10 Top Getaways in Chennai for A Luxurious Weekend Outing

Chennai is not only the fourth largest metropolitan city in India but it has staggered everyone with its exponential growth curve. From abundant employment options to explicit lifestyle choices, living in Chennai is a blissful experience! Surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is a beautiful city with some marvelous tourist attractions within the city itself. But if you are getting too bored with your monotonous and busy life, then the outskirts of Chennai are filled with all types of getaways – from historic centers, hill stations, wildlife hot-spots, religious destinations and coastal towns. The attractive list of tourist destinations nearby Chennai would serve as a great way to shrug off the monotony and rejuvenate senses.

#1: Pulicat

Situated in the Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu, this small town is a bird watcher’s paradise. If you want to witness some of the rare species of birds then this is the place to visit. The ideal spot to watch birds is the area where Pulicat Lake divides from the Bay of Bengal. During the months of December and January, the tourism board organizes a special Flamingo Festival here. Apart from nature trails and bird watching some of the other attractions of Pulicat include Dutch Cemetery, Fort Geldria, beaches, and church.

  • Best months for visit: October to March
  • Travel distance from Chennai: 55 KM

#2: Mahabalipuram

This historic town is situated on a small strip of land between the Bay of Bengal and the Great Salt Lake. Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram or Mahabs, is listed as a World Heritage Site and contains many architectural wonders from the ancient world. Shore Temple, sitting on the shores of Bay of Bengal is the prime attraction of Mahabs. Apart from this, the Pancha Rathas (temples made in the shape of chariots), Arjun’s Penance (rock carvings that show scenes from the Mahabharata), Trimurti Cave Temple and Krishna Mandapa are some of the other attractions of this town. Mahabalipuram comes alive during the Mamallapuram Dance Festival. Bicycling tours to the nearby villages is another not-to-miss attraction of this town.

  • Best months for visit: December to March
  • Travel distance from Chennai: 52 KM

#3: Tirupati

This pilgrimage town is situated in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, and millions of devotees flock to this town to pay their reverence to Lord Tirupati. The count of devotees is so high, that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam is touted as the most visited temple in the world! Apart from this, there is also the Venkateswara temple, Silathoranam (a naturally formed rock bridge) and TTD Gardens which will enthrall your senses.

  • Best months for visit: September to March
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 135 KM

#4: Kanchipuram

Though popularly referred to as the “Silk City,” there is so much more to this city than its beautiful silk sarees. Popular among the tourists as the city of thousand temples, there are some marvelous temples on display throughout this city which oozes with the Dravidian architectural elegance. Some of the best examples are Kamakshi Amman, Ekambareswarar, Kailasanathar and Devarajaswami. While in Kanchipuram do plan to visit Kanchi Kudil (a 90 year old ancestral home showcasing the old architectural style of Kanchipuram) as well the Vedanthangla Bird Sanctuary.

  • Best months for visit: September to March
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 72 KM

#5: Pondicherry

This coastal town was a French colony before independence, and its clings on to its past. Pondy (which it is fondly called as), is filled with some exciting beaches, clean streets dotted by colonial era townhouses and a touch of tranquility. While visiting Pondy do venture to see the French quarters, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Notre Dame des Anges, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple and Sacred Heart Basilica. Apart from these, there are great Ayurvedic and spa centers in the town, which will help you relax in the truest sense!

  • Best months for visit: October to February
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 161 KM

#6: Vellore

Better known as the “Fort City of Tamil Nadu”, Vellore is filled with many Dravidian architectural masterpieces apart from its overall scenic beauty. Most important fort in the city is the Vellore Fort which houses the State Government Museum as well as the Jalakanteswara Temple. Another tourist attraction of the town is the Sri Lakshmi Golden Temple, whose walls are coated on both sides with gold.

  • Best months for visit: October to March
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 136 KM

#7: Yelagiri

Situated in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, Yelagiri is a charming hill station. Surrounded by tribal villages, this is the destination for a person seeking solitude and tranquility far from the noise and busy life of Chennai. The most impelling landmark of Yelagiri is the Punganoor Lake, which is an artificial lake with a beautiful park. Tourists to this town can also visit the Swami Malai Hills and Jalagamparai Falls. If you love adventure activities then head straight to the Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association (YASA), which offers a host of options.

  • Best months for visit: November to February
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 227 KM

#8: Nagarhole

Nagarhole National Park, aka Rajiv Gandhi National Park, is one of the most attractive wildlife reserves in close vicinity to Chennai. Located across the Mysore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka, this lush piece of paradise is filled with various species of wildlife. Some species that are abundantly found in this national park include leopards, tigers, elephants, gaurs, common langurs, macaques and wild dogs. The Kabini Lake enhances the beauty of this forest area. There are jungle safaris run by the forest department.

  • Best months for visit: October to May
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 557 KM

#9: Meghamalai

This is a place to just sit back and soak in the beauty of nature. Also known as “High Wavy Mountains”, Meghmalai is a beauty nestled in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu. Filled with green environs, lofty peaks and some incredible sights, Meghmalai is one of the upcoming hill stations in Tamil Nadu. Key tourist attraction of this hill station is the Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary. There is also the Meghamalai Falls and Vellimalai which are worth visiting.

  • Best months for visit: September to May
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 545 KM

#10: Tranquebar or Tharangambadi

This is a rare Danish town in India! This fishing village is known for its heritage Danish buildings, cultural history and its architecture. To soak in the ambiance of this town, visit Fort Dansborg (which contains many Danish manuscripts and sculptures), Zion Church, Danish Museum and of course the pristine sea shores. A trip to Tanquebar is not so much about sightseeing as it is about taking home a bag full of experiences.

  • Best months for visit: February to August
  • Travel Distance from Chennai: 283 KM

So, where are you off to this weekend? Do tell us how you like this list.

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