Oct 31, 2007

Travelogues - Yelagiri

Fun time @ Yelagiri -- December 15-16, 2006

As always, the TBA team of the Covansys Allianz Offshore Team was enthusiastic about arranging the family outing for the team members and their families. TBA arranges for such outings and events at regular intervals to give the team members a chance to spend time and interact with each other on a personal level… a welcome break from all the usual discussions about change requests, requirement specs, project reviews, timesheet updates and everything else that’s so typical in the software world we live in.

After dedicatedly evaluating various tourist locations for this trip, TBA finally zeroed down on a small hill station close to Chennai - Yelagiri. The trip was planned for 15th and 16th of December, 2006.

The Team Building Activities (TBA) team took care of all the other logistics like travel, accommodation at the resort etc. A few team members were also preparing for the various events and games to be held once we reached Yelagiri. In spite of all the project deadlines and schedules, preparations for the trip went on with equal zest.

On the 15th our day started quite early in the morning. The bus left the MEPZ campus by around 07.30 am. Team members, their families - including the little kids were equally looking forward to the trip and two days of total masti.

About an hour and a half after we started we reached the temple town of Kanchipuram. That's where we stopped for our morning breakfast. When you're in and around Chennai the place to eat is obviously Saravana Bhavan - one reason being the tastes they create and the other being their 'everywhere you go you'll find a Saravana Bhavana' presence in Tamil Nadu.

Since it was quite early in the morning, most of the shops had not yet opened. The ladies in the group missed a chance to get themselves a couple of famous Kanchipuram silk sarees. All of us had a sumptuous breakfast and boarded the bus once again.

The bus drive was pleasant. The kids had a lot of fun dancing to the beats of the latest Tamil hits. The landscape outside got more and more pleasant as we approached the Yelagiri hills. The uphill drive was wonderful - the chilly weather, the breathtaking view, the 14 hairpin bends, the little monkeys that dotted the hills... just about everything!!!

After a while we reached our resort - The Yelagiri Hills Country Club Resorts. It looked really impressive and each one of us felt really good that we would be staying there during our time at Yelagiri. The lush greenery and the beautiful landscaping done at the resort completely flattered us. We quickly settled down into our rooms. I still remember how Bhuvana and I did a 'first impression is last impression' kind of inspection of our room. The result - we liked our room :-)

By this time it was close to about 2.00 pm and we were all quite ready for lunch. The weather was very pleasant and chill with the sun shining bright. We all had a nice lunch arranged by the resort. The kids were enjoying their lunch running around the garden... giving their mums 'n dads a tough time ;-) But as long as someone's enjoying... so be it!!!

With lunch done and with so many guys in the group a game of cricket followed quite naturally!!! The game went on for a while. Both the teams played really well... I really don't remember who won but all of the spectators had a fun time too!!!

After cricket, all the team members participated in some indoor team building cum fun games like Shopping List, Musical Ball etc. There were some really cool prizes in store for the winners. The games went on till evening and were followed by a round of evening tea and coffee.

We took a small break after this and decided to gather on the resort lawns for a bonfire later in the evening. By then it was really chill and everyone were in their warmest best - woolen pullovers, monkey caps, and shawls - all set for a fun-filled bonfire party. We played a game of Dumb Charades at the bonfire. It was good fun with all the team members and their families giving 100% participation!!!

Dinner followed by a Prize Distribution marked the end of Day 1 at Yelagiri Hills. Even as we said our goodnights we were looking forward to an equally refreshing time the next day!!!

Day 2 at Yelagiri - After an early breakfast of steamed idlis, vadai and pongal we all set out on a sightseeing trip. Yelagiri is a small quiet hill station with not many spots to visit. It's the quietude and pleasantly refreshing environs that makes it very different from the otherwise commercial hill stations like Ooty and Kodaikanal down south.

We made our way through a beautiful park and climbed a small hill to reach a temple of Lord Murugan. This temple is one of the must-visit spots at Yelagiri. The park was also very well maintained and had a lot of slides and swings - definitely the kids were more than happy.

There's a beautiful artificial lake near the park. We split ourselves into small teams and went boating in the lake. There were pedal boats and rowing boats and we had quite some funny moments in the lake. Nithya, Senthil, Rohit and Jagadeesh will agree with me without even thinking for a moment ;-)

After all this gallivanting till about noon time, we'd built quite an appetite. We headed back to the resort for lunch.

After a quick lunch, we all packed off and left the resort - we were headed back to Chennai after 2 days of complete fun and a nice break from the otherwise hectic schedules of our daily routines.

On the drive back to Chennai we stopped at this place called Ambur. It's a small town that is famous for its leather tanneries and reasonably priced leather goods. The guys did a lot of leather shopping - wallets, shoes etc. We had some evening snacks and continued our drive to Chennai.

All in all, the trip was a real refresher. All of us who had gone had a good time together. A few of our team mates couldn't make it due to some last minute issues. I'm sure we would have enjoyed even more if they were there.

But like the saying goes... 'There's always a next time...' - and with an enthusiastic TBA team like ours, I'm sure next time's not far away ;-)


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