Chennai is a busy and active city, a bustling commercial and cultural hub of South India. Life in the big city can get hectic and every once in a while you may want to get away and just take some time off from from the fast paced city life.
What you need is a ‘daylong trip’ to relax and be refreshed. Check out our compilation of top 10 one day trips near Chennai that will help you unwind and get your batteries recharged.
One day trips near Chennai: Under 100 kilometres
Pulicat is home to India’s second largest brackish water lake or lagoon (after Chilka Lake), Pulicat Lake is a great way to spend some time in nature. Fishing, bird watching and boating are some popular activities to indulge in.
At the bird sanctuary you can watch several migratory birds and between October to March, you can spot flamingos in a good number. Other points of interest are Dutch Church, Fort Geldria and Old Dutch Street.
- Distance from Chennai: 55 kilometres
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Mahabalipuram is an ancient marvel that you must explore, especially when it’s so close to Chennai. Ancient architectural wonders include the Pancha Rathas, Arjuna’s Penance, Descent of the Ganges, the Shore Temple, Tiger Cave, Varaha Cave Temple, Krishna’s Butter Ball and the Mamallapuram lighthouse.
Village biking tours are also quite popular and you can enjoy strolling on the clean beach of Mahabalipuram. Other fun activities to do on the beach are surfing and angling.
- Distance from Chennai: 57 kilometres
A city of temples, Kanchipuram is a great place to witness the architectural and spiritual heritage of ancient India.
Must-see temples here are Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kailasanatha Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and Sri Ulagalanda Temple. Go shopping for Kanchipuram’s famous silk sarees that are known for their ancient weaving techniques.
- Distance from Chennai: 74 kilometres
If you want to escape into the lap of nature a short distance away from Chennai, visit Nagalapuram. Its beautiful waterfalls in tiers make for a picturesque trek, leading to the magical pool right at the top of the trek route.
There are three waterfalls, each with its own pool to dip your feet in. The waterfalls are 18 kilometres away from Nagalapuram near the village of Arai. Take a guide from the village if you are unsure of trekking alone.
- Distance from Chennai: 92 kilometres
5. Ubbalamadugu Falls
Located in Chittoor district, Ubbalamadugu Falls (also known as Tada Falls) are an ideal getaway for a day. The cascading waterfalls amidst thick forest foliage are a great escape to spend quiet time in nature and for a moderately difficult trekking expedition.
Nearby attraction is the Kalki Oneness temple. Tada Falls is a favourite destination for trekking enthusiasts. For those who do not want to exert themselves, can take a nature walk in the woods.
- Distance from Chennai: 92 kilometres
One day trips near Chennai: Over 100 kilometres
A quiet town known for its ancient history, Vellore is a good destination for a short one day trip. Visit its landmark Vellore Fort, a 16th century fort built in the Vijayanagar architectural style. It has an escape tunnel as well as a mosque, a temple and a church built inside.
Another point of interest is Jalakandeswarar Temple known for its beautiful carvings on gopuram and its finely carved pillars. You can also visit a gold covered temple called Golden Temple in Sripuram, about 8 kilometres from Vellore.
- Distance from Chennai: 140 kilometres
Nothing takes the edge off city living like a daylong trip to an adorable French colonial town where you can take leisurely strolls on boardwalks and walk on pretty cobblestone streets.
Visit Auroville and Sri Aurobindo Ashram, go surfing at Serenity Beach, and try other activities like sailing, scuba diving, boating and kayaking on one of Pondicherry’s many amazing beaches. Take a heritage walk to appreciate the French quarters that are abuzz with a special blend of Tamil culture. Indulge in French delicacies at Pondicherry’s famous cafes like Crepe In Touch, Artika Cafe Gallery and Cafe des Arts.
- Distance from Chennai: 156 kilometres
8. Gingee Fort
Known as the most impregnable fortress in India and also nicknamed ‘Troy of the East’, Gingee Fort is a fortress dating back to 16th century, made of granite stone and lime mortar.
The fort structure is built atop three hillocks, Krishnagiri, Rajagiri and Chandrayandurg. Each is a self-contained citadel connected through bastions forming a triangle shape. This trip is ideal for history buffs and also calls for a mild trek of three hillocks.
- Distance from Chennai: 161 kilometres
9. Talakona Waterfalls
Ensconced in Sri Venkateswara National Park, Talakona Waterfalls are the highest waterfalls in Andhra Pradesh. If you’re in the mood for trekking and basking in nature’s glory, Talakona Waterfalls would make an ideal one day trip.
Its water is known for its supposed healing properties due to the medicinal herbs in the nearby forest region. The biggest highlight of the waterfalls is the 240 meter long canopy walk that is appealing to all adventurists. The waterfall trek is easy to moderate with a few steep climbs. The gushing water cascades from a height of 270 feet.
- Distance from Chennai: 193 kilometres
There are two primary reasons to visit the spiritual town of Tiruvannamalai. First is the Sri Ramana Ashram, dedicated to the modern Indian saint and the Virupaksha cave where he meditated.
Another more spectacular reason is the Mount Arunachal, an 800 meters high extinct volcano, also highly revered in Hinduism for being an important shaivite worship place. It is considered a manifestation of Lord Shiva. It is known for its spiritual energy and sacred vibes. While you’re there, also visit Annamalaiyar Temple, one of the largest temple complexes in India.
Distance from Chennai: 200 kilometres
Whether you want to enjoy a culture trip, do a little meditation or just enjoy adventure activities, these amazing spots around Chennai will prove to be ideal one day getaways.
If you have any questions or would like to suggest any other destination, please use the comment box below.