Weekend Getaways from Chennai
Known as the gateway to South India, Chennai has coloured itself in the cosmopolitan and modern culture while retaining its old charm. The city is famous for its sandy beaches, historical wonders and beautiful parks. From its temple tours and leisure at beaches to adventures in the rocky peaks and blue waters, it is suffice enough to keep you busy. There are several weekend getaways from Chennai and within it that would provide you a wonderful escape from work.
• Mahabalipuram: Located in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram is a town that was a major seaport in the ancient times. Also called as Mamallapuram, this town is known for its archaeological wonders of the bygone era. The group of monuments of Mahabalipuram has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apart from housing architectural marvels, this town is also known for water sports like angling and surfing.
Distance: 56 km from Chennai via East Coast Road
• Pondicherry: Fondly called Pondy, Pondicherry was once a French colony, which comprised Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam and Pondicherry itself. The architecture of this township is a unique fusion of local Tamil and French styles. It gained prominence because of the internationally recognised Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Other tourist attractions of the place include Karaikal beaches, Thirunallar Temple and Auroville. From scuba diving and kayaking to boating and canoeing, this coastal town offers a wide range of water sports for enthralling visitors.
Distance: 169 km from Chennai via NH 45
• Nandi Hills: Also called Nandidurg, Nandi Hills is an ancient hill fortress of South India, which was used as a summer respite by Tipu Sultan and the British. These hills have an array of tourist attractions, which include Tipus Summer Palace and Fort, Tipus Drop, Bhoganandishwara Temple and Hoskote Lake. Trekking, paragliding and cycling are some of the activities that travellers love to indulge in during their visit to these hills.
Distance: 359 km from Chennai via NH 4
• Yercaud: Located in the Eastern Ghats, Yercaud is a hill station in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu. This hill station is known for its beautiful Yercaud Lake and Pagoda Point. Other attractions of the place include Lady Seat, Kiliyur Falls, Bears Cave and National Orchidarium. The undulating hills and the verdant surroundings of the place offer visitors a wonderful experience of camping and trekking.
Distance: 370 km from Chennai via NH 45 and NH 68
• Andaman: Located in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman is a group of islands, which remained undiscovered for a long time. Covering an area of about 6408 sq. km, this archipelago has 325 islands, with the Andaman Sea on its east. It is dotted with the mangrove forests all along the coast, and is rich in endless variety of flora and fauna. Snorkelling, scuba diving, trekking and island camping are some of the popular adventure sports, which Andaman is suitable for.
Distance: Various domestic flights operate between Chennai and Port Blair while regular passenger ships are available from the former.
• Angling in Mahabalipuram: One of the most exciting activities, which you can enjoy on the beautiful beach of Mahabalipuram, is angling. The coastline along the vast stretch of Bay of Bengal offers great opportunities for fishing during weekend getaways from Chennai.
• Scuba Diving in Pondicherry: Located in Pondicherry, Temple Adventures is the only diving centre along the East Coast of India. It offers about 20 diving sites, where depths vary on a large scale.
• Cycling in Nandi Hills: Cycling in Nandi Hills has its own set of thrill and adventure. This activity is not like regular cycling, and it requires a great effort to cycle uphill. Cycling in the undulating terrains of this hill is the best way for enjoying sightseeing.
• Trekking in Yercaud: Nestled in the verdant hills, Yercaud is one of the finest destinations to reconnect with nature. Trekking in Yercaud takes you to the wonderful Kiliyur Falls, which is a fabulous place to soak yourself in the amazing beauty of the nature.
• Snorkelling in Andaman: It is one of the popular activities, which the waters of Andaman offer at their best during weekend getaways from Chennai. Snorkelling here lets you sight rare varieties of coral reefs, which showcase exotic wonders of fish, sharks, turtles and rays.
• Mahabalipuram: December to March
• Pondicherry: October to February
• Nandi Hills: All round the year, except monsoons as it becomes slippery during this season
• Yercaud: October to June
• Andaman: October to May