Next day morning I woke up to cool air caressing my face.As I opened my weary eyes and looked out I noticed that the bus was cruising along the roads of Salem. It had rained the previous night and the temperature was cool.The roads were still wet and the air was fresh.This change in climate from the last evenings atrocious conditions livened up my spirits.
After reaching the bus stand I quickly started searching for a local bus to Yercaud and found one just opposite to where I alighted.After a quick confirmation about the destination I boarded the bus and sat snugly near a window seat with my bag on my lap. The local bus had the typical mix of passengers.There were some villagers clad in dhoti kurta.A couple of tourists like myself.Then a few students with bags maybe going home for the weekend.The person who sat beside me tried to initiate small talk in tamil. In reply I said only two words ‘tamil illa’. He smiled and kept quiet.The bus departed on time and after a brief run through the streets the climb started.At the base the elevation is around 200MSL.The bus wound its way through the numerous hair pin bends as it gained elevation. The views were excellent. The weather was refreshingly cool and after the previous day’s torture in the Chennai heat this was heaven.
After an hour the the bus reached Yercaud.The altitude in my watch was reading 1300MSL which for me is quite exciting.Yercaud is a pretty little town.Our bus made its way past little dwellings beside the road and a beautiful lake which is a staple of all hill stations in India.Far away on the hill sides I could spot hotels perched right on the edge of cliffs. I reached Yercaud Bus Stand around 8am an hour after I boarded the bus from Salem. The bus stand offers beautiful view of the town.It stands on a slope with one side fenced off. I walked over to this fence to have a look at the view. Before I could even take in the views a faint stench of urine hit me. From what I could gather this point had become an unofficial toilet. I was dismayed by this. Here was an excellent viewpoint and you make it a place to piss. Nevertheless I made my way over to the railing and had a good look around.From here the whole town was visible and right on the opposite side on the hill were some resorts.
From the bus stand I made my way to Hotel Shoba which I had booked just a day before.It is located very near, on the right side once you exit the bus stand. I checked in, put my stuff in and went out for breakfast. I had steaming hot dosa in a small nondescript hotel nearby. The taste was heavenly.They have only two dishes. Dosa and Idly. I recommend a visit to this hotel if you are anywhere nearby the bus stand.
After this hearty breakfast I made my way back to my room. It was a simple affair with a neat bed, a teapoy and a chair. A window offered views of an abandoned bungalow nearby. I quickly took a refreshing bath and tucked in for a nap.
I woke up in the afternoon thoroughly refreshed. The temperature was still around 25 and I just wanted to have my lunch and go back to sleep. But somehow I got up and went out. I decided to skip all the touristy spots and just go for a big long walk around town. I started off from my hotel crossed the bus stand to my right and continued to walk towards the lake that I had see earlier while coming on the bus. The lake was swarmed by tourists everywhere. All the roads beside it were filled by them. Even then the lake looked mesmerizing.There were a lot of paddle boats moving around in the lake and the sight was quite pretty. I looked around for a place to eat and found one.It was nothing to write about.Poor service and poor food. Next I went round the lake and took a stroll inside a park there. Again it was swamped with tourists and I was not feeling enthusiastic about spending any time here so I took a few pics and went out. I continued on the same street and gradually the number of people began to dwindle. The crowd was limited to the lake. Far away now I could see I was in the quieter part of the town.
I looked around and found out that I was on the opposite side of the hill on which the Bus stand and my hotel is situated. So basically its like the town is divided into two parts on two hills.Typical small town dwellings lined both sides of the road. Nothing remarkable here. From this part I slowly made my way to the opposite side. I took many random turns going where my heart told me go at that instant. I was in no hurry. Soon I fond myself in a street with a dead end. Just near on the end to the right in between two small houses, a bit down below I saw a pretty tower jutting out from a branches of a tree.It reminded me of the watchtowers in the videogame ‘Age of Empires’.I kept staring at the tower trying to figure out what it was when a passerby asked me something in Tamil. I had no idea what she said. I simply pointed at the tower and said ‘just looking’. She indicated that I can go down on a path and said its a church.I thanked her and I started making my way down to the church on the rough mud path. I met a person going in the opposite direction. I asked for the proper path and he guided me to the church and to the exit which went around the church. After a minutes walk I emerged behind the exquisite church. It was a sight to behold. I was spellbound by the architecture. I love heritage buildings and this was one beautiful building.
From here I joined the streets again. Other highlights of my walk were walking past the Monfort School with its stunning location and excellent grounds. Then the Notre Dame Estate which lies on a small hill of its own.Again stunning location. The building also looked magnificent and reminded me of the grand manors of the Victorian Era.There were many small pretty cottages which which all the English look about them. I made a mental note to look for an accommodation in these kind of cottages the next time I come to Yercaud.
After this lovely walk I made my way back to my hotel room. The sun was about to set and I didn’t want to be out in the lonely streets after dark.(The bus stand area was pretty crowded even after dark but the streets out in the far away hills were lonely.) After a dinner of dosas in one of the small restaurants nearby I called it a day and tucked in for the night.
|The Library and Sports Club Building
The next morning I went for a stroll again and this time I went to a different part. The winding streets and the pretty cottages again made my morning refreshing. After breakfast in the same hotel I checked out form my hotel and went to the bus stand. A bus was ready to depart for Salem and I boarded it.I reached Salem at around 11am. I finally reached my home in Nellore at 1am in the night.