Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yelagiri History, Useful Info & Connectivity

Yelagiri History & Useful Info

Introduction:

Yelagiri hill is one of the popular hill stations of Tamil Nadu.  Situated amidst four mountains well known for its salubrious climate prevail throughout the year.  Tribal people live in villages in these hills.

If you travel the winding Ghat road that has 14 hairpin bends you can reach the Yelagiri hilltop.  The hairpin bends offer panoramic, breath taking views of the hills and its surroundings.

The seventh bend is significant, since it offer the view of the slopes of the mountain and the green forests that carpet the hill.

Yelagiri comprises 14 small villages. The tribal people who live here are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc.

Their customs, habits, and the structure if their houses are very unique and attract tourists

Yelagiri (also spelled Elagiri on some signboards) is a town in Tamil Nadu, a state in the south of India.

Yelagiri, at a height of 920 meters above sea level, stands majestically amidst four mountains. This is a hill station with a salubrious climate prevailing throughout the year so that winters do not keep visitors away. The main inhabitants of the area are the tribes who live in the 14 small villages which comprise Yelagiri. These tribes are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc. - all the occupations of rural hill folk. Their customs and habits, and especially the structure of their houses is unique and attracts a number of tourists to this hill station.

General Information:

Area           : 29.2 Square Km.
Population  : 3755 (As per 2001 Census)
Altitude      : 1048.5 m.

Climate:

Summer: 34°C
Winter: 11°C
Season to Visit       : Throughout the Year
Language Spoken   : Tamil
Rain fall (Annual)   : 900mm (average)
Festivals:
Summer festival during the month of May – June. (2 to 3 days yearly)

Nachiyamman temple Nilavur (Once every five Years).

Murugan temple Festival (Once in aYear)
Useful Info:
Department of Forest: Govt of Tamil Nadu. Ph: 2220857

Yelagiri Hill Development Authority & Tourism Promotion Society: 0416 - 2242726

Tourist Information Centre, Vellore: 0416 - 2217974

For Guide and for Information Tourist Information Centre, Yelagiri: Ph 04179 - 295101, Cell: 94863 28778.

Block Development Officer Jolarpet: 04179 - 220015

District Collector Vellore: 0416 - 0052718, 2253177
How to Reach:
Road:  It is Well connected by Road Ponneri to Yelagiri (14 Km)
           buses are available. Tirupathur to Yelagiri (27 Km)

Rail:  Nearest Railway Station  Jolarpettai. (Jolarpettai to Yelagiri21 Km)

Air:  Nearest Airport Chennai and Bangalore.

Chennai to Yelagiri-233 k.m.

Bangalore to Yelagiri-145 K.m
By car
From Bangalore
Yelagiri is about 150 km from Bangalore and 250 km from Chennai (Madras), good for a four hour bike ride with breaks along the way. Take the NH7 out of Bangalore towards Hosur, turn towards Chennai (onto NH46) at Krishnagiri and continue until you get just before Vaniyambadi. You can see the Hills from quite a distance (on your right). From a break in the highway that comes approx 2 km after the toll gate, turn right into the underpass road that takes you to Tirupathur. Continue some 5 km and at Ponneri Junction take a left to Yelagiri Hills. The routes are all marked with signboards in English.
From Chennai
Yelagiri is about 258 km from Chennai-Tambaram. Take the Poonamalee High Road out of the city to Ponamalee Town. From Poonamalee, take the Bangalore highway towards Vellore. The distance to Vellore is about 135 km and the route passes through Sriperumbudur, Walajapet and Katpadi. Vellore would be a good place to plan a break, there are a lot of eating places right on the highway. From Vellore continue on to Ambur and then towards Vaniyambadi. On the highway about 45 km from the 3 toll station, watch out for a signboard for "Elagiri - 22 kms". Take a left at this exit. Its easy to miss this left and if you overshoot this you would reach the Vaniyambadi toll station in about 1km. Continue on this road (SH18) till you reach Ponneri junction which has Thirupathur straight and Yelagiri on the left. Watch out for this one as it is easy to miss. (On the left, you'll see a big sign board 'Tamilnadu Tourism Department Welcomes You'. Turn left at this junction, there's a sign board pointing towards Yelagiri.)

The roads are well punctuated with signboards in English, and the roads especially the Chennai-Vaniyambadi stretch are excellent (in 2007). It is fairly safe, watch out for the occasional truck that changes lanes abruptly. The last petrol pump is after you turn left at Ponneri, a little before you start on the ghat section. There are no petrol pumps on the hills.

There are 14 hairpin bends on the ghat road from Ponneri to Yelagiri and the road is pretty narrow so you can't actually park a car to enjoy the view except at some of the wider hairpin bends. Bikes won't have this problem though.
By train
If you are coming by train from Bangalore, Chennai or Coimbatore you have to get down at Jolarpettai Junction.
Public transport
If you prefer to take public transport, buses come from Thirupattur and Jolarpet. You can take a taxi also from these places. You can negotiate for about 350 INR (2005) to drop you in Yelagiri Hills from Jolarpettai Junction.

Please note there are no petrol stations in Yelagiri, thus you have to fillup the tank at the last available petrol station in the plains (however, try to avoid HP petrol bunk in Poneri because they don't give pure petrol). Except for a few tire changers there are no vehicle repair shops in the hills.

Also, please take your first-aid kit along with your regular medicines, if any, with you. There is a government primary health centre, and a private clinic (in which the doctor is from CMC vellore). The nearest health centre is in Tirupattur.

As for getting around you may have to make your own arrangements for commuting in the hills. There are auto-rickshaws and a few taxis for hire, but it is a great place for trekkers.

Each village has a Murugar Temple, small and big. At Nilavoor there is a devi temple for Kadavu-Nachiyar, which opens for puja only on Fridays between 11AM and 12PM in the morning. The villagers around believe this Goddess is very powerful and throng the place in good numbers on Fridays.

Frequent buses come and go from Thirupathur and Jolarpet at the foothills

You can get buses from Chennai, Salem, Hosur, Bangalore but a bus journey will eat into a major part of your day. Driving or taking the train is advisable.
Chennai to Yelagiri
Total distance: 258 Km
Journey Duration: 4 1/2- 5 hours

The Route From Chennai:

Chennai City--->Poonnamale Byepass---> Sriperamabadur By pass---->Toll Gate---> Kanchipuram By pass Flyover--->Walajapet Toll gate--->Katpadi----> Ranipet Bypass----> Palar Bridge-> Arcot Bypass---> Vellore Bypass (6 or 7flyovers ---->Pallikonda Toll Gate ----> Pachakuppam(bypass bridge)---> Ambur Town--->Vaniyambadi By pass( has two Bridges)--->Vaniyambadi Toll gate --->Ponneri--->Yelagiri hills

Tips
  • If you start from Chennai city your first destination is the Poonamalee town. This can be reached by taking the Poonamalee High Road.
  • From Poonnamalee you have to take right turn on to the Bypass road towards the Bangalore Chennai Highway or NH4 (National Highway #4). This highway is part of Golden Quadrilateral (GQ)
  • Your next destination on NH4 is Sriperamabadur via Thandal and the Hyundai factory. Drive carefully as there can be some heavy traffic movements on week days owing to a lot of factories here. Sriperamabadur would be 1 hour from Chennai.
  • Carry on on NH4 for another 1 hour or so you will see the directions for reaching Kanchipuram.
  • Your next destination is Vellore some 140 kms away.
  • Continue your journey on NH4 past Sivathangal, Kevripak, Katpadi and Walajepet to reach Ranipet or Ranippettai.
  • From Ranipet you have to take a left onto National Higway 46 (NH46) and move towards Vellore via Kanipettal
  • Assuming you have started from Chennai early in the morning then by the time you are on the outskirts of Vellore it’s high time to have the breakfast.
  • From Vellore continue your journey on to Ambur past Pallikonda.
  • Your next destination is Vaniyambadi
  • After crossing Vanyambadi, just after 2-5 km you need to take a left turn on the the Tirpathur highway
  • You will reach Ponnari at approximately 7 kms from Vanyambadi. Continue your journey till you find a HP fuel station on the right.
  • After crossing the HP petrol pump go till you reach a junction. From that junction you need to take another left turn towards Yelagiri Hills.
  • Be careful not to miss the junction. On the left, you`ll find a big sign board that says `Tamilnadu Tourism Department Welcomes You” and after turning left you will find a sign board that points to Yelagiri.
  • This is the Ghat Road. From Ponneri the hills of Yelagiri is 14 kms away that passes through 14 Hair pin bends named after famous Tamil language poets and reach the top at Athanur town.
How to get out of Chennai City
From Chennai city to go to Poonamalle there are three ways.

Chetpet--->Amejikarai--->Arumbakkam--->Koyambedu junction--->Maduravoyil--->Poonamalle bypass ---> GQ (NH4)

Vadapalani NSK Road--->Valsarvakam--->Porur junction (take a right turn here)--->Poonamalle---> GQ

Mount Road-->Guindy Kathipaara Junction---->Porur road (it’s just next to the airport road on the right)--->MIOT(Madras Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology)-->Porur junction->Ramachandra Hospital->Poonamallee.
Total Distance: 165 km

Total Time: 3 ½ hours

Bangalore City---> Electronic City---> Atibele---> Hosur flyover--->Soolagiri--->Krishnagiri Byepass--->Krishnagiri toll gate--->Krishnagiri Flyover (first)---> Bargur---> Natrampalli---> Ponneri---> Yelagiri Hills
Tips
  • From Bangalore take the NH4. NH4 is part of GQ. The road is silken smooth.
  • After leaving Bangalore your first destination is Krishnagiri that is some 95 km away via Hosur, Kamandoddi and Melumalai
  • After crossing Krishnagiri Toll gate there would be two Flyovers. Cross the first one. As you approach the next flyover do not go over the flyover. Instead take the side road. You will find a junction here. Turn left here.
  • You are now on NH 46 towards Chennai.
  • After traveling 17 km further you would reach Bargur
  • From Bargur Travel tillNatrampalli on NH 46
  • After a few Km There is another toll gate. Past the toll gate, follow the road signage carefully. You will come across a school called “Vanni Matriculation Higher Secondary School”. You can see the sign board that reads ‘Elagiri 36kms’. The sign board asks you to take an U turn for Yelagiri.. Take the U turn and continue your journey under a bridge. Be careful not to miss it
  • You are now into SH 18 that leads to Thirupathur. As you travel continue looking at sign boards on your left. After approximately 7 kms you will find one that reads‘Ponneri 13 kms’
  • Drive a few yards ahead till you reach a crossing. Here you can also spot a board that is put by Tamilnadu Tourism Department. From this crossing you need to take a left turn towards Ponneri and subsequently to Elagiri Hills.
  • Drive your up through the magnificent Ghat Roads and 14 hair pin bends to reach the top at Athanur Town.
Fuel Stations
You can refuel your car at Hosur, Krishnagiri and Vaniyambadi.
Alternate Route from Bangalore to Yelagiri
There is another route that is a favorite with bikers. The total distance would be bit longer at around 215 km.

The route is Bangalore->Hoskote-> Malur->Bangarapet-> Betmangala-> Venkatagirikota (vkota)->Pernambaut->Ambur Road->Vaniyambadi->Yelagiri

 Tips:

Though the distance is more in this route but a ride down the Pernambaut ghats is considered very scenic and the route passes mainly through village roads. The road from Malur to Bangarpet which is around 30KMs is not in very good condition. The stretch between Venkatagirikota (vkota) to Pernambaut is good. Though be careful of the hair pin bends as they are full of sands. On this route petrol pumps are available at Malur, Pernamba, Ambur, Vaniyambadi.

 Shopping:

Home made honey and jack fruit (on season) are available in Yelagiri Hills. Even the Home made Honey can be get from YMCA with Good Quality and taste, You can believe that it is original. Otherwise you have to check whether its original. There is a small house near YMCA, where you can get pure malai then (mountain honey). The weekly market (Sandhai) assembles in Athanavoor on Fridays. Again you will find the usual modern cheap plastic wares from the plains are sold, along with a few agricultural products from the hills.

ATMs

A SBI ATM has been newly constructed near YMCA as of August 2009.

Fooding:

Food is not a problem in Yelagiri, except if you are trekking. Otherwise there are a number of eateries offering south/north Indian food at reasonable rates. Branded soft drinks and water bottles are available. Look out for jackfruit - this area has plenty of it available especially in the summer months, and the fruit here is considered very good. Also, there are lots of fruits available each season like guava, custard apple, etc. Try to bargain as much as possible as the locals are very keen. On the contrary, you will also get some fruits near Swamimalai treking spot where the locals will surprise you by giving you more than what you expect.

 Drinks:

Carry your own beer case as its difficult to get these locally. Some restaurants sell beer. But that maynot be the original brands If you are a guy looking for branded.

 Contact

Vodafone now has a tower in the hills with good reception throughout the area. BSNL is the other provider - but has frequent network congestion problems. Aircel and Airtel also has excellent connectivity.

Useful Tips

Like in many hill-stations, you'll come across an army of monkeys on the winding, ghat road. Pull aside to take pictures if you like, or slow down so that the kids can get a closer look at these lovely animals. But, don't get too close and don't provoke them, because they can get very, very nasty. Ensure (a) the windows are rolled up; and (b) ensure no food items are on the dash board, especially bananas. If they see a banana, you'll have a battle on your hands. Remember, out there you are pretty much out-numbered. It might also be interesting for you to know that a monkey bite can be pretty much fatal.

Whatever level of adventurous streak you have in you, don't overdo it by trying to crawl through bushes or thick shrubs. Yelagiri Hills is home to hundreds of snakes and some pretty venomous ones at that.

Travelers from Chennai and Bangalore generally prefer to take their own vehicles to go to Yelagiri. If you are adventurous enough there is nothing like a bike ride. The journey offers enough thrills in the form of U Bends and S Bends to keep you absorbed



3 comments:

raja said...

We stayed at the YMCA in elagiri and it was very musch affordable and the place was good enough for a nights stay.

You get decent food and accomodation at around Rs. 650/- which I think is relatively cheap. We were told that if we are coming in larger groups we get discounts on the tariff. For booking rooms in advance please get in touch with Mr Prince
( http://ymcayelagiri.com/contact_us.html )

Overall the trip to yelagiri from Madras was a remarkable

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