One wonders why Yercaud is called as the poor man’s Ooty. That is because Yercaud is as lovely, if not better than Ooty. Located close to Salem in Tamil Nadu, this hill station is barely a 5-hour train journey from Bangalore. In Tamil language, “Yeri” means lake and “Kaadu” means forest. Yercadu has a lake located at its center and hence the name.
Yercaud’s temperature never rises above 30o C or falls below 13o C. 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. It is an hour’s drive from Salem.
The flora and fauna of Yercaud
The wildlife in Yercaud comprises of bison, deer, foxes, mongooses, squirrels, snakes and birds like kites, swallows, bulbuls and sparrows.
The annual summer festival is in May or early June when there are boat races on the lake; flower shows and fruits flood the stalls. Not only is Yercaud popular with holidaymakers, but also with companies who now hold incentive meetings and conferences in the pleasant surroundings of this delightful town. We were lucky to have attended the flower show.
The resort where we stayed offered a splendid view of the hills from the room. The premises were very well landscaped. The resort is located atop the mighty Servarayan Hills, overlooking lush coffee gardens and the Mettur dam. The night view of Salem city from Yercadu is truly breathtaking. The serene and aromatic ambience of coffee and spice plantations is to be experienced to be believed. Yercaud is located at a height of 4700 ft above sea level. The Yercaud lake, one of the few natural lakes in India, adds a scenic charm and tranquility to the hill station.The lake is called as an Emerald Lake due to the distinct greenish hue of its waters. On one of its banks, stands Anna Park, which is a lively place for gamboling children to play and have fun.The park also has an exquisitely landscaped Japanese garden tucked amongst its native flora.
Servarayan is the highest point in Yercaud, 6 kms from the town.The temple is a narrow, dark cave with two idols of Lord Servarayan and Goddess Kaveri, believed to represent the Servarayan Hills and the Cauvery river. The annual festival of the temple is held in May. The temple offers spectacular views of the country side from its heights.
It is a seat like rock that overlooks Salem town as well as the numerous hair pin bends along the road leading to Yercaud.The view at night is captivating, as Salem and the valley light up with thousands of twinkling lights. Gent’s seat and children’s seat are other vantage points located close by.
It is a 32 km stretch that begins and ends at the lake.The road goes through thick forests and coffee plantations across the villages of Nagalur, Semmantham, Kaveri Peak and Manjakuttai.
This is a fascinating place where you can see silkworms feed on mulberry leaves and watch their cocoons turning into silk thread. Live demonstrations of the life cycle of silkworms and the methods of spinning silk are good experiences.
Pagoda point or pyramid point is a viewpoint located in the eastern part of Yercaud hills. This has four piles of stones arranged so as to form a pyramid shape (pagodas). It is said to be built by the local tribes and there is a temple of Lord Rama located between the piles of stones. One can get a thorough view of the town of Salem and a little village called Kakambadi from this hill. The cliffs in this area look really beautiful especially in early mornings or evenings and spending some time in this point itself is refreshing to the body and mind.
The garden has 249 types of orchids and rare and endangered plants including the intriguing insect-eating pitcher plant and the kurunji plant that blooms only once in 12 years. There is also a rose garden, located close to Lady’s seat, that has roses of various colours and sizes amidst sylvan surroundings and tall trees.
Madurai (120 km)
Coimbatore (170 km)
Trichy (195 km)
Nearest Railway station
Salem, 35 kms from Yercaud
Trichy and Coimbatore stations are 165 km and 190 km away respectively.
It is no secret that Rajinikanth, the South Superstar is a spiritual person. But this spirituality wasn’t something that he embraced overnight. He had his share of lows and highs in the Tamil film world which led him to seek solace in various gurus like Ramana Maharishi and Raghavendra Swamy. He even made a movie on the life and times of Raghavendra Swamy.
Last year, Rajinikanth suffered a major renal ailment and it is believed that it was his unflinching devotion to Goddess Lalitha Tiruprasundari in Yercadu that helped him bounce back to recovery. When I visited the temple in May 2012, there was a banner in the temple thanking Rajinikanth for funding the development works in the temple. This temple is very significant because it is the only ‘maha meru chakra ’ temple in the country. Constructed in 2010 by one Bharanidharabn babu, the temple is slowly becoming famous thanks to Rajinikanth. Drivers in Yercaud vouch for the fact that Rajini visits this temple at least once in 6 months. This Sri Chakra Mahameru temple is situated amidst dense silver oak and other wild trees.The deity is Lalita Tiripurasundari and the Yantra is known as the Sri Chakra. This is an ideal place of worship for the locals as well as the tourists.Those who have prayed here have never ever returned empty handed.
What is Maha Meru
Maha Meru represents the whole universal energy and the energy embedded in every animate and inanimate objects, meaning the soul. The Maha Meru gives out bio-energy fields, akin to those found in ancient Sriyantra installed in various temples in India. The Sriyantra/Meru provides the bio-energy to cure any illness of those who rested there , it increases happiness and contentment and finally helps one to reach the goal of human life. It ushers Spiritual and Material benefits to go hand in hand.
The Maha Meru has 43 TRIANGLES, 22 triangles looking upward representing Siva (the latent energy) and 21 triangles looking downward representing the Sakthi (potent energy), thus interacting and linking the positive and negative energies, male and female energies, and establishing utmost harmony between them. Therefore it is considered to be the best medium for integrating the Divine Energies. It is called SAMARSAYA meaning fully integrated . It is therefore capable of removing any cause of disharmony in every part of the human body, environment and family life, if its potency is properly utilized. As the human being transmits the divine energy, so also the MAHA MERU transmits the Divine Energy, wherever it is installed properly sanctified. The peak represents Mount Meru, abode of the Gods.
Other temples in Yercaud are the Rajarajeswari temple and the Annamalaiyar temple.