All packages from Tamil Nadu > Yercaud

Yercaud
Picturesque Hill Station
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Yercaud is ideal destination for a short getaway from Bangalore or Salem. It is a small hill station located 22km from Salem and approximately 225km (approx. 5 hours) from Bangalore, at 5000ft above sea level.

Yercaud Lake is a prime location and we spent some time boating over here in the evening. Both self-peddling boats rowing boats are available. Generally, the weather is pleasant throughout the year and it provides a welcome change from the blistering heat of some cities during the summer.

We then visited Kiliyur falls, which is approximately 3 kms from the lake. It is actually the surplus water from the lake that falls about 300 ft. into the valley below. Though the sight of the flowing water was beautiful to see, the waterfall is best visited during monsoon and winter when the water levels are at a maximum.

We also stopped at Deer Park. This is a small park where kids can spend some time looking at the herds of deer, hamsters and rabbits.

As we were interested in plants and flowers, we visited the Orchidarium, which is approximately 4 kilometres from Yercaud Lake. There is a wide variety of plants and shrubs on display in addition to some indigenous orchids and endangered ones as well. Orchid bloom at various times of the year and can last for several months, so chances are that you will also get to see them whenever you visit.

We then proceeded to Pagoda Point. This lies on the Eastern side of the Yercaud hills and is also known as Pyramid Point. The name comes from the hill tribes having made four piles of random stones in a Pagoda or Pyramid formation reportedly to mark some event.

We also visited Shevarayan Hill Top. It is a flat hill-top with a magnificent view of the nearby hills.

There are two other viewpoints – Tipperary View Point & Elephant Tooth. As on July 2013, the roads to these points are not good and there are wild elephants which move around these points. Hence, we do not recommend you visit these points.

There are accommodation options at Yercaud near the lake. It is better to book accommodation in advance, as due to weekend demand during season, the rooms are sold out quite fast. As Yercaud was used by the British as a summer getaway when they were ruling India, you will also find few heritage buildings dating back to 1820.

Generally Yercaud receives rainfall only during October/November, so it is a year round destination. Do remember to carry warm clothes as nights are cold!



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Other Packages from Tamil Nadu

Ooty & Coonoor
Royal Break
7756 people have seen this

Every time the summer heat gets to us, we like to get away to a hill station. My family and I decided to go to Ooty this time as we had last visited there about 8 years back. We wanted to enjoy an exclusive holiday and were clear that we did not want to see the regular “sightseeing” places but instead wanted to experience something distinctive.

The travel consultant of Hammock Holidays told us that Ooty has become commercialized and hence advised us to stay away from the city centre and perhaps add a day or two in Coonoor.  We decided to go by their suggestion.

Ooty is approx. 260km from Bangalore and approx. 125 km from Mysore. We decided to drive down to Ooty first which took us roughly 6 hours with one stop in between.  Ooty, the capital of Nilgiris district, also known as Udhagamandalam is situated at an altitude of 7400 ft approx. above sea level. 

The resort we stayed at had something unique to offer with a hint of a farm. Now, that is something that we city dwellers loved about it, especially as we had kids traveling with us. The resort was located away from the city and was amongst the best location we could ever imagine. Though it was a little hard to reach this place, it was totally worth the effort.

For the tots, there were the farm animals to keep them busy. Our kids enjoyed petting the animals and spent a long time watching them.

We also rode horses in the farm. The resort actually owns these horses and it was a lot of fun to trot along and enjoy the view. You even have option to go on a horse safari from one town to another, at extra cost.

Our family enjoys being outdoors and in the midst of nature, so we decided to explore the place a little more. We went on a trek into the hills and got to see many plants and birds.

We also learnt a bit about farming and planted few vegetables. It was fun to get our hands dirty for a good cause and was an invaluable experience for our children.

We did so much on the first day of our trip that we chose not to do anything the next day. We lazed around and took things at slow pace and just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. We are so used to hearing the blaring sounds of vehicles and breathing polluted air that we felt the change in the environment rejuvenated our mind and soul.

On the third day, we took off to Coonoor , which is approx. 6100 ft. above sea level. It takes approximately an hour’s drive from Ooty. After reaching our resort and having lunch there, we headed to Coonoor Railway Station to board the world famous “toy train” or “heritage train”. The Nilgiris Mountain Railway was completed by the British in 1908. With over a century gone by now, the system still remains unchanged and a memorable one.

The resort we stayed helped us in booking the tickets from Coonoor to Mettupalyam. The train left Coonoor at around 1500 Hrs and reached Mettupalyam at about 1730 Hrs.

We loved the steam locomotive with the hissing piston and the amazing rack and pinion system used to climb the steep gradients. The train also passes through many tunnels and bridges. However, we were surprised to note that there is no toilet facility in any compartment in the train.

 

After all the fun we had and with scenic views to stay in our memories, we returned to the resort to rest for the night.

The next day on Hammock's recommendation we went for a “Tea Tasting” session in a bungalow set amidst a tea plantation. We soon realised, we knew very little about tea, in spite of being staple drinkers of the beverage. The Tea Tasting session was as serious as wine tasting. The duration lasts for an hour and the charges are nominal.

As we wanted to know more about the local life there we also made a visit to view the dwellings of the Toda Tribe who reside in the Nilgiris. This is a must see while you are at Coonoor. We were surprised to see that the door is very small! We got to learn about their culture and beliefs and it was a wonderful experience.

All our offbeat experiences made our vacation a delightful one. We returned to Bangalore rejuvenated and happy. We cherish the experience even today. Thank you Hammock for organising my holiday.



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Mahabalipuram
Land of Pallavas
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Being an archaeological enthusiast, I have been to various archaeological sites in India. My most recent trip was to Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram. It is approximately 60km from Chennai, located on the coastline of the Bay of Bengal and is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We drove from Chennai to Mahabalipuram by the East Coast Road and it was a splendid drive indeed.

The first thing we noticed when we arrived at Mahabalipuram was this wall type structure with lot of carvings. This is called Arjuna’s Penance & Descent of the Ganges. It depicts the descent of River Ganges to earth led by Bhagiratha. There is also a depiction of Arjuna’s penance and Lord Shiva handing over Pashupata (a weapon).

We then proceeded to see the Shore temple. To visit the Shore Temple and the Rathas, one needs to buy entry tickets. All the monuments date back to 7th century A.D and portray events which are related to the Mahabharata. The stone here is granite and all the temples & shrine are carved intricately. The main temple has been constructed elegantly and I was happy to just sit there for a while admiring the architectural marvel.

It is quite amazing to see that these monuments were constructed with absolutely minimum tools and pure craftsmanship. 

We then walked our way to the “Five Rathas” dedicated to the Pandava Kings. They were named as Dharmaraja Ratha (Yudhishtir), Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha, Nakula Sahadeva Ratha and Draupadi Ratha.

It is easy to walk around the town to see the architecture. While you are looking around, you will definitely sight a big boulder which is freestanding on a slope! Known as Krishna's Butterball, it is a giant natural rock perched on a hillside.

We had our lunch at Mahabalipuram and while proceeding back to Chennai on the ECR (East Coast Road), we visited The Crocodile Bank & Snake Park. This is a breeding center for crocodiles, alligators and snakes. It is an amazing place for anyone, as one can see various breeds of snakes and crocodiles under one roof.

We also got an opportunity to see the venom extraction process at the Snake Park. After the venom is extracted, it is sent to various labs in the world for processing anti-venom.

Early January 2013, one of the most special snake breed were brought to the Snake Park – The Green Anaconda!!! We were thrilled to see the snake during our visit and it was a very special experience for us. As far as I know, there is only one such centre in South India. These reptile species have been rescued and are bred under controlled environment with the help of a tribal community known as the Irula.

NOTE: The Crocodile Bank & Snake Park is closed to public on Mondays.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Mahabalipuram and the memories will stay with me for a long time.



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