15 Weekend Getaways from Chennai

After a hectic week full of meetings and loads of work, nothing can re-energize you better than engaging yourselves in an activity that works both as stress-buster and revitalizing. And that activity can be anything ranging from a simple nature walk amidst the serenity of hills, a trekking expedition, a laid-back beach holiday, a bird-watching tour, a cultural & historical exploration or even a short pilgrimage trip. If you are in Chennai, you can find a number of destinations around where you can indulge in the activity of your choice, unwinding yourselves to face the challenges of the upcoming week. Here is a list of the top 15 Weekend getaways from Chennai,

1. Mahabalipuram

It is one of the World Heritage Site with ancient archaeological wonders, also known as “Mahabs”. This town has a rich history during Pallava’s century and served as a bustling seaport. This place has been named after the demon king Mahabali who was renowned for his generosity. One can capture the picturesque scenic surroundings of its historical monuments, sculptures, culture and tradition. The striking feature is the beautiful Shore Temple which towers over the waves, behind a protective breakwater. All the sculptures here are monolithic – giant structures carved from single rocks. The Mamallapuram Dance Festival is a remarkable event. One can even indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, bicycling and water sports here.

Distance from Chennai: 52 km

Best time to visit: December – March

2. Pulicat

Pulicat, a small seashore township on the island of Sriharikota dividing the Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal. The major attractions of the place are the beach, the Dutch cemetery, Fort, church and particularly the bird sanctuary. The Tourism Board organizes the Flamingo Festival between December to January months where thousands of the bird species align on the swampy regions of the Pulicat Lake. Two neighbouring villages of Vedurupattu and Nelapattu are other attractions here. Bird watching is a prominent activity for tourists where one can capture some of the most stunning species of migratory birds. Several beach activities and water sports are other forms of entertainment in Pulicat.

Distance from Chennai: 55 Km

Best time to visit: October – March

3. Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram (silk city) or Kanchi is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in and the most popular weekend getaways from Chennai located on the Palar River. It is one of the oldest cities of India which dates back to rich history. It is well known for its grand architecture of the monuments and silk sarees which are woven by hand. The temples like Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple and Ekambaranatha Temple are the must visit places here. One can experience a devotional atmosphere with scenic surroundings here. Do visit the Vedanthangla Bird Sanctuary if you are a bird watcher.

Distance from Chennai: 72 km

Best time to visit: September – March

4. Ooty

A cosy hill town with the green quieter neighbourhoods of this place will attract many tourists. A combination of charming British bungalows, temples, parks, and gardens, Ooty is the most popular hill station of South India and works as a welcome relief from the humdrum of life. The major tourist attractions in this scenic town, are the Botanical Gardens, Rose Garden, Thread Garden, St. Stephen’s Church, Tribal Research Centre Museum and Nilgiri Library. For those who want to bask in the misty scenery of the place, Doddabetta Lookout is a must-visit. Boating and sightseeing are the activities tourists love to indulge in when here.

Distance from Chennai: 547 km

Best time to visit: May – June and December – February

5. Vellore

The Fort City of Tamil Nadu which has the perfect blend of rich cultural heritage. Vellore Fort is the famous landmark in the city located in the picturesque scenery. Thus it is an ideal weekend getaway from Chennai. The ancient Jalakanteswara Temple and the epic State Government Museum are the major attractions here. Srilakshmi Golden Temple that is coated with gold both in the exterior and interior is another must-visit in Vellore.

Distance from Chennai: 136 km

Best time to visit: October – March

6. Pondicherry

One of the former French colony which is a sea of tranquility with its quiet and colonial streets. The presence of the internationally recognized Sri Aurobindo Ashram and French Quarter are the major attractions. By popular demand, it is the most popular weekend getaways from Chennai. One can enjoy themselves in the multitude of Ayurvedic health centres and spa treatments. Exhilarating water sports adventures are also an added feature over here.

Distance from Chennai: 161 Km

Best time to visit: October – February

7. Nellore

Nellore is an ancient town in the state of Andhra Pradesh which is the most popular getaway from Chennai. The environs of Nellore offer some picturesque attractions namely the Pulicat Lake and the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary. Other attractions are the Somasila Dam, Udaygiri Fort and Satish Dhawan Space Centre. You can enjoy the sparkling waters of the Pulicat Lake which serves as a perfect haven for birds. Sightseeing and bird watching are the prominent activities to enjoy in a natural habitat.

Distance from Chennai: 177 Km

Best time to visit: December – February

8. Yelagiri

One can have a pleasant experience in the magical hill station of Yelagiri. The tranquillity and solitude of this hillock with the charming neighbourhood of tribal villages make it a most popular weekend getaways around Chennai. The signature landmark of the place is the Punganoor artificial lake-cum-park where tourists can enjoy a walk or boating. The picturesque Swami Malai Hills is a dreamy treat to the eyes. One can even take a walk by the cascading waters of the majestic Jalagamparai Falls. One can do boating, hiking, thrilling activities, and sightseeing with your loved ones.

Distance from Chennai: 227 Km

Best time to visit: November – February

9. Tranquebar/Tharangambadi

Tharangambadiis, the tiny windswept town is the ideal weekend getaway if heritage buildings, cultural history, and architecture are considered. The beach town is also known as the “village of the dancing waves”. The Dansborg fort, Zion Church are major attractions here along wit a few good old churches. If you are an antique delight then visit the Danish Museum. Tourists can enjoy and capture the picturesque scenic environs also.

Distance from Chennai: 283 km

Best time to visit: February- August

10. Yercaud

Yercaud is a mystical destination in the verdant green environs and hills. The stunning Yercaud Lake which is surrounded by gardens and woods is one you should not miss. The Pagoda Point is another site where you can catch the panoramic view of the enchanting town. Some other natural gems of Yercaud are the Kiliyur Waterfalls, Lady’s Seat, Silk Farm and Rose Garden, Deer Park, Bears Cave, Kottachedu Teak Forest and Anna Park. Enjoy camping, sightseeing as well as trekking up in the hills of Yercaud as you discover its little-known natural treasures.

Distance from Chennai: 358 km

Best time to visit: October – June

11. Nandi Hills

If you want to be enticed by the charming green allure of hills, Nandi Hills is your ideal weekend destination. The lofty ancient hills offer a magnificent view from its peaks. It is not only a picturesque respite from the humdrum of the city but also lends a cultural significance with Tipu Sultan having resided here during retirement. The major attractions are Bhoganandeeswara Temple, Tipu’s Drop, Tipu’s Summer Palace and Fort, Brahmashram, and Hoskote Lake. Bird watching, Cycling, and Trekking are another loved activity to enjoy in this place.

Distance from Chennai: 358 km

Best time to visit: From sunrise i. e. 6 am to 10 am

12. Mysore

It is one of the most flamboyant and ancient destinations in the country. Reputed for its glittering royal heritage, magnificent monuments, and a friendly populace, Mysore is also a thriving centre for the production of silk, sandalwood and incense with trade markets worldwide thus making it one of the most frequented weekend getaways from Chennai. The Mysore Palace, Jagmohan Palace, Rajendra Vilas, Jayalakshmi Vilas, Chamundeshwari temple, DattaPeetham, Mysore Zoo, Shivasamudram waterfall, Rail Museum, Brindavan Gardens and Lalitha Mahal are the main attractions here. Sightseeing and royal walk tours are the most cherished activities tourists like to indulge in when in Mysore.

Distance from Chennai: 480 Km

Best time to visit: October – March

13. B R Hills

Nilgiris is a favourite getaway for those who crave an off-beat time away from monotony in the lap of nature. Owing to its unique location, these hills are home to some of the most diverse flora and fauna. Apart from the abundance of biodiversity that BR hills flaunt, its green thickets are also home to the Soliga tribe. The major tourist attractions here are the BR temple or the temple of Lord Rangaswamy, the BR hills tiger reserve, the Jenukurba and Soliga tribal hamlets. Trekking, bird watching, jungle safari, mountain biking and wildlife photography within the forest premises are some of the activities attracting the tourists.

Distance from Chennai: 504 km

Best time to visit: June – November

14. Kodaikanal

One of the most sought after honeymoon destinations in the country, Kodaikanal, or Kodai as it is lovingly called, is the princess of the Hill Stations. Its multitude of phenomenal waterfalls makes this beautiful town the most visited weekend getaway from Chennai. The views from Coaker’s Walk, Moir’s point, Green Valley view and Pillar rocks are stunning. Chettiar and Bryant Parks, Berijam Lake, Bear Shola Falls and Silver Cascade are some of the natural treasures of this quaint little town. Apart from rowing down the Berijam Lake and going on walks in the parks, one can indulge in a bit of trekking as they head to the various viewpoints here.

Distance from Chennai: 518 Km

Best time to visit: September – May

15. Meghamalai

One of the many attractive and exquisite places that are abundant in nature’s most beautiful products is Meghamalai. If you want to crave your leisure time absorbing the panoramic views of green environs and lofty peaks then visit this place. Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Meghamalai Falls is very popular for its gushing waters cascading from a height of 190 ft are one of the many famous tourist attractions in the city. Vellimalai is a scientifically managed expense of both tea gardens and wild animals that visitors love spending time in. Tourists in Meghamalai love spending a considerable amount of their time sightseeing around this gorgeous destination.

Distance from Chennai: 545 km

Best time to visit: September – May

Explorers love Chennai not only for the way that it is a door to some staggering places but added that it is a getaway in itself offering numerous adventure sports and places to visit. So the above are the best Weekend getaways in and around Chennai that one should visit.

Contributor: M. Pravalika

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