Weekend Getaways: Short Trips from Chennai India & Video

Weekend Getaways: Short Trips from Chennai India

Table of Contents (Quick Links)

View all our CITY GUIDES

Listen (English voice)

Chennai India Video

Weekend Getaways: Short Trips from Chennai India

Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu in India, is a bustling metropolis known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere. While the city itself offers plenty to explore, there are also several charming destinations nearby that make for perfect weekend getaways. Whether you’re looking for a serene beach retreat, a historical excursion, or a nature-filled adventure, Chennai has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we will explore ten such short trips from Chennai, each with its unique attractions and experiences.


Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a historic town located just 60 kilometers south of Chennai. It is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient rock-cut temples and monuments. The Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, and Arjuna’s Penance are some of the must-visit attractions in Mahabalipuram.

  • Shore Temple: This magnificent temple, built in the 8th century, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and stands on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. The temple’s intricate carvings and stunning architecture are a testament to the craftsmanship of the Pallava dynasty.
  • Pancha Rathas: These monolithic rock-cut temples are shaped like chariots and are dedicated to the five Pandava brothers from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Each ratha (chariot) is intricately carved and represents a different architectural style.
  • Arjuna’s Penance: Also known as the Descent of the Ganges, this massive rock relief sculpture depicts various figures from Hindu mythology. It is a popular spot for art enthusiasts and history lovers.

Keywords: Mahabalipuram, Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Arjuna’s Penance

Chennai India Image 1: Chennai India


Pondicherry, officially known as Puducherry, is a charming coastal town located around 160 kilometers south of Chennai. It is known for its French colonial architecture, serene beaches, and spiritual ashrams. Pondicherry offers a unique blend of Indian and French cultures, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists.

  • Promenade Beach: This iconic beach stretch is perfect for a leisurely stroll or relaxing by the sea. It is lined with beautiful colonial buildings, cafes, and statues, creating a picturesque setting.
  • Auroville: Auroville is an experimental township founded with the vision of creating a universal town where people from all over the world can live in harmony. The Matrimandir, a spiritual center, is a major attraction in Auroville.
  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Founded by Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, The Mother, this ashram is a hub of spiritual practices and meditation. Visitors can explore the ashram’s peaceful surroundings and attend meditation sessions.

Keywords: Pondicherry, Promenade Beach, Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram


Kanchipuram, also known as Kanchi, is a sacred city located around 75 kilometers west of Chennai. It is renowned for its ancient temples, silk sarees, and traditional craftsmanship. Kanchipuram is considered one of the seven holiest cities in India and attracts pilgrims and tourists alike.

  • Kamakshi Amman Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi, this temple is one of the most important religious sites in Kanchipuram. It showcases exquisite architecture and intricate carvings.
  • Ekambareswarar Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples in Kanchipuram. Its massive gopuram (entrance tower) and thousand-pillared hall are awe-inspiring.
  • Kanchi Kudil: This heritage house museum offers a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of Kanchipuram. Visitors can explore the various sections showcasing ancient artifacts, weaving techniques, and cultural practices.

Keywords: Kanchipuram, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Kanchi Kudil

Chennai India Image 2: Chennai India


Vellore is a historical city located approximately 140 kilometers west of Chennai. It is famous for its grand Vellore Fort, ancient temples, and renowned educational institutions. Vellore is also known for its medical tourism, with several world-class hospitals and research centers in the city.

  • Vellore Fort: This 16th-century fort is a masterpiece of military architecture and is known for its double-walled fortification system. The fort houses a museum showcasing artifacts from various dynasties that ruled the region.
  • Golden Temple (Sripuram): Located in a serene and picturesque setting, the Golden Temple is a spiritual oasis dedicated to Goddess Mahalakshmi. The temple complex is adorned with intricate gold sculptures and is a popular pilgrimage site.
  • Jalakandeswarar Temple: This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its impressive architecture and intricate carvings. It is believed to have been built during the Vijayanagara period.

Keywords: Vellore, Vellore Fort, Golden Temple, Jalakandeswarar Temple


Yelagiri is a picturesque hill station located around 230 kilometers west of Chennai. It offers a serene escape from the bustling city life and is known for its pleasant climate, lush greenery, and stunning viewpoints. Yelagiri is a popular destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

  • Punganoor Lake and Park: This man-made lake is a popular spot for boating and picnicking. The park surrounding the lake is well-maintained and offers various recreational activities.
  • Jalagamparai Waterfalls: Nestled amidst the lush forests of Yelagiri, these waterfalls are a sight to behold. The trek to the waterfalls is an adventure in itself, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Swamimalai Hills: The highest peak in Yelagiri, Swamimalai Hills, offers panoramic views of the valleys and surrounding hills. It is a great spot for trekking and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.

Keywords: Yelagiri, Punganoor Lake and Park, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Swamimalai Hills

Chennai India Image 3: Chennai India


Thanjavur, also known as Tanjore, is a culturally rich city located around 350 kilometers southwest of Chennai. It is renowned for its magnificent temples, art, and music. Thanjavur was the capital of the mighty Chola dynasty and is often referred to as the “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu” due to its fertile agricultural lands.

  • Brihadeeswarar Temple: This UNESCO World Heritage-listed temple is a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it features a towering vimana (temple tower) and impressive stone carvings.
  • Thanjavur Palace: The palace complex houses the Royal Palace, the Art Gallery, and the Saraswathi Mahal Library. It offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Nayak and Maratha dynasties.
  • Thanjavur Art Plate: These intricately designed brass plates are a specialty of Thanjavur. They are handcrafted with detailed engravings and are popular as souvenirs and decorative items.

Keywords: Thanjavur, Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur Palace, Thanjavur Art Plate

Pulicat Lake

Pulicat Lake is the second-largest brackish water lake in India and is located approximately 60 kilometers north of Chennai. It is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts, as it serves as a migratory stopover for several bird species. Pulicat Lake is also home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

  • Birdwatching: Pulicat Lake is a paradise for birdwatchers, especially during the migratory season. Flamingos, pelicans, herons, and several other bird species can be spotted in and around the lake.
  • Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary: This sanctuary is a protected area within the lake and provides a safe haven for various bird species. Visitors can explore the sanctuary through boat rides and witness the diverse avian population.
  • Dutch Fort: The Dutch Fort, built in the 17th century, is a prominent landmark near Pulicat Lake. It offers a glimpse into the region’s colonial past and provides panoramic views of the lake.

Keywords: Pulicat Lake, Birdwatching, Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary, Dutch Fort

Gingee Fort

Gingee Fort, also known as Senji Fort, is a historic hill fort located around 160 kilometers southwest of Chennai. It is renowned for its impressive architecture and strategic location. The fort complex comprises three hilltops and is surrounded by fortifications, making it a formidable stronghold.

  • Kalyana Mahal: This palace within the fort complex showcases a blend of Indo-Islamic architectural styles. It was once a grand royal residence and is now a popular tourist attraction.
  • Ranganatha Temple: Located atop one of the hilltops, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is a peaceful spot for devotees.
  • Venkataramana Temple: Situated within the fort complex, this temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. It features intricate carvings and is a significant religious site in the region.

Keywords: Gingee Fort, Kalyana Mahal, Ranganatha Temple, Venkataramana Temple


Tirupati, located around 150 kilometers northwest of Chennai, is a major pilgrimage destination in South India. It is famous for the Sri Venkateswara Temple, one of the wealthiest and most visited temples in the world. Tirupati attracts millions of devotees every year who come to seek the blessings of Lord Venkateswara.

  • Sri Venkateswara Temple: This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is known for its elaborate rituals, stunning architecture, and the Tirumala Hill backdrop.
  • Talakona Waterfalls: Located in the nearby Sri Venkateswara National Park, Talakona Waterfalls is the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh. It offers a refreshing retreat amidst lush greenery and is ideal for nature lovers.
  • Srikalahasti Temple: Situated around 36 kilometers from Tirupati, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is known for its unique architecture and is considered one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams, representing the element of air.

Keywords: Tirupati, Sri Venkateswara Temple, Talakona Waterfalls, Srikalahasti Temple


Chennai, with its proximity to diverse destinations, offers a wide range of options for weekend getaways. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient temples, relaxing on serene beaches, or immersing yourself in spirituality, there is something for everyone within a short distance from the city. Plan your next weekend getaway from Chennai and embark on a memorable journey filled with history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences.


1. Tamil Nadu Tourism: tamilnadutourism.org
2. India Tourism: www.incredibleindia.org
3. Lonely Planet: www.lonelyplanet.com
4. TripAdvisor: www.tripadvisor.com
5. The Hindu: www.thehindu.com