A trip to Yercaud- far away from the torrid heat of a Singaara Chennai summer was like gifting a kid with a bucket of ice-cream- refreshing and perfect! And seeing Yercaud in May- the season where it wears its coolest shades turned out indeed to be a wonderful trip!
The best way to reach Yercaud is to take a train till Salem, hop on to a local bus to the New Salem Bus Stand and then jump into another headed up to the hill. Meandering over 20 hairpin bends apart from the many dizzy twists and turns in the late-evening, is a must-have experience for every traveler!
I blinked my eyes quick, asking my human camera to capture the breathtaking view! God clicked from above too! And then, roared with loud laughter!
Hills- bathed in twilight. Light! Misty views. A crack of lightening. Thunder. Copse of trees. The valleys below looking like million glittering gems were strewn! A heavenly scent- a mix of trees, wet earth, rain, dried leaves, slush. Overcast skies. A world bathed in blue. Hairpin bends. The valley alternating with buttresses holding back the excited hill soil. Contoured face of the hills further hand-moulded to make way for vehicles.
Threatening bundles of clouds-sagging with the water within- resembling pregnant women with their bulge; looking menacingly at the earth in one of her mood swings!
Ah… the hills are an alluring constantly enticing lot!
After that wonderful breathtaking ride up the hill, we snuggled into our quilts at MM Holiday Inn- a 7-cottage inn at Sengadu Post on Pagoda Point Road. The friendly staff, excellent service, pretty cottages and the comfortable accommodation, more than compensated the hotel’s off-the-city centre location.
Urged by the caretaker at the Inn, we took an adventurous trip up to the Pagoda Point at 9 in the night. When most of Yercaud’s people were asleep and bisons were roaming, a bunch of us ventured by taxi on a trip that was both exciting and unforgettable!
It looked like a setting of some horror movie- an estate house- with its clichéd asphalt stone masonry and curtained windows; a lonely guy sitting on the doorstep; the hill steeply climbing up. And as you opened your mouth wide to exclaim on what a lovely setting it made, lightening cleaved the sky and thunder bellowed like an evil laughter. Were they celebrating Halloween up there in the heavens?!
Pitch darkness. Hilltop. Seven human beings standing. Looks like no others exist in the world save us! An ethereal feeling. The heavens huddle together for a good cry. A streak of lightening. The Chinese entrance to the Pagoda Point gets illuminated. Suddenly it feels as bright as day- brilliant, luminous; with a shine at the edges. We look down at the valley. Once more it looks like God has opened his bag of gems very clumsily and spilt and scattered its contents- necklaces of diamonds, rubies, amethysts lay lined below!
Or maybe there was a fight of the Gods and Demons out there. A clash of lances, and a bolt of lightening strikes the earth. A demon roars in laughter. And as the Fairies cry out, the Demons make a grab for their jewels. Out they pour down as a million lights on the valley!
We are urged to take a walk till the tip. But the fear multiplies like the lightening! We are on top of the hill and surrounded by trees- two things not too encouraging for us to risk it. Moreover, wild bisons were supposed to be on the prowl in the vicinity and known to chase and attack in the night.
But oh, we were almost near the tip of the hill and the whole world lay strewn- in its myriad colours at our feet!
Being on top of the world literally DOES make you feel near heaven- giving you an out-of-the-world experience!
The next day begins with a tour of Yercaud- the Lady’s Seat, Men’s Seat, Children’s seat and Botanical Gardens, the shimmering Lake and the Servarayan temple.
When it comes to food, Hotel Shevaroy’s chain of restaurants has no match! Be it the freshly-brewed kaapi or the crisp, ghee-drenched dosas at Hotel Malar or the yummy noodles and Chinese fare at Hotel Red Dragon-qualityfood is what they dish out.
One more trip to Pagoda point at 6 pm and we are revisited by overcast clouds and an ethereal atmosphere! The heavens sure seem to behearing our whispers!
Man’s power- to have shaped nature according to his whim- created a settlement on top of a hill- breaking mountains, rolling off stones, holding back the rest of the hill from sliding down in jury; oh- such a proud yet humbling feeling!
And at that moment- at the top of the hill- somehow my life seemed to have clinched a new ‘height’, fulfilled an old wish, attained more meaning and somehow- a better person seemed to have emerged…
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kartz/126421395/]