Bike Trip to Yercaud
What - Yercaud is a quaint little 'hill-station' in Tamil Nadu, not as famous as Ooty or Kodai; and not as beautiful as Kodai either!! But with more and more techies in Bangalore and Madras yearning for weekend getaways, Yercaud is slowly getting to be a crowded locale.
Where - Yercaud is around 230 kms from Bangalore. The roads leading upto the place are just aaaaaawesome with a four lane highway from Bangalore to Krishnagiri (around 100 kms). The next hundred through Dharmapuri to Salem is pretty decent too and the entire 200 km stretch can be completed in around 3 hrs, no sweat. The last 30 kms from Salem to Yercaud is through the hills and is a bikers delight :)
The blah - The first trip after my mountaineering hiatus from work came much sooner than I had expected!!! Barely two weeks after I was back in Bangalore!!! With many ppl willing to come changing their availability at the last minute, the four of us - 'Big K' Katu, Aanu, Nidhi and myself set off early on Saturday (the 15th of April 2006) morning and were soon ripping on the highway!!!
Whats a bike trip without breaks .... The first was a photo-op near Hosur and the next was at this favourite section of mine between Hosur and Krishnagiri.
Everytime I ride through this section, I seem to like it more and more :) The view of the distant hills above the road, itself nested between small hills, is something that always excites me. The next stop for roadside 'chai' was at Krishnagiri where I left the vendor with the assurance that I would have 'chai' from him every single day if he ever opens a shop in Bangalore!! It was THAT good!!! :)
Continuing on, before we realised it, we were at Dharmapuri. A quick dash to SaravanaBhavan for the mouth-watering idly-dosas sustained us for the rest of the journey. A cloudy day helped as well and we reached Salem around three hours after we left Bangalore. Weren't we proud of it!!! ;-)
With the first views of the hills and the first climb in sight, I was all prepared to 'hoDify the dosais' on the curves! (for the lack of a English equivalent for that!!) But Whoa!! It started to rain!! A Gentle drizzle, cool winds and ghat roads --- thats life!!!
The pic above was a reflection of how good things were at this relatively unknown vista! My itchy fingers with the camera couldn't have been happier back in the south .....
Having settled into a hotel room and waited for the rains to subside, we set off for the few attractions in this small town. The first was Kiliyur Falls - about which we had no info about! Just three kms from the center of the town, we reached there in a jiffy only to realise that we had to trek a bit to reach the falls - But how much?? No one knew!! With rains having lashed these grounds just an hour or so ago, it was a haven for anyone who likes to fall ... This li'l sis of mine comes to mind right away!! ;-)
Anywayz, with the journey already begun, the only thing to do is to complete it!! Tagging along a reluctant Katu (who has to learn that its really OK to fall!!! ), we reached the falls after just a 15 min hike. Still high from the HMI experience, I climbed up the rock face only to find myself in the middle of nowhere!!!
It took a lot of deep breaths and lessons learnt at the rocks at HMI to descend carefully back onto solid flat ground :-) Climbing back up onto the road, we were treated to this awesome spectacle --- Behold!!!
With the Kiliyur misadventure behind us, we decided to take it easy and maybe take a rowboat on the Yercaud lake? But, when we realised that we would not be allowed to row, but would have to sit idle ... we just said "Phtttttttt".
Later that evening, we set off to visit Lady's seat and landed up at Pagoda Point!! With the night view of Salem town as enchanting as it was, I was reluctant to leave. However, Katu was getting tense- It was already dark!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks!! The taunting session with Katu which started in the evening just got worse -- I flooded him with questions about how much freedom he is going to give his kids and the like .... and man!! I am lucky to be still writing this!!!! :))
The other highlight of the night was Katu's hunt for a chain to lock his dear Enfield so that theifs lurking around to steal his priced possession would not be successful ..... This led to the beginning of another series of Katu jokes where myself and Aanu were the culprits. If you are wondering what happened of Nidhi, we hardly saw much of him here as he was in the phone booth most of the time!!!!
With us calling it a day, the next laughter session began as soon as I woke up next morning to see Katu awaiting my Tamil expertise to ask the lodge helper to switch on the geyser for hot water. I asked Katu to go to him and say the Tamil magic words "Hot water - geyser" and he promptly got that done!!!!! And to think Katu waited for an hour and a half waiting to learn these Tam words!!!! ROTFL!!!!!
We then began the next tour of the 'places of interest' with a lot of disinterest and finally settled at this vantage point for 'a la DCH' .......
And with all this about Katu in here and considering the relative sizes of the people involved, this is how I am ........ Living life on the edge!!!!!