Yelagiri

Tripoto

Yelagiri is a hill that has recently become a popular weekend getaway from Chennai. We too planned for an outing there for one day. We started from Chennai on Saturday morning and reached the resort that we have reserved already, by noon. We have made reservation for stay at Peter's park resort.

There is not much activity that one could look forward to do in Yelagiri. One day is absolutely enough to see around the place and cover the popular tourist spots if you plan it well. However, if you wish to have a relaxed stay and you would like to rest a bit and unwind, then a weekend would do.

We took the route via Poonamalle, Sri Perumbudur, Aambur, Vaniyambadi to reach Jolarpet and then climbed uphill to Yelagiri. It takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to reach Yelagiri from Chennai.

Day 1

After refreshing and having lunch from the resort, we started to explore the place. Our first stop was Nature park.

1. Nature park:
Hills have a nature park. This is not a very big one and nothing much to see. There are these swings and see-saws. There is a collection of fish tanks with some varieties of fishes, very poorly maintained. There is this rose garden inside, which is the only thing worthy to see in this park. Overall, the park needs a lot of maintenance work and it looks like some renovation is going to happen. There is entry fee and also parking fee.

2. Punganoor lake and park:
Directly opposite to the nature park is this Punganoor lake and park. The lake is around 25 feet deep. You can go for boating in the lake. There are self pedalling boats and also the conventional boats where a boatman takes you around the lake. Life jackets are provided. You can take a stroll around the park if you wish to (We didn't take). You would be paying entry fee for the park and a separate fee for boating.

There are a lot of street shops that sell local food, fruits, homemade chocolates (not local as far as I know). There are gaming kiosks.

3.Ropes and Knots adventure park:

One good thing and pass time here could be, visiting the adventure parks. There are quite a few and we visited Ropes and knots, which was a pretty decent one that offers you a range of adventure sport options in a small scale though. You have trampoline, zip lining, quake walk, Burma walk, zorbing ball and others. There is no package but you have to pay for each of the individual sports and that makes it a bit expensive. Since there is not many more things to do here you can definitely give a few of them a try.

We wanted to go for the Swamimalai hill trek but it was already around 4.00 PM and the locals advised us not to venture then as it would get dark and trekking wouldn't be possible. The evening we spent mostly in the resort, having tea and snacks. We also rented bicycles, that were available in the resort itself and went about a few rounds out and around the resort, soaking a bit into the local life and reliving the lost bicycle moments from childhood.

The thing about these hills is that almost all the activity ends when the sun starts to set. There are a few temples and churches  around the resort but we learnt they all closes around 6.00PM. The resort does offer some services for the inmates, like indoor gaming and a movie evening. As we also had no other go, we resorted to watching the movie played in the open air. They have a good set of equipments for the same and watching movie at a hill top, with cool weather and hot tea was definitely not a bad experience. Post a lavish dinner we retired to our rooms as we had planned for the trek the next day.

Day 2

We planned to cover the Swamimalai trek and also visit a few temples that were close by.

4. Murugan Temple and Perumal temple:
We headed to Yelagiri thayar sametha sri Venkata Narayana Perumal temple which was actually a little closer to the lake. It is my first experience with a temple in hill. It is a small temple that had Shrines for Lord Venkateswara, thayar, Andal and also for azhwars and Sudarshanar. As we had gone early on a Sunday morning there wasn't any crowd and we had a great, relaxed darshan, which is not at all common in a vaishnavite temple.
The Murugan Temple was up a little hillock. It was also beautifully maintained and it offered a good view of greenery down. We had sumptuous breakfast at the resort and headed for the trek.

5.Swamimalai trek:
So this was the thing I was looking forward in the trip. I have never trekked before and enquiring about this trek, I thought it would be good for a beginner. So we went ahead. The locals really help you with the locations if you are not able to find where you are supposed to start it. Up and down hill it is going to take around 3 hours was what the locals told us. There is only one path and so you don't need to worry. There are no guides, you most certainly don't need one.
We started uphill and it is a mix of hill and forest. There are hoarders who sell lime juice, butter milk, goose berries and stuffs along the way and at a nominal rate. We climbed up for around 45 minutes but our companions were fatigued and considering that we also have to drive all the way back to Chennai, we decided to stop it and return. So we climbed down and drove back to the resort. Up the hill you will be finding a temple and the view of Yelagiri town from the hill and many said it would be an awesome view. But we didn't make it.

And that's the end of our trip. We packed our bags and headed back to Chennai. Here are a few pictures of Yelagiri.

Punganoor lake

Photo of Yelagiri by Lavanya Gurumurthy

Swamimalai

Photo of Yelagiri by Lavanya Gurumurthy

View of the town below from the hill

Photo of Yelagiri by Lavanya Gurumurthy

Swamimalai trek

Photo of Yelagiri by Lavanya Gurumurthy

Swamimalai trek

Photo of Yelagiri by Lavanya Gurumurthy
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