Lake at Yelagiri
|Elevation||1,410.6 m (4,628.0 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Yelagiri is a hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India, situated off the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur road. Located at an altitude of 1,410.6 metres above Mean Sea Level and spread across 30 km2, the Yelagiri village (also spelled Elagiri at times) is surrounded by orchards, rose-gardens, and green valleys.
Yelagiri or Elagiri is a small hill station located in between the towns of Vaniyambadi and Jolarpettai (Tamil Nadu, India). The hill station dates back to the British colonial days.
"The Whole of Yelagiri was once the private property of the Yelagiri Zamindar Family. It was taken over by the government of India during the Early 1950s. The house of the Yelagiri Zamindars still exists in Reddiyur."
Location And Overview
The Yelagiri hill station is not as developed as other hill stations in Tamil Nadu like Ooty or Kodaikanal. However, the district administration has now taken up the task of developing Yelagiri Hills into a tourist destination by promoting adventure sports such as paragliding and rock climbing. The road to Yelagiri is well constructed and punctuated with the milestones and signboards. Petrol pumps are sufficient, making travel convenient and easy.
Yelagiri is one of the famous places for trekkers in India. The hill station is located at a height of 1410.6 meters above sea level. Yelagiri comprises 14 hamlets and a number of temples spread over several hills.
The highest point in Yelgiri is the Swamimalai Hill, standing tall at 4,338 ft; Swamimalai is a popular destination for trekkers. The view from the summit is spectacular. The hill provides a good number of trekking trails through thick reserved forests. Mangalam, a small village, is at the base of this hill. There are other trekking options that include smaller peaks like Javadi Hills and Palamathi Hills.
Yelagiri Hills is home to hundreds of snakes.
Human settlement started 200 to 400 years ago. Most of the native people are 'Vellala caunter' or 'Malayali' (not to be confused with Malayalees). Malayali denotes people who live in mountains. Malayali people also called as "karalar" which means 'one who rules the clouds'. Malayali people claim to come from plains, they are from the Kancheepuram district. The retreating 'Vellala caunter' (a group of cultivators) from the warring soldiers of Tipu Sultan's army in the seventeenth century made the plateau of Yelagiri their home. Another native tribal groups are the Irular.
Most of the Tamil people are Hindus. They commonly worship Shiva in the name of 'Nachiappan' and Parvati in the name of 'Nachiamma'. A temple for Karthik (son of Shiva and Parvati) was built in the 1960s. Recently more Churches were also established by the Christian missionary. Mosques are also available in the area.
Earlier only a few Christian missionary schools were available for primary school education, but now more Residential schools have come up in this region.
Educational Institutions: There are schools in the various hamlets around Elagiri including the Government School and St. Charles School which are primarily for day scholars. There are also three residential schools - Samaritan Residential Schools, Ebenezer Matriculation and Higher Secondary School and Evans Matriculation School. The Don Bosco has recently started an Arts and Science College for the benefit of local community.
Fr. Francis Guezou started a boarding for boys. Don Bosco Boarding House with 170 students. This is the first institution of Fr. Guezou on the hills. He wanted to gather the children around him and give them good education. Boys from I std to XII std, are staying here and attending school at St. Charles School.
BICS InfoTech, with 350 students and trainees. This work makes real Geuzou’s dream of providing higher education with employment for the underprivileged young people. Mr.Maria Leo Francis,Fr.Maria Arockia Raj, Fr. Thaddeus with a similar thought met Fr. Guezou and then this great dream of BICS became real.
In 2013, BICS has got approval of running a regular college, and Don Bosco College is providing good education on hills.
The Yelagiri Summer Festival
The famous Yelagiri Summer festival celebrated in May end is organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Board. Stalls from different departments, Flowers show, various cultural programs and Dog Show with a variety of dog breeds are conducted every year. People from all over the State and other parts of the country participate in this annual festival.
How to Reach
The nearest airports to Yelagiri, which handle both domestic and international flights, are those of Bangalore (193 km) and Chennai (219 km). From these cities, one can hire a taxi or get a bus to reach Yelagiri. Buses are also available from Jolarpet, Tirupattur, Salem and Hosur.
If you are coming by train from Bangalore, Chennai or Coimbatore you will need to get down at Jolarpettai Junction, the nearest railhead to Yelagiri. From Jolarpet Junction you can get a cab or bus.
From Bangalore, take the Hosur Road, National Highway 7 and head towards Krishnagiri. The 4-lane National Highway is excellent and you should make it in less than 2 hours. At Krishnagiri, there's a toll-gate manned by the National Highways Authority. Pay your toll and at the second flyover (don't go over the flyover), take the service road towards the left. This road goes to Chennai. Take the left and for the next hour or so, drive on NH46. You'll come to another toll-station. Pay and drive for a few minutes till you see Vanni Matriculation Higher Secondary School. Further up you'll see a sign 'Elagiri' (36 km) indicated by a 'U' turn arrow and that you need to keep left, take the 'U' turn, go under the bridge and on to the road towards Thirupathur. That's the road you need to get on to. Drive for about 7 kilometers. On the left, you'll see a big sign board 'Tamil Nadu Tourism Department Welcomes You'. Turn left at this junction, there's a sign board pointing towards Yelagiri.
From Chennai, take the NH4 Bangalore Road, and head towards Vellore via Arcot. From Vellore continue on to Ambur and then towards Vaniyambadi. On the highway about 45 km from the toll gate, watch out for the signboard pointing towards Yelagiri (22 km).
From Coimbatore, take NH 47 as far as Salem, from there take a left to Krishnagiri. From there follow the route from Bangalore detailed above.
There are 14 Hairpin Bends on road to Yelagiri.
Places of interest
Punganoor Artificial Lake-cum-Park : The most popular landmark of Yelagiri Hills is the lake and an adjoining park.
Jalagamparai Waterfalls: A short distance away, on the other side of the hill, is Jalagamparai falls,Situated at a distance of 14 km from Tirupattur. The murmuring Attaru river flows through the Yelagiri Hills, and plummets down to form a highly captivating waterfall. It's an hour, 5 km, walk from Yelagiri downhill. Though there is a direct route from Yelagiri to the falls, it is often closed. One has to go all the way down the hill, take the plains, and then climb the hill on the other side. It's an hour's journey.
Swami Malai Hills: Swami malai hills are the hills in the shape of cake with a strong base at the bottom and a high peak. Trekking is an attraction at Swami Malai (3 km to and 3 km fro). This trek leads one to a small peak from where the entire valley is visible.
Telescope observatory: A telescope observatory near Yelagiri hill is also of attraction to visitors. (Now Shutdown)
YMCA Camp Centre : A non-profit organisation that offers accommodation, dormitory accommodation, trekking and other camp activities.
YASA Club : Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association, run Paragliding and various other adventure sports.
Trek routes and photos 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Yelagiri.|
- "Miles to go for Yelagiri Hills as a tourist spot". The Hindu. May 25, 2008. Retrieved 07-04-2009.
- "Pastoral charm". Deccan Herald. March 29, 2009. Retrieved 07-04-2009. [dead link]
- T. Pullaiah, Rao Muralidhara, D. Muralidhara Rao, K. Sri Ramamurthy (2002). Flora of Eastern Ghats: Hill Ranges of South East India. Daya Books. ISBN 9788187498490.
- "Yelagiri hills, for paragliding". The Hindu. August 20, 2008. Retrieved 07-04-2009.
- Pictures of trekking at Swami Malai 
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Yelagiri.|