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One day trip from Chennai

Discussion in 'Tamil Nadu' started by Mukti, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. Mukti

    Mukti New Member

    Our work group of friends wants to to go out for a one day trip from Chennai, but we are short of ideas of where we can go and some of having no clue where we can go.
    We can only go for one day as we have families to get back to as well. We don't want the location to be too far, because as we have mentioned we would only have one day to be there.

    Please give all your suggestions about day trips from Chennai, and at the moment we are open to all kinds of places. We would decide the final place once we have some ideas of where to go.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Mukti, welcome to the forum!

    Tired of work, work and work, all day, all week long? Been wanting to find some getaway destinations that are not too far away from Chennai? Worry not, as there are plenty of one-day weekend getaways from Chennai that you can explore. You won't need to spend so much time on travelling that your entire one-day vacation has been spent already in driving. Nope, a few minutes to a few hours of driving and you would have arrived already in any of these destinations.

    One-Day Getaways from Chennai (Under 250 Kilometres Away)

    Religious and historical sites...

    1. Mahabalipuram - From Chennai, Mahabalipuram is about 56 kilometres away or about 2 hours of driving only. While it doesn't have skyscrapers or any other notable modern buildings, it makes up for it through its numerous heritage sites. Carved out of a single rock, depicting the story of Arjuna, from the epic Mahabharata, is the Arjuna's Penance. It also depicts some scenes from the Descent of the Ganges. The beauty of the carvings and its intricacy is quite mesmerising. You can easily spend a few hours here, just marvelling in the murals. There's also the Pancha Rathas, also carved out of a single granite rock. The carvings depict the different chariots of Hindu deities. The Sea Shore Temple, also carved out of a single rock, stands beside the sea. Its beauty radiates, especially with the intricate carvings alongside its walls. Regarded as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a visit to this temple would give you much peace and serenity. Then there's also Krishna's Butter Ball, which seems to defy all terms of gravity phenomenon as it stands strong in a slope position. The Varaha Mandapa, with carvings of Varaha, an image of Vishnu, is yet another must-visit attraction. It is a cave temple as well, carved out of a single rock, much like the other attractions. And if ever you've had enough of the heritage sites, a fun attraction is the India Seashell Museum. It showcases a numerous collection of seashells collected all round the country and the globe. There's also a small aquarium here featuring some colourful fishes.
    • Must visit attractions - Arjuna's Penance, Pancha Rathas, Sea Shore Temple, Krishna's Butter Ball, Varaha Mandapa and India Seashell Museum.
    Krishna's Butter Ball (Image Courtesy of Phenomenal Travel Videos)

    2. Kanchipuram - This is about 75 kilometres away from Chennai or 2 to 3 hours of driving. Kanchipuram was once the capital of the mighty Cholas and it has a long history behind it. It has gone through several wars and developments. At one point in time, the city became an important region for Hinduism too, hence the presence of many temples around it. The Ekambareshvara Temple is one of the Panchabutha Lingam Temples in South India. It represents the element of Earth, thus the name of the shivalingam here is Prithvi Lingam. It is also one of the most elaborate and biggest temples in the region. Another must visit temple here is the Kailasanatha Temple, the oldest temple in Kanchipuram, built around the end of the 7th century. It was built under the reign of the Pallava dynasty and is dedicated to the different manifestations of Lord Shiva. The Varadharaja Perusal Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, has a pond where the deity's idol is kept and taken out once every few years. The temple has wonderful carvings too, so keep close attention to the different details that make it stand out. Other temples that you can visit around the city are Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Temple and Shri Ulagalandar Temple.
    • Must visit attractions - Ekambareshvara Temple, Kailasanatha Temple, Varadharaja Perusal Temple, Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Temple and Shri Ulagalandar Temple.
    3. Tirupati - This is about 135 kilometres away from Chennai or about 2 to 3 hours of driving. The city is most well-known for the Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, also known as Tirumala Temple, the richest Hindu temple in the world. The temple stands tall, with its white facade, decorated with Hindu images. It is a favourite amongst pilgrims as you can find throngs of people visiting the temple, no matter what day or season it is. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. Your visit to Tirupati won't be complete without visiting the Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple. This temple is dedicated to the better-half of Lord Venkateswara, Goddess Pamavathi. It has the same facilities as the former temple like darshan and even free laddoo prasadams for guests. There's also the Sri Govinda Raja Swamy Temple, dedicated to the older brother of Venkateswara Swamy. The temple complex has many shrines and its main gopuram has about seven floors. It is not as old as the former temples, it was built around the 15th century but looks quit stunning still. The main gopuram has many sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Venkateswara. All these temples can easily take a day since you might like to do darshan which requires some queuing. There are also other attractions around Tirupati that you can visit like the Talakona Waterfalls and Deer Park, if you still have some time.
    • Must visit attractions - Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Sri Govinda Raja Swamy Temple, Talakona Waterfalls and Deer Park.
    Natural and beautiful sceneries...

    4. Nagalapuram - Nagalapuram is located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is about 87 kilometres away from Chennai, so under 2 hours of driving away. The main attraction here is the Nagalapuram Waterfalls, which require some trekking to reach. The trek commences on Nagala Dam and from there, you would need to reach the waterfalls by foot. The trek is a picturesque one, taking you through streams and lush forests. There would also be some climbing involved so only partake in the trek if you are physically fit. Once you reach the waterfalls, you can pitch in a tent and enjoy a small picnic. Swimming is also allowed, there are three pools in the bottom of the waterfalls that you can enjoy. However, the depth of the pools are quite deep so it's better if you know how to swim. Regardless, the Nagalapuram Waterfalls exudes serenity and beauty, perfect for a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of Chennai.
    • Must visit attraction - Nagalapuram Waterfalls.
    Nagalapuram Waterfalls (Image Courtesy of Trek Freak)

    5. Pulicat - At just about 57 kilometres away from Chennai, Pulicat is merely 1 hour and 30 minutes of driving. The main attraction in here is the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary. Did you know that this is the second largest brackish water reservoir in the country? As such, it is home to many species of resident birds. But the best time to visit it is actually during the winter season, when migratory birds flock to the lake. You can hire a boat to take you around the lake. Only row boats are allowed in the lake to preserve the sensitive eco-system of it. Bird species such as flamingos, pelicans, ducks, storks and herons are abundant in the lake. You can also ask the boat man to take you to Sea Shore, a bit further from the lake where there's an island that you can camp in. Some tourists even opt to stay the night in the island but do keep in mind that there are basic tourist infrastructures here like electricity or running water.
    • Must visit attractions - Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary and Sea Shore.
    6. Vedanthangal - This is just 87 kilometres away from Chennai or about 2 hours of driving. It is located quite close to Kanchipuram so you can even combine these two in one trip. The Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is one of the smallest and oldest bird sanctuaries in India. Yet it attracts the most number of birds especially during winter season, from November to February. The sanctuary is well-maintained too, with laid paths and benches for bird watching. If ever you don't have your own binoculars, you can rent one in the sanctuary itself. Entry fee is very nominal too at Rs. 25 per person. You can spot commonly seen species such as grey herons, purple herons, great egrets and spot-billed pelicans. Lesser spotted species are painted storks, cormorants and barbets.
    • Must visit attraction - Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary.
    Sandy shores and seas...

    7. Pondicherry - This is about 170 kilometres away from Chennai, or about 3 to 4 hours of driving away. Pondicherry was once a French territory and you can even spot such influences of the French in the union territory. White Town is probably the most distinct evidence of this, along with the numerous French style establishments and homes here. But of course, Pondicherry is also known for its gorgeous beaches. Promenade Beach is comparable to Marine Drive, it has its own pathway where you can indulge in a leisurely walk with your friends. Along the adjacent paths to the beach, there are numerous restaurants and cafes as well that you can dine in while enjoying the views. During night time, the beach looks quite scenic as it is lit and becomes a hotspot for the teeming nightlife of the region. Paradise Beach has two parts, one is accessed by road and the other only accessed by boat. Regardless, both parts are less crowded than the former beach. The part accessed only through a boat ride is also known as Chunnambar Beach, since the Chunnambar backwaters can be seen from here. Another beach in the city is Serenity Beach, but the waves here are stronger, not suitable for swimming but perfect for surfing. If you'd like to indulge in water sports, there's Karikal Beach, about 20 minutes away from Pondicherry's city centre. And lastly, there's Mahe Beach, the most serene beach of Pondicherry. A great option for just having a picnic or enjoying the views of the sea.
    • Must visit attractions - White Town, Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Chunnambar Beach, Serenity Beach, Karikal Beach and Mahe Beach.
    Promenade Beach (Image Courtesy of Neha Sharma)

    8. Nellore - This is about 177 kilometres away from Chennai or about 3 hours of driving. Although the town is fairly small and rural, there are a few beaches here worth visiting. Mypadu Beach is one of the most popular beaches here but it remains underdeveloped. You can find a few beach shacks and stalls here but only a few resorts are available around the area. Thus, for a day trip, you can enjoy this beach, as it has golden sands and very clean waters. If you'd like a beach away from the crowds, there's Katepalli Beach. It has the same golden shores and clear waters but it isn't as frequented by tourists. It's best to bring your own food and beverages though as there are not many stalls here. Other beaches around Nellore are Kodur Beach, Krishnapatnam Beach and Tupilipalem Beach.
    • Must visit attractions - Mypadu Beach, Katepalli Beach, Kodur Beach, Krishnapatnam Beach and Tupilipalem Beach.
    Adventure places...

    9. Mamandur - This is just 90 kilometres away from Chennai. Mamandur is known as a trekker's paradise, yet it remains under the radar of many tourists. If you are of the adventurous type, you cannot miss this once in a lifetime experience. Various fauna like the Indian giant squirrel, sloth bears, sambars and wild dogs are in the forests of Mamandur. There are numerous trekking trails that you can indulge in, like the Rama Krishna Teertham, Chakalibana Waterfalls and Vengamamba Cave. For day trips though, it's best to just undertake short treks around the jungle areas of the forest like the bungalow established by Kenneth Anderson or the watch tower where you can view the mountains quite clearly. Other animals spotted in the region, Asian elephants and golden geckos, are unlikely to make an appearance though there's no harm in hoping.
    • Must visit attractions - Rama Krishna Teertham, Chakalibana Waterfalls, Vengamamba Cave, Kenneth Anderson's Bungalow and Watch Tower.
    • Related thread - n/a
    10. Pichavaram - This is about 230 kilometres away from Chennai or about 5 hours of driving away. Featuring the second largest mangrove forest in India, after the Sunderbans, Pichavaram is definitely off the beaten path. It can take a while to reach the place but it's all worth it. You can enjoy a boat ride amidst the unique backwaters of Pichavaram. All along, the chirping of the birds and the sights of the mangroves would guide you. The fishes swimming in the water also add to the authentic boating experience. Most boat rides last one to two hours only so you can make the trip back to Chennai before it gets dark. However, it's best to negotiate a price with the boat man so that he would take you to the deeper parts of the backwaters.
    • Must do - Boating, bird watching and photography.
    Pichavaram Mangrove Forests (Image Courtesy of The Green Ogre)

    I hope this helps you.:)