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Tourist Places To Visit In Yercaud
Yercaud, which has been dubbed the ‘Poor Man’s Ooty’ for it’s affordable status, is not as flamboyant as Udhagamandalam or Kodaikanal. Even so, it has a history as old as its hills. Tools and weapons as early as the Stone Age period were found near the highest peak of the Shervarayan Hills. Way back in the early 19th century, it was the British, in particular David Cockburn - the erstwhile Collector of Salem, who went on to be called Father of Yercaud, who sowed the first seeds of transforming the simple tribal hamlets into a hill station and summer resort by introducing coffee and spice plantations and fruit orchards. Convent schools were established by the missionaries who came later.
Yercaud is all about lush landscape and cool weather. The Hill station has some pretty charming places to see, as well as some vantage points from where you could see more sights. We will give you a list of the tourist places you can visit in Yercaud.
If you are visiting the Shervarayan temple, you’d be climbing the topmost peak of the Yercaud Hills, 5326 feet above mean sea level. Besides promising an entrancing view of the surrounding green clad peaks and dales, the temple offers utmost solitude and calm. The Temple is in fact a cave and you would have to stoop low at the entrance that gradually widens up as you walk in further and can straighten up. On a rocky platform in the middle of the cave are the idols of the chief deities of Kaveri Amman (Mother Kaveri) and Servaraya Perumal. The cave has a passageway at the back which is said to lead, according to local legends, to Talakaveri in Karnataka. But visitors are not allowed into the passageway.
The temple is about 7 km from the Lake. You can drive up or hire a cab to take you there. The temple is open from 7.00am-7.00pm.
The Pagoda Point is one among the several viewpoints scattered around Yercaud. There is a raised tower you can climb up to get a good view of the valleys and the plains below. There are randomly placed four tall heaps of flat stones or Pagodas, that are said to be around 4,000 years old. They are manmade, but the origin of these rocks is lost in history. The best time to visit the Pagoda Point is during sunrise or sunset to watch nature at its best. Some of Yercaud’s best photo shoot locations are at Pagoda Point. Lady’s Seat and Gent’s Seat viewpoints are quite close by. There are several foodie joints and you can treat yourself to a hot cup of coffee or some samosas.
Pagoda Point is on the eastern side of Yercaud Hills, about 2.2 km from the township.
National Orchidarium and Experimental Garden
Maintained by the Botanical Survey of India, the Experimental Garden is said to be the third largest Orchidarium in India. You will get to see several hundred varieties of flowering plants and shrubs, including the 'once in twelve years' Kurinji flowers. There are rare trees endemic to Yercaud and about 188 species of Orchids, many of them rare ones, apart from Cacti, succulents, medicinal plants and ferns. The Garden has a Green House along with topiary and gardens for Butterflies and Herbs, as well as a rock and water garden.
The National Orchidarium and Experimental Garden is enroute to Shervarayan temple and is closed on weekends and Government holidays.
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church is one of Yercaud’s oldest Churches. It was founded in 1834 and was revamped in 1853. Set on a hillock, amidst a beautiful lush landscape, the Church is a symbol of old world charm and quietude. There is an ancient cemetery close to the Church and the tombs of Robert Bruce Foote (1834-1912) the British archaeologist and geologist who was also known as the Father of Indian Prehistory, and Peter Percival (1803-1882) missionary and educator, lie in rest here.
The Annamalaiyar Temple is a small temple for Shiva sitting on top of a flat peak. There are several trails leading away from the temple towards the coffee plantations and cardamom fields. You do get such a beautiful panoramic view of the slopes around. There is a pyramid patterned lamp tower close by, which is kept alight on full moon nights. You could climb the steps to the top of the lamp tower for a view of the surrounding peaks. You could drive up the slopes or hire an auto rickshaw or a cab from near the Lake.
The Annamalaiyar temple is in Thalai Cholai, about 8 km from Yercaud.
Kiliyur Falls is a monsoon attraction. It is a 90 ft high waterfall that overflows the Yercaud Lake and empties into the Kiliyur valley. There are about 300 metal and stone steps cut through the undergrowth that have to been climbed down to watch the falls. It’s quite beautiful to look at the cascade as it froths and flows softly over the rounded boulders. But the trek to the Falls by itself is for the daring, as the place is lonely and climbing all the way up on the steps is quite exhausting. The Kiliyur Falls is about 4 km from Yercaud.
This is a beautiful little temple for Rajarajeshwari, set in a light incline with about a dozen steps you can climb up to reach the temple. The shrine is surrounded by a luxuriant well maintained garden. Quite a number of pilgrims visit the temple daily as Rajarajeshwari is considered one of the exalted Mahavidyas or supreme shakthi in the Hindu pantheon of Gods. The temple was built in 1983 by Thirukovilur Thapovan Sri Gnananadha Giri Swami. There is a 4.5 ft high idol of Rajarajeshwari in a seated posture, with smaller shrines for Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and Lakshmi.
The temple is about 4 km from the Yercaud bus stand, enroute to the Shervarayan Hill.
Maha Meru Temple
The Lalitha Tripurasundari Temple at Yercaud is said to have the world’s biggest Sri Chakra Maha Meru. The temple is built with white marble with pathways between the garden leading to the various shrines, ensconced by greenery and tall stately trees all around. There is a pit of water in the inner shrine in whose reflection we can see the Maha Meru on the Gopuram (tower). Check out the lofty exquisite wooden carved idols of Saraswathi, Shiva and Vishnu, the fountains and the lotus pond with a serene Buddha in the middle. The temple was built just a few years back, and the green locale and the serenity of the place is bound to fill you with tranquillity.
The Lalitha Tripurasundari Temple is at Nagalur, about 7 km from Yercaud Lake. The temple is open from 6.00am-1.00pm and from 4.00pm-7.30pm.
Bears Cave is a place of interest for people out on a quest of adventure. The Bears Caves are located close to the Norton Bungalow that once belonged to a criminal Lawyer called Norton. The main cave is about 7 ft below the surface and is believed to have passages that lead all the way to the cave temple at Shervarayan Hill. The caves are called Bears Cave as they were once supposed to be the den of bears. There is a temple for Muruga close by. The locals believe the caves were used as a hideout by Tipu Sultan during the War.
The caves are situated in a private coffee estate and it’s essential you get permission for a visit.
Kurumbapatti Zoological Park
The Kurumbapatti Park is a small zoo in Salem, close to the foothills of the Yercaud Hills. Spread out over 31 hectares of land, quite close to the reserve forests of Kurumbapatti, the Park has smaller animals like monkeys and deer apart from several species of birds, elephants and crocs. The reserve forest zone spills into the Park with its semi perennial streams, clumps of bamboo and tropical woodlands. There is a play area for children as well.
The best season to visit the Park is in winter, as the plains are rather hot in summer. The Park is at the end of the Ghat road after you descend from Yercaud towards Salem.