Chennai

Perfect getaways for long weekends

There are options galore for both short trips and those of the longer kind, especially if you are keen to stay off the beaten path and enjoy new experiences

If you haven’t been able to travel yet this holiday season, and are hoping to take a short break soon, look out for the Pongal and Republic Day long weekends, which are just around the corner. And it doesn’t matter if you have only a day or two — there are options galore for short getaways from the city. Whether it’s nature you’re into, history that floats your boat, or beaches that you connect with, there’s something for everyone, not too far away from Chennai.

Puducherry, Yercaud and Bengaluru are three of city resident Abhi’s favourite weekend hangouts. It is sometimes with family or friends or cousins or even by himself that he drives out of the city. “Whenever we get time, we make an impromptu plan and head out to Pondy where we think the vibe is good. We just go relax and do absolutely nothing at a resort. We are all in high pressure jobs and need to take a break once in a few months,” says Mr. Abhi, who runs a granite export unit.

Weekend getaway Pichavaram near Chidambaram sees a lot of tourists throughout the year. The 1.5 km long boat ride through mangroves to the beach is the major attraction there. “Schoolchildren come in buses, families come carrying their own food and there are also weekend tourists, who stay overnight at the resort near the backwaters,” says R. M. Swethakumar, a hotelier in Chidambaram.

Apart from Mamallapuram and Puducherry, which are Chennaiites’ favourite getaways, there are numerous options.

One-day getaways

Pulicat, Sullurupeta (Andhra Pradesh)

If you’re a bird lover, there’s no time like the present to capture winged visitors on your camera. The annual flamingo festival is set to kick off on January 7 in Sullurupeta. So visit the Pulicat and Nelapattu bird sanctuaries for a feast for your eyes.

Distance from Chennai: Pulicat - 94 km; Sullurupeta - 82 km

Activities: Bird watching, a visit to the Dutch cemetery in Pulicat, as well as the sundial at an ancient mosque.

Best time to visit: October to March

Food: For Pulicat, it is best to carry your food and water; both government and private accommodation is available at nearby Sullurupeta.

Nagalapuram (Andhra Pradesh)

If scenic beauty and the sound of rushing water sound appealing, make a trip to the Nagalapuram falls in Chittoor district. For adventure lovers, the spot offers a trek.

Distance from Chennai: 85 km

Activities: Trekking, visiting the Veda Narayana temple, camping

Best time to visit: September to December

Food: Best to carry your own food and water

Longer getaways

Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu)

If you’d like to visit temples or are looking for a day trip from Puducherry, Chidambaram in Cuddalore district is the place for you. Apart from the Natarajar temple, there are several others, steeped in legends

Distance from Chennai: 230 km

Activities: Make a quick trip to Pichavaram, 13 km away, for a boat ride through a mangrove forest. The last ride is at 4 p.m.

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Food/accommodation: Plenty of hotels to choose from

Chandragiri Fort (Andhra Pradesh)

If you are a heritage lover and wandering around monuments sounds appealing, make a trip to Chandragiri. A 11th century fort, and a museum housing metal and stone sculptures and a laser light show await you.

Distance from Chennai: 145 km

Activities: Tourists can also visit a number of temples in the vicinity

Best time to visit: All year round

Food/accommodation: There are a number of restaurants and hotels in nearby Tirupati

Tharangambadi (Tamil Nadu)

A former Danish colony smack in Tamil Nadu, Tharangambadi (Tranquebar) in Nagapattinam district combines history with beach views.

Distance from Chennai: 284 km

Activities: Visit the Danish Fort, the maritime museum, beach and adjacent Karaikal, a former French Colony

Best time to visit: Non-summer months

Food/Accommodation: Karaikal has several budget hotels due to the presence of the Thirunallar temple

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 5:58:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/perfect-getaways-for-long-weekends/article22291232.ece

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