It was December 2017 on eve of Christmas holidays, it was long holiday for my kids and I also had a bit of leisure in my office due to holiday in US, Canada and Europe. Being an IT professional, very rarely I used to get leisure days in office and this time I don’t want to miss out these short holidays as December 25 was Monday and holiday. So quickly we want to venture out a drive and travel which could be accommodated within 3 days and my preference was an affordable hill station near Chennai. We decided to make a trip to Horsley Hills in AP which is around 300 kilometers from Chennai. We tried to book accommodation for the family and unfortunately, we were unable to get any accommodation in Horsley Hills due to long holidays. Since rarely we get these types of leisure time in office along with school holidays, we don’t want to waste this opportunity and we decided to have a trip to Yelagiri, an affordable hill station near Chennai.
We already made a trip to this affordable hill station near Chennai during December 2014 and again we decided to visit this hill station. The next important activity is to find a best budget resort in Yelagiri. Earlier on couple occasions, I stayed in HR Resorts and we tried this time as well. Since it was long holiday, there was no accommodation available with HR Resorts. We then tried best budget hotels in Yelagiri and again we were unsuccessful in getting an accommodation. My wife further explored various internet sites and found availability at AGS Holiday Resorts, a best budget resort at Yelagiri. We discussed with AGS Holiday Resorts and got a deal.
Yelagiri is a small hill station situated at around 230 kilometers from Chennai at Chennai Bangalore highway after Tirupattur. The ghat route to the hill station from Tirupattur is scenic one and it is fun to drive in our own car, especially for new starters who wants to drive on their own to any hill stations without any driver’s help. There are 14 hair pin bends and any new driver can easily drive and climb the hill station.
December 23, 24 and 25 – 2017 – My second visit to Yelagiri with my family driving on my own
December 23, 2017 – Saturday
We started near Adayar on 23rd December at around 6.30 AM and planned to take the following route:
Adayar – Porur – Poonamalle – Sriperumbudur – Kaveripakkam – Arcot – Vellore – Ambur – Vaniyambadi – Tirupattur – Yelagiri
As I had driven this route many times, there was nothing new to me in the route, except the excitement as usual, as I love driving on my own to different terrains. It was bit of traffic and we crossed Porur and Ponamalle with ease and I was driving comfortably. After crossing Ponamalle we entered into Chennai Bangalore highway and traffic was heavy, especially lorries from different status. I was driving carefully and slowly at around 9 AM we crossed Sriperumbudur. I accelerated my driving a bit to 100 kilometers per hour with a plan to have breakfast at around 9.30 AM in a restaurant called Sai Suprabath, near Vaniyambadi. It was the decision by my kids, as we had breakfast at the same restaurant during my previous drive to Bangalore and the experience was nice for them. I need to slow down at many places due to bad road conditions and bad patches and we reached Arcot at around 10 AM. From Arcot, the roads were excellent and I was comfortably driving at around 120 kilometers per hour and crossed Vellore and Ambur and we reached Vaniyambadi at around 11 AM and made a stop at Hotel Sai Suprabath as per my kids choice. As we were late and the time was in between breakfast and lunch, we were unable to get what we expected for breakfast and it was big disappointment for kids and it was also a lesson, we learnt that we should not stop for breakfast at around 11 AM anywhere as it was not the ideal time. We ate the available items and quickly started again to Yelagiri and I was cruising around 140 kilometers per hour due to excellent road conditions. One has to be careful to take a left before entering Tirupattur to climb Yelagiri hill station near Chennai. So, I decreased my speed while nearing Tirupattur and I started searching for the route which takes me to Yelagiri. Once I take the planned left before Tirupattur, it was a small road which drives through villages and it was scenic. After around 15 minutes travel, we were right before the ghat roads where we saw the entry point to Yelagiri and time has crossed 12 PM.
I switched off AC and opened the windows in the car as it is not advisable to climb hill stations with AC on which could affect our car. We could able to feel the chill breeze and cool climate while climbing and drive was exciting. There are around 14 hair pin bends which were named after famous Tamil poets. We entered Punganur which is the entry point at Yelagiri at around 12.30 PM and headed towards AGS Holiday Resorts. The resort was newly constructed with swimming pool, play area and has ample parking space for car. We dropped our baggage at room and had rest for an hour. At around 3 PM, we started towards the Punganur nature park which span across 12 acres and it is situated adjacent to lake. The park was spacious and wonderful with lot of flowers and green lush grass. My kids spend sometime in playing in the lush green grass and they become hungry as we skipped our lunch due to brunch, we had at 11 AM. We managed to get a little bit of snacks inside the nature park for kids and it was not enough for them. We enjoyed Artificial Waterfalls, Bamboo House which we need to walk on Bamboo Bridge and Fish Aquarium. At around 6 PM after sunset, we felt very cold as temperature dropped drastically and there was chill breeze all around. We were waiting to watch water fountain park show and it all started at around 7 PM. It was nice and fascinating for children and they enjoyed thoroughly and at around 8 PM, we headed towards our resort. We had heavy dinner and settled for good sleep.
December 24, 2017 – Sunday
We started fresh in the morning and explored areas inside the resort. We decided to venture into swimming pool in the afternoon as it was very cold in the morning. After heavy breakfast (of course complimentary breakfast), at around 9.30 AM we travelled towards Punganur lake and adjacent play area for children. We parked our car in the parking slot and it was literally free as we reached early. We went for boating before it becomes crowded and it was nice experience in chill climate as lake was covered with mist. At around 10.30 AM, we entered into the play area and kids played for some time. We then came out and want explore adventure games nearby. These adventure games were run by private parties and there were at least 3 to 4 places where we can enjoy these in Yelagiri. We entered into one which was near play area and paid for the games. The cost was bit expensive as these belongs to private parties and it would be really good, if our tourism department comes up with something of this sought. The adventure games area was crowded as it was around 11.30 AM in the morning. We tried zipline, rope climbing and rope walking and kids-tired driving different vehicles. It was really exciting and enjoyable moment even though expensive. We completed all these around 1 PM and went to resort for lunch. We had varieties, but rates were bit expensive. After lunch, we had a small nap and at around 3 PM, we came out of our room and headed towards swimming pool.
The temperature was gradually decreasing it was me and my son were inside the swimming pool in the cold water and my daughter cleverly refused. We came out of the swimming pool at around 4 PM and went on to play other games inside the resort as we decided not to go out. We played badminton for some time and then table tennis. We then played, ring, ball and also carrom for some time. It became dark and cold at around 6 PM, and we decided to have some rest in our room. We were told by reception person that a grand magic show was arranged at 8.30 PM in open terrace on eve of Christmas and we were totally excited. We went for early dinner at around 7.30 PM and went to open terrace at 8 PM to have our comfortable seats to watch magic show. It was really cold and the entire area was filled with lot fog and mist. With all these, kids enjoyed the magic show and it got over by 9 PM and during the end of the show, lot of chocolates were distributed to kids. It was wonderful night and we headed for a good sleep with lot of memories to cherish.
December 25, 2017 – Monday
We got up around 7 AM and were roaming inside the resort and children were enjoying the morning mist and chill. There were cycles available and we all tried cycling including kids as cycles with different sizes were available. We played a few indoor games and after complimentary breakfast, at around 11 AM we vacated the resort and started to Chennai. We finally said bye to Yelagiri and started driving down in the ghat roads towards Chennai Bangalore highway. It was excellent road and I was again driving at around 130 kilometers per hour. We crossed Ambur (we need to slow down as it was always crowded due to narrow roads), Vellore, Arcot and reached Kaveripakkam. We had our lunch at Kaveripakkam after 1 PM and headed towards Chennai through Kanchipuram. After crossing Kanchipuram, we found traffic and I slowed down a bit. At around 3.30 PM we reached Sriperumbudur and the roads were filled with heavy traffic, especially lorries and one have to be careful while crossing this stretch. We finally reached our home at around 6 PM and it was a wonderful experience even though it is our second trip to Yelagiri.