Got a long weekend coming up and want to get out of Chennai for a bit? Have a look at these 5 places that you can visit which are less than a 5-hour drive from the city. Psst. There are stunning forts, majestic temples, scenic waterfalls and trekking sites to explore. Read on!
Make A Quick Escape To These Offbeat Places Under 5 Hours from Chennai
Rich in history, this city is home to some of the most fascinating architectural marvels and structures. Passed through dynasties of the Vijayanagara Empire, there is the Vellore Fort, which has been standing tall with its ramparts and moats since the 16th century. Home to a church, temple and mosque, it is rumoured that the last king of Sri Lanka was held prisoner here during the British rule. There is also the Jalakandeswarar Temple which is known for its Dravidian architecture and its seven-tiered gopuram. Don’t forget to check out the Vainu Bappu Observatory, which houses the largest telescope in Asia (said to be 700 metres above sea level)! Science & culture buffs, this one is for you.
Driving time from Chennai: 3 hours
An old town less than three-hours from Chennai, Pulicat presents itself as a serene getaway destination. You can see thousands of migratory birds at the bird sanctuary including flamingos, ducks, herons and storks! The other attraction is the Dutch cemetery. Discovered in 2007, archaeologists claim that it was used before the year 1656 and there is a belief that a Dutch businessman imprisoned by the Portuguese here was actually responsible for starting the Dutch East India Company.
Make sure to see the old tombstones as well as the ruins of Dutch fort and church at this cemetery!
Driving time from Chennai: Less than 2 hours
Enjoy waterfalls and some good old trekking? Talakona is the place to visit for you! At a height of 270 feet in the Sri Venkateswara National Park, the waterfalls are situated amidst a dense forest and fall into a deep valley. The other two attractions are the canopy walk which is 240 metres in length and 40 feet in height and the many trekking routes available to trekking enthusiasts. Due to the rich flora and fauna, Talakona has also been deemed a biosphere reserve since 1990.
If you are one for cultural sites, do visit the Lord Siddheswara Swamy temple en route the waterfalls!
Driving time from Chennai: 5 hours
Known as the 'Land of Thousand Temples', Kanchipuram is well-known for its exquisite silk weaving industry, its many buildings that stand for varied architectural styles, for being a mythical city and as the name suggests, its many temples. While most people associate Kanchipuram for its rich heritage, you could take a tour to a silk-weaving unit to see how weavers are different in Kanchi or to an organic farm to learn about their paddy cultivation.
As for the temples, you can see a blend in their architectural styles as most of them were built when Kanchipuram was being ruled by two different dynasties. Two temples which are a must-visit are the Kamakshi Amman Temple and the Varadharaja Perumal temple.
Driving time from Chennai: 2 hours
Trekkers, this place is for you! Nagalapuram, a small village in Andhra Pradesh, is one of the top trekking destinations around Chennai and is a major attraction for adventure buffs. The trek is a thrilling experience and is filled with a number of challenges, thanks to the dense forests, slopes and tricky paths. Be on the lookout for an occasional peek at waterfalls or pools of water which this place is popular for. It’s best to go with a group of friends. We do advise that you get here early in the morning and be done with the trek as it can get quite crowded later on in the day.
Driving time from Chennai: Less than 3 hours
For the best trekking clubs in Chennai, click here.