Best weekend getaways from Chennai

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If you’re spending an extended holiday in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, be sure to grab a Chennai car rental and venture outside the city centre a bit. Here are some of the best weekend getaways from Chennai:

The hill station of Yercaud is nearly a six-hour drive away from Chennai, but it’s worth the trip for an extended weekend. This town in the Shevaroy Hills in the Eastern Ghats boasts coffee plantations and orange orchards. The main draws in Yercaud are the hiking, rare birds and interesting land formations. If you don’t wish to hike, you can drive to beautiful Kiliyur Falls. Hike to Pagoda Point to sit among the low-hanging clouds with wonderful views of the hilly region below, and check out the Lady’s Seat viewpoint – just don’t let the roaming monkeys see any food you might have.

Formerly known as ranquebar, Tharangambadi is an old Danish fort city – said to be the second oldest Danish fort in the world. It was founded in 1620 and operated until 1845. Today, visitors can still see some of the Danish settlement mainstays in this city on the coast about a five-hour drive from Chennai. Visit the stunning Dansborg Fort, which sits right on the beach and looks like a castle. There’s also an old Danish cemetery and a museum. During your stay in Tharangambadi, take advantage of its close proximity to the water by staying at The Bungalow on the Beach – an upscale Neemrana hotel with plenty of charm, character and high-end touches. It’s located between the fort and a 14th century Pandiya temple. The Bungalow has a spectacular pool and is a place for a relaxing weekend away.

Puducherry - also known as Pondicherry – is a major seaside city only a two and a half hour drive from Chennai. It has recently become a big tourist area for its beaches and interesting attractions. While here, make sure to visit the French Quarter, where you’ll see an interesting mix of Christian churches and Hindu temples. Take a stroll on the Promenade along the beach, which is the centre of Puducherry’s social scene and has restaurants and shops galore. Also make sure to visit the Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, where the resident elephant out front greets visitors with a tap on the head.

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