Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yelagiri – A hill station you must miss

Bangalore to Krishnagiri to Vaniyambadi to Yelagiri to Hogenakkal to Bangalore – 550kms

Temple on Swamimalai Hills
Once Again-This time its Yelagiri
It was more than 2 months now since we went on a trip. I was also trying to search for places near Bangalore where we could camp (mount a tent) and spend a night or two. Though unsuccessful, I found out this place called Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu.

Yelagiri is promoted by Tamil Nadu tourism as hill station however staying at Bangalore at an altitude of 950 meters(approx), 1040 mts ASL Yelagiri did not excite us enough still we decided to give it a visit.

The D-Day
We decided for a day visit on Sunday 14th April. Yelagiri is about 170 kms from Bangalore and the road is mostly smooth. From Bangalore you have to take NH7 or Hosur Road till Krishnagiri where you change towards road to Chennai uptil Vaniyambadi. You have to take a right from Vaniyambadi and then take a small left to the hilly road (signboard at this left turn). 

Transportation was again our Linea. So I spent a busy evening on Saturday cleaning my car in and out.

Take a look at me now
We got up sharp at 4.00AM on Sunday morning. This time Pinky (Anjana’s sister) was able to join us and we were to pick her up at 5.00AM in the morning. Pinks watched IPL match last night followed by extra innings which left her with just 2 hours of sleep and so while she was asleep, she was praying to god that the trip gets cancelled but woke up to declined request.

Our idea was that we will try to reach Yelagiri by 7.00AM and go for trekking at Swamimalai Hills, a 3km long trek route in the hills (more detail later). Post Electronic City, most of the road sections were good, however flyover and repairing works at several places slowed us down intermittently. We were too slow to achieve our set target. The most irritating part happens when you have to pay toll (I paid about 3 tolls – 55+25+70 one way) for the sick road sections.
Our first break at 7.00AM

Anjana took my goggles
Anjana convinced us to take our first break for tea and some breakfast right after Krishnagiri. We had tea, biscuits, omlette and egg dosa. Surprisingly, the bill at this place was hardly 85 bucks after having 5 tea, 2 omlettes and one egg dosa. We felt Ram Rajya (Lord Rama’s rule and time) is back.

Our first and in fact last place we visited – Swamimalai Hills
Moving ahead, we took right turn at Vaniyambadi (please notice 1} the signboard will show Elagiri instead of Yelagiri 2} it will first ask to turn left instead of right. You have to take left first and then turn right under the flyover) towards Yelagiri. After negotiating with 14 hairpin bends, we reached Yelagiri and headed straight to  Swamimalai Hills.


There is a narrow lane going through a small village which leads you to Swamimalai Hills. You have to leave your transportation outside this village and then walk the distance. I fed a dog some biscuit and he
The dog with whom I had a deal. I gave him biscuits in return
agreed to take care of our car while we are away. Trust me he was there when we came back sitting next to the car and I gave him 2 more biscuits in tips. While I shared this dog idea to Pinks, she made a very funny statement – yeah the dog will say to a stranger , ”Iss gaadi tak pahunchne se pehle tumhe meri laash par se gujarna hoga” (you have to kill me before you touch this car)

View from the top of Swamimalai Hills, Frankly worthless. You will have better view from Nandi Hills instead
We started trekking up and after about 500 mts, both the ladies camped next to a fruit vendor. I understood what they were trying to mean and so I continued my journey further up. It was indeed a tough trek as there were countless steps(more than a feet high) made of boulder stones and then some steep climb ups. However, if you compare it with Scandagiri trek, it was easier. I was really fast and reached up in about 30 mins time with one break. Due to excessive sweating, I took a break of about 10 mins to enjoy the breeze at the top. I had to start back quickly as I had two beautiful and hot responsibilities waiting down at the foothill. I took about 20 mins time to reach back. For an average person, it should take about 1.5-2 hours to climb up and about 1.15 hours to climb down at a moderate speed. So you can keep a total of 4-5 hours for this place.

Enjoying watermelon

All of us had juicy watermelon from the fruit vendor. I borrowed slingshot from a kid there to test my shooting skills. Realising that I am still good, I asked Pinks to click some pics of mine as I was posing with the age old humans favorite hunting weapon. We had run out of cash and so I offered (which he readily accepted) a Bingo wafers pack to the kid in return of the favor he extended to me (it was a fair barter).

Posing with slingshot

Oops !!! No cash
We started back to the main town area of Yelagiri to find an ATM. Please must carry cash with you as there is only one SBI ATM in the town. Luckily for us after 2-3 restarts, SBI ATM worked and we had cash again with us. It was about 12.45 at that time. After having lunch at a small eatery, we headed next for Punganoor Lake which is extremely boring place. It is a small artificial lake created which is even smaller than Bangalore’s smallest lake. We rushed out of the place in about 10 mins time and then headed back towards Bangalore as there was nothing more to do there.

The most boring artificial lake
Yelagiri is not at all a hill station and my advice would be if and only if you have nowhere else to go, you can spend about half a day here. Locals do not understand any other language other than Tamil so you must have a Tamil speaking friend with you. Also, you should not travel to Yelagiri thinking you will feel anything cooler here. It is as hot as Bangalore is.




This is not done, let’s go to Hogenakkal

Crazy rush at Hogenakkal. Imagine how will it be when its peak season
We were extremely dissatisfied with our trip and so by the time we reached Krishnagiri, Pinks and I decided to go left instead of right to Hogenakkal. It was around 2.30PM and yeah there we go again. The road from Krishangiri to Dharmapuri (where you have to take right to Hogenakkal) is extremely good 6 lane highway. After Dharmapuri to Hogenakkal, the road is median less but in amazingly great condition. We reached Hogenakkal by 4.00PM
The best couple
after paying some 60 bucks for entry and parking. Hogenakkal was HOT, really HAAWWWTTTTT and the place reminded me of Delhi. It is much commercialized and people were allowed to take their vehicles almost upto the falls which was extremely irritating when you are walking on the same road. Hogenakkal though considered a great fall, this time of the year, it hardly had any water. People were washing from soiled plates to even their underclothes in the same water and so taking dip was out of question.

Entering Hogenakkal

You can try fried fish from one of the several fish stalls alongside the road. However be careful while buying as they all have fish fried a while ago which would not be anymore hot. So better go for fresh consignment. We ended up having cold fish with cold drink sitting in the car as it was
The Hanging Bridge
unbearably hot outside. Pinks went for sleep in the rear seat and we started driving back to Bangalore. We took one stop after Krishangiri for tea and snacks. It was hardly 7.00 PM so we sat there for one hour just watching vehicles speeding up on the highway and chit chatting. It was good fun. (I checked there was an alternative route to Hosur from Hogenakkal via Muluvanapalli and Denkanikottai which saves more than 50 kms in total but not sure about road condition)

Ohh!!! It came to an end
The Ladies camp after 500 mts
We dropped Pinks at 9.30 PM and retired at our place by about 10.00. Though the destinations were too boring the fun was all in the journey and the companions. It was more of like a long drive than a trip to a hill station. Thanks to Anjana and Pinky for being sport and enjoying the boring destination identified by me. Yelagiri is a definite No No. Hogenakkal a yes only in winters after monsoon. We will come back again very soon to make up for the fun loss in this trip.

Quick revision
Destination – Yelagiri Hills
Distance from Bangalore – 170kms(approx)
Route – Bangalore to Hosur to Krishangiri to Vaniyambadi to Yelagiri
Best time to visit – Winters after monsoon
What to see/do – In fact nothing but to name a few Swamimalai Hills, Punganoor Lake, etc.
Must carry – Cash as only one ATM. Food if you are fussy about it
Yelagiri to Krishangiri  - 80 kms(approx)
Krishnagiri to Hogenakkal – 90 kms approx

7 comments:

  1. Thanks Monika for commenting. Expect many more to come in next few days.

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  2. Lovely pictures. Keep sharing post like this. The dream land of adventure lovers, Yelagiri calls out to you for a fun filled break. If your eyes are always looking for uncharted territory,Yelagiri Hills are just the place for you. Free of commercialisation, the place is perfect to get postcard perfect shots. One of the most sought after hill stations around Bengaluru, Yelagiri is going to ensure a fun filled break for you and your loved ones. check out all best hill stations near Bangalore for absolute fun!!!

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  3. Lovely pictures. Thank you for the informative post on Yelagiri Hill, one of the best hill stations of India.Along with Yelagiri Hills, there are many hill station near Bangalore which attracts a lot of visitors. They help to beat the heat and enjoy the surrounding tranquility.

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