Sometimes the best you can do is to escape to the nature, to enjoy the mystery of the forests, to feel the cold water of the lakes on ones feet and enjoy the sound of the wind in the trees. And luckily, Chennai has plenty of options to offer in this regard.
Here are a few little know weekend getaways from Chennai.
Located near Vellore, and a part of the Eastern Ghats, this scenic trekking destination covers a vast area, spanning 100 km North to South, and 20 km East to West.
This is the home of many tribals, and the settlements are connected through off-road tracks, great for trekking, running or cycling.
The north-eastern part of the hills has valleys and peaks, and the climate is pleasant and cool, when compared to Chennai. The locals are known for their hospitality, and food is easily available.
If you want to stay overnight, take along camping gear. The area is a mix of forest and rolling farm lands.
The Biman Falls is a spectacular sight that you simply must not miss while trekking through the hills of Jawadu. It can be found only 5 kms away from Jamunamarathur.
Compared to most other water bodies in the area, these falls flow for most part of the year (eightmonths), and you can enjoy a leisurely swim in its natural pools.
Other picturesque destinations that might be of interest to you are Amirthi Forest, Beema Falls, Komutteri Lake and the Glass House.
For those who love to combine holidays and trips with learning, you should definitely visit the Kavalur Observatory that is nearby.
This region was known far and wide for the expanses of sandalwood that grew in its reserves. Today, these have shrunk to a negligible size.
Pulicat is a small seashore township which offers an invigorating and thrilling experience of expedition.
Sited on the barricade island of Sriharikota which divides the Pulicat Lake from the Bay of Bengal.
It is located at a distance of 60 km from Chennai and 3 km from Elavur, It is the second leading brackish lagoon in India–covering a total area of 720 sq km of which 84% comes in Andhra Pradesh and 16% in Tamil Nadu–following the Chilka Lake in Orissa. It extends to a length of 60 km.
The major attractions of Pulicat are the beach, the Dutch cemetery and, particularly, the bird sanctuary.
Every year between October and March, thousands of migratory birds can be observed here which turns into their dwelling place. Amongst these migrants, flamingos come in a large number and at that time is the main point of attraction.
They cover the swampy region of the lake, giving it a touch of pink colour. Other birds which can be seen are ducks, herons, cranes and painted storks. In mid-December or the start of January, the Flamingo festival is organised by the Tourism Development Board every year.
This is why, this place, also known as a haven for bird watching, with its captivating and magnificent views allures visitors from all over.
Ubbalamadugu Falls (Tada Falls)
Ubbalamudugu Falls (also called Tada Falls) is a waterfall located to the North of Sricity in Chittoor district. The falls are located in a forest called the Siddulaiah Kona.
Tada falls is becoming famous among residents from Chennai for trekking. You can park the Vehicle near Tada falls parking lot and follow the trail to trek to the Tada falls.
Total trek is almost of 10 km through rough patches and rocky terrains. Ubbalamadugu Falls and the surroundings are ideal for hiking, trekking and picnicking.
While trekking to the waterfalls it is important to be very careful as the huge boulders are slippery due to the continuous flow of water.
Nagalapuram is at about 100 kilometers from Chennai city. Bordering Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, this little town is dotted with hills and mountains.
The Nagala hills here, are famous among avid trekkers, campers and mountaineers.
As you approach Andhra Pradesh, the hills come into view and each peak stands out majestically as if owning its place in nature. The rugged rocky terrain is entwined by random streams and boulders at the foothills of the mountains.
A vast expanse of water that is connected to a reservoir spreads out like a blue sheet. Perfect for photo shoots! Once into the unassuming mountains, you are greeted with breathtaking sights of a number of fresh water pools and waterfalls.
Nagala is apt for a weekend trek should you wish to stay overnight in the mountains, or even a day trek. Nagalapuram Falls is a pristine beauty which offers lovely one-day treks from Chennai with a beautiful view of the water falls.
Thrown in with some steep climbs for experienced trekkers along with easy climbs routes for starters, natural wilderness and 20 foot water slides; make a perfect blend for an ultimate experience.
Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary
Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is bird sanctuary in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh, India, near the village of Nelapattu.
It has an area of 458.92 hectares. It is an important breeding site for Spot-billed Pelicans. Nelapattu has two major plant communities, Barringtonia swamp forests and southern dry evergreen scrub.
Southern dry evergreen scrub covers most of the sanctuary, including the 288 hectares of Kalluru Reserved Forest and 88 hectares of unreserved forest. The Barringtonia swamp forests are found in the 83-hectare Nelapattu tank.
187 bird species can be found at Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, 50 of which are migratory. In addition to the Spot-billed Pelican, it is an important breeding site for White Ibis, Openbill Stork, Night Heron, and Little Cormorant.
Other migratory water birds that visit the sanctuary include Pintail, Common Teal, Dabchick, Shoveler, Coot, Spot Bill Duck, Grey Heron, Darter, Black-winged Stilt, and Garganey Gadwall.