The capital city of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is a city full of grandeur and historic monuments, churches, temples and pristine beaches to explore. The city has many cultural heritage places you should not miss apart from amazing weekend getaways away from city hustle and bustle. When you are in Chennai, you can plan to visit a pilgrimage or a wildlife safari or a hill station on weekends since Chennai is the centre of all.
Weekend Getaways From Chennai for a Holiday Away From City Hustle and Bustle
Earlier named as the Garden City, then the Silicon Valley of India and now being a popular IT hub, Bangalore is a must to visit weekend getaway from Chennai. The city is known for its pleasant atmosphere, quirky cafeterias, ISKON temple and pubs for nightlife’s which attracts tourists all over the world. When in Bangalore, you can take a stroll through the mesmerising Cubbon Park or street markets that serves fresh breweries. Many decorated parks are scattered all over the city that is ideal for jogging or picnicking. Apart from city attractions, there are many places nearby Bangalore that can also be explored if you plan to stay a little longer than a weekend. Some of the places that you can visit in the city include Lalbagh botanical garden, Bangalore palace, Innovative Film City, Tipu Sultan Palace, Lumbini Gardens, ISKCON Bangalore, Wonderla Vidhana Soudha, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium and UB City Mall among many others.
More commonly called the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India with inhabitants. King Pandya ruled this place for a long time and planned to build the city in the shape of a lotus flower thereby making Madurai also known as the Lotus City. You must visit the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai which is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi. There are a few other ancient temples as well that includes Thiruparankundram dedicated to Lord Muruga. Since Madurai traded with the Romans in the past, you may find city culture influenced by Romans as well.
The city of Palaces, Mysore is also known as Mysuru and is a popular weekend getaway from Chennai and Bangalore. The city has ancient palaces, royal heritage, silk sarees, intricate architecture and a yoga institute. Madurai is situated in the foothills of Chamundi Hills and is the most populated city of Karnataka drawing the attention of millions of visitors every year. The Mysore Palace has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO that is a must-visit place in Mysore. During British Empire in India, Mysore was regarded as a princely state and today, it stands as a famous tourist spot. During the Dussehra festival and on Sunday’s the Mysore Palace is lit up beautifully once dusk falls over the city. Apart from it, you can visit the Ashtanga School of Yoga in Mysore where students from all over the world come to learn ancient yoga poses.
Ooty or Udagamandalam is a popular hill station nestled in the Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu. This weekend getaway from Chennai serves as a popular tourist destination being the Queen of Hills in India. The entire hill station is dotted with tea gardens, colonial style-built houses, serene waterfalls and country lanes that can leave you enchanted. The place is more popular among honeymooners and couples who seek to spend quality time away from city hustle and bustle. Adventure seekers visit Ooty for sports activities like mountaineering, rock climbing, camping and stargazing in the hillock.
Located at an altitude 1930 m above sea level, Mullayanagiri peak is just an hour drive from Chikmagalur. The Mullayanagiri peak is the highest in the Nilgiris along with the Himalayas and is regarded as a paradise for tourists. The highest temperature recorded in the hills is between 20 to 24 degrees. The atmosphere here is cool and the landscape is adorned with rugged rocks and lush greenery making it ideal for trekking and hiking. This weekend getaway from Chennai is famous for its coffee plantations as well along with smooth trekking trails that attract adventure seekers. You can also indulge in road biking or mountain biking or explore mini caves scattered all over the hills. One must visit the place is Lord Shiva temple in the hilltop that stands proudly over the Nilgiris.
Anantapuram is a small town in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh that holds the confluence of the future and the past. This weekend getaway from Chennai receives the second lowest rainfall in the country and has been ruled by many kings in the past. Since the Vijayanagar empire influenced Anantapur the most, it is highly influenced by Vijayanagar’s era living style and has many ancient relics scattered all over the town.
Silent Valley National Park
Another popular tourist destination that can be visited easily from Chennai is Silent Valley National Park. The Park has lush green views, flora and fauna which makes it ideal for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The entire park is spread across 89 square kilometres and is situated in the Kerala’s Kundali Hills. The Silent Valley National Park organizes safari for tourists which has many stop-overs that makes the park visit worthwhile. You may find many species of animals and plants in the park that are unharmed by the outer world. Some of the most commonly found animals include elephants, lion-tailed macaque, panther, tiger and sambar.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Another amazing place for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers is Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary which homes many rare bird species. This place is usually flocked by bird watchers and animal lovers. From the parkland, you can envisage beautiful landscape and vegetation along with colourful birds that act as a feast to the eye. Among 170 rare bird species, some of them are Asian Openbill Stork, Painted Stork, Common Spoonbill and Woolly-necked Stork.
Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary
Established in the year 1988, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 614 square kilometres of land in the Kurnool district. This Park in Andhra Pradesh has abundant flora and fauna making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Some of the endangered species conserved in the park includes reptiles and birds such as Mynas, Blackbucks, Lesser Florican. You can also visit Rollapadu village nearby which has a man-made reservoir preserved for the wildlife.
Guntur is a land with the largest chilli market in Asia making it popularly called the Land of Chilli. Guntur lies in proximity to Amaravathi and is one of the populous towns in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from selling chilli, Guntur is also known for its textile industries. Historically ruled by many dynasties, Guntur has the only Buddhist pilgrimage site in entire South India known as Nagarjunakonda.
Srisailam is a small hill town in Andhra Pradesh and a popular weekend getaway from Chennai and Hyderabad. The town holds one of the Eight Shakti Peethas in India named Malikarjuna. Apart from it, Srisailam is famous for its massive dam and wildlife sanctuary. You can visit Lord Shiva temple named Sikhareswara Swamy temple along with Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy temple that is located on the hilltop.
Another enchanting weekend getaway from Chennai is Nagarjunsagar which has the tallest man-made masonry dam in the world known as Nagarjunsagar dam. Built over the River Krishna, the dam can irrigate more than 10 acres of land. Many Buddhist civilization excavations have also been made in this place that stores relics of the ancient era. Even the name of the town has been kept after a Buddhist saint named Acharya Nagarjuna which is today blessed by glory and opulence.
Talakadu is a mystical place situated on the banks of River Kaveri with a cultural heritage and rich past. This weekend getaway from Chennai is popular for Vaidyanatheshwara Temple having Lord Shiva deity. The town has been ruled by many dynasties in the past including Gangas, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pallavas and Vijayanagar. Talakudu is more popular among pilgrims, particularly Lord Shiva devotees. You will be amazed to know that the town has a few temples buried under the sand which are excavated every 12 years for worshipping during Panchalinga Darshana. The five temples included in the Panchlingana Darshana are Arkeshwara temple, Vaidyeshwara temples, Mallikarjuna temple, Pataleshwara temple and Saikateshwara temple. It is said that one of the Panchalingas, Pataleshwara Shivalinga changes its colour with day times like white in the evening, black in the afternoon and red in the morning.
More popularly known as the city of temples or Tanjore, this weekend getaway from Chennai is rich in culture and famous for its Tanjore paintings. In Thanjavur, you will find many beautiful paintings, handicrafts, saris and antiques along with musical instruments. Thanjavur holds a significant position in South Indian Civilization along with ancient culture. Since this place is important religiously, it is a must to visit place for religious people and pilgrims. Some of the places you can visit in Thanjavur are the Arts Gallery, Siva Ganga Garden, Palace and Saraswathi Mahal Library along with Sangeetha mahal. Overall, in this tourist destination, you will find the glorious past and dynamic present constantly making your holiday a memorable one.
In the Shivaroy Hills, Yercaud is a beautiful hill station in Tamil Nadu which is lush green and pleasant. Yercaud is also known as the Ooty of the Poor and holds a rich history of the British Empire era in India. this weekend getaway from Chennai is famous for its coffee plantations as well along with the cool climate and hospitable people. One of the major attractions in the town is Yercaud lake beside which many summer festivals are organised.
Kodaikanal is a popular honeymoon destination in Tamil Nadu. The place has cool weather and many luxurious resorts for a cosy stay. The misty cliffs and serene waterfalls will make you fall in love with this place and visit it more often. Having a dense forest, Kodaikanal is also known as the gift of the forests. The hills stand at an altitude of around 7200 ft above sea level. You can go trekking or mountain biking in this weekend getaway from Chennai. If you want to spend some relaxing time in a tranquil environment away from city hustle and bustle, Kodaikanal is the perfect place for you.