason is I haven’t tasted it for long. The musical fountain kept everyone enticed for the first 3 songs, later it was a yawn. We came out of the park by 2015 hrs and planned to have dinner at Hotel Yelagir Hills, as suggested by Mr. Bhoopathy. He claimed it to be very good. When we went inside, all the tables were occupied and they were waiting for their orders to be arrived. After much scouting for hotel, on the way to cottage at Hotel O’Nila, they suggested to go to Hotel Landmark, which is at proxy to Lord Murugan temple.
It was buffet, charged Rs 250/person (no other option at 915hrs in the night). The food was lip-smacking, sumptuous, and delectable and indeed, had gorgeous finger-licking dinner that night. In fact, that was the only best thing we did the entire day after a nice 4 and ½ hrs drive on the flawless tarmac from Chennai to Yelagiri.
I drove to the cottage and reached at 1020hrs, it was little scary 3km drive; no lights, pitch-dark and completely silent with no other organism visible. We had good sleep and woke up at 700hrs in the morning. I planned to drive down to Vellore early to visit Golden temple after breakfast. We had breakfast near to Hotel Yelagiri, again disdain with the quality and the cleanliness.
Now, this is the addition to my woes—I was punching on my phone for directions to reach Golden temple with arms akimbo at my car with door opened and keys dangled inside. Unexpectedly, the door slammed and car locked. Whoosh..., not expected, but started to surmise.
I didn’t think much and immediately called “mytvs”, break down service (paid 1250/year- Gold member). They said it will take 2 hours; luckily we were very near to the only best place in Yelagiri, Nature Park, and went inside. After 45 minutes they called me and said that the technician was on his way. The technician arrived after 60 minutes, unlocked my door in nearly 5 minutes (didn’t charge a single penny), though I offered them Rs 50 (not bribe), how many people come on time and do their work properly in India.
We set to Golden temple at 1240hrs and reached by 1410hrs to Vellore after gormandizing lunch at Hotel Lakshmi. We embarked at 1800hrs at Vellore for the return trip and suddenly, within no time, the rain god exploded, caused detriment and wreaked havoc with hailstorms for almost 40 minutes. We stranded on the road after the ice cubes smacked my car glass. We reached Chennai at 2100hrs after packing dinner at a hotel.
Finally, we were in Chennai. Yelagiri, I spent nearly Rs 6000 including the petrol cost and it is not at all worth it, if we had missed the Golden temple. Yelagiri is famous for jack fruit and honey. You get them every nook and corner.
Is it a hill station?