Also known as East-Coast Road, ECR in Chennai starts from Adyar and covers a long distance along the Bay of Bengal but the main attractions along this highway lie in the vicinity of Chennai. On the weekends, you can go on for cycling or biking and cover a lot of places with yourself or with family.
Art galleries, Open air theatre, dance performances, sculptures, museums, handicrafts, sand and clay art, photography and there is a thousand amazing stuff which can make you awe-struck. But if you want to enjoy more, you should plan your schedule in advance and according to your choice, you should go there.
- Cholamandalam village Timings: 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM
- Cholamandalam village Entry Fee: Rs 20 for adults and Rs 5 for kids
Astha Laxmi Temple
The Astha Laxmi temple is dedicated to the Goddess Laxmi and her eight forms built over three floors. The beach view from the temple is also good. People often complain that the temple is not maintained properly. There is also a parking fee of around 20 rupees collected near the parking area. This is a nice place to spend weekends with your family.
A traditional and unique heritage village which is keeping the traditional lifestyles of south India alive and depicting them at a single place along the ECR spreading over acres.
What can you do there?
- Take a tour of the past through traditional homes and explore the bygone cultures.
- Go through the exhibitions of the rich culture of south India.
- Make an authentic purchase of Indian crafts, jewelry, artworks etc.
- Play some traditional games of the past.
- Take a look at the live demonstration of the craftsmanship of the artists.
- Dakshinchitra Visiting Hours: 10 am to 6 pm
- Weekly Holiday: Tuesday (open on all national holidays except on Diwali Day)
Dakshinchitra Entrance fee (Indians):
- Indian Adult: Rs.100/-
- Indian Child: Rs.20/- (5-12yrs)
- Indian Student: Rs.30/- (13-18yrs)
- Teachers: Rs.50 ( or at the discretion of the management)
- School Students package: Rs.100/-
Dakshinchitra Entrance Tariff (Foreigners):
- Adults: Rs.200/-
- Students: Rs.70/-
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 a group outing, it is called sea-diving in that area. Fishermen provide the life-jackets and take the people a few km off the shore for around half an hour- Its a lifetime experience.
- Walk into the local fish market
- Try fish-fry on the open clean beach
- Do other activities like wind-surfing, turtle walk, midsea-diving etc.
Thiruvidandai is a village located about 4 Km from Covelong on East Coast Road. The village derives its name from the Nithyakalyana Perumal temple and its history is centered on the temple. Temple is open from 6:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
There are some interesting legends about this temple and this place could also be one of the unexplored locations for photography around Chennai.
- 36 Kms from Chennai on East coast road aka ECR towards Mahabalipuram
- Open from 9 am to 5 pm & run by TTDC
A variety of boating choices:
- Row boating for Rs 130 for 30 minutes
- Speed boating for Rs. 450 for 10 minutes
- Powerboat for 8 members for Rs. 350
- Shared 30 minutes ride cost Rs. 50
What to see there?
- The shore temple
- Arjuna’s Penance
- Varaha Mandapa or cave
- The butterball
- The five Rathas
- Cool beaches and cottages
- Century-old Lighthouse
- Rock carvings and sculptures
- Classical Indian dance festival (During Dec-Jan)
Also, read here about another UNESCO world heritage site called Mahabodhi temple
Sadras Dutch Fort
Sadras Dutch fort is located on the East Coast Road near Kathankadai, Kalpakkam, almost 70 Km south of Chennai and around half an hour drive from Mahabalipuram temples.
What to see there?
- Dutch Fort
- Vishnu temple
- Ruins of the fort
- Nice walk to the beach
- Tombs and other monuments
Isckon Temple, Chennai
Built over 1.5 acres, ISCKON temple is the largest temple in Tamilnadu dedicated to Radha and Krishna. The temple is open from 7:30 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 8:00 pm. However, the last Aarati (worship), called the Aayana arati, is at 9:00 pm, which lasts about 15 minutes. More details about the temple can be found here: Iskcon temple, Chennai
Madras Crocodile bank trust
It is a trust for herpetology and environment conservation. It has won several awards in the recent past and getting recognized as a non-profit organization in recent years with volunteers pouring in from the metropolitan city of Chennai and with the help of local experts. It is a bank with a variety of crocodiles, turtles, and snakes. If you love wildlife and aquatic life, you would surely love this place too.
- Timings: 08.30 AM – 05.30 PM (All day except closed on Monday)
- Fee: Adult- Rs 35 and child (below 10 years) : Rs 10
- Camcorder: Rs. 100 and still camera: Rs. 20
- Night safari: (Saturday and Sunday only, 07.00 pm-08.30 pm, ticket counter closes at 08.00 pm)
- Adult: Rs 60 and children(Below 10 years): Rs. 20
The Pondicherry: In the city
What to see?
- Auro beach
- Stay in Bamboo cottages
- Sunrise in the morning
- Gandhi Beach or rock beach
- Auroville village
- And, explore restaurants on hired bikes
Pondicherry: Around the city
What to see?
- Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple
- Chunnambar backwaters
- Sacred heart church
- botanical garden and the zoo
- Local fish market
- Shri Aurobindo Ashram
The church of St. Thomas is one of the only three churches built over the tomb of an apostle (one of the original 12 disciples chosen by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel). The other twos are Saint Peterâs Basilica over the tomb of st. Peter Rome and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela built over the tomb of st. James in Spain.
- regular visiting hours are from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.
- On weekdays: 5:30 am & 10:30 am: Rosary, Benediction, Holy mass
- Sundays: 6:15 am to noon: Holy mass begins in different languages
- Special days: 3rd of everything month is dedicated to St. Thomas. Adoration, Rosary, Novena, and Holy mass are organized at timings same as above.
- 2nd Saturday of every month is dedicated to Lady of Mylapore.
What to see there?
- The grand architectural and artistic beauty of the church
- The naive of the basilica
- Paintings of the Jesus depicting different events in his life
- Shrine of St. Thomas at the tomb chapel underground
- Wedding hall
- Neo-Gothic architecture
Prathyangira Devi temple, Pondicherry
Pratyangira Devi Temple in Pondicherry is located near Auroville. The place is known as Moratandi. There is also a tollgate there. This temple is famous for 72 feet idol of Goddess Pratyangira Devi. Sharabeshwar temple with a big idol of God Sharabeshwar is located on the left side of the temple.
How to reach there?
Nearest Bus stand is Sanskrit College, Mylapore & Luz corner bus-stand. Click here to find the bus route in Chennai
Nearest Train stations: Thirumayilai (also called Mylapore) & MundaKanni Amman Kovil. These stations are located on Velachery-Chennai beach local train route. Click here to find the local train routes.
Visiting timings: (No Entry fee) 05:00-11:45 & 15:00-21:00
R K Math, full name Ramakrishna Mutt is situated near Mylapore railway station. This spiritual place is dedicated to Vivekananda and spiritual studies. It is a peaceful place. One of the recommended places for peace and spirituality.
St. Thomas Mount is a small church located on a small hillock in Chennai near Chennai international airport and behind OTA (Officers Training Academy).
How to Reach there?
There is a road which drives up to the top of the hill and using Auto or by car, one can reach the top easily.
By Train: Nearest Railway station: St. Thomas Mount & Guindy (2 Kms) Auto can be hired from these stations (Fair around Rs. 40) for either till the church at the hill-top (Chances are lesser) or to the foothill of the hillock from where the stairs lead to the church.
The walkway is easier to walk and only take 5-10 minutes to reach the top. Most of the Auto-Guys would drop you here. Click here to find the train connectivity and timings
On Foot: If you love, It takes just 10 mins to walk to the foothill from St. Thomas Mount.
By Bus: Nearest Bus stops are Mount bus stop, Kathipaara, Jyothi theatre & Butt road bus stops. From all these bus stops, foot-hill is at the walking distance. Click here to find the connectivity of the local bus
Everyday: 06:30, 12:00 & 18:00- all in Tamil
Sunday: 07:00 & 18:00 (in Tamil), 12:00 (in English)
Places to see from the top:
St. Thomas Mount Church, Small Belltower, Cross-pillar, Old Banyan tree & view of Chennai city and the airport.
Situated at the 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 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. The 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.
Nearest railway station: Ennore (3 Kms), local trains to Ennore are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.
Again not so much popular among the visitors except famous Tiruvottiyur temple visitors, 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 being one of the most under-developed areas of Chennai, the surrounding of this beach does not offer good supplementary view other than the vast lonely sea.
Nearest railway station: Tiruvottiyur/Wimco NagarEnnore (2 Kms), local trains to Ennore are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.
Royapuram Fishing Harbour/ Chennai fishing harbor:
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 harbor is one of the busiest fish markets in Chennai, famous for fresh and different varieties of favorite fishes.
In 2004, the harbor suffered a great loss by the Tsunami but reconstruction and great enthusiasm of local fishermen who come from the nearby village of Chepauk could let the harbor loose its name and fame.
One a busy day, the harbor gives a feel of an armada of small fleets exchanging sea-space and hundreds of Indian tricolor 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.
Nearest railway station: Tondiarpet (2 Kms), local trains to Tondiarpet are available from Chennai beach and Chennai Central stations.
This beach, running 13 km along the shore of a city, is the second largest urban beach in the world.
Marina beach is one of the busiest beaches 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 defamation of being dirty and smelly due to a 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 lighthouse on the Marina beach, Marina swimming pool, Napier bridge, and memorials around.
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.
It can be said that Marina beach is so long that people call this beach, nowadays, by different names in different areas.
It can be said that Gandhi beach, a part of its mother Marina beach, is an extension of Marina to the south towards lighthouse 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 lighthouse of the Marina beach from where one can get the full view of the city and the sea.
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.
Adyar estuary and water-front
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 is formed by river Adyar and the bay of Bengal which leads to the formation of creek and mangroves around the meeting point. These mangroves are habitat to migratory birds; absence of pollution (industrial area) and the 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 favorite places of the photographers in Chennai to shoot the modernity with historic nature, the mud land, the green space and high rising buildings in the background. The peculiarity of this place is it offers sunrise as well as sunset view too.
Nearest Stop: Besant Nagar Bus stop (2Kms) local streets connect this place to Adyar bus depot (3.5 Kms)
Places to see around:
South side of the river (BesNagaragar side): Broken Bridge, Adyar river mangroves, small islands in the river, Bird-watching, Theosophical society, Northside (Across the river): Adyar creek and ecological garden
19. Elliot beach/ Besant nagar beach:
It can also be said that Adyar estuary is the north extension of the Elliot beach. Elliot beach is sometimes also referred to as one of the cleanest beaches 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 the presence of good restaurants along the beach.
This beach also hosts some of the festivals like Pongal, food festivals, new year fireworks or some concerts.
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
New Beach, Kottivakkam
As its name suggests, the 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.
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 an evening walk in the 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.
Nearest Stop: Kottivakkam Bus stop (500 meters). Beach is to the east of the stand.
VGP Golden beach:
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 of by the resort authority and so this beach is clean and far from the heart of the city.
Maintained by Vivanta- Taj group, this beach is a private beach adjacent north to the Covelong beach towards Muttukadu.
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
The 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.
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.
The Bay of Bengal from the Alamparai fort
It s believed that the fort also had a dockyard inside the bay of Bengal for the 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 the bay of Bengal etc.
Serenity beach (Kottakuppam, Pondicherry):
As the name suggests, Serenity beach is one of the most untouched beaches in Pondicherry because it’s in the 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, 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.
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 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, the shore is washed by a lot of shells.
- 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 the sunrise
Places to see around:
Bamboo cottages, morning walk on the beach when the beach is full of shells, fisherman nets and boats leaving for fishing early morning, Auroville (A famous township near by)
Promenade Beach or Gandhi Beach:
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.
Waves striking to Black rocks at the Promenade beach
The port also stands near the coast. A 4.25 meters tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi stands on the Promenade 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 Promenade Beach is a common phenomenon 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.
Promenade 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.
Plage Paradiso Beach (Chunnamber River):
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 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.
Can be reached by taking a boat from Chunnamber boat house. You could also be interested in knowing trips and treks around Chennai