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20 Weekend Getaways From Chennai

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Debapriya Deb, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Debapriya Deb

    Debapriya Deb Active Member

    Are the hectic work schedule and extreme heat condition in Chennai taking a toll on your body? If that's the case, then you deserve to take a break to cool yourself off at one of the beautiful places around Chennai. Let's take a look at some of the most revered weekend getaways from Chennai for a memorable weekend trip.

    Best Weekend Getaways from Chennai - The Top 20

    20. Pulicat

    Distance: 93 KM
    Travel Time: 2 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: Beach, Nature, History
    Best Suited For: Trips with Family or Friends

    On a stretch of land that seperates the Pulicat Lake from Bay of Bengal lies the small township of Pulicat famous for its riches of natural splendor and its rich history. The seashore township is a part of the Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu and is situated at a distance of just 93 KM from the Chennai city.

    Pulicat used to be a bustling port during the 15th century under the control of Portugese traders, before it was captured by the Dutch sailors and turned it into a Dutch settlement. The Dutch Fort and Cemetry, constructed in 1622, along with the old lighthouse are the must not be missed attractions at this place. There's a few century old Church, the Church of Our Lady of Glory, which has become a tourist attraction for the history lovers.

    For the nature lovers, the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary is no short of a paradise. Home to hundreds of native and migratory birds species, this sanctuary comprises of the large marshlands and swampy areas surrounding the huge Pulicat lake. Flamingos are the most sought after migratory birds here and the Flamingo Festival organized by the tourism board draws thousands of tourists in the months of December-January every year.
    Another feature that attracts tourists to Pulicat are its clean beaches. If you are looking for some adrenaline thrills in the form of water sports, then head to Pulicat and indulge in fun-filled water activities by the sea-side.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Pulicat Lake
    2. Pulicat Bird Sanctuary and Flamingo Festival
    3. Beaches in Pulicat for water sports.
    4. Dutch Fort, Cemetry and Lighthouse
    5. Church of Our Lady of Glory

    19. Vellore

    Distance: 136 KM
    Travel Time: 2.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: History, Religious
    Best Suited For: Trips with Family

    Also known as the Fort City of Tamil Nadu, Vellore has the perfect blend of rich cultural heritage and picturesque scenery to make it a memorable trip for you. Situated at a distance of just 136 KM from Chennai, it is just the ideal weekend getaway for you to explore.

    The 15th Century Vellore Fort is a monument of great historical importance and the most prominent landmark within the town. Exhibiting a strong inclination towards the Dravidian style of architecture, the Vellore Fort is the primary attraction for the tourists. Inside the fortified walls, resides the ancient Jalakanteswara Temple and the State Government Museum with a collection of artifacts related to the regional battles from the 15th to the 18th century.

    The Vellore Golden Temple has received widespread recognition among the travellers in the recent times. With its gold-coated exterior and interior designs, the Srilakshmi Golden Temple at Vellore is another must-visit spot in the town. Archaeology Survey of Indian has established a museum in the town which also draws quite a lot of tourists. Magnificent Jalagamparai Waterfalls formed by the River Attaaru is another important tourist spot. Mangalam Fishing Lake, Nachiamman Koil, Murugan Koil and Valley View point are the other beautiful scenic places you can visit during your trip to Vellore.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Vellore Fort
    2. Jalakanteswara Temple and the State Government Museum
    3. Srilakshmi Golden Temple
    4. ASI Museum
    5. Jalagamparai Waterfalls
    6. Mangalam Fishing Lake
    7. Nachiamman Koil, Murugan Koil and Valley View Point

    18. Yelagiri

    Distance: 229 KM
    Travel Time: 4.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2 Days
    Destination Category: Hills, Nature
    Best Suited For: Couples, Trips with Family

    Yelagiri is a picturesque hill-station situated in the Vellore district of Tamilnadu, around 229 KM away from Chennai. A cluster of 14 remote hamlets spread across 29 square kilometers area, the place boasts of breathtaking view points, mesmerizing meadows and enchanting lakes. It may not be as popular as Munnar or Kodaikanal, but it does have the rustic charm which is almost non-existent in the famous hill-stations due to uncontrolled commercialization. Perched at an elevation of 3460 feet above the main sea level, Yelagiri offers a beautiful backdrop to revitalize your spirits.

    Surrounded by lush green pine, oak, coffee and cardamom plantations, the atmosphere here is extraordinarily quiet. You will simply be bowled over by the subtle fragrance of fresh foliage. Punganoor Lake, Jalagamparai Waterfalls and Swamimalai View Point are a few of the most popular tourist attractions at Yelagiri. Then there are several unexplored trekking trails that can serve you well, in-case you are a trekking enthusiast. Overnight outdoor camping and guided jungle sojourns are also on the card if you would like to capture the true spirit of this idyllic weekend getaway with a pinch of adventure and thrills.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Boating on the Punganoor lake.
    2. Trekking to Swamimalai peak.
    3. Velavan Temple View point
    4. Jalagamparai Waterfalls trek and picnic.
    5. Guided nightouts in the jungle.
    6. Paragliding at Swamimalai Hills.

    17. Tharangambadi

    Distance: 270 KM
    Travel Time: 5.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, History
    Best Suited For: Couples, Trips with Family

    Tharangambadi, also popular by the name of Tranquebar, is a former Danish colony with a rich heritage and cultural history situated along the Coromendal coast of India. The sea-side destination is situated at a distance of 270 KM from Chennai, making it a favorite weekend retreat for the Chennaians. If you are a beach lover and at the same time, an admirer of history and architecture, then Tharangambadi is just the perfect weekend destination for you.

    The sea-facing Tranquebar Fort constructed in the 17th century by the Danish sailors is the prime historical monument in this coastal town. The fort is also popular by the name of Fort Dansborg. Another attraction of historical importance is the Zion Church, constructed in the year 1701 - making it the oldest Protestant Church in India. The Church is a prominent landmark in the town with its combination of Gothic and Indian architectural features. The New Jerusalem Church is another aged structure constructed in 1718 by the German missionaries. Another must visit site at Tharangambadi is the Ziegenbalg Museum Complex which has a rich collection of Danish manuscripts and sculptures.

    The lesser-crowded beach at Tharangambadi is a breath of fresh air. Although it doesn't offer you any adrenaline-driven water sports, here you can enjoy the pollution-free gushing breeze and go for a sunbath on its golden sandy shore. An evening stroll along the clean coastline can be a refreshing experience. And don't forget to catch the magical views of sunrise to begin your day and capture a memorable moment on your camera to cherish later.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Fort Dansborg
    2. Zion Church
    3. New Jerusalem Church
    4. Ziegenbalg Museum Complex
    5. Tharangambadi Beach

    16. Velankanni

    Distance: 327 KM
    Travel Time: 7 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 - 2 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, History, Religious
    Best Suited For: Family Trips

    A coastal township located at a distance of 327 KM, Velankanni can be yet another beach destination for weekend travellers from Chennai. Apart from the neat and tidy sea-shore, Velankanni is home to a few sites of religious importance and heritage museums. Moreover the local handicrafts and silk artifacts are also famous among the tourists.

    The Velankanni beach is a beautiful sea-shore to just sit and relax. Going for an evening stroll on the backdrop of sunset can be a magical experience. Although the beach is thronged by pilgrims in large numbers, it does not change the fact that the gentle slopes and inviting waters make it an excellent place for swimming and basking in the glorious sunshine. Located at a distance of 9 KM from the Velankanni beach, the Nagapattinam beach also atrracts a decent number of tourists to its pristine golden sandy sea-shore.

    The Velankanni Cathedral, also famous by the name of Our Lady of Good Health Church is the prime attraction for religious travellers. Established in the 16th Century, the extensive Gothic architecture and design elements are the distinctive features of this beautiful cathedral. There is a museum attached to the church which deserves to be visited. The Murugan Temple is another major attraction in the town. With intricate stone carvings on the exterior of the temple, it is a place that can amaze the art and craft lovers.

    Finally, Velankanni can be an unexpected shopper's den. It is one of those few places to buy delicate handicrafts made of silk at a bargain price to enhance the beauty of your living-room.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Velankanni Beach
    2. Nagapattinam Beach
    3. Velankanni Cathedral and Museum
    4. Murugan Temple
    5. Buying Silk Handicrafts and Artworks

    15. Hogenakkal

    Distance: 355 KM
    Travel Time: 6 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: Nature, Adventure
    Best Suited For: Family Trips, Trips with Friends

    Hogenakkal can be an ideal destination for a day trip from Chennai. Situated in the Dharmapuri district of Tamilnadu, the place is famous for its spectacular waterfalls formed by river Cauvery. Located at a distance of 355 KM from Chennai, it is often compared to the world famous Niagra Falls for its majestic volume. The place is not only popular among the common tourists, but it has an eternal appeal to the Indian film-makers as well. Quite a few superhit bollywood/regional songs have been picturized on the backdrop of the magnificent Hogenakkal falls.

    Hogenakkal is not a single waterfall, but a collection of several adjacent falls spread across a grith of almost 1 KM. It is one of the most voluminous waterfalls in India. The sprays of waters gushing down from a height of 50 to 150 feet creates a spectacular sight. You can take a coracle ride to reach at the bottom of the falls, right under the sprays of water.

    Hogenakkal Falls is not only a feast for the eyes, but also for the tummies as well. So don't forget to taste the yummy fish fries available in the shacks.

    Tourists Attractions and Activities:

    1. Coracle ride on Cauvery Waterfalls
    2. Island Beach for beach volleyball, swimming and ayurvedic oil massage
    3. Trekking along the river bed to the Melagiri Hills.

    14. Nellore

    Distance: 175 KM
    Travel Time: 3 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 - 2 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, Religious
    Best Suited For: Family Trips

    Nellore is a coastal township in Andhra Pradesh, around 175 KM away from Chennai. Lying on the banks of River Penna, it's a beautiful place to explore. Lush green paddy fields, beautiful temples and lovely sea-shore make it a perfect weekend getaway for the Chennaians.

    The primary attractions at Nellore are definitely the beaches. The Mypadu Beach is a calm and serene beach with gentle waves and refreshing breeze and it is easily the most famous of all the beaches in the Nellore region. The long coastline at Mypadu is covered in a carpet of soft golden sands making it an awesome place to laze around and take a bath. It is known to offer amazing sunrise views - so the incentive to wake up in the early morning is too hard to resist. The Kodur Beach is also very scenic and offers you the opportunity of boat rides.

    Ranganatha Temple, believed to be established in the 12th century, is the most important religious place of interest around Nellore. Situated on the Southern bank of Penna River, this ancient temple is especially famous for its huge Gaaligopuram of 30 meters height that has seven gold pots perched on the top. The Narasimhaswamy Temple, situated on top of the Veda Giri Hills, also attracts large number of pilgrims. Barah Shaheed Dargah and Krishna Mandir are the other important religious attractions at Nellore.

    Tourists Attractions and Activities:

    1. Mypadu Beach
    2. Kodur Beach
    3. Ranganatha Temple
    4. Narasimhaswamy Temple
    5. Barah Shaheed Dargah
    6. Krishna Mandir

    13. Thanjavur

    Distance: 358 KM
    Travel Time: 6.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: History, Culture, Religious
    Best Suited For: Family Trips

    Thanjavur is a place with huge cultural value and rich heritage. It is situated at an ideal distance of 358 KM from Chennai, making it a perfect weekend retreat for the arts, culture and heritage lovers. Famous for the Tanjore paintings, antiques and handicrafts, there are quite a few decorated temples and historic forts to keep you engaged during your trip.

    The biggest attraction of Thanjavur is the Brahadeshwara Temple situated on the banks of Anaicut River. Built during the reign of the Great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola in the 9th Century, this temple is an architectural marvel. The detailed stone carvings and the Dravidian architecture of the temple mesmerizes the tourists. An imposing structure with a height of 216 feet, the sanctrum is dotted with paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods.

    Vijayanagar Fort is another historic structure that must be visited during your trip to Thanjavur. Built by the Nayaka dynasty in the year 1550, this majestic structure has an imposing presence and houses a fortified palace, temples, the beautiful Shiva Ganga Garden, a library and an exquisite art gallery. The art gallery cum museum will amaze you with its rich collection of valuable sculptures and paintings belonging to the medieval era. Don't forget to include the Aalangudi Temple and Chandra Bagwan Temple in your itinerary.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Brahadeshwara Temple
    2. Vijayanagar Fort and Art Gallery
    3. Shiva Ganga Garden
    4. Aalangudi Temple
    5. Chandra Bagwan Temple

    12. Horsley Hills

    Distance: 261 KM
    Travel Time: 5.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2 Days
    Destination Category: Hills, Nature
    Best Suited For: Family Trips, Trips with friends

    Horsley Hills is a famous hill-station situated in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Just a 261 KM drive away from Chennai, it serves as the perfect recipe for a memorable weekend away from the hustles of city life. Perched at an altitude of 1265 meters above the main sea level and covered in a thick vegetation of tropical forest, the drive to Horsley Hills is very scenic. The narrow stretch of uphill drive will take you through a canopy of Eucalyptus, Jacaranda, Gulmohar, Bamboo and Sandalwood plantations which serve as the natural habitat for a wide variety of wild animals including bears, wild dogs, jungle fowl, langur, spotted deer, sambar and leopards.

    The Bunglow View Point, located right behind the Governor's summer retreat, is a beautiful place that offers panoramic views of the undulating hills, valleys, dense forests and an endless expanse of distance plains. And yeah, do make sure to catch the magical spell of sunset from this spot - it's a sight to behold!

    Gali Bandalu or Wind Rocks is a rocky slope ideal for short nature walks. There's a lake down the slopes which is popular for trout fishing activities. The place has two viewpoints - one facing the Eastern side and other on the Western end. The Eastern View Point is thronged by the tourists in the early morning to catch the views of sunrise while the other one is a popular sunset point.

    Popular amongst the visitors for its exotic flora, the Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit attraction at Horsley Hills. Religious minded folks can pay a visit to the Mallamma Temple - which is a noteworthy religious attraction here.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Bunglow View Point
    2. Gali Bandalu or Wind Rocks for nature walks and sunrise/sunset views
    3. Trout Fishing at the Gali Bandalu Lake
    4. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
    5. Mallamma Temple

    11. Vedanthangal

    Distance: 100 KM
    Travel Time: 2 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Days
    Destination Category: Nature, Birds
    Best Suited For: Family Trips

    With the honors of being the oldest bird sanctuary in India, Vedanthangal is a must visit weekend getaway for the people residing in Chennai. Established in 1798 by the then British rulers, it is a lovely little paradise for the bird-watchers, professional and amateur photographers, and of-course the nature lovers. It takes less than couple of hours to arrive at this scenic location from the Chennai city.

    Vedanthangal’s swampy wetlands, consisting of several lakes set amidst nature's untouched splendor, create a rich ecosystem for the winged visitors and attract a diversified range of birds from various parts of the world. As many as 40,000 migratory birds belonging to over 200 different species, flock this tiny paradise every year to nest, feed and breed. Most commonly spotted birds are from the generes of pintails, pelicans, storks, wagtails, teals, spoon bills and sandpiper to name a few.

    Some of the widely revered species of birds found in Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary include the Open billed Storks, Spot billed Pelicans, Eurasian Spoonbills, Black-headed Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Short-toed Eagle, Brahminy kite and Pariah Kites.

    10. Lepakshi

    Distance: 381 KM
    Travel Time: 7.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 - 2 Days
    Destination Category: History, Religious
    Best Suited For: Family and Educational Trips

    Lepakshi is a quaint little village in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh with great historical and archeological significance. Home to several fascinating archeological sites and beautiful ancient temples, it can serve as an excellent choice for those with a keen eye on culture and heritage. A revitalising heritage site, Lepakshi can be best alternative to a routine tourist spots by the hills or sea-side. It takes around 7.5 hours non-stop driving to arrive at Lepakshi from Chennai.

    The hostorical sites at Lepakshi depict the relics of Vijayanagara style of architecture with its roots going back to the 16th century. The main temple complex comprises of three shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Veerabhadra and Lord Vishnu. Veerabhadra Temple is the most notable archeological site at Lepakshi. Located on top of the Kurma Saila Hills, it is considered to be the finest evidence of Vijayanagar style of architecture. The temple is an example of the exquisite craftsmanship displayed by the Vishwakarma Brahmins - the sculptors employed by the Vijayanagar ruler. Constructed in the 16th century, the Veerabhadra temple is famous for its antiquity and detailed stone carvings. Scenes from famous Indian mythological epics are carved on the inner walls and roofs of the temple.

    The grand statue of Nandi located in the vicinity of the temple is another architectural marvel. Made of a single granite stone measuring 4.5 meters in height and 8.2 meters in length, this is the largest monolithic sculpture at Lepakshi.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Veerabhadra Temple
    2. Monolithic Nandi Statue
    3. Shiva Temple
    4. Vishnu Temple

    9. Kolli Hills

    Distance: 378 KM
    Travel Time: 6.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2-3 Days
    Destination Category: Hills, Nature
    Best Suited For: Couples, Family Trips

    Kolli Hills or Kollimalai literally translates to the 'Mountains of Death'. Nestled in the Eastern Ghats mountain ranges at an elevation of 1370 meters, it requires one to negotiate 70 hairpin bends to arrive at the unexplored hill station. Situated at a distance of 378 KM from Chennai, it is an idyllic retreat for those seeking peace and calmness amidst nature's bounty of splendors.

    The best part of Kolli Hills is that it is yet to be overrun by the mad rush of tourists. The uphill drive is very scenic and you will be welcomed by vantage viewpoints at evry twists and turns. The Seekuparai viewpoint offers splendid views of the green valley set against a clear blue sky. The Agaya Gangai waterfalls is a real stunner that can mesmerize any tourist. Gushing down from a height of over 300 feet, the milky white sprays of water thrashing against the rocks amidst lush green surroundings is a real treat for the eyes. Other places worth visiting in Kolli Hills include the Masila Falls, Arappaleeswar Temple, Selur Nadu, Siddhar Caves, Kolli Boat House and the Kollimalai Botanical Garden.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Agaya Gangai Falls (Aakash Gange Falls)
    2. Seekuparai View Point
    3. Masila Falls
    4. Arappaleeswar Temple
    5. Selur Nadu
    6. Siddhar Caves
    7. Kolli Boat House
    8. Kollimalai Botanical Garden

    8. Pichavaram

    Distance: 246 KM
    Travel Time: 5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, Backwaters, Mangrove, Nature
    Best Suited For: Couples, Family Trips

    Pichavaram has the second largest mangrove forest in the world after West Bengal's Sundarbans. Located near Chidambaram in Cuddalore District of Tamil Nadu, it offers you an opportunity to experience an Amazonian adventure on the Indian soil. Consisting of over 4400 criss-crossing canals spread across 3000 acres of wetlands, Pichavaram is truly a fantastic place to explore a wide variety of marine and avifauna species.

    The excursion at Pichavaram takes place entirely on water. You will not only experience backwater cruising, but also get yourself introduced to a wide variety of acquatic flora and fauna. Lots of endemic and migrant birds and a wide variety of colorful fishes can be spotted during your boat ride around the mangrove creeks. Being a perfect opportunity for bird photography, the place attracts lots of bird-watchers and amateur/professional photographers.

    If you love to get a bit of adrenaline pumping, then do indulge in a thrilling backwater cruise riding on a water scooter. Moreover, the place also offers you the opportunity to experience kayaking and canoeing.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Pichavaram Mangrove Creeks
    2. Pichavaram Backwaters for kayaking and canoeing.
    3. Bird-watching and photography

    7. Kottakoppam

    Distance: 147 KM
    Travel Time: 3 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, Adventure, Romantic
    Best Suited For: Couples, Family Trips, Trips with Friends

    Not far off from Pondicherry town, Kottakoppam is a little hamlet with a picturesque beach, rightly called as the Serenity beach. The serene tranquility at this romantic destination perfectly justifies its name. Blessed with a scenic coast-line fringed by swaying coconut palms and covered with creepers, this golden sandy beach is an unspoilt treasure trove of the nature. The calm ambiance, pristine sea-shore and distinctive crystal-esque blue waters have an inviting charm attached to it.

    Secluded, quiet and of course, spectacular, the Serenity beach is just the ideal place to begin your day with a romantic early morning stroll. The first ray of sunlight touching down the gentle waves of the sea is a sight that will remain engraved in your memory for a long time.

    If you are looking for a bit of adrenaline rush during your trip, then you can satisfy the adventure-buff in you by indulging in wind surfing and kayaking at the beach. Going on a joy-ride in a catamaran can be another thrilling option. If you are travelling with friends, then a game of beach volleyball can be another exciting prospect.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Serenity Beach
    2. Kayaking, catamaran sailing and beach volleyball

    6. Covelong

    Distance: 39 KM
    Travel Time: 30 Minutes
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: Beach
    Best Suited For: Couples, Family Trips, Trips with Friends

    If you are tired of the polluted and crowded beaches in the city of Chennai, then head straight to Cavelong beach just 39 Km away. Covelong is 30-45 minutes' drive along the ECR and you will be pleasantly surprised to find yourself in a different world altogether.

    The scenic coast-line at this fishing village attracts tourists not only from Chennai, but also from the neighboring states. The golden sands interspreaded with black rocks give it a distinct outlook. Here you can go for a round of swimming or walk along the clean shallow beach for miles or negotiate with a fisherman to take a fishing boat ride into the blue sea. Don't worry about your safety - life-jackets are provided by the fisherman as it has become a favorite activity among the weekend travellers. Wind-surfing is the other possibility at this virgin sea-shore. You can rent the surfing equipment from the beach-side vendors and go on a surfing spree on the turquoise waters.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Covelong beach
    2. Fishing boat ride
    3. Wind-surfing

    5. Tirupati

    Distance: 134 KM
    Travel Time: 3 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
    Destination Category: Religious, Nature
    Best Suited For: Family Trips

    Arguably the most visited religious place in the Southern parts of India, Tirupati can be the ideal weekend getaway for the religious-minded folks. Situated at a distance of 134 KM from Chennai, the journey can easily be settled within 3 hours.

    Sri Venkateshwara temple is what Tirupati is identified with - thus making it a must visit attraction in the temple town. The temple is perched on top of the Thirumala hills and the place is extremely scenic. Venugopala Temple, Padmavathi Ammavari Temple and Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple are the other famous temples in Tirupati.

    Although the place is essentially a pilgrimages and is defined by the religious significance, Tirupati is surrounded by hills with lush vegetation from all the sides, so the nearby areas exudes serenity. Akasaganga Teertham is a nice little waterfalls that can be accessed by a 3 KM trek from the main temple complex. Apart from the scenic beauty of the site, this perennial waterbody has immense religious significance as well. The splendid natural rock formations of Silathoranam is an important landmark in Indian archaeology and heritage, making it a place worth paying a visit.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Sri Venkateshwara temple
    2. Venugopala Temple
    3. Padmavathi Ammavari Temple
    4. Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple
    5. Akasaganga Teertham Waterfalls
    6. Silathoranam Rock Formation

    4. Muttukadu

    Distance: 36 KM
    Travel Time: 1 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 1 Day
    Destination Category: Backwaters, Adventure
    Best Suited For: Trips with Friends and Family

    A small suburb town along the ECR, Muttukadu has become the latest hub for adventure seekers in Chennai with some great water sports activities. Adorned with lots of greenery, it used to be a popular picnic spot along the backwaters, before the water sports activities were introduced and a Boat House was constructed to facilitate the adventure tourists. The shallow beach at Muttukadu is a wonderful place to play in the water.

    Not everyone can afford to go to Kerala and satisfy the urge of an backwater cruise, but when you have a similar retreat close to your own place, then that's an opportunity to fulfil your wishes. Wind-surfing is easily the most liked about adventure activity among the tourists, closely followed by water scooter ride, kayaking and canoeing on the idyllic backwaters. You can also go on a romantic boat ride with your loved ones. The brackish waters at Muttukadu is an excellent site for birdwatching. A number of exotic migratory birds throng the place every year during the winter season and it can be a feast for the eyes for any nature lover.

    Also there is a tiny handicraft village for you to explore over there. Known as “Dakshin Chitra”, the village depicts the models of art and architecture of Southern India.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Muttukadu Beach
    2. Muttukadu Backwaters
    3. Boat House for adventure sports like wind-surfing, water scooter ride, kayaking and canoeing.
    4. Bird-watching
    5. Dakshin Chitra Handicrafts Village

    3. Pondicherry

    Distance: 156 KM
    Travel Time: 3.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2-3 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, Religious
    Best Suited For: Family Trips, Trips with Friends

    Want to experience a little France in India? Head to Pondy! Tucked away along the Eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal, this well-known beach destination used to be under the French colonial rule until 1954 and the city still bears the cultural values and aesthetics from the bygone era.

    The sun kissed beaches of Pondicherry are the perfect companion for a memorable vacation. Fondly referred to as the "French Riviera of the East", Pondy is home to quite a few beautiful beaches that can mesmerize the tourists. The Promenade beach, Serenity beach, Paradise beach, Karaikal beach and Auro beach are the most popular beaches at this coastal town. With the inviting crystal-esque waters, swaying palm trees and lots of adventure sports, you can be assured of having a fun-filled holiday at Pondicherry. Backwater cruising at the Chunnambar boat house can be yet another exciting prospect.

    Besides the sea and sands, Pondy is also a famous spiritual destination. Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville are the abodes of spiritual enlightenment which attract huge number of tourists from all parts of India as well as beyond the national borders. Last, but not the least, the delicious continental food is yet another strong reason why you should plan for a weekend trip to Pondicherry at the very next opportunity.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Promenade
    2. Auroville Beach
    3. Serenity Beach
    4. Paradise Beach and Chunnambar Backwaters
    5. Karaikal Beach
    6. Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville
    7. Ousteri Lake
    8. Sacred Heart Church

    2. Yercaud

    Distance: 378 KM
    Travel Time: 6.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2-3 Days
    Destination Category: Hills, Nature
    Best Suited For: Family Trips, Honeymoon

    One of the most underrated hill-stations in South India, Yercaud has the natural elements to mesmerize the tourists. Nestled between the Shevaroys Hills of the Eastern Ghats Mountain ranges at an elevation of 4970 feet above the sea level, Yercaud can be an excellent weekend escapade from Chennai. It takes around 6.5 hours to cover the distance of 378 KM between Chennai and Yercaud.

    Surrounded by a canopy of sandalwood, teak and silver oak trees, Yercaud is overflowing with Monther Nature's mindblowing serenity. Serene valleys and picturesque landscapes are the USP of this offbeat hill retreat. This charming hill station is dotted with vantage view points, captivating lakes, and enchanting waterfalls. Yercaud is blessed with thoroughly pleasant weather all around the year - making it an all-time favorite weekend getaway for the residents of Chennai.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Ladies Seat View Point
    2. Arthur's Seat View Point
    3. Yercaud Lake for boating
    4. Tipperary View Point
    5. Trek to Killiyur Waterfalls
    6. Short nature walks through the coffee plantations.

    1. Mahabalipuram

    Distance: 57 KM
    Travel Time: 1.5 Hours
    Suggested Trip Duration: 2-3 Days
    Destination Category: Beach, History
    Best Suited For: Family Trips, Educational Trips

    A drive of just around an hour and another half can take you to the historic coastal town of Mahabalipuram on the Eastern coast of India. Not only an abode for the archelogy lovers, the place is also a great choice for a beach side vacation. The close proximity to Chennai makes it a place worthy enough to be visited on a weekend trip. It is one of the very few places where you can witness a unique fushion of Dravidian Architecture and Tibetan Buddhist Elements belonging to the 7th Century.

    The historical and heritage sites of Mahabalipuram are classified as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Shore Temple is the oldest of the lot and also the most decorated one in terms of popularity. Constructed in the early 7th century, it is an epitome of finest artistic taste that has successfully withstood the test of time. The Five Rathas are engraved stone sculptures that can mesmerize you. Arjuna’s Penance, Descent of the Ganges, Krishna’s Butterball and numerous caves & carvings decorate the vast expanse of Mahabalipuram's landscape.

    For the beach lovers, the sandy sea-shore at Mahabalipuram is a real paradise. The captivating beach with white sands can blow you over and the available water sports activities do enough to keep your spirits running high. If you are exhausted and just want to relax, then you can busk in the glorious sunshine or choose one of the shades and watch the endless waves crashing into the shore. If you are an adventure buff, then you can indulge in swimming, wind-surfing and boat rides on the clear blue sea. Camel rides, horse rides and a mini fair at the beach side keep the ambience in a finely tuned state. There is a Crocodile bank 12 KM away from the town that houses a varid species of Indian and African alligators and crocodiles. If you are travelling with kids, then they would love this unique experience.

    All in all, Mahabalipuram promises of a great vacation that can aptly satisfy the tourists of all age groups. So pack your backpack now and get lost in Mahabalipuram's diversified charms.

    Tourist Attractions and Activities:

    1. Mahabalipuram Beach
    2. Shore Temple
    3. Five Rathas
    4. Arjuna’s Penance
    5. Descent of the Ganges
    6. Krishna’s Butterball
    7. Tigers cave
    8. Crocodile Bank

    Hope you have enjoyed going through the write-up. We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on our compilation of the top 20 weekend getaways from Chennai. In-case we have missed including an excellent spot that deserves to be included, please feel free to let us know.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016

  2. Vinaya

    Vinaya Member

    I have not been to Chennai even though I have traveled to many south Indian cities. If I am in Chennai, I will make sure to visit Mahabalipuram.I have heard so many good things about this place.

  3. swalia

    swalia Guest

    I have never been to Chennai though I have a few friends there. If I ever happen to go there, I will definitely visit Tirupati, Thanjavur and Mahabalipuram. The temples there are so famous for their exquisite architecture.