Yercaud is a hill station in Salem District, in Tamil Nadu, India. It is located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern Ghats. It is situated at an altitude of 1515 metres (4970 ft) above sea level, and the highest point in Yercaud is the Servarayan temple, at 5,326 feet (1,623 m). The hill station is named owing to the abundance of forest near the lake, the name signifying Lake Forest. As a popular tourist destination, Yercaud is also called as Jewel of the South. Yercaud is connected to the city of Salem, Tamil Nadu through a Highway of 28 km. Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance, as well as bananas, pears and jackfruit. Scenically, Yercaud is as enchanting and picturesque as the hill stations on the Eastern Ghats and trekking will be an experience. The total extent of Yercaud Taluk is 382.67 km2, including reserve forest. The entire county is administered as a township. Yercaud also has a village council. Stone-age implements have been found from the ancient shrine located near Shevaroy Hills ( also known as Shevarayan Hills ), which is about 5 km from the Yercaud lake. Sir Thomas Munroe, erstwhile governor of Madras Presidency in 1842 found this place. David Cockburn, the Scottish collector of Salem district, between 1820 and 1829, was called the 'Father of Yercaud' because he helped in the development of the resources of the Shevaroy and for introducing the cultivation of coffee, pears and apple. The first survey of the Shevaroy hills was undertaken in 1827. Though the first European house was built in 1840. The attention of planters on the Shevaroys has been confined solely to coffee plantations. Tea plantaion has been introduced in 1840s by Dr.Wallich on the property of G.F.Fischer. Trees of cinnamon has been introduced in Yercaud by Mr.Richardson during the same period. The cool climate attracted Christian missionaries, who established the Sacred Heart Convent for girls, the Nazareth Girls' Hr. Sec. School for Girls, and the Montfort School for boys. Schools such as the Holy Cross Novitiate House, started by the Brothers of Don Bosco, followed these. Mr. G.F. Fischer, a European of German origin, purchased the Salem Zamindar in 1836. He was the only European Zamindar in the Presidency. The area of his zamin was 125,000 acres (510 km2). The first Indian coffee planter to settle in these hills was Mr. MSP Rajes whose father started off by trading with the European planters. He eventually bought them out and settled in Cauvery Peak. His descendants continue to manage the plantations under the names MSP Plantations and MSP Coffee. The National Orchidarium and Botanical garden is situated in Yercaud, it is maintained by southern circle of Botanical Survey of India. The National Orchidarium established in the year 1963. The total area of orchidarium is 18.4 hectares. There are 3000 trees and 1800 shrubs grown in Orchidarium. Insectivorous pitcher plant is among the interesting plants grown in the Botanical garden. Some of the original forests still exist in the Yercaud hills and contain several endemic species of plants and fauna. The Yercaud hills have many faunal and floral similarities to the Western Ghats. Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance, as well as bananas, pears and jackfruit. Yercaud is rich in endemic and charismatic species of wildlife including bison, sambar deer, spotted deer, ant-eater, jackals, hares, foxes, mongoose, civets, giant squirrels, and many reptiles including endemic ones such Hemiphyllodactylus aurantiacus, Calotes calotes, Calotes rouxii, Mabuya beddomii and shield tail snake like Uropeltis ellioti and Uropeltis shorttii (which is endemic to the hill range), the endangered Python molurus, Macropisthodon plumbicolor, Calliophis beddomei and Trimeresurus gramineus; endemic amphibians such as Hylarana, Raorchestes, Fejervarya and scores of birds like the whistling thrush, racket-tailed drongo, peacock, shama, leafbird and Indian grey hornbill. The major industry is tourism, eco tourism with resorts amid high trees and plantations. Yercaud Lake: a pool surrounded by gardens and well-wooded trees. Lady's Seat: Tourists can have a panoramic view of the plains below through the telescope mounted at the Lady's seat. Killiyur Falls: a 90-foot (27 m)-high waterfall. The Servaroyan Temple: Situated atop Servaroyan hill, the annual festival of Lord Servaroyan is celebrated in May every year. The temple is a narrow and dark cave having the God Servarayan and the Goddess Kaveri inside, which are believed as the deities of the Shevaroy Hills and Cauvery River. Bear’s Cave: Situated near the Norton’s Bungalow, Bear’s Cave is considered as one of the abodes of Lord Murugan. Green House: The greenhouse cultivates many varieties of flowers and spices. Tipperary Colonial Bungalow: One of the finest building built by the famous writer named Charles John Huffam Dickens, where he and his family lived in the building long back before 100 years. Still the building and the estate are preserved and maintained for providing Homestay for tourists who visits Yercaud often. Botanical Survey of India: Botanical garden situated at the Nagalur main road 2 km from Yercaud town. The Grange: The Grange is one of the oldest buildings in Yercaud, built in 1820s by the then district, who first introduced coffee from Arabia and apples and other fruits from South Africa between 1820 and 1829. It is believed to have been the summer resort of Robert Clive, general of the East India Company in the late 19th century. Pagoda Point: Another view point; once adorned with stone built pagodas, it is now home to a large temple. Silk Farm and Rose Garden: Situated very close to Lady's Seat, silkworms are reared here. Located 2 km from Yercaud town, tourists can see the cultivation of mulberries, growing of silk worms, and methods of silk-spinning. The rose garden has a collection of varieties of roses. There is a nursery in this garden which sells plants. Trekking in Yercaud: Yercaud has developed into a major trekking destination in the region. Chennai Trekking Club organizes treks in Yercaud. Karadiyur Viewpoint : A wonderful sight seeing placed in yercaud about 12 km from the center of the town in a village Karadiyur. Sri Lalitha Thripura Sundari Amman Temple: Situated at Nagalur 7 km from yercaud town. It is very important temple. 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. Yercaud is situated in Salem district, Tamil Nadu. The nearest city or town is Salem, 32 km away. The nearest airports are Salem Airport at a distance of 38 km. The nearest railway station is Salem – 38 km.




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