I have been a chai lover for my whole life. Tea was my drug until I went to Yercaud.
Yercaud is a small hill station in the Salem district of Tamilnadu. The place is still developing and getting all its attention for the Ooty like cold climate. Though I won't recommend the off season, you still can experience most of the places except the waterfalls. There are a number of places you can stay but I recommend the official TTDC hotels because they are inexpensive. You could get a double room for ₹990. Regarding the food, there are a number of restaurants providing all types of cuisines. You can even try the local food and don't worry they are homemade. The people live based on the income from tourists so I would say make “when travelling eat like a local” your motto.
The best part of Yercaud is the 34 km loop road, snaking its way through the plantations and hills. Take an early morning ride to the sunrise viewpoint which is in the loop road and you could feel the cold wind on your face, a cold chill and see the sun rays peeking through the trees.