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Thread: Servarayan Hills & Yercaud.

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    Smile Servarayan Hills & Yercaud.

    SERVARAYAN HILLS & YERCAUD:
    Servarayan:
    He is only one and half feet tall. His name is Lord Servarayan. Etymologically the word 'Servai” is a surname used by one of the major communities in Tamil Nadu known as “Mukkulathor“ and “Rayan“ is chieftain. But the tribal people living in these hills do not belong to that community. Thus this deity must have been that of family deity of a chieftain of a community living in the hills. .He is also known as “Kari Raman” and stands with his consort Kaveri Amman in his niche at the end of a narrow and dark cave on the highest peak (5,342' ) on the mountain range with an area of 395 sq. miles. which carry his name “The Servarayan Malai“ better known as Shevaroy Hills in Salem District of Tamil Nadu. The deities' abode of about thirty feet long narrow dark cave is a natural formation in the bauxite rich hills. Inside it was cool and dark. All that could we see in the diffused light of oil lamp was a dark figure with bright Vaishnavite religious symbol of white “Namam” on its forehead. He is the family deity of the tribal community known as “Malayali“ who live in sixty-seven villages spread over in the hills. The annual festival of Lord Servarayan in the month of May attracts thousands of Malayalis living in this mountain range.

    There is no structure of a Temple as such, but an ugly modern concrete Mandapam devoid of aesthetics built in front of the cave hiding the opening could be seen. Above and behind the cave you come across a couple of acres flat “bald” area where some communication towers are built and maintained by Madras Aluminium Company, who are denuding the hills for the bauxite ore. Unless some immediate corrective steps are taken by the Government or MALCO to stop this rape, the next generation will not have this ancient Cave to visit. In spite of this the view from the “plateau“ is magnificient, which ever direction you turn you could enjoy the view of valleys and hills, except for the ugly red patches of ore mines interspersed.. Also you experience heavy winds there. This place is just 6 Kms from Yercaud, popular summer resort 29 Kms from Salem (Tamil Nadu)..

    Yercaud:
    In contrast it was the Scotish Collector of the then Salem District between 1820 and 1829 Mr.M.David Cockburn discovered the place i and developed the hills as a summer resort around the village called Yercaud ( or Yeri Kadu in Tamil meaning Lake forest). He was instrumental in developing the natural resourses of Shevaroy Hills. He introduced cultivation of Coffee seeds, Pears, Apples and other hill fruits in the hills. And it was Mr. Cockburn who built the first stone building in Yercaud named “The Grange“. But it was another British Collector of Salem Mr. David Arbuthnot who was responsible for demarcating the Plantations in the Hills. Apart from this he took care to reserve enough lands exclusive for the “Malayalis” for their cultivation.

    We had been to Yercaud last week (February 21) during the Shivarathri holidays to spend our weekend sojourn at Sterling Resorts. Here the Sterling Resorts rooms are perched on the precipice of western slopes of the Shevary Hills giving a wonderful view of the sunset in the Salem plateau below. Yercaud is a small village developed around a medium size Lake with few roads (lanes !) and offers nothing special except its salubrious weather. It is a place for rest and recuperation. You can walk down entire Yercaud in two hours. Proximity to Bangalore (260 Kms) attracts a lot of IT employees from there to Yercaud on weekends. The road from Salem to Yercauad which has 20 hairpin bends is good and motorable.

    There are not many places to see in Yercaud. Boating in the Lake is the main attraction here. There are a few vantage places with exotic names like Gent's Seat, Lady's Seat, Pagoda Point from where you get a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys. Time permits you can visit the Water falls at Killiyur just 3.2Kms from the lake.But the motorists are cautioned about the narrowness of the road which can permit one car only. Also there is a place called Bear's cave in a private plantation.It was said there were Elephants and bears in these hills. But now only bears were sighted apart from bison and other minor wild animals. There are a number of coffee plantations in Shevaroy hills.

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    Yercaud is known for several Christian Institutions dating back the British time, which run some reputed Seminaries, Retreats and Schools. Montford Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School founded Rev. Bro.Eugene Mary (Julien Marie Le Pevedic) named after the founder of the Order of St.Gabriel. St. Louis Marie Grignoin de Monfort.in 1917 has a glorious history is well known residential institution in South India.. And Sacred Hearts School run by Cluni Sisters for girls.

    I wish to add a few lines on the facilities available for Tourists. Apart from well known time share resorts like Sterling and Mahendra there are a few good Hotels available in Yercaud, the list of which you can get in Travel Websites. There is nothing special in Yercaud to purchse, in fact all vegetable and fruits except few special fruits come from the plains. Though there are many Coffee plantations you may not get coffee seeds there for retail sales. Very important information for Vegetarians is that vegetarian food is available only in Tamil Nadu Tourism Restaurant, Malar Hotel (behind Hotel Shevaroy) and the small Venkateswara restaurant opposite to Bus stand. But Milk and bread are available in shops in the small market. There are a few Medical shops in the town.

    This tourist resort is nearer to Bangalore to spend a couple of days of rest.

    Brahmanyan,
    Bangalore.
    Last edited by bmbcAdmin; 18-08-2012 at 10:44 PM. Reason: added few pictures to further beautify the beautiful post

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