Yelagiri, also known as Elagiri, is a small hill station in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu and is known as a “Tourist Paradise”. It is located between the towns of Vaniyambadi and Jolarpettai. Its history dates back to British colonial days. There was a time when the whole Yelagiri used to be the personal property of the landlords whose house still exists in Reddiyur. In the early 1950s, Yelagiri was taken over by the Government of India.
The place is situated at an altitude of 1048 meters above sea level and consists of a group of about 14 villages with a tribal population.
This hill station, populated by various tribes, is not as well developed as other hill stations in Tamil Nadu like Ooty or Kodaikanal. The local administration has tried to promote tourism in Yelagiri through sports like paragliding and rock climbing.
The first thing that will attract your attention upon reaching Yelagiri is the peace and rural beauty surrounding it. This place is full of fresh fruits and leaves as well as surrounded by gardens, rose gardens, and green valleys. The joy experienced while driving amidst the picturesque landscape is entirely unique.
Yelagiri hills are a popular destination for adventure sports lovers. In fact, some time ago, it has been chosen as the second-best natural sports venue in India after Panchgani in Maharashtra. Yelagiri also has many temples that attract both young and old tourists.
Punganur Lake is one of the most popular destinations in Yelagiri. When boating here, you can enjoy the natural beauty surrounded by hills. The vast green plains can be seen from the ghat here and tourists can enjoy the extensive rustic beauty spread here using binoculars. Nilavoor Lake can also be visited for boating.
There is a boat club, a well-manicured garden, and a lake at the side of the garden along with a watchtower to watch migratory birds.
Nearby tourist places worth visiting are Velavan Temple, Swamimalai Hill, natural parks, and government herbal and fruit farms.
If you want to gaze at the stars, do not forget to visit Telescope House and Venu Bapu Solar Observatory.
Though you can visit Yelagiri at any time of the year, as the temperature here is very controlled throughout the year, the best time period is from November to February.
Temperatures in summer can range from 18°C to 34°C and in winter the temperature remains between 11°C to 25°C. The place receives moderate rainfall from July to September.
This place attracts lots of visitors during Pongal Festival which is celebrated in January and Diwali which is celebrated in October. Both these festivals are celebrated in Yelagiri with great joy and enthusiasm. The summer festival, Kodai Vizah, is celebrated for three days in the month of May which attracts lots of tourists.
Yelagiri is well-connected to other cities and it is quite easy to reach here.
Bangalore airport is the closest airport to Yelagiri. You can hire a taxi from the airport to reach Yelagiri. Chennai airport is also close to here.
The nearest railway station is Jolarpettai and buses and cabs are easily available from here to Yelagiri.
Yelagiri is also well-connected by road to Ponneri town in Tamil Nadu. Buses are available from Chennai, Salem, Hosur, and Bangalore at regular intervals. However, the journey by bus can be quite long and expensive. It is advisable to either go to Yelagiri by train or hire a car. Due to a sufficient number of milestones and signboards on Yelagiri road, chances of you losing your way are negligible. Also, there are many petrol pumps on the way. However, there is no petrol pump in the vicinity of the hills; so, it would be a good idea to carry a little petrol with you.
While returning back, do not forget to bring honey grown here because it is the best honey available in Tamil Nadu. The locals derive natural honey from domesticated bees and wild bees inhabiting rocks and trees.