Yelagiri – Weekend getaway for trekkers

Roadtrip to Yelagiri from Chennai

This year my resolution was to do a trip every month, so far so good! January was the beautiful, relaxing Varkala and February I got a pleasant surprise to review a car, so took it to Yelagiri.

Yelagiri is a hill station, located 220 kms from Chennai and 160 kms from Bangalore. It is more of a trekking spot than a sight-seeing place. On the other hand, Yercaud (which is another 150 kms from Yelagiri) offers both the experiences.

En route Yelagiri, tamil nadu,

The right plan…

I will write about what we did, below, but before that I would like to give you an idea of how to do this Yelagiri trip. It is a trekking spot and the best time to trek from my experience from Yercaud trek, is in the mornings.

Plan a two day trip to Yelagiri. Try to reach your resort/hotel by sunset, so as to catch a glimpse of the sunset, I’m sure it’s stunning. Stay the night in your resort and preferably ask the resort to arrange for a guide to take to trekking to hidden waterfalls and temples in the forest in the hills.

Day2, get up, get ready and start your trek early. Come back to your hotel around lunch time, enjoy the lunch, take a nap, watch another sunset and drive back home. There is a small lake, Punganur lake, in Yelagiri where you can go baoting as well. That would make a perfect weekend getaway.

Punganur lake, yelagiri, Tamil Nadu

Punganur lake, Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu


Kids wait for their turn to go boating :)

Punganur lake, yelagiri, Tamil Nadu


What we did!

We reached Yelagiri by noon, with a lot of stops to take some photos of the car and highway, stopped in Vellore for breakfast. As soon as we reached there we found out that it wasn’t as good as Yercaud and it was too late in the day to go trekking, especially when one is not mentally prepared. So we headed back home with a lot to write about the car and the driving experience.

IF there is more to do in Yelagiri, please do let me know, I will try to go there again.

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX experience

There are two things you notice as soon as you enter the car:

Before starting the car: SPACE. I took my colleagues for lunch on the day I got the car. 5 of us went in this car. The guys sitting behind didn’t feel cramped and the first thing two of my friends said was “this is spacious”, I guess it has become something to expect from TATA cars and Indica Vista D90 is no different. This car’s got space! – Vista D90 – 1 and other cars – 0

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

After starting the car: Silence. The cabin is pretty well insulated from the engine noise, but this something that all the diesel cars have in common nowadays. Same points for all cars in this region.

I drove a Vista D90 ZX, this is one version below the highest, which is ZX-Plus. The difference is a spoiler and a touch-screen controls with GPS. That must’ve been fun!

Nevertheless, those are the things you notice before you really take it for a drive. The moment you switch to 1st gear and take your foot off the clutch, ever so lightly, and gently press the accelerator, you would feel the power of the car. As the name suggests, Vista D90 is powered by the same engine that powers Manza and Fiat Punto – a 90 bhp, 1.3 ltr engine. BTW, the driver’s view and the feel of the car have an uncanny resemblance to that of Fiat Punto.

So I took it for a spin, to a nearby place, Yelagiri – 220 kms from Chennai. I’d have ideally driven it to Munnar (have been wanting to go there for a long time) but my good friend and co-driver wasn’t available, read about that here.

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

The Car

When I got the car for review, it had already run 6500 kms, which is a good thing. Reviewing a brand new car is a bore and almost fake, coz the suspensions are not “broken-in” and the engine has not taken the stress and strain. Hence, I was glad to get a car that has already run 6500 kms.

Vista D90 ZX comes with ABS and dual air bags. Also it has alloys and contrast-color top, mine was a ‘spice red’ car with a black top. The idea seems to be “sporty look”. The dashboard has USB drive, which was definitely useful. A couple of months back when I drove a Skoda Rapid to Hampi, I was surprised to know that there was no USB port in the dashboard. Believe me, that USB port is very useful. Good job, Vista D90!


Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

Another useful feature that I did not find in some of the other cars in this segment is media-control-buttons in the steering wheel. In fact when I drove those cars, I never missed those features, but Vista D90 has definitely pampered me. The mute, seek, volume buttons are very helpful. Once you get used to those, you will wonder how you survived without those ever – sort of Facebook & Twitter.

The car gives a mileage of approximately 19 kmpl, I drove both in city and highways during the period I had the car for review.

The City Drive

I drove the car from work to home on a Friday evening and of course the powerful diesel engine eases the strain on your right leg. Only by operating the clutch one can go a long distance at a very slow speed (e.g during traffic jams) without having to use the accelerator.

The Highway Drive

The moment I took the car, the one word that would summarize the feeling is ‘power’. The acceleration is great, but more so when the turbo-charger kicks in. Overtaking cars on the highway was a piece of cake; I didn’t even have to down-shift. The drive up and down the hill with 14 hairpin turns was easy, with the car taking the tight turns beautifully and allowing me to even overtake slow buses within the short distance between the turns. The shock absorbers are comfortable and steady (keep in mind that it has already run 6500 kms, and most probably test-driven/roughly-handled already). Ground clearance is definitely better than other cars in this segment, definitely built by keeping India roads in mind. Thanks, TATA.

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience


There was bit of skid in one of the tight turns going uphill, the reason being loose sand at the turns. So keep this in mind and make sure you take utmost care while taking turns on gravel or loose sand.

I would definitely suggest this car for an adventurer who is forced with a 9 to 5 job. One can use this car for both travelling and office-driving.

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX
Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX user experience

Tata Indica Vista D90 ZX

Overall I would give this car a rating of 3.5 out of 5.

Good Things:

  • Hydraulic steering, better feel of the car and ease of handling
  • Media-control on the steering
  • Good braking
  • Driver panel – with Distance to Empty
  • Good AC effect
  • 90 bhp – powerful
  • Easy overtaking on the highways without having to downshift
  • Sporty look
  • Spacious
  • Lumbar support, helpful to avoid backaches


  • That skid-experience I spoke about, even with ABS!
  • Doesn’t have ‘lane-change indicator’
  • Price point

Special thanks to Blogadda and Tata motors for this opportunity. 🙂


Yelagiri in a Vista D90

This year I made a resolution to do at least one trip every month. The year started with a wonderful trip to Varkala, Kerala. But this one was a pleasant surprise. Last week I saw an ad for Tata Vista D90 car on TV and I tweeted this :



Never expected a reply, but @blogadda got in touch with me and arranged for a sponsored review. So what I have to do is drive a Tata Vista D 90 and write a review about it, obviously not simultaneously, that could be fatal! 😛

I figured what better “driving around” to do than to make a trip out of this opportunity. As my good friend and trustworthy co-driver Andy has some other place to be during this weekend, unfortunately, I’m forced to take the car (naming it as Vista D 90, for obvious reasons) to some nearby place, since my other good friend Mr. @SuvishV doesn’t have experience driving but he makes a great navigator. Hence, the place I chose is closeby –  Yelagiri, in the coming weekend.

If you have been reading my blogs, you’d know Suvish is the same guy with whom I have done a lot of trips and who travels with an iPad to tweet.  THIS GUY:

This pic during our Hampi trip 🙂


Whilst I drive, he will be doing most of the tweets under the #rtrip11, if you are not on twitter, you can follow the tweets right here. You can expect a lot of scenic pics, from iPad, and the trip commentary. 

So follow us and enjoy the show.


Varkala and Kollam, Kerala trip – part 2

I’m sure you read the part 1 of this series, about how I had to take 5 buses to come to Varkala(Kerala) from Chennai :). After Spending second half of the first day in varkala, going to the beach and having a sumptuous dinner. The first half of the second day was spent on lazing around and shifting to another “resort” (why? read this!). After shifting, we went to a nearby hotel for lunch. Varkala, like any other place is HOT during the day, you won’t appreciate that unless you are in Papanasam beach, Varkala for a sun-tan. I wasn’t there for that reason and I didn’t appreciate it! 🙂 it was hot!

Before lunch, we saw a trail going uphill and we took it. Not after a short walk, we came upon this edge. And here are some photos of Papanasam beach from this place:

Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala

Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala

Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala

Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala


Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala

Pretty high place. Look carefully, you will spot a person walking on those rocks.

Papanasam Beach, varkala, Kerala


We had lunch and returned to our hotel for a siesta.

Lunch at a hotel in Papanasam beach, varkala, kerala

Had lunch here.


After the siesta, got up by 5:30PM and went to the beach for sunset, photos, walk and dinner @ Papanasam beach.


Bird taking a walk in the beach
Sunset at Papanasam beach, varkala, kerala

Rocky beach, Papanasam

Sunset at Papanasam beach, varkala, kerala

Sunset at Papanasam beach, varkala, kerala

Sunset from the cliff, Papanasam, Varkala

Sunset at Papanasam beach, varkala, kerala

Bird taking a walk


After this was dinner, some of the lights were beautiful and I wanted to try Bokeh (not a dish, it’s a photographic technique!). Here are the photos from that. For more kickass photos from this trip visit



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