Chennai, the southernmost metro in India.
Chennai, earlier known as Madras, is the 4th largest metropolitan city in India. This busy metropolitan city has a population ranking 30th in the world. But, still people would love Chennai not just for the fact that it is a gateway to some spectacular places, but also that it is a getaway in itself. Though, as much as one loves the metropolitan, there are times when one wants to escape away into another time, another space. The city has a solution for all your weekend woes.
Here is a list having some of the amazing weekend getaways from Chennai. From the picturesque tea estates of Ooty to the perpendicular streets of Pondichery, the long list of places to visit near Chennai will undoubtedly entice you to pack your bags and head out. These destinations offer the perfect respite from Chennai’s sweltering heat and roaring traffic and make for great getaways during long weekends.
Tirumala’s Venkatesawara temple is one of the most important, most visited and richest pilgrimage sites in India. The main temple dedicated to Lord Venkatesawara, a form of the Hindu god Vishnu, is located on the Tirumala Hill. There’s generally a long queue, followed by a quick darshan of the black stone idol, who adorns a heavy gold crown encrusted with diamonds and the world’s largest emerald. Don’t forget to sample the famous patented Tirupati laddoo, which is given as prasadam after the darshan. Devotees also get their heads tonsured here. There is also a cluster of temples for allied deities near Tirupati. Just 140 kms out of Chennai, frequent buses make the journey easy.
You won’t find a miniature version of Paris in this former French colony in south India, but Pondicherry carries the distinctive stamp of its past in its restored villas, old Tamil mansions, tree-lined and pedestrian-friendly roads, its cosmopolitan population and eclectic cuisine. The city was designed based on the French grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets. The town is divided into two sections: the French Quarter and the Indian quarter. These French and Indian style houses have been preserved from destruction by an organisation named INTACH
. A short drive within Pondicherry, Auroville is a city dedicated to human unity, based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. While you’re there, you can do some serious meditation at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram or watch a cultural event. About 163 km from Chennai, you could even extend your trip to a few days.
Once a prosperous Danish trading centre, laid back and calm Tranquebar lies 283 km away from Chennai. Surrounded by crisp blue sea views, enchanting historical marvels, and stunning resorts, Tranquebar is ideal for an extended rejuvenating weekend. The Tamil name of Tharangambadi, literally meaning ‘the land of the singing waves’, was rechristened Tranquebar after the conquest of the area by the Danes. The beach is at its enchanting best during dawn and dusk, and its calm waters are ideal for swimming and relaxing. Bird watching enthusiasts will find themselves enamoured by the large number of migratory birds that visit the region. Know More about Tranquebar or Tharangambadi – The Village of the Dancing Waves
One of Tamil Nadu’s most picturesque hill stations, Kodaikanal is located at an altitude of 7,200 ft in the Palani hills in the Western Ghats. Comprising of densely wooded jungles, cascading hill slopes, circuitous rivers and green rolling valleys, it is a favourite amidst tourists visiting the country’s south. Though a trip to Kodi—as it is popularly referred to—is all about revelling in nature. Know more about Kodaikanal – The Princess of Hill Stations
Coorg, also known as the Scotland of India, is a stunning hill station with misty hills, lush green valleys, evergreen forests and breath taking waterfalls. Located in the southern part of Karnataka, it is a small district of the state with distinct culture and traditions. The zigzag roads wander over forested hills and past spice and coffee plantations, which burst into aromatic white blossoms in March and April. The geography and cool climate of Coorg makes it an incredible place for trekking, bird-watching and rejuvenating the soul.
Located in Kanchipuram district, at around 52km to the south of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is one of the finest places for sightseeing and a great architectural attraction. Lots of tourists from around the globe, flocks to this place every year. Listed as a World Heritage Site because of its ancient archaeological wonders, this fascinating place is also known as Mamallapuram or “the City of Mamalla”. Know more about The Land of Mamalla, Where Rocks Come Alive
As the summer retreat for generations of British officials, and later, scores of city-dwellers, Ooty has developed plenty of activities to entertain all age groups and interests. From the thrill of a horse race to a slow yet scenic ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, you’ll find it all here. Know more about Ooty – Ooo… The Blue Hills of India
Nestled in Shevaroys Hills close to Salem in Tamil Nadu, the hill station of Yercaud is considered one of the jewels of the South. The name in Tamil translates loosely to ‘Lake Forest,’ in an straightforward reference to thick forests surrounding Yercaud, and the ‘Big Lake,’ in the middle of town. Know more about Yercaud – The Place for Coffee and Cardamom.
This city is named after the famous, beautifully-carved 11th-century temple dedicated to the dancing form of Shiva as Nataraja. The main temple is housed inside a 40 acre complex, whose sculptures and gopurams (monumental towers) are a fine example of the art and architecture of the Chola dynasty. A slightly long drive at about 250 kms outside Chennai, but still worth the effort. Know more about Thillai Nataraja Kovil – A Temple Dedicated to Shiva Performing the Cosmic Dance.