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A Haven for trekkers and vacationeers near Bangalore

A serene hill station that makes for a perfect Bangalore weekend getaway, Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu is a haven for trekkers and vacationers all year round. Spread across about 29 sq km and at an approximate altitude of 1050 meters, Yelagiri offers fabulous trekking trails, pristine lakes, ancient temples and fabulous spots for paragliding in India - on the whole, a complete package offered to the adventure seeker throughout the year.

Reaching Yelagiri
Situated about 160 km from Bangalore and 220 km from Chennai, Yelagiri is well connected by road. The nearest railway station is Jolarpettai, from where you can take a bus or any road transport to reach the hilltop.

Circuitous travel
When scaling up Yelagiri, you need to turn around 14 hairpin bends; but what's special about this is that each bend is named after a popular Tamil personality! Besides, there's the Vainu Bappu Observatory at the 12th hairpin bend that houses Asia's largest telescope. So enjoy the valley view during the day, and a celestial spectacle in the night!

Trekking in Yelagiri
Endowed with beautiful valleys, breathtaking peaks and reserve forests, the trek trails in Yelagiri range from about a kilometer to 14 km.

Some of the popular trails include:

  • Punganoor to Nilavur Jalagamparai - 14 km
  • Punganoor to Swamimalai Hill - 6 km
  • Mangalam to Swamimalai - 2 km
  • Information Center to Koosi Kuttai - 1.5 km
  • Puthur to Perumadu Waterfalls - 3 km
  • Boat House to Pulicha Kuttai - 3 km
  • Nilavur to Kardimunai - 1.5 km

    Trek to Perumadu waterfalls

Of these, the most attractive trek during weekend vacations is the 3 km walk from Puthur to Perumadu waterfalls. This is quite a challenging trek as it passes through a mountain jungle that has thick undergrowth; hence, it's advisable to take a local guide along who shall help clear the undergrowth on your way. Cross muddy tracks, enter the narrow jungle trails, go uphill, downhill, uphill again and watch the breathtaking view of the 40-feet falls sweep into view in style, while the melodious chirping of birds creates the perfect magical moment.

To reach the stream of water below, you need to trek downhill, with the sunlight straining through the thicket and dancing like diamonds on the pond. This is a fascinating locale that makes for a fabulous day camp.

Restore health
The 14 km trek to Jalagamparai waterfalls is quite beneficial. The river Attaru passes through a clump of herbs before crashing down as the waterfall; hence, this water has helped cure several diseases (sic). A healthy walk and then a herbal bath - quite a natural luxury!

Beckoning peaks
The Swamimalai hills that house Yelagiri, along with the nearby Javadi and Pallamathi hills, together offer excellent trekking trails. Adventure seekers, pack your bags and set off trekking here, camp at the peak and enjoy the sunrise!

Spread your wings
Until recently, Yelagiri was known as the "poor man's OOty", with nothing more than boating and trekking as its main attractions. But today, paragliding in Yelagiri is a steaming attraction. If you're done with trekking, mountain biking and rock climbing in Yelagiri, it's time to set off paragliding in India at the scenic spots of Kottur, Muthanoor and Raneri.

Lake attraction
Bang in the middle of Yelagiri stands Punganoor lake, a man-made scenic spot that's a perfect visit for family. This lake has also become a home to several migrating birds that only enhance its beauty. Enjoy boating in the lake and relax in the park at its banks. There's also a herbal farm in the park premises that's worth a visit for naturopathy believers.Nilavoor lake is another popular spot for boating. This lake houses the temple of Kadavu-Nachiyar which holds a special significance as it is opened for puja only on Fridays between 11 am and 12 pm. The Moksha Vimochana temple holds a local belief that if devotees pray ere sincerely for 42 days at a stretch, they can be purged of all sins.

Rarity enshrined
Situated on one of the highest peaks, the Velvan temple in Yelagiri houses a rare statue of Ghatotkacha, son of the Pandava prince Bheema, at its entrance. Even the main idol of Lord Karthikeya, Lord Shiva's son, is a unique blend of Lord Murugan and Valli in the form of Kuravan and Kurathi.

Tales of yore
The Jalagangadhareeshwara temple is situated in the middle of the Vellore Fort; but it has a mythological significance that makes it all the more special. The wall carvings speak volumes of the lively spirit of the god in the sanctum sanctorum, and also reflects the beauty of craftsmanship of the time.

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