Started at 8:00 am on 1st June. 2007 The Krishnagiri paid road was a lovely drive, as always. From the Hosur gate which marks the beginning of Tamil Nadu, Salem was 167 kms. Yercaud, another 30 kms from Salem. We stopped at Dharamapuri for breakfast. The dosas were crisp. The hygiene was poor! Also stopped for a bio break at a petrol bunk. Were midway climbing the hill to Yercaud by 1:20 pm. So, not bad at all.

Room 324 in Sterling Resorts had the most breathtaking view. Kids and maids stayed at Room 328 which did not have such a great view. We had a great terrace to ourselves. The food there was appalling though! Most items on the menu were not available and those that were, were horrendous! No alcohol either…

The package we had taken included :   “Fruit basket / cookies platter / chocolates in the room as per your choice” – none of which was there. When we kicked up a row, they sent someone to buy some stale fruit from down the road. They also managed to make a ‘cookie platter’ by plastering a layer of jam between 2 marie biscuits and sending it to the room.

 The sunset was spectacular and so was the night-view. The Resort organized for a bonfire and games on 2nd June. The compere spoke English in Tamil. So, it was ‘wokay’ !

Boating at the lake and a brief trip to Pagoda point were fun for the kids.  We skirted the botanical garden, rose-show and aquarium since the sun was beating down too hard. The place were littered and filthy so not a good idea to sit there at leisure. Notable were so many kinds of fruits available at road-side kiosks. If not a stickler for hygiene, do try the raw mangoes sprinkled with powdered ‘masala’.

Husband could not resist exploring Bhavani Singh’s perfume factory to explore possible relations. A range of oils, herbal gels and perfumes were on sale – the prices seemed steep and one could not be sure of the authenticity.

We discovered Hotel Grand Palace. The suite rooms were no great shakes but the row of rooms called ‘Silent Valley’ were kinda ok. The best thing about this hotel was its restaurant called ‘Orange’ which serves all cuisines. The most scrumptious – stir fried chicken with peppers, kothu paratha and spring rolls. Its  cocktail lounge, called Cloud 9, was super, even by Bangalore standards. Great ambience, music, and 5 starters came complimentary with the booze!

We spent the 2nd evening at the Cocktail lounge. Tamil Nadu does not sell  fav liquor, Bacardi so we had to settle for beer. The evening air was chilly and great for a night drive.

We began the drive back at 9:16 am and were in the house at 2:31 pm with 3 breaks – petrol,  bio and another to buy mangoes! If one is adventurous with trying new kinds of fruits, stopping at make-shift shops along NH-7 to buy some is a good idea.

Overall – good weekend getaway. Parting thoughts : V Scenic, idyllic place – wish there was a Taj Hotel in Yercaud.

My Rating : 2.5 stars