About a couple of years back, I went to Yelagiri with my family. It is a quaint little hill station in the Vellore district. Yelagiri is not as big or as popular as its counterparts – Ooty and Kodai. But it is definitely more peaceful than the others and that was the kind of relaxation we were looking for.
It had the typical attractions that a hill station has to offer- An artificial lake, viewpoints, waterfalls etc. But added to this were the awesome trekking routes it had to offer. Mr. Sudhakar from the Tourist Information Center told that Yelagiri had six major trekking routes, the easiest being ‘The Sunset Point Trek’ and the toughest being ‘Swamimalai Trek’. Taking into consideration the age of my parents, my sister and I decided to skip the Swamimalai Trek. So, he suggested another one- the ‘Perumadu Waterfalls Trek’.
We enquired more about this trekking route and we found that it was a 4-km (2+2) trek, the destination being a waterfall in the middle of an unexploited forest. We immediately signed up for the trek. The starting point of the trek was about eight kms away from the Tourist Information Center. A 10-member group joined us on the trek. They had arranged a separate guide for themselves.
We started the trek around 8 A.M. The initial route of the trek was a flat muddy path. Around a quarter kilometer later, the forest around us started to thicken and the path became narrow. The guide told us that it had been quite a while since anybody took this trekking route and hence led us from the front with a sickle, slashing the thorny vegetation that was obstructing the progress of the adventurers in us.
For people like us who had lived amidst concrete our whole lives, we could feel all our senses getting overpowered by nature. The visual beauty of the plush green foliage, the smell of earth, the coldness of the wind, the whistle of the air through the leaves, the chirping of the birds, the occasional chattering of the monkeys and the faint sound of the flow of water – it was heavenly.
We tried to source the sound of the stream and spot the stream that would later fall down, but to no avail. The forests were too thick to see through. Sunlight streamed in through the little gaps that the leaves allowed on the top and formed beautiful polka dot patterns on the ground. The guide told us that we could occasionally spot some snakes on the anthills that dotted the route here and there. One half of me wished to spot one and the other half didn’t!
After almost an hour and a half’s journey, we were growing tired by the minute and with the intervals between our rest periods dwindling, we finally reached the falls. It was a very small waterfall, which should have ideally disappointed me. However, it didn’t. There was something about it beyond its size. Maybe it was its location in the center of the forest, or the lack of crowd or perhaps it was just that we were so tired at the end of the trek that it was heavenly. The waterfall’s top point was some 40 feet above us while the rock from which it fell on our head was just a few feet above.
The water was freezing cold, but once in it, we never felt like moving out. It was nature at its very best. And having those idlis in the middle of the forest after a tiresome journey and fresh out of bathing in the waterfalls- it was an indescribable experience!
The return journey was uphill and hence more energy consuming. The guide leading the group at the front was very thoughtful and had filled a water bottle at the waterfalls and left it on one of the rocks en route so that we could soothe our parched throats with it. We took almost twice the time we took onwards for our return trip.
By the time we reached our car, we were exhausted. But that was trekking at its best. We had experienced what we might never have at other hill stations or tourist locations. We had the taste of unexploited nature at its best and I can dare say that it is not one I am going to forget any time soon.
The next time you feel like taking a break from the usual routine, I would suggest Yelagiri. Book a nice place to stay, don’t expect too much activity, go for a couple of treks, have a good time with family and I assure you that you will feel recharged and rejuvenated.