Think of a quick weekend getaway from Chennai and the first hilly place that strikes immediately is Yelagiri.
We love such short and sweet weekend trips by road. These trips are a great way to rewind, spent some quality family time together and just do nothing but relax with nature.
The best part of our trips is that both are children co-operate and are well accustomed to our frenzy way of travelling They get up as early as 3.30 am, take bath and make themselves ready for the trips.
We started at 4.30 am in morning as we had plans to visit Thiruttani temple on route. We drove till the temple which is situated on top of a hill The climate was cool and the crowd was relatively less when we visited.
After a good Darshnam we had food at a highway restaurant and started our journey to Yelagiri.
The view you get while driving uphill and maneuvering 14 sharp hair-pin bends to reach Yelagiri in itself is worth the trip.
Dense forest, pristine air filled with sweet smelling flowers & wild herbs and the panoramic view of the valleys and hills gives a feel of tranquility….what more one can ask for?
We stopped at many places and talked to the locals who were busy working in their fields.
I got a bag full of farm fresh finger millet from them...
While the children enjoyed walking into the fields and watching the farmers work.
We reached our simple and no-fancy resort 'Silent Valley' around 12 noon, had our lunch and relaxed for a while.
In the evening, we decided to take a walk to the nature's park nearby and explore the hilly life on foot.
I had my first taste of many unusual wild berries and bought wood apples and star fruits with lots of local spice powder from the lady.
We reached our resort, had dinner and decided to trek to Swamimalai temple the next morning. The restaurant owner advised us to start early and avoid the sunlight and heat after 8am.
It was around 5.45 am when we reached Managlam village the base from where the trek to Swamimalai start. We were the first to reach the foot hills. It was really eerie to look at the dark and lonely pathway ahead.
And then out of nowhere a mountain dog appeared in front of us. My children, who were already in double mind whether to trek or not, got scared and started to pester us to return back to our resort.
The dog moved away from us and stood on a rock ahead of us, as if waiting for us to continue our trekking.
My hubby looked at the dog, smiled and softly called 'Bhairava'...and we saw him wagging his tail with happiness.
"Come on babies, don't get scared, he is our friend & guide 'Bhairava' and he will take us to the temple safely."
Bhairava was our motivator, happily hopping, showing us the way and waiting for us to climb the mountain with ease.
After an hour or so, we could hear the mountain resonated with the happy shrieks of young and enthusiastic trekkers.
While we chose to follow the already laid muddy food path there were many adventurous trekkers who took to more difficult route.
And yes, he also photo-bombed almost all of our pictures :)
My daughter climbed a small rock and wanted a picture...and out of nowhere Bhairava emerged and sat right in front of her.
Bhairava, peeping down from the mountain top, waiting for us to reach. It took us two hours to reach the temple which is dedicated to lord Shiva.
The view point was breathtaking with beautiful valleys and trees all around the temple. The temple had many visitors who were taking pictures and sharing the food they brought with them.
Bhairava was busy mingling with others and eating biscuits and food given to him by them. We could not locate him after some time.
We spent a little time on the mountain, said bye to many co-travellers and started our journey down hill.
And to our surprise Bhairava was standing right in front of us. He followed us again till the plains. We bought some biscuit packets and offered him and said good bye with a heavy heart.
Incidentally, Bhairava in Hindu religion is associated with lord Shiva who follows Pandavas in Mahabharat during their final journey.
And our Bhairava was the star attraction who certainly stole the show of our weekend trip to Yelagiri!
Back to the resort we had a hearty South Indian buffet breakfast which was complimentary.
The buffet spread at the resort was good. The fun part was the bon fire they arranged with a magic show and impromptu dance from some of the families staying there.
The next day we went for an early morning walk around the resort enjoying the cool breeze and discovering some beautiful village life.
Children indulged in playing lots of indoor games with their daddy while I enjoyed my 'me-time' near the river side with endless cups of tea and coffee :)
Enjoying the misty valley while driving down and stopping for a click or two.
Yelagiri is trekkers paradise, the best thing you can do there is an early morning walk, relax and do nothing. You can also take a cycle ride, fill your lungs with fresh air and discover the slow and rustic way of life uphill.