As part of my visit to Vellore district in February, I explored Palamathi Hills, a beautiful mountain range that close to the Vellore City or to say about 10 km from the same. Located southeast of the Vellore city, the hills is an extension of the Eastern Ghats includes Palamathi Reserve Forest and Otteri Lake, makes it a thriving hotspot for various birds and flora. I visited the hills through the back road, which I would recommend anyone driving from Chennai who like to enjoy village scenario and it was a short route too by going into Arcot town and taking the Arcot main road to Kavanur and then to Palamathi Hills.
The hills have a beautiful and scenic environment and I would highly recommend it visited during winter or monsoon to feel cool and find it quite greenish. Palamathi is a developing tourist destination with Balamurugan Temple, atop the hill, could be the prime destination to attract tourist. The yellow coated Murugan Temple, also known as Kuzhandai Velayudhabani swamy Temple could be an attention seeker for anyone visiting the hills and the hillock temple and tower is visible from the distance if you climb from the Vellore city. The temple has a beautiful arch at the foothill leading a driveway and a stairs parallel to the parking lot.
It was 12pm when we visited the temple and it has around 150 steps to climb from the foot hall to the temple and before we discover the off road that adjoin the hillock, mom and grandma went atop on foot and it was them to find out the mud road and we took the SUV close to the temple tower. The temple provides free lunch for the visited devotes and except me and cousin, others end their lunch there. Parents told the temple was well maintained and has couple of peacocks fenced in a cage inside the temple – form where one get to hold natural views all around.
|The forest view along the off road that take us above the hillock and you could see goats feeding from a bucket kept by the temple people.|
|The temple perched on the cliff, shot while climbing down the hill towards Vellore city|
Palamathi isn’t very high hills and should be around MSL 300-400 and has wonderful breeze throughout the year but should feel cool in morning and evenings unless monsoon/winter hits. I actually wanted to visit this place much earlier as post monsoon or midwinter to experience cool weather but it wasn't bad in early Feb. The best part of the scenic hills is the road winding down to the Vellore city and the hairpin bends are picturesque to shoot along the way or from the hilltop. But the temple has closed the windows overlooking that view, perhaps it located at unsafe spot, so we missed getting the scene but I managed to get some while drove through the Ghats.
|Scenic view around the hairpin bends|
Palamathi is a village panchayat and majority of the people living here are migrants from other places of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra and so they do not have a tribal status. The people cultivate paddy, groundnut and ragi above the mountains and sells at the city market. The Otteri Lake at the foothill is a manmade lake in the British era to supply water to Vellore city. I took many photos on the hills and I would share more in the future posts.