Yercaud is one of India’s cheapest hill station destinations. Make that ‘least expensive’, for so rich is Yercaud in its natural charm and its potential for bountiful discovery that to label it ‘cheap’ would be truly insulting. ‘Yercaud’ is how the Brits got around the tongue-twister ‘Yericaud’, Tamil for ‘lake-forest’. This little hill station lies in the Shevaroy Hills, part of the Eastern Ghats. Unlike the more lush Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats are generally dry, and feature short and rocky hills, and Yercaud is thus a wonderful aberration. Spread over just 383sq km, Yercaud is small enough not to tire you, and yet spread out in mysterious little ways to give you a sense of serenity.

Things To See & Do

Big Lake, Small Boat
The main attraction is the Big Lake, where much of the action takes place. You can hire two or four-seater pedal boats and four-seater rowboats. Near the lake is Anna Park, with a well-groomed garden. Also check out the Small Lake, fed by seven wells, situated close to town.

Ladies and Gents
Lady’s Seat overlooks the winding ghat road and offers a spectacular view of Salem. Swing it to your right to see the Mettur Dam on the Cauvery River. Great shots of the river can be had from this spot in the late afternoon, when the sun’s rays are reflected in its waters. Close to Lady’s Seat is a silk farm and Pagoda Point, a viewing point that’s sometimes called Gent’s Seat. Shevaroy temple and Bear’s Cave Situated atop Servaroyan Hill, the Shevaroy Temple is the highest point in Yercaud at 5,326ft. The temple is dedicated to a local deity Servaran and his consort Kaveriamma. On the way to the temple, near the Norton Bungalow (one of the oldest in Yercaud), is Bear’s Cave, believed to have been the entrance to an escape tunnel of a long gone raja.

A panoramic view of Yercaud
A panoramic view of Yercaud
Srikanth Kolari

Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden is home to hundreds of plants, including rarities like the pitcher plant. You will also find the famous kurinji flower, which blooms once in 12 years. The garden has an orchida rium, reputed to be India’s third largest.

Where To Stay & Eat

Grange Resorts (Tel: 04281-222180-81; Tariff: 2,700–3,600) has cottages amongst serene surroundings. Grand Palace Hotel and Spa (Cell: 09865256255; Tariff: 4,000–7,800) is atop a hill on Killiyur Falls Road. Hotel Shevaroys (Tel: 222383-86; Tariff: 1,550–6,700) is on the main road above the lake. Sterling Holidays’ Rock Perch (Tel: 222700; Tariff: 3,500 7,000) is near Lady’s Seat. GRT Nature Trails (Tel: 225100; Tariff: 5,750 10,000) is on Yercaud Main Road. TTDC’s Hotel Tamil Nadu (Tel: 223334/ 35; Tariff: 900– 1,600), near the lake, offers boating. Hotel Shoba (Tel: 222409; Tariff: 800–1,200) is a budget option near the bus stand. All the hotels have restaurants serving southie food. Sterling has a multi-cuisine restaurant. Non-vegetarians should definitely try Hotel Shevaroys’ Malabar chicken curry and tandoori fish tikka.