Drive to Yelagiri
It was a late decision to go for a weekend drive. As we wanted the drive to be smooth and visit unseen (rather undriven) places, we zeroed upon Yelagiri Hills.
Yelagiri is a hill station near Jolarpet, in Tamilnadu. It is at an altitude of 1400 metres above sea level. There are 14 hairpin bends on the ghat road. For information on Yelagiri Hills and the places of interest, visit http://wikitravel.org/en/Yelagiri.
Before embarking on the journey, I had a brief understanding of the places to visit at Yelagiri, courtesy - http://www.yelagirihills.com/where_to_go.htm
We started early around 6:30 AM in the morning. We reached Hosur around 7:15 AM, and had breakfast at Gowrishankar / Vasanta Vihar Hotel on the back side of the bus stand. It is the tasty pongal served in the morning, that lured us there. And we had a sumptuous breakfast before embarking to Yelagiri.
Then we took the Chennai Highway from Krishnagiri and proceeded towards Jolarpet. I got deterred by a wrong route board, and took a detour near a place called Natrampalli... At this point, I realized that on the new SW version on my N8, Google maps had stopped working. Ovi Maps, did not have this road at all :-) After enquiring from few locals, we were asked to proceed on a bit rough road. After about 30 mins (20 kms) we reached Jolarpet. After struggling to find a way past the Railway Level Crossing, we reached Vaniyambadi - Tirupattur SH, which was very good (though 2 way). After enquiries at roadside shops, we found the road to Yelagiri, at a place called Ponneri. There was a Ganesha Temple just before the start of the Ghat section, and we took a moment there.
The ghat section was very good, and the roads were well laid with umpteen warning and direction signboards. There was a name painted on every hairpin bend, and we managed to click every one of those. We stopped at the 7th Hairpin bend to get a panoramic view of the adjoining plains. The view as ever from a hilltop was just beautiful. Then just after clearing 11th hairpin bend, we saw the Telescope house.
The Telescope House
The telescope house, situated on a cliff is not functional now. There is no telescope or anything as such, and is unmanned.
The sound of trees swaying in the breeze greeted us to the top of the cliff. We spent a breezy 15 minutes, captivated by the valley view and the cool breeze.
Then, after a few more hairpin bends, came Athanoor town and we were greeted by this signboard.
Punganoor Artificial Lake-cum-Park
After having parked our car at the Parking lot (Rs. 20) at Punganoor Lake, we proceeded towards the lake hoping for some decent boating experience. But, we were taken aback by the lack of motor boats, all that was available were pedal and row boats. There was also a children's park beside the lake.
After taking a few photographs and a semi circular stroll around the lake, we thought what next, and decided to just drive around.
A few minutes away from Athanoor towards Nilavoor, is the Murugan temple. The temple is situated on a hillock, and one has to climb about 100 steps to reach the temple. After some oofs and aaahs, we were able to find the temple.
Not knowing where to go next, we saw up some sign boards of a Sports Adventure camp at a place called Nilavoor. The word adventure prompted me to drive to Nilavoor (about 6 kms from Athanoor). We were greeeted by a mud coloured lake :-) yes, the water was brownie, but yes we decided to pedal our way for about an hour. And we couldn't manage more than 20 mins. After tasting some Jackfruit, we decided to return.
We enquired about Jalagamparai falls to a few locals and got to know that the falls is on the other side of the hill, about 5 kms trek from Nilavoor. However, if one had to go by road, its about 44 kms, as we had to go downhill, then to Tirupattur, and take the scenic Jalagamparai Falls road. As we were pretty tired, and wanted to explore on road, we decided to go to Jalagamparai falls. We had Milk at an Aavin Milk outlet at Athanoor and then proceeded downhill. It took us about 1.5 hours (90 mins) to cover the 44 kms stretch. The road to Jalagamparai (though was narrow) was very scenic with rich vegetation all around. Jalagamparai is about 14 kms from Tirupattur.
We were greeted by a crowd of Monkeys at the falls. There was no water from the falls as it was not raining at that time. There was a temple slightly above the base of the falls (about 75 steps). We then got to know from the locals that the actual place of the falls is about a half km trek. I wanted to do the mini trek to proceed to the exact place of the water fall. However, one local warned me that the trek path is deserted and immediately I spotted a snake zipping past about 5 feet in from of us. Then, we decided to heed to the warning and just took a few snaps and started on the return journey.
From Tirupattur, we took the Krishnagiri road, quite good though 2 way. Easily I could drive at 80kmph and occasionally touch 100. In about 45 minutes we reached Bargur (about 40 kms from Tirupattur), From there on we joined the Chennai - Bangalore Highway and from there on it was a cruise.
We reached Hosur around 4:30 and had tiffin at Gowrishankar (don't ask me why again), but, It was just so good, atleast to me.
While writing this blog, I observed that the routes we had taken were not present on the Google maps. I added these roads through mapmaker, but even then was not able to chart out the route that we had taken.
However, the simplest route is to proceed towards Vaniyambadi, and take the Vaniyambadi Tirupattur road and take the Yelagiri Ghat Road at Ponneri.
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