Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flight of the Phoenix

After a long time... a new adventure begins. The bird was raring to stretch its wings and it finally got the opportunity to display its flying capabilities. The plan was to visit Yercaud, a small desolated hill station near Salem and to cover Hogenakkal Falls enroute.

We started at 6:45 AM on saturday morning on two bikes. The plan was to reach Yercaud by afternoon. One good thing about starting early is that one can easily avoid the Bangalore traffic.

The first stop was for breakfast. We stopped at HP petrol pump just outside Hosur. After a round of idlis, vadas and dosas, we started on the journey again. The drive till Krishnagiri was smooth as we sailed through NH. But after Kirshnagiri, the road till Dharmapuri was real bad. We had to give ourselves couple of breaks before we could persue further. But after Dharmapuri, the road till Salem was fairly good. We reached Salem at around 12:30 PM. After some refreshements, we started towards Yercaud. The road from here starts to get a bit tricky. The road is uphill for about 30 kms and the has got lots of sharp hair-pin bends. One needs to be very careful while driving. We reached Yercaud at around 2:00 PM. It took us an hour and a half to find a decent hotel and to fresh ourselves up. We were very hungry by then, but had to wait till 4:30 PM to get some decent food.

We were all fed and ready. We first decided on visiting the Shavorayan Temple. This is supposed to be highest point in Yercaud. The journey to the temple was eventful with a bike crash. But we continued, putting all these "adventures" behind our back. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is said to have a tunnel which leads to Talacauvery directly. Whether the legend is true or not is not known, but the temple was definitely eerie. The view from the mountain top was really beautiful. We spend a good time wandering around the mountain. By the time we started from there, it was already dark. We called it a day after a quick dinner and small stroll.

The next day we started early at 6:30 AM to capture the sunrise. We visited Pagoda point and spent some time there. The sunrise is a very good time to visit Pagoda Point. There are no people there and one can enjoy the serenity. The next stop was Ladies seat, Gents seat and of course, Children's seat. This place is not as majestic as the Pagoda Point. But one gets the view of the road that lead upto Yercaud.

Although there aren't many places to be visited around Yercaud, the place is untouched by commercialization. This is one of the 'feather in the cap' for Yercaud. So we bid farewell to Yercaud pretty early and started towards Hogenakkal. The drive downhill was simply mindblowing. The density of the butterflies you find enroute is ridiculously high. You find butterflies is all shapes and sizes. I guess I must have accidentely killed more than 50 of them when crashed on my bike.

We reached Salem at 10:40 AM. I needed to refuel my bike. At the petrol station, we found that there is an alternative route to Hogenakkal which did not require us to go all the way to Dharmapuri. It was a lucky find and we managed to save a lot of time because of this. We stopped again later to get some refreshments at Reliance petrol pump. I must add the A1 plaza at Reliance station is a great place for travellers. So, all fresh and ready, we continued towards Hogenakkal.

The weather on the way to Hogenakkal was exceptionally hot. It managed to drain all of us. We hoped that we could recover once we reached Hogenakkal. But we had done a great mistake. We had to managed to reach Hogenakkal on a holiday and when Cauvery was overflowing. The place was brimming with people. And the boat rowers were demanding an exceptionally large amount. After a long "discussion", we settled on an amount which we thought was pretty decent. The boat ride was nice. We managed to see quite some waterfalls. The waterfalls fall similar to the Niagara (not as high of course), and when the water are shallow one can ride through the valley and see the other inaccessible waterfalls.

It was 3:30 PM by the time we were done with the waterfall-seeing. And all of us were totally drained of our energy. We quickly recharged ourselves with some bars of chocolate and some water. We started back by 4 PM. Enroute, we found that there is also an alternative route which leads directly to Hosur, bypassing Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. Because we were already late, we decided to take this route.

This route is exceptionally bad in some sections. Also, the traffic on this road was pretty bad. The truck and bus drivers did not know that anything called 'lane-discipline' existed. It was also getting dark and it added to the trouble. We gave two stops on the way, one for grabbing a bite and the other to relax our aching butts. After a lot of patient riding, we finally managed to reach Hosur at 8:00 PM. Our aching butts were demanding another stop, but we decided against it. We wanted to reach Bangalore as soon as possible. We hit the NH and continued on full speeds. Thankfully, the traffic was not dense and we managed to weave our way through the traffic.

We gave ourselves another break just before electronic city. A quick swig of water and couple of calls later, we hit the roads again. Bangalore traffic was merciful that day and did not display itself in its full grandeur and splendour. So we managed to reach back by 9:00 PM. A dinner together and we called it a grand finale. A great trip it was even though we were fully worn out.

Route Information:

Yercaud: Yercaud is around 240 kms from Bangalore. You need to take the road to Hosur and pursue further on the same road until you reach Krishnagiri. After Krishnagiri, you need to move off from the NH and take the route which goes to Salem via Dharmapuri. Once in Salem, you need to take a left from 'Five-road junction' and continue on the same road. Yercaud is around 30 kms from Salem. The ghat-section begins from Salem. The entire 30 kms is uphill and has a lot of hair-pin bends. So it takes about an hour and half to reach Yercaud from Salem.

Hogenakkal: Hogenakkal Falls is around 180 kms from Bangalore. There are two routes to reach this place. You can go to Dharmapuri and turn left towards Hogenakkal. Or you can take a right from Hosur and reach Hogenakkal. The first route is longer (by about 20 kms) but has better roads. So because of the roads, the time saved is not substantial. Hogenakkal is very crowded on holidays. Also, the number of waterfalls you can visit depends on the water in the river. The best time to visit is when the water is not too much, then you can sail through the waters and reach the otherwise inaccesible waterfalls.

Travel Tips:
  • Carry your vehicle papers in original.
  • Its always best if someone knows tamil.
  • Be careful with the policemen near borders. They will try to extract fine for no reasons at all.
  • The reliance petrol pumps on the NH are a big boon. They provide good vantage points during travel.
  • Always do as much research about the place as possible before starting on the journey.

Monday, July 24, 2006


A new adventure begins.....................