CloudCherry leaves town!

CloudCherry | Featured | October 10, 2014

Cloudcherry Leaves Town!

In the wee hours of October 2nd, we packed up our bags, loaded up two cars, fuelled up, checked the tire pressure and set out on the road. Or so we planned to! Instead, Vinod missed his flight from Mumbai the previous evening, thanks to a 2 hour jam on the Western Expressway (Note: leave 3 hours earlier to the Airport in Mumbai – there’s a bar after security so your time won’t be wasted while waiting!). So we ended up leaving well after sunrise, and the lost time meant no time for stops, no time for breaks.

360kms, a ‘within speed-limit’ race between the two cars and a few small tours (read ‘lost’) later, we almost reach our destination. And now, it’s time for the big climb. 20 Hairpin bends and we reach the town of Yercaud. For those who have no clue where and what Yercaud is, here’s a little travel guide – ‘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; the Yercaud hill area is called the Shevaroy Hills. 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). It is so named owing to the abundance of trees categorised as a forest near the lake, the name signifying Lake Forest. (Thanks, Wikipedia)
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So why did we go there? Here’s why. 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.

And these descendants happened to be our hosts.
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Their 100 year old coffee estate was our home for the next two days. Surrounded by the hills, plantations of Coffee, Figs, Cardamom, Durian, Jackfruit and Bisons. Hold on? Bisons? Yup! Apparently, Bisons love coffee, especially Arabica!

The lunch comes out and it’s done in a no time. It’s now time for the customary selfies, instagram pictures, Facebook profile picture shoots and naps.

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A short drive away and we land up in the Hemalands Estate PULPOSE – or at least that’s what the locals called it. It took us a while to realise that it was Pulp House, the place where Coffee pulp was dried, cured and sent for processing.

But the Pulp House served a better purpose for us. With lights all around, the bats, tennis balls and stumps came out, the teams were split and thus started a few rabid rounds of Cricket. What started as a friendly game turned competitive in no time, especially with the regular cricket players in our teams.

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Dinner and drinks later, it’s time for cricket again. But this time, it was in front of the lone TV in the entire estate, watching the Chennai Super Kings Vs.Kings XI Punjab. And it’s victory CSK! Whistle Podu!

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The morning starts with a hike through the estate, something the lazy youngins of Cloudcherry hated. But they had no choice. And the end of the hike was worth the walk, the thorns, the bugs and bites because we ended up here.

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Imagine, a private waterfall, untouched by pretty much nothing out of the natural for who knows how long! And thanks to our estate owner, we get private access to this. Of course, it ain’t complete without the beer and the breezers right?

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Lunch follows. And then a small team huddle. And a quick nap. And then, it’s back to the Pulp House for another round of cricket. Or a grudge match rather to make up for the previous day’s loss!

Two days of cricket, beer, massive meals, the altitude and the awesome weather don’t really help, so 3 games in, the decision is made to call it quits.

And then the real fun began!

Imagine riding in the back of an open camper truck close to midnight to spot Bisons in the wild. Imagine spotting one after a bumpy ride that lasted 30 minutes so far. And then we reach a dead end, with a huge tree blocking our way. The brave boys get out, break the tree, get back on the truck and our ride continues… except we face a 50 feet long uphill drive at a 45 degree angle. And no truck is made for that.

AND WE’RE STUCK! In the darkness of the night, in a bison infested jungle!

PUSH! PUSH! WEDGE A ROCK UNDER THE TIRE! TRY A PIECE OF WOOD! WATCH OUT FOR THAT FLYING ROCK! I HEAR NOISES! WHAT WAS THAT RUSTLING SOUND?

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It’s all good! We made it out alive!

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The next morning, it was time to drive back! Thanks team for a wonderful 2 days! We’re looking forward to more trips, more people and more adventure the next time around!

And here’s a little bonus! A 13 second hyperlapse of a 7KM drive through the hills!