Trekking Near Chennai: 10 Best trekking placess around Chennai

Here is List of best weekend gateways from Chennai up to 300 Kms. These places include trekking places around Chennai and places for long drives and road trips from Chennai.

Sunset-at-Nagala-dam-nagalapuram-trek

An easy trekking place not much far away from Chennai, just within 100 km. Nagalapuram western trek can be either covered in one day from Chennai or you can spend a night camping the wild also. Here is more detail on Nagalapuram trek

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Tada falls is around 95 km from Chennai. There are many pristine pools on the trek way. It can be covered in one day from Chennai like Nagalapuram western Entry trek. Here is a detailed guide on Tada falls trek.

Yercaud hily road and mountains before sunrise

Yercaud hily road and mountains before sunrise

Yercaud is a hill station in Salem District of Tamil Nadu. Yercaud is another famous hill station in Tamilnadu situated at almost 5000 feet in western Ghats range. This place is famous for the honeymoon, different kind of fruits and coffee. There are many small hiking places around the town along with the leisure walks. Some of the places are Lady’s seat, Kiliyur falls etc. Read about the Yercaud road trip here.

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Again situated almost 90 km from Chennai, this trek can be covered in one day or on two days trek, there could be night camping too. 8 to 9 kilometers of trek distance can be covered in 6-7 hours. Here is more details on the nagalapuram east trek.

Mahabalipuram, Five Rathas along ECR

A UNESCO world Heritage site. Just 40 Kms from Chennai along scenic ECR. One can stay on the cottages on the beach; enjoy dance festival in December; see monolithic temples & sculptures; get the view of the sea from the lighthouse. Here is the Guide on traveling Mahabalipuram world heritage site.

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Pondicherry is one of the most famous cities along the Bay of Bengal. Famous for its French culture, this city is also called “French Riviera of the East”. One can find a mix of beaches, bamboo cottages, boating, sunrise, old harbours, beach islands etc in this city.

  • Gingee Fort from Chennai (160 km)

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Around 150 km from Chennai, this surviving fort is a nice place for photography and a nice hiking place. This fort is situated in Villupuram district near Pondicherry. There are many parts of this fort like the lower fort, upper fort, Queen’s fort, Kalyana mahal etc. More details can be found here…

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Yelagiri is situated at a height of 2800 feet amidst four mountains. The Climate here is average throughout the year so there is no particular season go there. This hill station is perfect for weathers. More detailed traveling guide could be found here….

  •  Pulicat Lake Bird-watching around Chennai (60 kms)

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There are 16 islands in this lake with camping options available. Not much far from Chennai, this place is ideal for photography, Ferry travel and Bird watching. More travel details can be found here….

  •  Alamparai fort near Chennai (110 Kms)

View-from-Alamparai-fort

 

A perfect destination for offbeat location again on East Coast road from Chennai. This fort is situated along the Bay of Bengal and is perfect for one day outing and photography. Travel details can be found here….

  • Pichavaram Mangrove Forest from Chennai (235 Kms)

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Second largest mangrove forest in India after Sundarbans. This piece of nature is still not exploited by much people. A perfect place for camping, boating in the mangroves backwaters, awesome photography and weekend outings. More traveling details about this place can be found here….

  • Hogenakkal falls from Chennai (340 Kms)

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Hogenakkal falls situated on river Kaveri is one of the magnificent falls in Tamilnadu. Driving to this fall is also very scenic with fields, wilk worms plants and countryside India. apart from that, coracle ride and fresh fried fishes are very famous at the falls. More traveling details about hogenakkal falls can be found here….

  • Chembarambakkam Lake around Chennai (25 Kms)

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Situated almost inside the Chennai city, Chembarambakkam Lake is ideal for one day outing with family and kids an for photography. More traveling details can be found here….

  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary near Chennai (90 Kms)

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A bird sanctuary situated almost 75 kilometers from Chennai and spread over 75 acres in Kanchipuram district, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is ideal for one day outing. This place is also ideal for nature photograpy and bird watching in the morning during sunrise. More traveling details about Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary can be found here….

  • Kanchipuram near Chennai (75 Kms)

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The capital of Pallava kingdom has a lot of medieval temples which can still take you back centuries ago. The silk capital of Tamilnadu is almost just 2 hours from Chennai. More traveling details can be found here….

  • Horsley Hills from Chennai (278 Kms)

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Almost 250 kms from Chennai, Horsley hills is a wildlife sanctuary. Most of the people drive ther ein the morning to see the sunrise and clouds. More traveling details can be found here….

  • Mamanduru Trekking from Chennai (152 Kms)

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There are a lot of trekking spots around Mamanduru. More trekking details can be found here….


Isckon temple, ECR, Chennai: Spirituality and You….

Isckon temple has been a cult which has been drawing and influencing a lot of people who are longing for personal spirituality. Some say the spirituality does not need a medium and it is rather a divine innate sense which guides a person based up on the needs of his life and Karma. In essence, spirituality holds different pattern and meaning for different persons. However, some believe that spirituality needs a guideline because we human beings, getting more involved into the materialistic world, need some source of spirituality to show the eternal path to self-actualization.  

Isckon Temple ChennaiIsckon temple, Chennai from a distance

But the question still remains that would you seek the guidelines of a medium which itself is, more or less, materialistic in nature. Yes, I am talking about the Isckon movement.  Any religion or even path to spiritual faith does not demand for materialistic offerings to a movement. Even though it has demanded, the demands were, however, used to fulfill the needs of those who could not afford their livings. Let me elaborate it little more while focusing more on comparative religion. Isckon Chennai in Evening at ECR

Isckon temple at Dusk

Hinduism: it, indeed, demanded the king to forsake its kingdom in search of spirituality. At the smaller scale, After the performance of divine Yagna, the king used to make magnificent offerings to his kingdom (I am not talking about the offerings paid to the priests or Brahmans who were the ones responsible for making the whole auspicious occasion a big success. ) But, on the social scale, these religions never asks for putting into materials to influence other part of the society to influence them as a part of movement. Buddhism & Jainism: At more granular and minuscule scale but on wide parameters, these religions encourage a spirituality-seeker to forsake the worldly traits on to the path of spirituality according as what kind of salvation their life demands. Like Hinduism again, on the social scale, these religions never asks for putting into materials to influence other part of the society to influence them as a part of movement. Isckon temple Chennai dome Islam: Islam these days has become one of the most talked religion. I have personally listened to the some of the verses of Quran and have found that this holy scripture, like Vedas in Hinduism, is too abstruse to recondite. However, some scholars in Islam from different countries, who are called up by different names like Mullah, Allamah or Mawlawi, in a BBC documentary talk that this holy scripture offers different meanings for different intentions. But, no where Islam offers the materialistic approach of movement for mass influence. If it does offer then I might not be aware of. Christianity: May be during dark ages, the Catholic church demanded money from people for their salvation and sin but that was dark age, hundreds of years ago. Humanity, since then have progressed a lot and even, protestant church have come into existence. Isckon Chennai But with the advancement in religions, 20th and 21st century has witnessed a lot of  influencing movements on the name of religion. Be it the Sai movement in Puttaparthi of Andhra pradesh in India where the person who claimed to next to God was found in case of child molestation and fake magical performances to trick the blind followers. This case had again be exposed by BBC but the case could not take a shape in India because many of the higher class officials himself were the follower of the Sai. These movements, have always demanded people for donation and they have made them so much addicted and subordinated upon them that no room for rationality is left in our mind and that’s when we become a blind follower. Isckon Chennai in EVenning

Magnificent mall like structure of the Isckon temple, Chennai

History has seen people revolted against the accumulation of money on the name of religion but, I would say, Isckon movement has been so much of crafty in their design that they are not discerned well and to top of it, once you are a part of it, its hard to get out. In short, you pay more material to earn materialistic spirituality, a kind of paid and bought spirituality. It does not need a proof. One has to see it for himself. I have been to almost four or five Isckon temples ranging from India even to outside India. And, there was one thing common on everywhere, the mall like mega-structural temples. Furthermore, Once you enter Inside the temple, you can not simply skip their products on display and that’s why they have malls like structures so that they can lure you on each floor with the display of their items. Isckon Chennai Entrance Even they have sections like marriage hall, birthday hall and cakes, sweet shops, kids special zone, girls special zone (clever move indeed) bypassing which asks for lot of ignorance on the name of God. May be, a person might go with the spirituality on mind, but what it actually turn out to be? sold spirituality where every thing is commercialized and on top of that even offerings are classified and commercialized. You get a proper bill and that bill brings a relief to the people when they have paid on the name of the God but they do not realize that the moment they step in, its the commercialization and sold spirituality hovering around them. So the question still remains:  what kind of spirituality you, in reality, seek at Isckon temple? Isckon Chennai floors

Storey which houses shops at Isckon temple, Chennai

You might also find it interesting. The truth revealed by an Isckon follower: how Isckon gets you addicted and sell the paid spirituality.


The Truth behind the Isckon Movement


Sunset on ECRSunset near Isckon temple

Sunset ECR near Isckon Chennai

Sunset along ECR


The best places to visit along ECR, Chennai 


Pondicherry: Auroville, Bamboo Cottages, Rock Beach & Old harbour

Auroville beach, pondicherry, open all the time, is famous for being calm, bamboo cottages and quiet  turtle walk along the beach during sunrise.

Pondicerry ECR Sunrise Auroville beachSunrise at Auroville Beach Pondicherry

After getting down at the main bus stand, we decided to take an auto-rickshaw to the beach. Although while coming from Chennai, one can directly get down at Auroville beach itself because the beach is the first point of the city of Pondicherry, that’s gets encountered.

Since it was Christmas and new year time, it was getting harder for us to get a cottage at reasonable price. After walking around and inquiring at almost every hut, we finally got settled for Rs. 200/ night at a cottage facing the beach. After putting in our bags, we decided to explore the area a little bit more.

Aquarium at the cottage Aquarium at the cottage

Soon, we were asked by the owner if we would like to avail his catering facilities. Most of the times, dishes offered at the cottages are fresh fishes and shrimps brought from the sea. I am a vegetarian and I had to decline his offer. It was a perfect afternoon and we decided to soak our selves in the bay of Bengal. Soon we were in our shorts and we were ready to enter inside the bay of Bengal.

Bay of Bengal

The sand of Auro beach is coarse sand and sometimes when you are pushed down by the waves, the sand becomes abrasive. However, we did not realize that due to the warmth of the fun at the beach. 

 As the evening approached, beach got more crowded. Auro beach, unlike other near by beaches, does not change its topography with the time and remains even so, it becomes easier to take dip in the sea and find yourself standing at an even ground. With the  afternoon approaching the waves start roaring and getting higher. However, still the sun was bright in the sky and sand was still warm.

Fun at auro beach

After having loads of fun, we decided to retreat to our cottages. Most of the cottages serve warm water on demand. After changing our clothes, we went out to see the city at the night.

The Bamboo cottages or huts:

After paying 200 per night for four persons for a bamboo cottage, it was time to settle in. The cottage was a bamboo cottage supported by four bamboo columns fixed in the ground. A bamboo stairway leads to the cottage. A cottage has the basic facility of light, a fan, a mosquito-net or mosquito-repellents along with light weight sheets and mattresses.

After having dinner, we again took a walk at the Auro beach. It was dark and nothing could be heard or seen except the roar of the sea-waves. Around 10 in the night, we returned to our cottages. The wind was high and waves were really making a lot of sound. Since, we were tired, it did not take us long to sleep under the cold breeze from the sea sipping in our cottage through the bamboo pores.

There were a lot of mosquitoes and  along with applying mosquito-repellent cream, we had to put on the repellent bars to save our selves from the mosquitoes. But as the night dropped in, there were lesser traces of mosquitoes.

Cottages at Auro beachBamboo cottages as seen from the Auro beach

Sunrise at next morning:

It was colder in the morning while winds were still high. We decided to, then and there, go to the beach to watch the sunrise. There were not so many people on the beach except the local fishermen and some visitors. It looked like we were too early but on the other hand, it also gave us a lot of time to walk along the lonely shore for length.

The shore was full of sea-shells washed away by the high tides of the night. In the night, the tides fall back while shells remain lying untouched at the beach.

Turtle walk during sunriseShells lying on the Auro beach before sunrise

 We also saw some fisherman settling down their fishing nets and venturing into the sea for fishing. It was also fun to watch our own steps getting left behind on the lonely Auro beach before the sunrise.

Fisherman getting ready in the morningFisherman at the Auroville beach

Sunrise:

Sunrise at Auro beach is fully captivating and breath-taking. One can not take his eyes of until the sun is seen coming out of the clouds. Along with the changing colors of the sun, everything around us changes its color, be it the waves, the water, the sand, the sky or the clouds. And its, mesmerizing to watch how the beam of sun-rays appear out of the sky and kiss the ocean.

sunrise at auro beachSunrise at Auro beach

How long I stayed watching the sun appearing out of the clouds, I do not remember. For some time, it’s totally a different world. It was not a surprise to see, more and more people gathering to watch the sunrise and we decided to move on to the lonelier part of the Auro beach.

Palms along the beachPalm trunks along the beach

After enjoying the sunrise at the beach, we decided to return to our cottage and see the city. After getting freshen up, we had our breakfast prepared by the owner and we left for the city. 

Morning breakfast under the cottage

fishing nets and boats at PondyAn abadoned fishing boat and net in the cottage complex

At Auro beach:
– Regular prices for cottages are around 250 per 24 hour stay and is further negotiable
– Watch the sunrise
– Do not venture much deeper along the beach in the night
– Take a turtle walk before the sunrise on bare foot
– Try local dishes made by the fisherman or the cottage owner
– Go to Auroville village, 4-5 Kms from, the beach

Rock beach/ Gandhi beach/Promenade beach in Pondicherry

Rock beach/ Gandhi beach/Promenade beach in Pondicherry has always been one of the most visited tourist spots of Pondicherry. The statues, cafes, rocks, waves striking against the rocks and a dockyard & harbor to the right always attracts the fascination of a tourist.

Rock beach

Promenade beach or rock beach or Gandhi Beach:

Just three Kilometers east to the main bus stand lies the rock beach. This beach is called by multiple names like rock beach due to rocks along the beach, Gandhi beach because of statue of  Mahatma Gandhi and also as “Promenade beach”. Popularly this beach is also called Pondicherry beach because of being situated in the heart of the city and being most popular among the tourist. This beach is easily reachable from main bus stand by shared autos.

Rock beach at Pondicherry
Rock beach, Pondicherry

It’s a different experience to sit at the rocks and let the waves drench you with water when they hit against the rocks. The blue water turns whitish and water is sprayed across. If you stay for little longer and watch carefully, you can also see crabs popping outside from  under rocks. Rocks closer to the sea are mostly slippery because they are wet and full of algae however. rocks at the upper part remain dry under the sun.

statue of Gandhi Jee at Gandhi Beach, Pondicherry
Statue of Gandhi Jee at Rock beach

Gandhi statue:

Gandhi statue is surrounded by eight granite rocks and the floor is made up of marbles. Its a sign of integrity here. There is a 24 hours open cafe near the Gandhi statue called “Le cafe”. People can enjoy the waves over a cup of coffee sitting in the shed, if its too sunny.

On Gandhi beach

Gandhi Beach has a wide pavements which is often used for walking, skating and cycling. Although the beach gets crowded in the evening but until afternoon if the sun is shiny and there are no clouds in the sky then, it might get hotter.

Another statue at Promenade beach, Pondicherry

Other statues:
Apart from Gandhi’s statues, there are other statues too, not only on the beach but across the city of Pondicherry and most of them either belong to the sailors or french nationalists or both.

Rock beach, Pondicherry
A deserted fruit shop in afternoon

To the Pondicherry harbor dockyard:

To beat the heat, we used cold coconut water while people also take beer because Pondicherry is a union territory and is exempted from certain tax so things are generally cheaper here. To our right was the harbor much deeper into the sea. We asked local people and could not get much information if it was legal to go or not.

on Pondicherry naval dockyard harbour

After a walk of 10 mins, we were at the port road, door of the port harbor and stopped by a guard. It appeared to us as though it was illegal however after paying some small amount, we were allowed to go to the port. The length of the harbor is more than 200 meters into the sea.

On Pondicherry harbour dock
On the dockyard

This harbor is not operation now and remains almost deserted. It was fun to see the waves hitting the pillars of the harbors and water splintering into smaller drops. Though it was little hot but standing just above the  sea and surrounded by the feet deep of water brought some coolness.

A fish at Pondicherry Harbour dock
Fish lying on the dockyard

To our surprises, we could see the fishes swimming from the dock above, down into the sea. Sometimes, a strong wave would throw small fishes on the dockyard. I could not believe it initially but strong currents really do that.

From pondicherry harbour
Shot from the Dockyard of Pondicherry harbor

I could feel closer to the sea than to land. It was really awesome to watch the birds flying and praying for fish; fishermen going into the sea; watching small fishes swimming from above; waves striking against the pillars of the harbor and looking down at the abysmal depth of the sea. To the right of the Harbor, there is also a light house called “new light house” because old light house now houses some governmental office.

Fishermen from Pondicherry harbour

The most exhilarating thing to watch was the city of Pondicherry. The city looked little smaller and we could see most of its sea-shore lines. Most of the buildings along the Gandhi beach are white and are govt. office. The streets still have french names and it looks puzzling to walk in an Indian city having french name and Tamil language.

City of Pondicherry from Naval dockyard port

Walking on the pillars of the harbor:
After relishing the view of the whole city standing along the rock beach and having some photography time, our swinging mood asked for some more adventure. Call it to the naive blood gushing through our veins or the confidence built over the new swimming lessons that I had freshly taken. I decided to walk over the pillars of the harbor and just above the sea. I could not walk much deeper. The deeper I walk, the more fierce the wind was. Moreover, the pillars were very slippery and It was hard to maintain the balance or even stand against the winds and the waves hitting against the pillars. Though that was fun to be there but I would not recommend anyone to take that risk.

Walking under the Pondicherry harborOn the supporting pillars of the harbor

Important things to do on the Gandhi beach, Pondicherry:

– Rock beach/Gandhi beach is just 3 kms from Main bus stand and shared autos can be taken from the bus stand for the beach
– Le cafe at the beach is open for 24 hours and they offer some nice variety of coffee.
– Beside the beach, there are good shops selling antique things are worth taking a look
– Walking in the street named in french convention with french architecture is surely a nice thing to do.

Beaches & water points along ECR: From Chennai to Puducherry

1. Nettukuppam Beach, Chennai:

Situated at almost northern-most tip of Chennai, Nettukuppam enjoys the solitary symphony with the clean sea water and cool breezes. Mostly deserted and not being visited much by the people except the locals, If you are a photography-buff, this place is for you. The beach offers a vantage point from where one can enjoy the contemporary and former history of the city. It does not only offer the historical perspective but also, one can see the geographical differences over the period.

Nettukuppam beach, ChennaiNettukuppam broken Bridge

Nettukuppam Pier or the broken bridge is the famous spot for the locals to sit there enjoy the spray of the water waves that hit the piers of the bridge. Absence of fast-food vendors and much visitors except on weekends make the beach spotless and the water is also cleaner compared to other beaches of Chennai. It offers a good view of Ennore Thermal power station, Ennore creek and other natural sights including modern city buildings and the subsiding away from the city. It is not advisable to go there to see the sunrise because tides are usually very high.

More Info:

Nearest railway station: Ennore (3 Kms), local trains to Ennore are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.

2. Tiruvottiyur Beach, Chennai:

Again not so much popular among the visitors except famous Tiruvottiyur temple visiotors, this beach is still visited by many people even on weekends. It lies 7-8 Kms south of the Nettukuppam pier along the bay of Bengal. Though it is a clean beach but being one of the most under-developed area of Chennai, the surrounding of this beach does not offer good supplementary view other than the vast lonely sea.

More Info:

Nearest railway station: Tiruvottiyur/Wimco NagarEnnore (2 Kms), local trains to Ennore are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.

3. Royapuram Fishing Harbour/ Chennai fishing harbour:

Housing more than 500 fishing boats and hundreds of them coming and going out in the sea every hour during a busy day Chennai fishing harbour is one of the busiest fish market in Chennai, famous for fresh and different varieties of favourite fishes. In 2004, the harbour suffered a great loss by the Tsunami but reconstruction and great enthusiasm of local fishermen who come from near by village of Chepauk could let the harbour loose its name and fame.

Chennai Fishing harbourChennai Fishing Harbour

One a busy day, the harbour gives a feel of an armada of small fleets exchanging sea-space and hundreds of Indian tricolour kissing the humid air of the Bay of Bengal. The environment there is always chirpy and full of horns and fisherman’s murmurs but its still a different world to experience.

More Info:

Nearest railway station: Tondiarpet (2 Kms), local trains to Tondiarpet are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.

4. Marina Beach, Chennai:

This beach, running 13 kms along the shore of a city, is the second largest urban beach in the world.

Marina beach and Chennai port in the backgroundMarina beach and Chennai port in the background

Marina beach is one of the busiest beach crowded with vendors, locals and visitors. Especially on weekends, the beach is crowded with thousands of people from all walks of life. However, in the recent news, Marina beach has earned a defamation of being dirty and smelly due to lot of vendors and pollution. Apart from the beach, the Govt. has tried the beautification of the long beach by installing some decorative landmarks along the beach which are worth taking a look. Most of these landmarks are statues of the leaders and a few landmark structures. These statues include our national father Mahatma Gandhi and of prominent Tamil leaders of the past.

Besides, these artificial structures, former historical landmarks could also be seen around like light house on the Marina beach, Marina swimming pool, Napier bridge and memorials around.

More Info: 

Nearest railway station: Chepauk (500 meters), local trains to Chepauk are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations (Chennai Park stations).

Places to see around:

MGR Memorial, Anna Memorial, Statues along the beach road running parallel to the beach, Swimming pool, Napier bridge over Kuvam river (1 Km) etc. 

5. Gandhi Beach, Pondicherry:

It can be said that Marina beach is so long that people call this beach, now-a-days, by different names in different areas. It can be be said that Gandhi beach, a part of its mother Marina beach, is an extension of Marina to the south towards light house area, where Marina beach is called by the name of Gandhi beach because of a statue of Gandhi over there. This beach houses the famous light house of the Marina beach from where one can get the full view of the city and the sea.

More Info:

Nearest railway station: Light House (500 meters), local trains to Light House are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations (Chennai Park stations).

Places to see around:

Light House, Marina walk, Gandhi statue, Chennai Citi Centre mall (1 Km) to the west etc. 

6. Adyar estuary and water-front, Chennai:

Adyar Estuary is unique in itself. Finding such a natural habitat where a river barely meets the sea and creates a natural green world which is rare to find, even imagine, in a metropolitan city.

Adyar Estuary at evening

Adyar Estuary: One of the best places for Sunset and Sunrise

Adyar Estuary is formed by river Adyar and the bay of Bengal which leads to formation of creek and mangroves around the meeting point. These mangroves are habitat to migratory birds ; absence of pollution (industrial area) and presence of religious and educational institutions, gardens and ecological park have essentially helped the area in preserving its beauty. Broken Bridge at Adyar estuary is one of the favourite places of the photographers to shoot the modernity with historic nature, the mud land, the green space and high rising buildings in the  background. Peculiarity of this place is it offers sunrise as well as sunset view too.

More Info:

Nearest Stop: Besant Nagar Bus stop (2 Kms) local buses connect this place to Adyar bus depot (3.5 Kms)

Best place for sunrise and sunset Photography

Places to see around:

South side of the river (Besant nagar side): Broken Bridge, Adyar river mangroves, small islands in the river, Bird-watching, Theosophical society

North side (Across the river): Adyar creek and ecological garden 

7. Elliot beach/ Besant nagar beach, Chennai:

It can also be said that Adyar estuary is the north extension of the Elliot beach. Elliot beach is sometimes also referred as one of the cleanest beach of the Chennai. As mentioned, this part of Chennai is not so polluted and mostly inhabited by the richer part of the society. All these factors attracts more lovers to this beach including presence of good restaurants along the beach.

Elliot beach or Besant nagar beachPeaceful Elliot beach

This beach also hosts some of the festivals like Pongal, food festivals, new year fireworks or some concerts.

More Info:

Nearest Stop: Besant Nagar Bus stop (2 Kms) local buses connect this place to Adyar bus depot (3.5 Kms)

Places to see around:

Annai Velankanni Church, Restaurants along the beach road, Shopping area along the beach

8. New Beach, Kottivakkam, Chennai:

As its name suggests, new beach is comparatively newer to the people. In my opinion, this beach is even cleaner than Elliot beach. Much of the Vendors park their stall near by road which keeps the beach clean.

New beach near Kottivakkam along ECRSerene and clean New beach near Kottivakkam

  The road long the beach is sometimes used by the Police to test the ride of new riders for driving license and trend of people jogging and taking evening walk in peaceful surrounding is also seen. Just like Elliot beach, residences around this beach is inhabited by the richer part of the society so the near by area also remains clean.

More Info:

Nearest Stop: Kottivakkam Bus stop (500 meters). Beach is to the east of the stand.

9. VGP Golden beach, ECR, Chennai:

It is, though, a private beach but open to everyone who has an entry permit to VGP Golden beach resort. Because its a private beach, the maintenance is taken care by the resort authority and so this beach is clean and far from the heart of the city.

10. Muttukadu Backwaters boating, Chennai:

If you want to feel the charm of backwaters without going to Kerala and watch the sun set behind the tall sky-scrapers of the south IT-revolutionized Chennai, this place is perfect for you.

Muttukadu Boating PointBoating and Sky scrappers in the background

The vast-spread backwaters and with a variety of  boating to choose from, Muttukadu is an ideal choice for family outing on weekends. Get more information about Muttukadu Boating

11. Olive beach, Chennai:

Maintained by Vivanta- Taj group, this beach is a private beach adjacent north to the cavelong beach towards Muttukadu.

Coco Beach only available to the resort

12. Cavelong Beach, ECR, Chennai:

Cavelong beach is unique because of its crescent shape and the presence of rocks on this beach which makes the beach more magnificent.

Kovalam beachCavelong Beach

Besides rocks abounding with old and green algae and waves washing them every other minute on the crescent beach, it is also famous for fried fish and sea-diving. 

What to do there?

– Walk along the clean shallow beach for miles and miles, turtle walk.
– Photograph the crescent-shaped beach filled with fishing boats and fishing nets
– Take a ride into the turquoise sea by negotiating with the fisherman, you can also go for group outing, it is called sea-diving in that area. Fisherman provide the life-jackets and take the people a few Kms off the shore for around half an hour- Its a life-time experience.Click here to read more about sea-diving…..


 13. Mahabalipuram Beach:

Mahabalipuram is famous for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous for its Centuries-old Shore temple, five Rathas, Monolithic rock sculptures, a century old light house and caves. Its a must visit place of Tamilnadu.

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram shore templeMahabalipuram beach and the Shore temple in the background

Due to presence of rocks and dynamic topography of the Mahabalipuram beach, it is not advisable to go deep in the sea.Know more about Mahabalipuram here…..


14. Mudaliarkuppam boat house on Odiyur lake:

This is a recent project started by the Tamilnadu Tourism by calling it with the name of Raindrop boating House. This is a water sports facility located along the scenic East-coast road, 35 Kms south of Mahabalipuram on the way to Pondicherry.

Odiyur lake along ECR  Odiyur lake along ECR

Size of Odiyur lake is much larger than Muttukadu boating backwaters. And to top of it, Odiyur lake is more serene and believed to be the major source of fresh water to the near by cities. Moreover, the lake houses many kinds of birds and there is not much crowd here.

15. Alamparai fort:

Once living its life full-fledged during Mughal empire, Alamparai fort was influenced by the French culture whose main centre have been Pondicherry, almost 50 Kms from there. it was gifted by the Mughal Nawab to the French Government. However later, a war between the British and the French was the reason of the destruction of the fort.

View from Alamparai fortBay of Bengal from the Alamparai fort

It s believed that the fort also had a dockyard inside the bay of Bengal for trading facility. Now a days, the ruins of the fort can still be seen in the near by water-fronts. The fort is still surrounded by the high walls and watch-tower. This place is gaining popularity in tourism lately.

Places to see around:

Remnants of the fort, high fort walls, brick steps, mausoleum, watch tower, Nature around, view of bay of Bengal etc. 

16. Serenity beach (Kottakuppam, Pondicherry):

As the name suggests, Serenity beach is one of the most untouched beaches in Pondicherry because it’s in peripheral of the city. Surrounded by the palm trees and minimal habitation, this beach is perfect to take a break from the city life.

Serenity beach, PondicherrySerenity beach, Pondicherry

Places to see around:

A unique location along the Bay of Bengal in the heart of the city where there is solitude and serenity.

17. Auroville beach, Pondicherry:

Auroville beach is famous for Bamboo cottages, foreigner tourists and Auroville village. This beach is situated at the northern-most point of the Pondicherry city.

Sunrise at Auroville beachSunrise at Auroville beach, one fine day

One would first encounter this beach which is situated at the northern tip of the city. This beach is perfect for the sea- bath and from mid-night till the morning, shore is washed by a lot of shells.

More Info:

Auroville Beach is one of the most famous beaches of Pondicherry. Auto-rickshaw can be taken from anywhere to reach this beach.

One of the best locations for watching sunrise

Places to see around:

Bamboo cottages, morning walk on the beach when beach is full of shells, fisherman nets and boats leaving for fishing early morning, Auroville (A famous township near by)

18. Promanade Beach or Gandhi Beach, Pondicherry:

It is one of the most popular and frequently visited by the local people and the tourists. It stretches over 1500 meters. On the southern end lies the statue of the most popular French Governor of the region, Monsieur Dupleix. Beyond the statue of the governor is the new pier that stretches along 284 meters.

Gandhi beach and its rocks, PondicherryWaves striking to Black rocks at the Promanade beach

The port also stands near the coast. A 4.25 meters tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi stands on the Promanade facing the Gandhi Maidan which lies in the middle of the boulevard. The statue is surrounded by eight tall monolithic structures. An evening stroll along the shoreline of the Promanade Beach is a common phenomena among the residents of the region. And in the evening during the high tides, people enjoy sitting at the rocks for the water spraying out of the sea when waves hit the rocks.

More Info:

Promanade Beach, locally called Gandhi beach is in the heart of the city and not far from the main bus stand.

Places to see around:

Museum, park, local market, Le cafe at the beach, statues, Pondicherry harbour etc. 

19. Plage Paradiso Beach (Chunnamber River), Pondicherry:

This beach is famous for golden sand-beaches with deep blue waters creating a magnificent sight for the visitors. After a long sunbath you can also rest in the cool shades of the palm trees. Walking on the soft sand and the waves washing out the sands under your feet is an experience to be enjoyed.

Chunnambar boat house and back waters along ECRChunnambar backwaters, On the way to paradise beach

This beach forms an island away from the main land separated by the backwater which is used for water- sports recreation and for fishing by the local fisherman.

More Info:

Can be reached by taking a boat from Chunnamber boat house. 


25 Adventures to Experience in India

Here is a list of 25 best offbeat Adventure destinations in India. The list includes adventure places to see and experience in India from the Himalayas to the Western Ghats and from West coast to the East.

India is a land of flora and fauna. Ranging from the Himalayas in the north to the Indian ocean in the south; The Thar desert in the west to the ranges of the hills in the east, India presents it, visitors, an abundant list of various adventurous experiences to be taken.

If you are not among the traditional travelers and want some adventure, here is a list of the best offbeat adventurous places to experience in India.

Kumara Parvatha trek

The Western Ghats in monsoon get bestowed with wet, cold & dark smelly woods. You would enjoy stepping over dead logs lying along; crossing water streams.

Enjoy the sun rising out of a pool of clouds next morning. When the pool of clouds disappears a chain of mountains spread till the horizon welcomes you. Experience the lightening showers, grasslands, flowers. See the fog afloat like lazy smoke. Camp under the star-studded nights. Life is calling for adventure and you should go.

Some of the famous Western Ghats treks are:

Rafting in Rishikesh

When life is left at the mercy of gallons of cold water hundreds of feet deep. Facing each rapid needs some guts and drops of rushing adventure through your blood. Shout; raft; laugh; see the world shifting behind.

Float over water over miles. Experience flow; the taste of water; the feeling of feeling the coldness of the water. Get drenched; hang on to life jacket; hold the rope and keep floating for hours. Close your eyes; lose the spatial recognition; forget everything and feel closer to eternity.

Some of the other rafting options in India:

  • Rafting in Sikkim in river Teesta
  • Rafting in Beas river in Manali
  • Rafting in Kaveri river near Coorg
  • A Plain drive Around Dhanushkodi

Dhanushkodi, the southern tip of Rameshwaram island

Shall I call it a divine exploration? Drive through the island of Rameshwaram. Drive to the southern most point of the Rama Setu (Adam’s Bridge). Experience the silent sea on both sides of the sand trail in the gulf of Mannar.
Drive through places in Rameshwaram and find the relevancy of places around at the island. Deep dive into your ancient religious history and unlock the myths.

Other plain driving options:

  • Rann of Kachh, Gujarat
  • Go for a Himalayan Trek

Chadar trek, Leh

Far from civilization where the temperature drops much below freezing point, spend a week walking above frozen river. Clad in layers of clothing, see the changing colors of the ice with each tick of the clock. Spend nights in caves and hearing the whispers of cold winds in your sleeping bag slipped inside the tent on a thick ice sheet.

Some of the famous Himalayan treks in India are:

  • Hampta Pass Trek
  • RoopKund Trek
  • Goechla Pass Trek
  • Scuba Diving in Andaman

Scuba diving Andaman

There is a roar on the sea surface. Look beyond the halo of the mighty roars. There is a blue paradise filled with a plethora of mysteries. A lot has to be explored inside the deep turquoise water: Tranquillity, peace, and secretiveness. The loud roars are purposeful, they preserve the deep tranquillity of the blue world below them.

Blue world engulfs so many “wow! These kinds of creatures do exist on earth” creatures you have never seen or heard about before and fitted in dry suits it’s not your chance but your choice which gives you a privilege to be immersed inside the alien world. Wow! the oceanic world is full of a variety of life.

Other diving spots in India:

  • Pondicherry
  • Goa
  • Netrani Island
  • Join an adventure course at HMI, Darjeeling

trekking HMI

Ever wondered to see how climbers tie their knot? What techniques they use in climbing to thousands of feet. Learn not only the knots but also a lot more.

This course includes ice-craft, snow-craft and rock-crafts; learning how to peg a tent; confidence-booster training; camping in different terrains under different circumstances. After a month, you shall not be what you were, you would be what you wanted to be.

Other Adventure Schools in India

  • Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttrakhand
  • Go for a Turtle walk for miles on Gokarna Beaches

Paradise beach

They call it turtle walk but it’s an enhanced version of turtle walk. Walking along the beach is a fantasy for many of us. Some even dream of walking under full moonlight. The golden sand, the golden moon, the golden ocean. the golden ferries. See the diversity changing from one beach to another.

See the color of water changing from one beach to another. See the shape of the beaches. See the huts, camp along the sand, enjoy the sunset in the Arabian sea sitting alone by your tent listening to some music and with a camera.

  • Heli-Skiing in Auli

heli-skiing at auli

And Wikipedia says:
“Heli-skiing is off-trail, downhill skiing that is accessed by a helicopter, as opposed to a ski lift. Heli-skiing is essentially about skiing in a natural, albeit highly selected environment, without the effort required for hiking into these areas as in ski touring or ski mountaineering.

Most heliskiers are seeking specific, pleasurable skiing conditions that are hard to replicate in the highly manipulated terrain of ski resorts: particularly powder snow, but also long descents, natural terrain contours and features, smooth corn snow, old-growth tree glades, and steep slopes.

The presence of the guide and aircraft offers protection against the risks and discomforts unavoidably associated with entering this mountainous environment, allowing skiers with little or no mountain sense to enjoy a natural environment.”

  • Drive in Sahyadri Range

Khandala to lonavala driveIf you love being a super-tramp or to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city life, you chose driving on the highway, this place is for you. The two hours journey on four lanes through greenery is mind-soothing. But never drive in winter, the same drive would look deserted. Follow the drive in monsoon when earth looks beautiful in virgin green bridal with waterfalls and tunnels adding more to the beauty.

  • Explore the caves of Meghalaya

Caves

A cave that has full-fledged itself like ant nest feet below ground level and spread miles across like ant colonies with a network of secret chambers, tunnels, halls, temples and burrows hidden in the dark. It welcomes us with a warm blow of air carrying the mild scent of stalagmites, limestones, and swamp underground streams.

The difference between the two world is just 20s of steps. By walking down these steps, you would enter into the world which has been lesser known to the outside world serving its purpose of being enigmatic and secret. The cave appears like a giant devil with mouth wide opened and welcoming you to a chamber of secrets.

Other famous caves in India:

night safari

Do you remember James Stewart as window watcher from the movie “rear window”?

Humans, being inquisitive in nature, love being anonymous and wanna watch the happenings unnoticed. So do you love being anonymous in the process of a silent watch? If you do then you are a perfect piece made up for the wildlife safari or shall I say, night wildlife safari. A safari under the dark cover of night is more or less like a “stalker-watching-action” while not disturbing the wildlife at all.

The dream of spending a night in forest bungalow would come true when you would check in and look at the vast stretches of jungle down the hill, out of the wooden window. You would love to sneak inside warm blanket; keep your eyes open in the dark and keep staring at the bamboo ceiling until you fall asleep because tomorrow is going to be an important day of your life. You are going for a night safari.

Trees, dew-laden grasses and our footprints visible on them; deciduous forest and little dying yellow grasses; you would have conquered something in those short span of 3 hours, each with their own victory in their imagination.

Famous Wildlife Safari National parks in India:

  • Bandipur National Park
  • Sundarbans
  • Rajaji National Park
  • Jim Corbett National Park
  • Bandhavgarh National park
  • Gir National Park
  • Go For Leh Ladakh Biking Trip

Bike ride from Manali to leh

So bikes kick start and engines thunder. Leather jackets; leather chaps and gloves fitted, they are ready to sail through rugged terrains. They would be somewhere far away from the civilization and the humanity.

Let the air brush through your hair and let the eyes get filled with water. You are no more traveling inside the unreal and artificial environment of a protective metal cover that secludes you from the world. You can It’s like floating over water inside transparent hollow rubber ball. You need to jump out of that. you must take a dive into the sea of another world. You have to leave behind your personal space.

These personal space get defined by your choices of the materialistic world. Drop the social and civic factor behind yourself, nature is calling out your name. So, if you want to wade through rivulet riding your bike, cross the vast stretches of dry valleys, enjoy the sharp raindrops and park the vehicle beside and spend a night somewhere, motorbiking is made for you.

  • Cycling in Nilgiris

cycling in nilgiris

When the mortal life finds its purpose of aliveness and the immortal soul finds its purpose of immortality, the abstruse spiritualism half asleep deep inside you awakens up and jolts the subconscious mind to leave behind a permanent trail in the valley of life.

The exclusive sound that is mellisonant and dulcet is crunching of gravels under grooved tires. The symphony of paddling is synchronized with air whistling into the ears. The exaltation suspends the time for a while. Time suspended for a while the psychological state induced by that magical incantation carries the body and mind along with her like parachutes suspended in the air for a while.

Sun is going down. Destination smiles at us from a distance, the silvery moon is going to be out again, the same moon which showered the cold love on us this morning.

But we had miles to go and a schedule to keep
before we sleep before we sleep.
Tomorrow, the sun would be the same but sunrise would be different;
grooves would be the same but terrains will be different;
earth would be the same but winds will be different;
Noon would be the same but heat will be different.

  • Tour to the valley of flowers

Valley of flowers

Down below and to the horizon: Only flowers. More than your eyes can count the pigments; more than you can remember; more names you have ever heard of. White like cotton, pink like rose petals, smooth like velvet, soft like a feather and shining like a color ball.

Up above?

Were the mist. Gentle and little cold.
Clouds smiling at you and peeping out of behind the hills.
Sun was light orange and so were the flowers.
Sun turned orange and so was the flowers.
Sun turned little white and flowers again smiled and turned silvery.

The romance glimpses out; getting dissolved under the azure sky.
Hold her hand; kiss her; make her feel special; present her the secret beauty of nature.

  • Do a desert camping in Rajasthan

Desert camping

 Unfold the enigma of the hidden side of your dormant life.

“ Let the adrenaline rush through your vein.
“ Let altitudes hold your breaths for a while.
“ Let the dry winds wash your shoes.
“ Let the moon soothe burn your skin.
“ Let the warm wind push your tent away and,
“ Let the lonely moonshine at lonely you.

Western ghats

little drops of rain spattering over raincoats
– fear of wild elephants (Most of the elephant herd cross the railway lines in the morning)
– lights fading out in feet away

Seam-foam blue mists are ascending along the dark hunter green forest over the ridge. As they rise little higher and meet the colorless thin air they turn into spindrift blue. When this mixed mist further rises up and meets arsenic clouds, they turn into cerulean frost. While on the earth, head of silver gray rails is shining over ash gray sleepers but the web and bullhead are rustic amid slate Gray boulders.

Mosses wearing chartreuse bridal are holding the black walls along the railway trek.The new ones look brighter.Brighter are the grasses too. Bright and light green. Look down the rustic bridge into the valley. You have almost dived into a colorful world. Top sprouting leaves are lime in color as well the new Bamboo leaves.

Bigger and older leaves are forest green and the leaves which are hidden and seldom see the sunlight are Dartmouth green.Not only this but some trees also bear mahogany and sandy brown fresh leaves.

There must be big cobwebs holding water droplets. When I would put a light over them in dark they would shine like a pearl. There is a waterfall just in front of the tunnel. In front of black shiny stones, I see many colors of the water. Albumen, transparent, immaculate, Milky and much more. There are algae and mosses plastered at the front wall of the tunnel. I can see rail tracks disappearing into the darkness of the tunnel.

  • Spend the summer in Old Mussoorie

Old Mussoorie

Have you ever been to Mussoorie? You must have enjoyed the warmth of the sun, cold winds, lonely woods, tall pines, dense spruces, silent valley and aloof ridges.  With great entrance into some classy town of old England marked with roof tins, circuitous and congested but clean-cold streets, small windows, chimney on roofs etc. the same streets would have never been so mesmerizing again.

The serenity was high there as were the peace.
The breeze carried the smell of woods.
Pines and spruces welcomed us with their conifer leaves.
Valleys sent us special cold breezes
Mussoorie was distant apart and so was Shivaliks.
It was a place where you can talk with your own and realize the presence of life.

This part of Mussoorie is at little higher altitude. And so, if the day is clear you can see the Himalayas. These streets are tacit and rare with a little quieter town.  The woods are darker where stately bungalows are interspersed with schools and old structures and the mist as always, wrapping itself up in the pine tops. Nothing could be more refreshing than this.

  • Go to Lahaul-Spiti: Monasteries, rivers, valleys & the Himalayas

spiti

Wanna go out of the world but still in the world?  Into another world- a supernal world where there was not any scrape of artificiality. As if the Mother Nature herself carved this splendiferous place by herself. A vast unending white world sphere of which every inch had been nurtured with whitened milk-like cream. Even leaning surface as if lying down under the sun and looking at the azure sky. Beyond the white world were a valley and a series of shining peaks.

Even leaning surface as if lying down under the sun and looking at the azure sky. Beyond the white world were a valley and a series of shining peaks.  The water looked glaucous with shiny strips of Isabelline white appearing over them from a distance. It looked as if there was a wet blue canvas and a painter was continuously applying silver color but someone would shake the cotton canvas and the silver color would disappear suddenly nowhere and with another sway, it will reappear on the canvas momentarily. 

To add more to it, sometimes wind will nudge the flowing water to a perfect angle for a moment and suddenly the argent reflection of the shiny sun would kiss your eyes and like a magic, they disappear into the cold air once again only you to make wait for the next instance when it would happen again.

  • Explore Goa

Kayaling in mangroves

The author in the above travel story writes about Kayaking: 

” Life jackets supported the adventure to continue on!! We started kayaking from the backwater and headed towards the island. The tides on the sides of the beach were not that much high, but the normal ones. The routes towards the back side headed up from the rocky section. The tides grew higher and stronger at the back side of the island.

The French peoples on the way stopped us from going towards that side as the path towards the other side of the island was dangerous. They quoted us as you all are enough Big Heartened for crossing these high tides. In the mid, the tides grew higher and stronger. If there couldn’t be balance the kayaks would get upside down. 

Paddle!! Paddle!!! There comes the higher one believe me the tide was so much stronger that it could throw us into the more inner part. The continuous paddle and the continuous tides hitting the rocks.

It was the hardest journey of all as we were totally exhausted. On our way, we saw Seagull nest which was as big as the bed where one can comfortably sleep.. After 3-4 hours of long kayaking, we reached the sea shores in the evening.”

  • Being the guest or Enjoy being the host

Be the guest or the host

People always like to be the guest but how about being a host or how about being the local guide? How about showing them your culture and serving them your local dishes? How about making a friend for a lifetime? how about learning their culture and their etiquettes? How about making a memory for the lifetime. 

Believe me, being the guest is easy but being the host has its own charm. Enjoy being a host-cum-guide-cum-adventure-partners with your friends across the seas.

  • Find a chance to witness the esoteric spirituality

Spiritual Journey

Does the life of a yogi call you in some way? Have you tried Smoking Ganja with sitting amidst a gang of sages at the bank of the Ganges in winter morning? Or have you tried Bhaang-Sharbat on the eve of Mahashivaratri on the Banks of river Ganges?

Have you stayed whole night awake with Hippies playing music on a beach with weeds burning and guitar playing? Sure this game is not open for all. Be safe and be in limit. Sensing spirituality is not about getting high, it’s about feeling and losing our soul. 

Some of the spiritual Destinations in India:

  • Varanasi
  • Bodhgaya
  • Haridwar / Rishikesh
  • Allahabad Kumbh Mela