The hill station of Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu is a cluster of 14 hamlets or villages spread across 29 square kilometres, 3,460 feet above sea level. The drive to the picturesque idyll winds through 14 hairpin bends that open up to spectacular mountain landscapes; after every twist and turn, the city seems to fade away a little more.
The first thing that hits you on arrival in Yelagiri is the lack of noise. The beautiful rustic surroundings are extraordinarily quiet and when someone rings a temple bell somewhere on the hill, you can hear it as clearly as if you were right there. The smells of mango and jackfruit plantations are diluted by the subtle fragrances of fresh foliage. You suddenly realize how close you are to nature.
The most popular landmark of Yelagiri is the centrally-located Lake Punganoor. Pedal and manned rowing boats offer a chance to watch the beauty of the surrounding hills during a leisurely curise.
The hills of Yelagiri are also very popular among adventure enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu for trekking. Swamimalai, the highest peak in the Yelagiri hills at 4338 feet, is a breathtakingly beautiful 1-hour trek from Yelagiri. Paragliding is another sport that's drawing visitors. The hill station was recently chosen the second best natural spot in India for the sport, next only to Panchgani in Maharashtra.
But apart from all of this, it is the morning walks, the evening strolls, and guided jungle sojourns at night that epitomise the true charm of Yelagiri. As you gradually slow down to match the pace of the surroundings, a sense of wellbeing settles over you.
- Area: 29.2 sq km
- Altitude: 3460 feet above sea level
- State: Tamil Nadu
- Distance from nearby towns/cities: Thiruvannamalai (93 km), Tirupati (179 km), Bangalore (180 km), Chennai (240 km)
- Take away: Home-made honey, jackfruit, local agricultural products
- Rain fall.* 900 mm average
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BEST TIME TO VISIT
June to February is the most pleasant time to be in Yelagiri. The 3-day Summer Festival in May is a time of festivity and cultural programmes.
The Yelagiri Paragliding Club hosts an international paragliding festival around September which you might want to attend.