Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yercaud – History & Useful Info

Yercaud – History and Useful Info
Yercaud is situated in the green vistas of the Servaroyan (Shevaroy) Hills in the Eastern Ghats, close to the Steel town of Salem in Tamil Nadu. Its popularity as an escape from the heat and grime of the city rests not just upon its landscape of forest covered hillsides, and coffee, cardamom and black pepper plantations, but also its very affordability, as against the more upmarket Ooty and Kodaikanal nearby. The picturesque manmade lake at the centre of the town here is a popular spot for picnickers.
Yercaud was a lesser known hill station when compared to Ooty and Kodaikanal till some time back. Yercaud is situated at an altitude of 1,500 metres (4,920 feet), on the Shevaroy hills of the Eastern Ghats. The lofty hills are of extraordinary scenic beauty endowed with a salubrious climate. Although close (33km) to the bustling industrial town of Salem, Yercaud has a spirited charm of its own.
It is a quiet, calm and full of natural charms hill station in Tamil Nadu. The Yercaud Hills as a whole provide you many scenic beauties and panoramic views with a pleasant cool climate. Due to its moderate temperature all year round Yercaud can be visited whenever you wish to. Popular as the 'Poor man's Ooty', it is an hour's drive from Salem, easily driveable from Bangalore and is the least expensive hill station in India.
This is one hill station where one does not feel the biting cold of winter. With such a salubrious climate, Yercaud can be visited round the year. One can see the place Lady's Seat. It overlooks the winding ghat road and provides a breath taking view. This view is spectacular at night with the twinkling lights of Salem town in sight. The Tourists can have a panoramic view of the plains below through the telescope mounted at the lady's seat. There are many more places to visit.
Yercaud is a picturesque hill station at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. It is situated in the Servarayan range (Shevaroy) in the Eastern Ghats. This hill station is renowned for its coffee plantations and orange groves. The Shevaroyan Hills at an altitude of 5326 feet is the highest point in Yercaud. Arthur's Seat gives a bird's eye view of the Big Lake, Yercaud town and the Shevaroyan Peak. The Big Lake or Emerald Lake is a placid lake set in a wonderful backdrop of hills and natural shoals. It offers boating facilities. Adjacent to the lake is the Anna Park. The Japanese park inside the Anna Park is worth a glance. Tourists throng to the Rose garden to see a collection of colourful roses situated 02 Km from Yercaud. Grange is one of the oldest buildings in Yercaud and is 03 Km from Yercaud Lake. Lady's Seat is a natural rock formation resembling a seat. It is on the south western side of Yercaud hills overlooking the Ghat road on the town of Salem to the south. Tourists also visit the mulberry cultivation, growing of silk worms and the method of spinning silk yarns at Silk Factory. On the eastern side of Yercaud is the Pyramid or Pagoda Point. This is an idyllic picnic spot located 05 Km from Yercaud. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Rama here. The Kiliyur Falls is a majestic waterfall 03 ks from Yercaud Lake. It presents spectacular views from the top and bottom of the falls. The Botanical Survey of India has a range of orchids. Notable among these are the ladies Slipper and an insect eating orchid. Shri Raheshwari Temple is dedicated to Shri Raheshwari the God of wealth and prosperity. The Kottachedu Teak Forest is 11 Km from Yercaud and one can see the bison here. Tipperary View Point is the southern most view point from Yercaud. One can see the Elephant Tooth Rocks which is reportedly said to be the remnants of a meteorite which fell to earth
Literally the name Yercaud in Tamil means lake (Yeri) and forests (Kadu), and is said to be named after the lake amidst wooded trees in the centre of the town. Yercaud is famous for its schools such as Montfort School and its various monasteries and convents. A delightful hill with magnificent views of the hills and the plains in between. On top of the hill there is a cave temple with a modern facade dedicated to the local deity Lord Shervarayan and his wife Goddess Kaveri. It is the highest point in Yercaud, 5,326 ft above sea level.Thousands of tribals take part in the colourful annual festival in the month of May.It is famous for its educational institutions such as the Sacred Heart Convent for girls, Montfort School for boys and the Holy Cross Novitiate House.
There are nearly 20 hairpin bends that afford panoramic views of the hills and valleys. It overlooks the winding Ghat road and provides a breathtaking view. This view is spectacular at night with the twinkling lights of Salem town in sight. The tourists can have a panoramic view of the plains below through the telescope mounted at the Lady's Seat.
There's nothing spectacular about Yercaud's beauty, and that's precisely its charm and, aside from the solitary lake, the endless expense of green is all that meets the eye. Take a long walk away from the lake into the mysterious wooded hillside or climb up to the Murugan temple for a heartstoppingly beautiful view of the valley, and you're guaranteed an experience as exhilarating perhaps even as mystical as you could hope for in any of the more celebrated hill stations in the country.
Here are two major attractions that draw visitors to Yercaud, the temperatures are cool all year round, and the fact that it is easy on the pocket. But don't let the budget factor fool you into believing that you might be headed for a completely tame experience.
At the highest point sits the Servarayan temple dedicated to the deity Servarayan and his consort Kaveri. The cave at the temple extends far beyond the shrine's limits. Legend has it that it extends all the way to the very source of the Kaveri in Kodagu, Karnataka ,a distance of 480 Km. Very few have explored the entire cave, an enterprise beset with dangerous terrain and poisonous snakes.
Clouds appearing and flowing past you climbing the hills and blurring the vision one second and next clearing and giving a glimpse into mother nature's beautiful creation. You are at such a height that human existence ceases to be visible. There seems to be no houses nor vehicles nor the associated noises until the sun sets and night becomes black do you realize the golden glitter and diamond studs that humanity has created through its lighting system.
Yercaud is a wonderful family get away other than being the beautiful hill resort. With the Yercaud Lake and the Killiyur waterfalls, the place is always green, enjoying a pleasant climate through out the year. Other than the natural charms the place also has a beautiful temple on the Shevaroyan hills.
The hill resort of Yercaud has its own vintage points. There is the lady's seat that offers wondrous vistas of the gorgeous Ghats and the trees. At dark you must watch out for the view of the lit Salem that resembles the twinkling stars. The other vintage points at Yercaud are the Gent's Seat, the retreat and the Pagoda Point.
Yercaud started gaining popularity as a hillstation in the 19th century. It was David Cockburn, the Scottish Collector of Salem (said to have first introduced the cultivation of coffee here) who set about developing its natural resources. The Grange, his old home which still stands, was fortified and equipped with ramparts and cannons, to act as a sanctuary for the European community here, in the event of another uprising after the Indian Mutiny.
Flora and fauna
Some of the original forests continue to exist in the Yercaud hills and contain several endemic species of plants and fauna. The Yercaud hills have many faunal and floral similarities to the Western Ghats. Wildlife includes bison, deer,anteater, rabbits, hares, foxes, mongoose, squirrels, partridges, snakes, bulbuls, kites, sparrows, swallows and Paradise flycatchers.
The main crop of Yercaud is coffee. Coffee was first cultivated on the "Grange Estate" in the year 1820, the year in which coffee plants were brought from Africa to Yercaud by Mr. M.D. Cockburn. Jack fruit, orange, guava and spices such as black pepper and cardamom are the other crops raised on the coffee estate. Sandalwood, teak and silver oak are abundant too.
Summer Festival: This is held during the middle of May when the annual festival of Lord Servarayan, presiding deity of the Shevroy Hills, takes place. It has a 7-day exhibition of flower shows, dog shows, boating races and a village fair.
Yercaud assembly constituency (ST) is part of Salem (Lok Sabha constituency)
General Information
383 sq.kms
1515 m
36863 (1991 Census)
Tamil and English
Min 1500 mm - Max 2000 mm
STD Code
Throughout the year

Classification of Lands in Yercaud Taluk
Grassing grounds
Lands unfit for cultivation
Lands used for other purposes
Net cultivable area
Tope etc
Other Waste
Waste land fit for cultivation
38267 hetares