5 Getaways near Chennai that are perfect for a weekend road trip!
Posted by Avis on March 22, 2018|
Aptly called the ‘The Gateway of South India’, Chennai opens up to an entirely new world of cultural, historical and breath-taking places within or outside the city that will surely entice you to strap on a pair of boots and head beyond the city. There are scores of natural retreats in and around Chennai that provide the perfect ambience to spend few days in the lap of Mother Nature. The outbacks beyond this cosmopolitan also offer historic landmarks, long sandy beaches, cultural and art centres and ancient temples along with spectacular rock carvings. Here is our list of most charming places to visit near Chennai over a weekend.
Famously known as Mahabalipuram or Seven Pagodas, it is an ancient historic town 57 km south of Chennai, having a collection of 7th and 8th-century rock-carved temples which are declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site. This site is also famous for Krishna’s Butterball which is a gigantic granite boulder that sits on top of a small and slippery hillside apparently defying the laws of physics. Mahabalipuram also offers a beach view with sandy shores along with a beautiful Shore Temple built using blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. And for all those wildlife enthusiasts, fret not this town also has a ‘Croc Bank’, which is one of the biggest crocodile sanctuaries in the world.
Distance from Chennai: 57 KMS, 1hr 45min drive from Chennai
How to Reach: Mahabalipuram is connected to Chennai by East Coast Road which is a breath-taking 1hr 45min drive. You can easily get a car rental in Chennai from a trusted self-drive car rental provider for a stunning self-drive experience.
Top Attractions: Arjuna’s Penance, Thirukadalmallai Temple, Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas Complex, Krishna’s Butterball, Crocodile Bank, Mumu surf school for surfing lessons.
Famous Food Joints: Moonrakers Restaurant- Moonrakers located at 34 Othavadai Street is a spacious and trendy restaurant which has a wide-ranging menu that satiates all taste buds, serves deliciously fresh seafood, traditional south and north Indian curries as well as Italian Pasta. The Golden Palate Restaurant– This restaurant is at Hotel Mamalla Heritage, 104, East Raja Street which serves excellent Indian vegetarian food. It provides a fine dining experience with tasty food at affordable prices.
Considered as one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites in India because of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, this ‘Spiritual Capital of Andhra Pradesh’ is a must visit for full religious enrichment. The Tirumala Temple is located on a hilltop where millions of devotees come to get a glimpse of Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu. This tiny town also offers numerous other attractions like sprawling national parks, majestic waterfalls, stunning forts and beautiful palaces.
Distance from Chennai: 148 KMS, 3hr 45min drive from Chennai
How to Reach: The best road route from Chennai to Tirupati is via Tada/Srikalahasti/Renigunta. This route passes through parts of the Eastern Ghats and offers unparalleled scenic beauty. You can easily hire a self-drive car rental in Chennai and capture the excellent scenic backdrop en route.
Top Attractions: Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Talakona Falls, Papavinasam Theertham, Deer Park, TTD Gardens, Rock Gardens, Chandragiri Palaces, ISKCON Tirupati.
Famous Food Joints: Hyderabad House– Located in Yalamuri Complex, Tuda Road this place is a must visit for all those who want to enjoy authentic Hyderabadi Cuisine. They offer some lip-smacking biryanis. This restaurant has a pleasant ambience and the service is very brisk. Dojin Smart Restaurant- This restaurant located in Mitta Street, Nehru Nagar serves Indian as well as Chinese cuisine along with various fast food options. Most of the dishes are reasonably priced.
Fondly referred by locals as ‘Pondy’, this benign town is tucked away on the eastern seaboard of India. Owing to its French colonial past and laid-back lifestyle, Pondicherry has a unique aura unmatched by any other city. Despite the French leaving this town a long time back, it has managed to retain the quintessential French influence with palm-lined avenues, French Boulevard town with its French heritage and Mediterranean styled houses that lend a surprisingly non-Indian feel. With its 30 KM long coastline, backwaters, fishing villages, beach resorts and the peaceful city of Auroville, this tiny borough has a lot to offer to the visitors.
Distance from Chennai: 170 Kms, 3hrs 40mins drive from Chennai
How to Reach: State Highway 49, also known as East Coast Road connects Pondicherry with Chennai. Take a self-drive car rental in Chennai and drive through Mahabalipuram, Cheyur and Marakanam. The road offers spectacular sea views for some parts of the stretch perfect for clicking pictures.
Top attractions: Pondicherry Heritage walk, Paradise Beach, Promenade Beach, City of Auroville, Chunnambar Boat House, old lighthouse, French war memorial, Scuba diving in Coral Shark Reef, Surfing at Serenity Beach, Kayaking and Canoeing in Karaikal Beach.
Famous Food Joints: Crepe in Touch – Located in 29, Needarajapayar Street, this joint serves fantastic French cuisine. It’s also famous for delicious seafood and a palatial vegetarian spread. The crepes served here are the best in town and are highly recommended.
Sicilys – Located right beside the Promenade overlooking the rock beach, this place is must visit just for its apt location. The menu consists of a variety of continental dishes. The food is delicious. The prices for most of the dishes are on the higher side. It is located on Goubert Avenue, White Town.
Yelagiri, a hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, is a trekkers’ paradise as it provides numerous trekking trails through the thick reserved forests. The recently started Yelagiri Adventure Camp by Tamil Nadu Government offers a host of adventure activities that include mountain climbing, trekking, hiking and paragliding. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Board organises the famous Yelagiri Summer Festival in the month of May with events like flower shows, cultural programs, dog shows and many more events. Nestled amidst acres of greenery and mountains, a trip to Yelagiri will surely rejuvenate your spirit.
Distance from Chennai: 230 KMs, 4hr 35mins drive from Chennai
How to reach: NH 4 connects Yelagiri to Chennai via Sriperumbudur-Vellore-Vaniyambadi. Taking a car hire in Chennai is one of the most feasible options to visit Yelagiri as the road is very smooth and provides a comfortable ride for ultimate driving pleasure.
Top Attractions: Jalagamparai Falls, Punganur Lake, Swami Malai Hills, Summer Festival, Yelagiri Adventure Camp, Fundera Park.
Famous food Joints: Landmark restaurant-This is a multi-cuisine restaurant that serves fresh and tasty food. It’s located in Bhandarapuli Road, Yelagiri Hills. Food Corner- The joint provides only vegetarian food which is tasty and very reasonably priced. It is located in no 256/a Boat house road, Punganur village.
A road trip from Chennai to Horsley Hills traverses through a series of hills in Andhra Pradesh, where you come across peaks covered with clouds and mist. It offers various sightseeing places like ancient temples, charming lakes, breath-taking viewpoints, calm backwaters, majestic waterfalls and extended wildlife sanctuaries. The viewpoint behind Governor’s bungalow is one of the most popular places to visit in Horsley Hills offering great views of the valley, hillocks and dense forests. The view of the endless swathe dotted by hills and forests is in itself worth the trip to the hill station. The sight of the setting sun from this point is just magical, an experience that will etch in your memories for a long time.
Distance from Chennai: 270 km, 6hrs 25mins drive from Chennai.
How to reach:Take a car rental in Chennai and catch the Poonthamalli High Road, get onto NH 4 and drive till Wallajah before Arcot from where you have to take the route to Chittoor. Stay on NH 4 until Palamaner and turn right onto NH 219. Stay on NH 219 until Madanapalle. Take right onto NH 205 and Horsley Hills is 16 km from here.
Top Attractions: Wind rocks, View Point, Horsley Hills Zoo, Gangotri Lake, Kaigal Falls, Talakona Waterfalls, Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary.
Famous Food Joints: Akshaya Family Garden Restaurant- This restaurant is located in Madanapalle Old Bypass Rd, SBI Colony. It offers tasty food with great hospitality at reasonable prices. This place is well suited for families and provides a clean ambience. Zoyas Kitchen- This food joint provides a wide range of delicacies for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. The staff is courteous and prompt in providing assistance. Located in N T R Rd, A.V.Naidu Colony, Madanapalle.
If you’re planning to visit or have visited some other destination near Chennai, kindly let us know in the comments below.