In the Servarayan ranges, also called Shevaroy Hills of Tamil Nadu lies a hill station named Yercaud. This place is quite close to Salem. Yercaud is nestled in the Eastern Ghats at a height of 3389 feet above sea level. The lake in the center lends its name to this town. Yeri connotes lake and kaadu connotes forest in Tamil lingo. By and large the rest of Tamil Nadu is dry, but Yercaud is heavenly as the climate here is cool. The mercury never rises above 30 degrees Celsius nor dips under 13 degrees Celsius.
Yercaud hill station is much more economical in comparison to either Udhagamandalam (Ooty) or Kodaikanal. Dense forests provide shade and winds while the coffee plantation fulfils the need for attraction. There is no account in history as to when people started streaming into Yercaud for rest and relaxation. Clearly people have visited these parts since time immemorial. The wholesome weather in Yercaud entices visitors at all times of the year. It is spread over an area of 382.3 square kilometers. The languages spoken here are Tamil, Hindi and English. The popular name for Yercaud is poor man’s Ooty. The Yercaud hill region is known as Shevaroy Hills because the Sevarayan temple is the highest point in Yercaud.
On the way to Yercaud hill station you will go through a town named Salem. This town is famous for its textiles. Window shopping here would be a good idea as it might lead you to purchase handlooms at half the prices compared with other places. As the road begins to ascend into the mountains of Yercaud you will catch a glimpse of some brightly colored idols. These are only found in Tamil Nadu as they are worshipped as protectors of the villages by the locals and they are known as Aiyanars. You will come across 20 hairpin bends up the meandering hill. There are stands on the pavement that sell fresh garden produce, which include cloves and pepper. Finally, you will spot the undulating coffee plantations.
Yercaud came to be known by the British in the early 19th century. A British officer stationed in this region in the second decade of the 19th century introduced coffee cultivation to this area. The first roads were laid only in the early 20th century although the first house was constructed in 1840. The Christian missionaries caught attention of the lovely climate and inspired them to institute the Sacred Heart Convent for girls and the Montfort School for boys. The other produce in Yercaud hill station besides coffee is jackfruit, guava, oranges and berries. Spice such as pepper and cardamom grow in abundance.
The Salem junction and Salem town stations are the closest for those getting in by train as it is only 35 kilometers away. Regular bus services are available from Salem, Madhurai, Bangalore, Trichy, Chennai and Coimbatore. The airport closest to Yercaud is Kamalapuram. You could also land at Omalur, Coimbatore, Trichy or Bangalore airports.