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I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!

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Y for Yelagiri Hills

Several years back, on a weekend trip from Bangalore, we discovered a place that we had never heard of, until days before we made the trip.  Recommended by a friend as  quick getaway to experience a completely different, low-key pace of living, we headed down to the sleepy Yelagiri Hills,  based in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. Located at a height of 4,626 ft, approx. 150 km to the South-West of Bangalore, we found this place to be very different from anything we had encountered earlier.

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Swami Malai Hills: the highest point of Yelagiri

The main road at Yelagiri touched many small villages and the pretty farmhouses sat by the emerald stretches of green, with private bungalows, temples, churches, missionary schools and farmland filling up the landscape. In the hills, forest and fruit orchards went hand in hand with brilliant weather  almost throughout the year, presenting unparalleled natural beauty to its’ visitors. The first thing that hit our senses was the intense aroma of ripening fruits in the small hamlets and every time the wind blew, it carried with it a fragrance of the beautiful eucalyptus trees!

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Custard Apples seen everywhere in Yelagiri

But we soon discovered that Yelagiri is more than just aroma and natural beauty. Of the many, the three key attractions were Swami Malai, the highest point in Yelagiri, that offered spectacular views of the hills and the surrounding countryside all around. We also enjoyed the boating on the centrally-located Panganur Lake, a big hit with families and for those enjoying picnics.

We noticed a lot of families with children enjoying the landscape gardens, which also had a playground and a snacks-corner  to cater to the tourists. All of a sudden, the quiet hills had become a very busy place. I especially liked the beautifully designed Nature Park,  which had flowering trees and a landscaped series of gardens that made it a perfect haven of peace.

The Lord Murugan Temple, located high up on the boulder, had plenty of fruit trees growing at the base of the stairs, and a group of local boys picking up the choicest ones from the lot. Quite a sight, must say!  We skipped the Jalgam Parai Falls but will definitely recommend a visit, even if only to enjoy the idyllic weather and the moment’s solitude that the hills bring!

Before the weekend got over, it was time for us to leave. On our way back, we carried some fresh produce from Yelagiri’s fruit orchards -mango, jackfruit, jamun, custard apple and honey, and plenty of happy memories that would last us a lifetime.

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