Tamilnadu Tourism to promote trekking tours in a big way

CHENNAI: If you enjoy trudging through the grassy Top Slip and desolate rocky Tirusulam Hills, planning for it just got easier as Tamil Nadu Tourism Department (TTDC) is all set to promote trekking in a big way. The newly constituted eco-tourism wing of the department has decided to organise trekking expeditions in hilly terrain across the state.

In the first phase, three trekking expeditions are scheduled at Servarayan hills at Yercaud, Tirusulam Hills opposite the airport and Top Slip in Coimbatore on different dates from October last week to mid November. The trips to Yercaud and Top Slip will last for three days while trekking on Tirusulam Hills will be wound up in half a day.

The first trip to Servarayan hills near Yercaud is scheduled to kick-off on October 30 and end on November 1. The tour will cost Rs 2,000 per person including all expenses. “We have already received 14 bookings for this trekking expedition. Tourists will be taken to Yercaud by bus from TTDC head office at Wallajah Road,” said an official of the department. Tirusulam trek is on November 7 while the three-day trekking trip to Top Slip is scheduled to start on November 13.

Servarayan hill - Yercaud - Salem

Servarayan hill - Yercaud - Salem

More such programmes are planned. “TN Tourism decided to have such programmes after we received feedback from people that they would love to go on trekking trips with us rather than with private guides. We received several letters from people asking us to start such programmes,” the official said.

Vidya Sagar, a businessman, said: “I have booked the trekking tour to Yercaud hills on October 30. As I am based in Salem I will be joining the team from Chennai at Yercaud. This is the first time I will be going on such an expedition. I am excited because the trip will help me visit areas were medicinal herbs grow in the hills.”

This is the first time that TTDC will be conducting trekking expeditions in an organised way. Till now, tourism department’s staff or approved guides used to guide trekking parties into the forest areas at Tirunelveli, Ooty, Yercaud and other places. But, “We decided to take bookings for trekking to promote adventure tourism and also let people experience lesser-known destinations,” said a TTDC official.

“TTDC has been organising several tours. But, such conducted tours only help the tourists to see certain spots. They do not allow tourists to explore the area in a way a trekking programme can do,” he added.


Tamilnadu: Salem-Yercaud tourists eager to use life-saving equipment in boats

Demand for life jackets and life buoys at Boat Club

YERCAUD: ‘Safety first and joy next’ is the mantra the tourists have been receiving today from the managers of the Boat Club at this hill station today.


After the Thekkady boat tragedy, the use of life jackets and life buoys has become ‘more or less’ compulsory with tourists themselves anxiously asking for the life-saving equipment while going for joy rides in the 400 metre-deep and placid Yercaud lake under which lurks the danger of an accumulated silt to the extent of 200 metres.

Efforts to desilt it in 2005 got mired in a bout of controversy.

For a safe trip: Tourists wear life-jackets while enjoying a boat ride on Yercaud lake on Saturday. — E. Lakshmi Narayanan

For a safe trip: Tourists wear life-jackets while enjoying a boat ride on Yercaud lake on Saturday. — E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Rowing boats

Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, as in other water spreads in various tourist spots in the State, operates eight rowing boats each with a capacity of six and 51 pedalling boats, each carrying four, on the 1.1 lakh square metre lake.


Previously none would opt for the life jacket though the TTDC has a stock of 150 life jackets and buoys for each boat.

“But now tourists who are thronging the hill station for puja holidays, are demanding life jackets before undertaking a ride,” said P. Asokan, in-charge of the Boat Club.

They have also posted two boatmen to keep a watch on the rowers for any emergencies. Public address systems belt out warnings repeatedly to those who attempt to go boating on the lake without life jackets.

In fact tickets were issued only after ensuring that these life- saving equipment were in these boats.