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Pulicat to Yelagiri: Here are some wonderful weekend getaways from Chennai

We present an interesting list of places that you might want to check out when you want to catch a quick breather from the hustle and bustle of Chennai.

When you’re a resident of Chennai, where you’ve lived for at least a decade, the idea of a weekend getaway might seem lacking in adventure or novelty when compared to neighbouring states – Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

If we see another list with Pondicherry or Tada Falls on it, it might result in a dull throbbing in the head for some of us. But, don’t lose hope for we’ve got an interesting list of places that you might want to check out when you want to catch a quick breather from the hustle and bustle of the city. To spare you, we’ve made sure not to include the usual haunts like Pondicherry, Tada Falls, Mahabs, Nagalapuram Falls, etc. in our list.

Pichavaram mangrove – 243 km from Chennai

This mangrove forest along the southern coast of Tamil Nadu is located in Cuddalore district. It’ll take you about 5.5 hours to reach Pichavaram if you’re driving down the east coast. If you’re feeling rebellious, you could also make a pit stop at Pondicherry. It is said that the best season to visit Pichavaram is between November and January when you can spot the migratory birds who are there on their summer getaways. 

Pichavaram mangroves / Wikimedia commons: Karty Jazz

Tharangambadi – 285 km from Chennai

A little further down from Pichavaram is this coastal town that still retains the echo of its colonial past. The under-appreciated former Dutch settlement can be your perfect weekend getaway that comes with a slice of history. A great place to stay in Tharangambadi, aka Tranquebar, is The Bungalow on the Beach (a private owned Neemrana resort), a 17th century Danish colonial house that comes with exquisite views of the beach. You could simply saunter on the sands or plan a history hunt, visiting Fort Dansborg and other colonial ruins nearby. From Chennai, it’s a little over six hours away. 

A street in Tharangambadi / Wikimedia commons: Ssriram mt

Yelagiri – 226 km from Chennai

If being a beach bum for a weekend is not for you, head to this quiet hill town that’s high on the natural beauty quotient. Yelagiri will take about 4.5 hours from Chennai by car. You can go on short treks and enjoy the scenic splendour of the Eastern Ghats on the way. You can visit the Jalagamparai Waterfalls, bird parks, and take boat rides on the lakes. 

Kolli Hills – 369 km from Chennai

Kolli Hills is a good 7 hours from Chennai but the drive is worth your time. Amidst lush greenery and the grandeur of the hills is the beautiful 300-ft Agaya Gangai Falls. You can also plan treks and nature walks here. An interesting trivia for history buffs and Tamil enthusiasts is that Kolli Hills features prominently in Sangam literature. Perhaps all that ancient history in the air might inspire the writer/poet in you. It should take you between 6.5 to 7.5 hours to reach Kolli hills.

Agaya Gangai at Kolli hills / Wikimedia commons: Rajeshodayanchal

Places closer to Chennai

Nanmangalam Reserve Forest

This reserve forest, not many know, is inside Chennai. The sprawling 320-hectare forest is home to several species of flora and fauna and is perfect for a picnic. A visit here will ensure a quick break from your daily routine. However, prior permission from the Forest Department is required before you plan a trip. This one’s a little over 23 km from Marina beach and will take you less than an hour by car. 


If you’re tired of boating in Muttukadu and craving to try more adventurous boating expeditions or kayaking all alone in the backwaters, then Mudaliarkuppam is the place for you. Located 96 km from Chennai on the East Coast Road, Mudaliarkuppam is a place for adventure and relaxation at the same time. Developed by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation on the Odiyur lake backwaters, the place beckons adventure enthusiasts with a range of facilities including rowing, cruising, speed boating and kayaking. Others can take a refreshing ride on the backwaters enjoying the sea breeze or kayak to the sound of the waves. Tourists can also enjoy a thrilling ride on a water scooter.

If you’re driving down south along the East Coast Road, from Marina beach, it will take you about 2.5 hours by car.


If you are on a quest to see mother nature’s beauty at its best, then head to Pulicat or Pazhaverkadu without further ado. A trip to the bird sanctuary is a must-do when in Pulicat. A former Portuguese colony, the place has its own slice of history. The cemetery dating back to the 17th century continues to draw history buffs who are always on the lookout for new stories. 

Pulicat is about 60 km from Chennai’s Marina beach. It will take you a little over 1.5 hours by car.

A great Flammingo takes flight / Wikimedia Commons: Deepak Sundar

(With inputs from Bharathi SP)

Source: The News Minute