Thursday, 30 April 2009

Yercaud – Drive, Coffee and Cuddle

April 2009

Our plan was to finish our business at Chennai, drive to Yercaud, and then return to Bangalore. We bid goodbye to Chennai and its extremely humid climate. As we drove out, we looked like baked potatoes, perspiring even though air-conditioner was switched ON. Only Mu, our travel companion, was not affected by the weather. Rain or shine, Mu smiled. Some other time, we want to stay at Chennai for a few days to know it more.
Our Mu
[Our Mu!]
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has maintained the roads well. The plants on the road-dividers had bloomed colorful flowers. What a delightful sight! The roads are very inviting for any driver. We stopped at tender coconut shops, sipped cool water. We zoomed past Vellore, Krishnagiri, and Dharmapuri, and touched Salem. We missed a road, which was a shortcut to Yercaud, and ended up joining the National Highway again. But we enjoyed the drive. We saw traces of rain on the roads of Salem. Of course, it would be raining at Yercaud too, and the weather would be extremely pleasant.

Our Beauty (car) glided through the curves and bends of the hill-road. The Yercaud hill-road has 20 hairpin bends, and some of the hairpin bends were scenic. The sunset was breathtaking. Such lovely hues! From that altitude, Salem looked like a cluster of glow-worms. As we moved up the hill, we imagined we would kiss the sky and hug the clouds. Sheets of mist were forming somewhere out of our sight. We called the resort for directions. We drove on lonely, dark, and narrow roads.

When we reached the entrance of a coffee estate, the darkness and silence greeted us. We stayed at Grange Resort; we thank our travel agent for booking this resort for us. For information about this resort, see The resort manager and staff were courteous. At the first sight of the resort, we fell in love with it. In the lap of coffee estate, cute and comfortable cottages stood to welcome us. The coffee flowers were in full bloom, and looked like pearls on dark Green carpet. Amazing! Oh, the aroma of those flowers; we were intoxicated!Our cottage was surrounded with coffee plants. It seems that bison come close to our cottage during 2:00 or 3:00 A.M. We were so lazy to wake up at that hour to see if the bison came.

Coffee EstateOur cottage Cottage at Grange Resort
Coffee Flowers
In the morning, we woke to the melodies of birds. It was soothing to cuddle in the warm bed, listen to such melodies, and smile inward. The aroma of coffee flowers seemed to be knocking the door gently. The virgin breeze tried to squeeze its way through gaps to tickle us. The sunrays stretched long enough to stroke us. Ah, what a treat early in the morning! Nothing to worry about, no honking of vehicles, no hurry to race against time, and no pollution.We walked down the road, admiring the Pink lilies that grew wild alongside the roads. At the tea stall, we drank hot coffee, and got into conversion with the tea stall owner. Everyone wanted to sell bungalows or plots to us; we politely refused. Imagine, if people start chopping down trees to construct stay homes, hotels, and bungalows. The beauty of Yercaud will be lost. Up the road were several bungalows, stay homes, and a view point. We walked a few roads to reach the view point. The valley looked neat. Due to the rain, all the vegetation looked clean and Green.

After a delicious breakfast, we planned to visit most of the tourist spots. We stopped by the lake to make quick phone calls to our houses, and then took the road to Lady’s Seat. The Shervaroy hills are a pleasure to visit. During May, Yercaud celebrates a festival. It also hosts flower shows. We were too early for the event.

Servarayan Temple - This temple is the highest point in Yercaud. The deity stands inside a cave; bend low enough to avoid a bump on your head. It seems that this cave leads to Talakaveri (in Karnataka). The view point from this place is serene. Though the vegetation is not dense (, you wish it were,) the climate is cool. The Bauxite mines have loosened the ground, and to some extend destroyed the vegetation. However, gardens are in the making on a few uprooted patches. We hope they plants more and more trees to save Yercaud.

Servarayan Temple

Rajarajeshwari Temple - This temple was founded by Tirukovilur Thapovanam Srila Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigals Parampara (1983), and is on the way to the Servarayan temple. The goddess is stunning, and is accompanied by goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The temple also has a Sri Chakra, and an adorable Ganapati. Aromatic oils, perfumes, and herbal cosmetics are available at the perfume shop here. Also take a pack of fresh Yercaud cardamom and pepper.

Rajarajeshwari Temple

Montfort School
- This school is impressive. Neatly maintained campus, beautiful garden, cute little zoo and aquarium, and playgrounds. There were rabbits, ostriches, love birds, peacocks and peahens, goat, geese, and other birds. The aquarium was indeed colorful. The school building stood majestically, made of stone. Many parents and students waited in classrooms; probably for admission or to collect report cards. Ram couldn’t stand the stink from the ostriches; however, I spend time with those birds. I also wanted to let them free; hate to see them caged.
Montfort School
Montfort School
Montfort School

[To be continued...]

Asha Ram

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Dubare-Balm for the weary Soul

Trip to Dubare with friends, September 2008

Our thoughts were as scattered as the clouds on a cloudy morning. We drove out of Bangalore to travel to the Dubare Elephant Camp located near Madikeri. After a hearty breakfast at the Kamath Lokaruchi Janapadaloka hotel, we continued our journey, enjoying the weather and the scenic countryside. We marveled at Nature and its various moods – from sunny to cloudy, a slight drizzle here and bright sunshine there... That day we saw it all!

We reached the camp a little before noon. We were asked to park our vehicle in the camp’s parking space, and then climb onto a boat that would take us to the camp on the other side of the river. We were surprised at this arrangement! The boat gracefully cut through the water of the river. The cool breeze over the river, combined with the melody of the flowing water was a balm for the city-weary souls.

After reaching the camp, we decided to look at our rooms and rest for a while. The cottages were awesome – log houses – with a hall, a big room, a huge bed, comfortable sofas, and windows. The cottages boarded the river, and yes, there were hammocks along this board just outside the room. Every cottage has a sit-out, opening to the river. How cool is that!

The lunch was served hot at the dining hall made of wooden logs. The coals under the food trays kept the food warm on a rainy day. We were all hungry, and I (Asha) was shivering too due to fever. The heat from the charcoal warmed me; however, it was fun to see and hear my teeth chatter like a sewing machine.

After lunch, we lazily walked around, and later the guide took us for a walk in the woods along the riverside. The trees stood royally like pillars of a palace but no laid paths to this palace. We entered this palace like kings and queens, following our guide who made the pathway for us! It was mesmerizing to see the sunlight squeeze its way to the denser parts of the wood. Away from pollution, noise, and stress, this indeed was our own private palace. And, Ram and I were falling in love, again… Night fell like a heavy curtain on our sleepy eyes. We sat by the fire for a few minutes, and later retired in silence. Oh that precious silence!

The next morning, our guide knocked on the door to take us for safari. Due to the rains, we opted to stay indoors. We slept – sleep being such a rare commodity. After a lazy breakfast, we went to the river to see the elephants. One after another the elephants along with its mahout walked into the river, the elephants got a nice scrub and bath, and definitely, had a lot of spectators!

We were amazed at how the elephants enjoyed its bath. The dirt and mud on its back fell off into the river. As the mahout scrubbed its skin, the elephant regained its lovely original color. Oh, the elephants played in the water; they twisted the trunks, sat-rolled-fell-slept in the water! I do not think we enjoy our baths as much. We also touched one elephant and clicked photos with it.

What a soothing effect the elephants and the environment had on us! This trip helped us build and strengthen our relationship, and also de-stress completely. When the boat took us back to the parking space, we let the melodies of birds and the river fill us; the raindrops seemed like blessings for our future. With sweet memories in us, we were ready for the city life again. Eeks, the noise, the traffic, the stress, and the pollution!

For more information, see:
1) Dubare –
2) Madikeri –
3) Kamath Lokaruchi Janapadaloka –

Make a trip to this place and let us know if you liked it.
Keep traveling!

Asha Ram

Friday, 3 April 2009

Welcome to the world of Asha and Ram

This is the world that we are discovering together as a couple. It's all about our musings, travels, ramblings, fun, close-to-life experiences, friends, and passions. We decided to travel the roads unknown and to rendezvous with Nature. Join us in our journey through our blogs.

Asha Ram