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About Yercaud, Tamilnadu


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Nestled in the Shivaroy Hills of Tamil Nadu, Yercaud is a tranquil hill station in the Eastern Ghats steeped in abundant greenery. Commonly called ‘Ooty of the Poor’, this region has a history dating back to the time of the British. Located at an altitude of 4970 feet, Yercaud is known for its vast expanses of coffee plantations. A paradise for nature lovers, this quaint town is an ideal place to experience nature at its enchanting best.

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With salubrious climate throughout the year, it attracts thousands of tourists from different parts of the country. One of the many highlights is the summer festival that takes place in May. It is dedicated to Lord Servarayan, the supreme god of the ranges and gives visitors a glimpse into the rich heritage of this region. With diverse flora and rich culture, Yercaud is one of the amazing weekend getaways in South India that one cannot afford to miss.

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The history of Yercaud, the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, can be traced back to the Stone Age, with artefacts being discovered in the Shevaroy Hills. It is believed that Sir Thomas Munroe, former Governor of Madras found this place in 1842, and the Scottish collector David Cockburn contributed to its development. He is thus often referred to as the Father of Yercaud, and he introduced a variety of plantations here like coffee, pears and apples. More Europeans arrived over the years in the city, and this led to further expansion of its plantations to include tea, cinnamon etc. The famous MSP Plantations and MSP Coffee of the town owes its inception to MSP Rajes, who was the first Indian coffee planter to settle here.

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A jewel of the South, Yercaud in the Eastern Ghats has a treasure trove of exotic flora and fauna. The name Yercaud is derived from the Tamil words yeri which means lake, and kaadu which means forest. Yercaud is home to the famous National Orchidarium and botanical garden which covers an area of 18.4 hectares and has over 3000 trees of jackfruit, pears, oranges etc. It also has a rich variety of wildlife including bison, deer, jackals, ant-eaters and birds like the whistling thrush, Indian grey hornbill, peacock and racket-tailed drongo.The beautiful Killiyur falls is another attraction of Yercaud.

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Yercaud has a population of approximately 40,000 people during the 2001 census period. The scheduled Tribal population of Yercaud is 24,449 people. The majority of the population is Tribal people in Yercadu. The indigenous inhabitants of Yercaud are known as Malayalis (Hill men) or Vellalas. They are not aboriginal tribes but migrated from Kanchipuram 500 years ago.

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The language spoken in Yercaud is Tamil and English. The total density of the population is 102 people per km2. The increase of population at the rate of 20% and Yercaud being a Rural township it lacks any urban population. The literacy rate in Yercaud is 62% out of the total population.

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The other major source of income is agriculture, with coffee as the major crop. Coffee was first cultivated on the "Grange Estate" in 1820 when coffee plants were brought from Africa to Yercaud by Mr M.D. Cockburn. Jackfruit, star apple, fig, lacota, water apple, oranges, guava and spices such as black pepper and cardamom are other crops raised on the coffee estate. Sandalwood, teak and silver oak are abundant as well.

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Summer Festival is held during the middle of May, when the annual festival of Lord Servarayan, presiding deity of the Shevaroy Hills, takes place. There is a 7-day exhibition of flower shows, dog shows, boating races and a village fair.

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Yercaud is also known as the 'Land of 7 forests', situated at an altitude of 1515 meters above sea level. Fields of coffee, citrus fruits, jackfruit, banana and pear trees are all constituents of the forests in and around Yercaud. Therefore, trekking through all this is a wonderful experience.

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Tamil Nadu people believe that serving food to another living being be it humans or animals, is a service to god itself. Therefore, they are generous when it comes to food, whether it is in their home or temples or even restaurants. Traditionally, this south Indian cuisine is served on a banana leaf and people sit on the floor to eat. It is rich in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

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The food mainly consists of rice, lentils, legumes with spices such as curry leaves, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic etc. Coconut in various forms in widely used. A typical meal consists of Rice, Sambhar(Curry), two types of vegetables, curd and a pickle. Dosas, idilis, Upma, Parota, Sambhar, Rasam, Pongal are the dishes with which the cuisine of Tamil Nadu is identified. Paysam, Kesari, Sweet pongal are the sweet treasure of this cuisine.

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Filter coffee is a specialty of the south-Indian cuisine. The making of filter coffee is like a ritual, as the coffee beans are first roasted and then powdered. They then use a filter set, few scoops of powdered coffee, enough boiling water is added to prepare a very dark liquid called the decoction. A 3/4 mug of hot milk with sugar, a small quantity of decoction is then served in Dabarah, a unique Coffee cup.

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Places to visit in Yercaud

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