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An ideal Weekend Getaway

Montfort ChapelYercaud is ideally located. Easily accessible from Bangalore as well as from Chennai, Coimbatore and Kerala. Little over an hour's drive from Salem, through winding roads with a fair amount of hairpin bends and you are in Yercaud, on the Shevaroy Hills range. Once upon a time, this quiet hill town of Yercaud was a sojourn of the Englishmen, who would come here just to get away from the blistering heat of the plains.

Montfort SchoolUnlike other hill stations, Yercaud is much quieter. Because it's small - the total area being just 383 sq. kms. and with a population of around 30,000 - it hasn't been exploited commercially. Thank God for that. But for the main road, the streets in the town are narrow, littered with small shops on either side.

Yercaud's claim to fame is the Montfort School, which is indeed the most prominent landmark of the place. Built in 1917 - an educational institution meant primarily for the Englishmen - this residential school today has around 800 students. If you are in Yercaud, then a visit to the school is a must. The history, the sprawling campus with umpteen playgrounds, and the architectural splendor of the Chapel - compare all this with the concrete jungles and high-density areas we live in.

The Yercaud LakeOtherwise, Yecaud has very little to offer as compared to hill stations in other places. There is the lake, where one can go boating. Viewpoints like the Lady's Seat, Gent's Seat or Pagoda Point - To get a panoramic view of Salem town down below. The Raja Rajeshwari Temple, the Shevaroyan Temple are places to can visit, especially for those who are religiously inclined. Don't expect to find large, towering mountain peaks with mist clinging down the slopes. Or clusters of oaks or patches of pine forests. Yercaud is like the middle class. Sober. It's a "neither here nor there" kind of place. And yet, it's a good weekend retreat, especially if you want to get out of the city's hustle and bustle. Just to lie back, relax, read or write a book. Or just "cool it". If you are honeymooning, then it's the best place to be in. You won't bump into your neighbour, that's for sure.

Friendly monkeys!Don't plan on more than 2 nights' stay at Yercaud. It's a friendly and quiet place, no doubt. Beyond that, one can get bored. One thing you will enjoy, as you drive up towards Yercaud and also, when you come down the ghat road. There are these colonies of monkeys that line the road. Stop your vehicle for a few minutes. Suddenly, you'll find them crowding around you. In fact, the best part of Yercaud is this welcome and send off you get from these monkeys. Nothing could be more cute and fantastic.

Yet, we kill these creatures for gain. Why can't we just enjoy what Mother Nature gave us?

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