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A Great Vacation at Hotel Shevaroys, Yercaud
A Lovely Weekend on the Yercaud Hills
Hotel Shevaroys Yercaud is the ideal place to stay and dine when you take a trip to Yercaud, the beautiful hill resort in South India. This is one of the oldest hotels in the region, having had a very humble beginning in the year 1971.
Most people forget that a vacation is a must after months of continuous and hectic activity. We work hard in order to make money to pay our bills and to keep our home running. But we forget to relax for a few days and ignore the fact that a vacation can make us more active for more hard work ahead. I must admit that I belong to this category of people.
However, one fine day, after much prodding from my daughter who wanted to go to 'some' nice place during her summer vacation, my husband and I realized that it was high time we had a break too. It took us hardly a day or two to organize our travel and accommodation bookings. Our destination was Yercaud, a beautiful hill resort, which is about two hours drive from Salem, a rail station about 334 km (approximately 210 miles) from Chennai, South India.
Ready to travel
Within a week, we were off on a train to Salem. We hired a cab to take us along the several hair-pin bends to Yercaud, 53 kms (roughly 33 miles) uphill from Salem. We paid the cab driver Indian Rupees(INR) 700. Only later during the trip, we learned that it usually costs only INR 550 for that distance.
The cool breeze and the clean and fresh air of Yercaud welcomed us. Situated at an altitude of 1500 meters (almost 5000 feet) above sea level on the Shevaroy Hills of the Eastern Ghats, it was a real treat for us to have found a way to beat the heat of Chennai, a city which is hot throughout the year (almost similar to Florida, I am told)except for 3 to 4 months when we experience a mild and pleasant winter.
We had reservation for staying at a cottage promoted by the Indian Tourism Department. It was not a bad choice as far as the room was concerned, but we found that there were so many things lacking, particularly room service which shocked us, as a good hotel without room service is generally unheard of. We had to get ready every morning and go to the restaurant to have our breakfast. So we decided to go to another restaurant, a fifteen minute walk away from this hotel.
Hotel Shevaroys, Yercaud
This was Hotel Shevaroys, (not an affiliate link, given for the benefit of tourists) a very popular hotel in Yercaud. Not only was the food excellent, but everything else about the hotel seemed impressive. We really regretted not having known about Shevaroys hotel where the rooms and cottages were good and room service was available. The hotel was a big one housing a supermarket, a multi-cuisine restaurant, gaming center and internet browsing center. We were so impressed by the facilities that we decided to plan another trip to Yercaud just to stay at this hotel. As such we continued our stay in the other hotel and frequented Hotel Shevaroys for food.
A must-see resort-Yercaud
Yercaud is actually not as popular as Ooty or Kodaikanal, the other hill resorts of South India. People generally recommend the latter, but Yercaud's low profile should not lead to an underestimation of its richness and beauty. It is a quiet resort surrounded by towering mountains giving you breathtaking views of Mother Nature. We had a pleasant weekend at this exotic locale, taking in the lovely sights around us.
Why this hub?
The purpose of this hub is also to introduce to the world, an aspiring young man who was our cab driver for the two days we spent in Yercaud. The world is so full of cheats and dishonest people that you are only too willing to appreciate an honest and sincere person, especially when he is a stranger.
Like any tourist, I expected our trip to be an exciting one. Not only was the tour exciting, but also turned out to be useful and informative, thanks to our driver who helped us see all the places (that are not a great many though) in Yercaud.
Chinnappa Raj- that's his name- a man of 25 years, at first glance, looked to me like any other cab driver who takes you around the place for the money you give. But once we got into his car, a van rather, he started to tell us in his soft-spoken voice, about Yercaud and its people. I thought that this man was different from the lot we bump into during our regular travel. He promised to come the next day and take us for yet another tour of the place and was at our door on time. From then on he was to be our guide for the entire trip.
Great sights visited
We got to see many tourist spots on his recommendation, from where we could take photographs of the magnificent and unpolluted beauty of Nature. Wherever you go in Yercaud, it is hills, hills and hills that you see all around. If you are a nature-lover, you'll not want to leave the place, it's so beautifully blessed with dense forests and clouds just floating above them.
Chinnappa Raj explained to us in detail about the education and vocation of the locals. He showed us a school-more than a hundred years old- Montfort Anglo Indian School-named after St. Montfort of France. We were truly astounded by its stately architecture and grandeur. He drove us to see the various sights in Yercaud like The Pagoda Point, Yercaud Lake, Anna Park, Rose Garden, Shevaroy Temple, Botanical Garden, Lady's seat, etc.
Burning desire to succeed
We hired his services for both the days and it was then that I learned about his determination to make it big some day, driving tourists in his own car. You don't find many such people who yearn to become successful like Chinnappa Raj does. A simple man but very straightforward and sincere in his approach, he has been putting aside whatever money he could in order to buy his own car. I appreciated his efforts and told him that I hoped to travel in his own car during our next visit to Yercaud.
He started his career as a cab driver for a Christian Missionary in Chennai four years ago. He did not like the crowds of Chennai but stayed on to get some good working experience in a big city. He was dying to return to his hilly hometown which he did in 2009. He started working for a travel agency as a cab driver and guides the tourists around the place. From the numerous telephone calls he got while driving us, I sensed that he was a favorite who seemed to have a huge customer contact list.
He was seen nodding and smiling at most of the passers by (and his smiles were acknowledged too)and this gave the impression that he knew almost all the local people. He even told us that he would be able to arrange reservation for us at Hotel Shevaroys in case we did not have the time to do an online booking of rooms (at no extra cost of course). I was surprised by his simplicity and his willingness to oblige.
Bidding farewell to Yercaud
We wished him good luck and bade good-bye to Chinnappa Raj and Yercaud. When he dropped us at the rail station at Salem-for our down-hill journey we had to pay him only INR 550-he requested us to recommend his services to our friends who would be visiting Yercaud in future.
I had already decided that I would certainly tell all my friends and acquaintances about this young man and his dreams. Through this hub I wish to recommend his services to any one visiting Yercaud, because, by engaging him, you can be free from any worry about being cheated. You can also be assured of a pleasant trip around the place.
Problems tourists face in a new place
I hate to say this, but there have been many instances where foreign tourists have been cheated in India just because they do not know the local language and they don't have a local guide accompanying them. In spite of being residents of the same state, we paid more for the uphill trip! I suggest that if you want to travel to Yercaud, you can make a reservation at Hotel Shevaroys (not an affiliate link). This will make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Beware of any middle men trying to help you with your travel. Engaging honest and simple people like Chinnappa Raj to take you around will reduce your apprehensions of being in a new and unknown place. I want to reiterate the fact that people like him are truly hard to find.
For a stress-free ride around Yercaud
Chinnappa Raj can be contacted at +919865755553. I had a hub in mind even as I got to know him because to me, he is an out of the ordinary, energetic and aspiring man, willing to work hard to achieve his goals, so I took a photograph of this young man beside his car (not his own) and promised to write about him once I reached home. He was very excited to hear this.
Best time to visit Yercaud
According to Chinnappa Raj, if you want to go to Yercaud and spend time leisurely without encountering a huge crowd, then September -October is the best season to go. Or if you don't mind the crowds but only want to enjoy a beautiful weather on the hills, then mid-March to mid-June is the best time of the year to visit. We were there by mid June and rains were just beginning. It was the end of a busy season when we visited, so we could enjoy the place which was absolutely peaceful and tranquil with only a few people holidaying like us.
What's in it for me?
Now, many of you who are reading this hub may have this question-the most important question- to ask. What do I get out of this? Why should I write about some stranger whom I met during a weekend and why should I give him so much publicity?
Yes, I get a lot of benefit out of this if you really want to know and I'm sure you do. HAPPINESS- loads and loads of happiness about having done some good to someone as deserving as Chinnappa Raj. Meeting good people is rare. Particularly, when you meet such a simple person with average education, who longs to succeed in life by his hard work and hard work alone, and is neither web-savvy nor has clout of any nature, you should make it a point to help him in whatever small way you can. This is the way I have chosen to help him. I would be very happy if, after reading this hub, at least a hundred people decide to hire his services when they visit the beautiful Yercaud hills.
Latest Update :12th December,2010
Chinnappa Raj has been in constant touch with me on telephone since our trip to Yercaud-perhaps my good intentions had appealed to him. After seeing this hub, he must have been doubly sure that I was genuinely interested in his progress.
Generally all tourists who like their guide may promise to do many things for him once they returned home, but most likely that they would forget everything about the trip once they go back to their normal routine. In my case too, it was not until after four months had passed after our trip that I published this hub about Chinnappa Raj. I too delayed it due to my own work schedules though the idea was lurking in a corner of my mind all the time. In the end, I did keep my promise to him by publishing this hub.
So, when he did not hear from me for four months, Chinnappa Raj also must have thought that I had forgotten about him, but he kept calling me a few times just to say a 'hello'. His joy knew no bounds when I called him up soon after publishing this hub, and he sought his friend's help to look it up. He knew for sure then, that I was out to help him in every way possible.
This morning there was a telephone call from him saying that he is going to be very busy this month because five (unrelated) families have arranged with him for a trip in Yercaud. He was contacted on the telephone number I had given here and told him that they found the information on the web.
Now it was my turn to be happy, happy for him because his honesty, simplicity and hard work are paying off though at a slow pace. I have only been a tool for this development and I am glad about it. I hope and pray that he gets many more such inquiries and opportunities to steadily increase his income and make it big one day.
This happiness of mine is a million times more than that which I get when I earn a hefty sum as payment for my freelance SEO work. Money may come and go but this kind of happiness will stay for ever. I am sure you'll all agree with me.
One little last note
There are thousands of people like Chinnappa Raj living in this world but not all of them get enough attention and support from people who are better off than them so that they could improve their lifestyle. It is in the interest of the society that we identify such sincere people and lend them a helping hand. This will certainly make the world a better place to live in. This is a little message that I would like to pass on to fellow hubbers and all those who get to read this hub.
Thank you for visiting this hub.
Update 8th August, 2017
This might sound a little weird but I decided to add this little update now because this hub is very old and everything must have changed a little bit. So, I decided to find out if Chinnappa Raj is still around as a taxi owner/driver cum tour guide and called him up only to be told that he is not in business anymore.
At the same time, he told me that he is in a very good job as a full-time driver at the same hotel I have described in this hub. He is a happy and contented man with his parents who are proud of him and his wife and a little hero who makes his life complete.
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