Looking at the scorching hot Chennai sun outside, do you at times want to pack yourself away at a place where breathing is the only task assigned to you? We feel you. So, pick a long weekend from the holiday calendar, gather your essentials, hop into your car and drive away! The unbearable thing about Chennai might be its humidity but one of the good things is its location. Chennai is surrounded by heavenly green abodes which can only give you vacation goals each time you read about them.
Read on for our top 5 picks that would make for a lovely weekend refresher.
569 Kms. 10 hours. Welcome to the world of one of India’s most treasured National Parks- Periyar. Thekkady lights up the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border with its immensely charming forests, lakes, waterfalls, tea factories et al. The Periyar Tiger reserve, as it is fondly called, inhabits over 35 Tigers in the reserve and is a paradise for Elephant lovers. Go on mystical treks, indulge yourself in bamboo rafting or visit the spice plantations and tea factories; you can never envelop Thekkady in a single visit. Our tip? Pack a picnic and head out to one of the tea plantations to just breathe in nature in its purest form!
Don’t mind long road trips? Then Kodaikanal is just the place for you. A little over 400 Km, Kodaikanal is a smaller and lesser commercialized version of Ooty. Also, much cosier and just the right temperature. The Western Ghats can be viewed in all their glory at Kodaikanal and the star-shaped Kodai lake it centres itself around. This place is a paradise nestled on different types of flower beds making it an enchanting place to explore. The wide-leafed trees all around have a hypnotic effect on you on those morning trails. Pack us some hand-made chocolate on your way back. You may visit the many viewpoints or waterfalls or pedal around the lovely lakes. Wait, did we mention the scrumptious chocolates?
Even smaller in size than Thekkady and just over 220 Km from Chennai, is the small land of mango and jackfruit plantations- Yelagiri. It is the land of all lost joys. Yelagiri takes you back to your childhood when joy was not so hard to come by. Rediscover your forgotten interests at Yelagiri, we suggest. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you must head to Swami Malai Hills for all sort of adventures that include trekking, zip lining, paragliding etc. Else just hop over to the other side of the hills and enjoy the Jalagamparai waterfalls. Every place you visit in Yelagiri makes you feel like you are one of the first few to have witnessed this pristinely beautiful place. Pack some home-made honey on your way back! And don’t forget to fuel up beforehand because the petrol stations are not a common sight around Yelagiri.
We know what you are thinking, temples and carvings, right? Well yes, those and a lot of small-town intricacies packed in a good deal for the quickest getaway of under 60 Km from Chennai. It is coastal, it is hybrid and it has World Heritage sites! Pack some books along or some series to binge watch because ‘Mahabs’ is going to make you want to spend a lot of time with yourself. Pick a bicycle to traverse the wander around or just indulge in those long never-ending walks that head straight to the beach. Wait till the surfers grab your attention! Also, pick up some Tibetian knick-knacks while there.
Get ready for another 370-off Km from Chennai to reach the land guarded by Goddess Ettukai Amman. You can bike it if that is what excites you, but be careful of the numerous hairpin bends as you circuit around the Ghats! We do not think the Goddess will be able to help you with those. But the ride is a green escapade throughout. Do this one for the journey and some untouched and naïve viewpoints that shout out for instant attention. Hills are akin to trekking and yes, it is a haven for hikers. The Agaya Gangai waterfalls that traverse more than 90 meters to sweet-kiss the river below, are a magnificent (yet slippery) sight to behold.
Share your travel stories with us to these places or more in the comment below.
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