Yercaud is a jewel nestled amidst the Shevaroy range of hills. This beautiful hill station with a lake that forms its epicentre has a history that can be traced to the stone age. Evidence of this has been found in Yercaud just five kilometres from the lake. However, recorded history dates back to the early nineteenth century when the British discovered the charms of Yercaud. This was the period when Coffee, Pear, and Apple cultivation was introduced to Yercaud. The man instrumental in the initial development of Yercaud was David Cockburn who came to be recognised as the father of Yercaud.
An important landmark in Yercaud
The history of Yercaud makes for fascinating reading. One building that stands as a silent testimony to the development of Yercaud is The Grange. It was built around the year 1820 by David Cockburn. Coffee from Africa found its way into the Grange Estate as did exotic fruit plantations like Orange, Jackfruit, Guava etc. Spices like Cardamom and Pepper added to the fragrance of the Grange. The lushness of the Grange estate was enhanced by the presence of trees of Sandalwood, Teak, and Silver Oaks.
An Amalgamation of History & Myths
It is widely believed that the Grange had been once the summer retreat of Robert Clive. A man credited with the establishment of British supremacy in India till its independence in 1947. Robert Clive was the representative of the East India Company whose purpose was trade in India, but under the scheming designs of Robert Clive went on to bring British rule in India.
A myth about the Grange also says that Robert Clive who had arrived in Yercaud as a young recruit was attracted by the salubrious climate of the place. The pristine environment of the region so reminded him of his home in England that pangs of homesickness engulfed him and he even tried to kill himself in a weak moment. However, by a travesty of fate, the gun he was using did not fire, and the rest is history!
It was during the period of the first Indian war of independence around 1857 that the Grange was strengthened with ramparts and embankments for placing guns. Three canons were kept at the ready. A vast cellar was made in the Grange and stocked with sufficient provisions to last for half a year, fearing a siege. However, all the precautions in hindsight proved unnecessary as peace prevailed in Yercaud.
The Grange Today
The Grange which has stood as a somnolent witness to the passage of history since 1820 is today part of a private resort. It still seems to stand in haughty majesty challenging the very passage of time, a reminder of the past, a past shrouded in intrigue and fascinating in every respect.
Yercaud, the place where nature seems to dance with joy at the sight of its own beauty is a place which also has seen the inexorable march of history and time. Yercaud is not only a place for relaxation and rejuvenation – there’s a lot you can do. It is not only a place where one can go for long walks across nature trails and commune with the elements but is also a place that has heritage structures like the Grange which have countless stories to tell, if only one paused to listen. The hill station today beckons all to not only enjoy its natural splendour but also pause and reflect on its fascinating history.
If you want to listen to the intriguing stories that the stones of the Grange Estate have to tell, then a trip to Yercaud is on the cards. Sterling Yercaud is beautifully placed to curate your Yercaud exploration and leave you with wonderful memories.