It was March 8 th– Women’s day. We were on our way to Yercaud hill station, which is near to Salem town and popularly know as “poor man’s Ootty”. Yercaud is situated in the Servarayan range of hills in the Eastern Ghats.

We were a pack of seven. Me, Raintree, GG, Pavi, Vj, Maiden, Desai. We were having good time in the vehicle chitchatting, munching snacks, threatening to puke on each other ;) and singing.

Start of the journey was li'l disappointing. When our vehicle started climbing the hair pin curves, I found the place not as exciting as I imagined. It didn’t look that appealing in the mid afternoon heat with the dried up grasses and dull green surroundings. As we bent the 20th hair pin curve things were getting lots better. The place looked green and dense. The weather was pleasantly cool. Around 1 pm, we reached ‘Silver Resort’, where we checked into a luxurious cottage over looking the big Yercaud lake.

We had lunch at Shevaroy’s hotel and then went on to see Pagoda/ Pyramid point. It’s a windy hilltop point, which gives a good view of the surrounding Shevaroy hills. There is a Rama Temple here, which is surrounded by four pagodas, which are rocks piled into pyramid shapes by the tribal people.

The other attractions of Yercaud are the Ladies seat and Gent’s Seat points. These are view points with natural rock formations that resemble seats. On the way to ladies seat, we stopped at a local tea stall, with mouth-watering bajjis & pakoras. We sat outside and relaxed while tea walla prepared us hot piping tea.

At the ladies seat, we were standing on a tower overlooking the Salem town. Raintree and i found out an an echo point inside the tower, where we stood howling and listening intently to the reverberations. We continued this for a while, until to our embarrassment, we saw some local crowd gathered around us staring blatantly.

We hiked to Gent’s seat point, where we planned to watch the sunset. The evening sun casted long shadows on the ground and soon we were playing puppet dance & tribal dance with our shadows. It was fun trying to stamp on each other’s shadows. We sat on the rocks in tranquility for almost an hour, silently watching the sun sinking down the horizon. The evening sky was misty and the setting sun created multiple halos around it. Did a few photographic acrobats by clicking snaps of “catching the sun in the palm” & "open mouthed and trying to swallow the tiny fiery ball."

After sunset we went back to ladies seat, since we heard the point was magnificent at night. From the hill top, as I looked down I was dazed seeing the entire Salem town brilliantly lighted up in the dark. We could see the silhouette of the dark hills and the flood lights of an occasional vehicle passing the ghat roads. It looked as if the star studded sky was down and we were floating far above it. As we stood there watching, suddenly an entire dark area lighted up. To our surprise, it was the street lights turning on. As if a million fireflies have alighted on it suddenly...

Night had settled in and it was li'l windy and chilled. We went back to our cottage, wrapped ourself in jackets and proceeded for dinner at Shevaroys. Later, we went out for a night stroll. After hiking for sometime, we reached the Emarald lake. We sat down on it’s banks and started stargazing. Sky was enchanting and we were chitchatting on all possible topics ranging from global warming to childhood stories. Life seems to have come to a standstill. Meanwhile, Pavi and Desai were arguing about the location of pole star in the sky and Raintree helping us find the shape of hunter constellation.....It was fun making out the hunter's belt and pointed arrows in the star spangled sky.

Next day at sharp 6 am, the early bird GG came and knocked at our door.. We girls groaned, turned over and slept for another half an hour ;) By 7, the half sleepy team was ready for the early morning trek to Killiyur waterfalls which was around 3kms from our place. Coffee plantations and silver oak trees grew all over the place. The early morning hike was very refreshing. Raintree was busy adorning her hair with all the wild flowers collected on the way. Maiden with the pretty scarf wrapped around her hair looked like a kashmiri girl. Pavi puffing and panting, with her life-supporting inhaler in one hand had to literally hauled up by heroic VJ ;) As we trekked we could hear the gurgle of the water. It relieved us because we didn't expect much water during summer season.

We splashed each other and got drenched in the falls. The water was icy cold and it actually hurt to have the piercing chill water splashed on you. I climbed up to the possible highest point of the waterfalls along with the guys. Yeahhh..Mission conquered..We clicked snaps and then climbed down to continue with the splashing game..The guys were busy climbing trees and posing for snaps. Later, after energizing ourself with bananas and energy drinks we started our trek back. GG had in fact collected all the plastic bottles and kits thrown around the waterfalls by careless tourists. Kudos to him and his "giving back to nature policy."

The next target was Yercaud lake, where we did pedal boating. We were in two boats, and hence started competing and trying to hit each other’s boats.

Soon it was time to check out of our cottages. Our final destination was Shervarayan cave-temple, which was the highest point on Yercaud hills.. We had to literally crawl inside the dark rocky tunnel for the darshan, where the deities of god Sheravaryan & goddess Kaveri were worshipped. We all sat huddled inside the dark cave, while the pujari narrated us history of the 3000 year old temple. He explained how the original deities were kept further down the tunnel which ultimately lead to Cauvery river 1km ahead..

Thus after two days on the hill top, we started our journey back to Bangalore...