Author – Arvinda Soundararajan
Chennai is a city that is identified by its temples and beaches, year-long scorching heat and busy streets; but the city also has five weekend getaways nearby that one must visit to escape the hectic daily life.
1. Pulicat Lake and Bird Sanctuary
About 2 hrs drive from the Chennai, this lake in Nellore attracts a lot of migratory birds between the months of December and January. Bird watching and beach activities are the major tourist activities along the sea-shore.
More info on Pulicat Lake and Bird Sanctuary here
This sea-shore temple in the district of Kanchipuram is a must visit weekend spot.Classified as a world heritage site, it’s famous for the rock cut caves and sculptures. A few minutes’ drive away from the temple is the picturesque sandy beach surrounded by hills.
More info on Mahabalipuram here
3. Pondicherry and Auroville
Pondicherry proves to be one of the most popular tourist spots near Chennai. This union territory has a fusion of old age colonial architecture and contemporary French culture. Thirty minutes away is the Auroville Township. A weekend’s stay in this beautiful town provides an escape from city life and instills in us the true meaning of community living.
More info on Auroville here
A three-hour drive from Chennai, this ‘Fort City’ displays the perfect blend of historical heritage and picturesque scenery. The Srilakshmi Golden Temple and the Vellore Fort, completely made of granite stone, are the major attractions in the city.
More info on Vellore here
Famous for the 11th Century temple dedicated to Lord Nataraja, Chidambaram provides everything that is conventionally expected of a Temple Town in Tamil Nadu. Fifteen kilometers away from here is the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. A boat ride through the forest provides a surreal experience.