27 November, 2018
If you are one of those people looking to travel to escape from the heavy winter cold in the North of India, then perhaps, a beach getaway down South, may not be a bad idea. While there is a lot to choose from, here we bring you a few circuits that you can explore to spend some refreshing time in the sun and sands. While Kerala indeed is one of the best choices with its enchanting beaches, and backwaters, here we take you through another route that is worth exploring. You may check out the Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry route to find some delightful surprises awaiting you.
Chennai is easily reached by air, road or rail from anywhere in India, and even abroad. There are enough stay options for hotels, motels, resorts, serviced apartments, or the likes of Airbnb, paying guests, etc. available in Chennai. There more than enough options in all kinds of budget and you may even book these as part of packages through any online tour operators as well. Planning trips from Chennai to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry is easy.
Chennai has some beautiful beaches like Marina beach, Besant Nagar beach, Covelong beach, etc. You may check out the beautiful Parthasarathy and Kapaleeshwar temples, San Thome Church, Thousand Lights Mosque, Fort St. George which is also a museum now, the Guindy National Park, etc. A walk down Mylapore can provide many more beautiful destinations around. If inclined to know more about Swami Vivekananda, you may even check out the Vivekanandar house. There is a botanical garden spread over 2 acres called Semmozhi Poonga, that can also be checked out. Chennai has many more attractions depending on how many days you can spend there, and you can plan accordingly. Chennai also has lovely shopping places, especially for the Kancheevaram Silks, and homely, local South Indian cuisine of Idli, Vada, Pongal, etc. that can be gorged upon.
Locally called as Mamallapuram, Mahabalipuram is a beautiful coastal region situated just 60 km off Chennai. This can be easily covered in two days with few beaches as well as some wonderful historic attractions. There is also a dance festival held during the December to January time by the Tamil Nadu government Tourism department with classical dances performed against the backdrop of the historical monuments. There are beaches to relax, and many monuments and temples with breathtaking rock carvings: Arjuna’s penance, The Five Rathas, The Shore Temple, the Krishna’s Butter Ball and many such structures around the small vicinity that are a must see. You may pick up artifacts made out of shells, rock carvings, etc. from here as memoirs. For those who love seafood, you can have your choice in that too.
This happens to be a lovely city with all the trappings of the French colonial rule still seen around the place, almost like a hangover. Small flights operate in the Puducherry airport from certain cities, and Chennai happens to be the nearest big airport. One can travel from Chennai or Mahabalipuram to Puducherry easily by road. The place is dotted with many clean beaches, each a revelation in itself. You can swim or relax by the shore as you wish.
The place is famous for Aurobindo Ashram and the Auroville founded in his honor. A visit to the Ashram and Auroville is a must for all visitors to this almost sleepy little city. You will feel a touch of spirituality as well as nature and also get to see a whole lot of natural products like soaps, incense sticks, essential oils, accessories, etc. over here.
The French colony with its quaint French style buildings are real charmers and walk through this place, can give you a feel of being in France, with even the French Consulate situated here, near the Rock Beach. The cuisine here is a wonderful mix of the South Indian, as well as the French influence. The city is vibrant and mostly filled with visitors, from all over the world. There is also a War memorial and a botanical garden, and a walk down the Promenade near the beach in the evening is indeed a memorable experience. You also get to eat some exotic flavored natural ice creams here. You can easily spend around two to three days here exploring all the French relics as well as the natural, beautiful beaches dotted across the city.
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