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  • Writer's pictureNitin Saini

10 Best Weekend Getaways From Chennai

Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India, is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The busy city of Chennai is a blessing for its residents and tourists. Situated amidst a plethora of beautiful places which offer history, natural beauty, culture and rich heritage - travellers will be spoilt for choice when choosing weekend getaways from Chennai. So if you are in Chennai and looking for some fun and exciting destinations nearby take a look at our list of 10 best weekend getaways from Chennai.

1. Mahabalipuram

Approximately 60 kilometres from Chennai, Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is an ancient town steeped in ancient history, culture and architecture. Having seen much glory during the Pallava Dynasty of the 7th century, the entire town is a museum of historic temples, monolithic statues and ancient artefacts. The under two-hour drive along the East Coast Road is a great route too with much to see along the way. Even though Mahabalipuram is a small town situated in the suburbs, it is well connected by buses and cars because of its immense popularity amongst Indian and even foreigners. These buses ply from different parts of Chennai, Chengal Pattu and Kanchipuram.

  • Distance from Chennai: 57 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : Throughout the year

  • Places To See : Shore Temple, Pancha Ratha, Varaha, Mahishasurmardini and Krishna Cave Temples

2. Pondicherry

The French left the country but what they delivered in the process was the quaint town of Pondicherry. Popularly referred to as “Pondy”, Pondicherry is divided into two parts, the French quarters, displaying vintage style colonial buildings mostly painted in white and mustard and the Tamil quarters, representing an older vibe with its customary air of gajras and mogra flowers, elaborate Nagada style temples and it’s smaller and more populated roads. Pondicherry is recognised for the existence of the Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s Ashram which are characterised by the colour grey, in the French quarters. Pondy serves as a great holiday for budget travellers because there is so much to see, and almost everything is just a hop skip and a jump away from each other.

  • Distance from Chennai: 169 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : October and March

  • Places To See : Auroville, Ousteri Lake, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Seaside Promenade

3. Nellore

The city of Nellore is located in the Nellore district of coastal Andhra Pradesh. Nestled on the banks of river Penna, Nellore is a pleasant drive from Chennai. The city was historically referred to as Vikrama Simhapuri. With historical evidences of lineages of many powerful kingdoms and dynasties, the place has a rich history and heritage. Also famous around these parts are the forts scattered all over the city, making for some great sightseeing and exploration. The Paturu Village within is noted for its handicrafts and makes for some great shopping.

  • Distance from Chennai: 175 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : October to April

  • Places To See : Udayagiri Fort, Venkatagiri Fort, Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, Mypadu Beach, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

4. Tirupati

One of the most important places to visit near Chennai, Tirupati is located around 133 kilometres away from the city. Situated in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is home to Tirumala, or Venkateshwara Temple, which is one of the most famous and important religious centres in India. Additionally, it is also one of the oldest Indian cities, having its name in the ancient Vedas and Puranas. Tirumala, as it is popularly known, is also home to the seven peaks of the Tirumala Hills. Tirupati also has a unique geological wonder called the Silathoranam. It is a natural arch which is formed out of rocks and is located on the Tirumala Hills. It is one of the only three natural rock formations in the world and is thus an important archaeological monument.

  • Distance from Chennai:135 km

  • Best Time To Visit : September to March

  • Places To See : Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, Swami Pushkarini Lake, Akash Ganga Waterfalls, Sri Venkateswara Dhyana Vignan Mandiram, Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Deer Park

5. Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, also known as the Golden City of Temples, is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the entire world. It is the crowning jewel of Tamil Nadu that offers the perfect respite to the spiritual souls with its beautiful temples that are known for their architectural splendor. It is known to be the second holiest city after Varanasi, and thousands of visitors flock into this city to seek solace and spiritual bliss. It has been an important center for Tamil learning and exhibits the glorious Dravidian heritage.

You can also find the remains of Buddhist stupas over here that indicate that Buddhism prevailed over here for a long time. This city is a unique amalgamation of culture, history, and traditions and woos the visitors with its unmatched charm.

  • Distance From Chennai : 72 km

  • Best Time To Visit : October to March

  • Places To See : Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple, Ekambareshwar Temple, Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, Kanchi Kudil Museum, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

6. Pulicat

Home to India's second largest lagoon - the Pulicat Lake - Pulicat, also called Pazhaverkadu is a seashore town located on the border of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Located just about 55 km from Chennai, this beautiful lake is famous for its bird sanctuary and is a favourite destination amongst nature lovers, photographers and birdwatchers. It is famous for hosting the annual Flamingo Festival which celebrates the arrival and nesting of migratory birds.

  • Distance from Chennai: 54

  • Best Time To Visit : October to March

  • Places To See : Pulicat Lake, Pulicat Sanctuary, Dutch Fort, Dutch Cemetery

7. Vellore

One of the most cultural and historic cities in the South of India, Vellore is an amalgamation of the numerous dynasties that have ruled it over the centuries. Influences from these erstwhile rulers such as the Pandyas, Cholas, Vijayanagara kings, Carnatic Nawabs and British Raj can be seen all over the city in its rich architecture, culture and cuisine. About 3 hours west of Chennai, Vellore is a must visit weekend destination for anyone nearby.

  • Distance from Chennai: 139 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : Throughout the year

  • Places To See : Palar River, Vellore Fort, Jalakanteshwara Temple, St. John’s Church, Golden Temple

8. Yelagiri

Less than three and a half hours from Chennai by road, Yelagiri is a small hill town famous for its beautiful scenery and adventure sport. Head here for a weekend of fun filled activities such as trekking, paragliding and boating. A great time to visit is during the Yelagiri Summer Festival when the entire town is in a festive mood and the place is buzzing with activities including food shows, musical performances and many more cultural events.

  • Distance from Chennai: 229 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : November to February

  • Places To See : Punganoor Lake, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Jalagandeeswarar Temple, Velavan Temple, Swamimalai Hill

9. Horsley Hills

Amidst the tranquil Eastern Andhra Pradesh Ghats, at an altitude of 41000 feet, Horsley Hills is a paradise for nature lovers; lush greenery, rolling hills and great weather make this a wonderful weekend destination.

Roughly 6 and a half hours from Chennai, the hill station offers plenty of activities like trekking and camping as well as has a number of cosy resorts to stay at. The local wildlife sanctuary is a must visit place too.

  • Distance from Chennai: 289 Km

  • Best Time To Visit : October To March

  • Places To See : Mallamma Temple, Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, Horsley Hills Zoo, Gangotri Lake, Gali Bandalu

10. Yercaud

Nestled in the Shevaroy hill ranges in the Eastern Ghats, Yercaud is a charming hill station and a popular tourist destination in Tamil Nadu. Fondly referred to as Jewel of the South, Yercaud is located in the Salem district. It is famous for one too many things, including the emerald Yercaud lakes, panoramic viewpoints, aromatic orange groves, sprawling coffee, cardamom and black pepper plantations. You can go boating in the beautiful Yercaud Lake, trek through the lush forest and try plenty of the amazing local food. Under a 7 hour drive from Chennai, the town has a number of budget hotels catering to weekenders from the surrounding districts.

  • Distance from Chennai: 366 km

  • Best Time To Visit : October to February

  • Places To See : Yercaud Lake, Shevaroy Temple, Shevaroy Hills, Silk Farm

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