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Amidst this busy life, how many times have you thought of an adventure? in search of real happiness, in search of inner peace. The thrills which remain inside yet silent. Those alps of Switzerland or long rides in Spain has always been on your mind. You want to explore but time does not permit. What if I tell you your long ride dreams can be fulfilled. Road trip from Chennai to Kanyakumari is my choice for your next adventure. Not only this is the Nearest road trip from Chennai, but it also is an adventurous one.
When I watched Chennai express the most fascinating thing was the journey in the film. I was astonished to see such beautiful places. After a good research, I came to know that it was this route only. Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Rameshwaram, and many other places can be covered on this road trip. This great east coast road trip will not only take you the exotic locations but also fulfill your inner thrills. So let’s pack our bags and get started for this great Indian southern road trip.
ITINERARY FOR INDIAN EAST COAST ROAD TRIP
WHILE THIS IS JUST OUR ITINERARY AND IT IS ONLY SUGGESTIVE. YOU CAN DO THIS TRIP IN 8 DAYS OR EVEN A MONTH WOULD BE LESS. EXPLORING DIFFRENT DESTINATIONS TAKES TIME AND IS SURELY EXCITING.
Packed all our bags, checked the condition day before. I filled the tank and started the journey to the beautiful Mahabalipuram. This journey though started from a busy city that will soon take you to the coastal areas of India. Soon you will find yourself away from the bustle of the city.
Soon starts the swish of air in the ears, the wind blowing to the face. You will see the far-stretching sea and mind-blowing landscapes. The highway has its own adventure. That overtaking thrill, roadside tea, and fast pace riding add charm to this journey.
While the distance between Chennai to Mahabalipuram is 56km but this small journey seems magical. This stretch of 56 km can be covered via East cost Road. We Reached in the evening and directly went to the hotel. Tomorrow we will explore the beautiful Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram (1-2 days)
Start your day early as a lot of places have to be covered in Mahabalipuram. While there are thousands of places here but we chose few which allured us.
Mahabalipuram has a glorious past. This place was a very important seaport in Indian history. The past remains viable until now. The best weekend getaway from Chennai should be Mahabalipuram. Places we visited in Mahabalipuram.
The shore temple
Built around 700 Ad this temple is an architectural beauty. Located in Mamallapuram this temple overlooks the shore of the sea. The structural beauty of this temple is majestical. We visited the temple in the morning and wished for a happy journey from god. We came to know that this temple seems magical at night. While we wanted to see it at night but couldn’t due to a tight schedule. But if you happen to come here surely visit it.
Descent of Ganges
Another important historical monument in Mamallapuram is the Descent of Ganges. The stone here is of the Pallava heritage site. This site is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO in 1984. The sculptures are carved to depict the event of the Ganges descending to earth. Not only this look magical but it is one of the finest forms of art present today.
The temple in Mahabalipuram is an epic construction. The Dravidian style architecture is the temple of Sri Sthalasayana Perumal Nilamangai Thayaar (Lord Vishnu). The temple is opened from 6 am to 12 pm and then from 3pm to 8.30 pm. One of the UN’s world heritage site this place is well maintained and beautiful.
Very calm and serene beach in Mahabalipuram. You can collect seashells in the morning, and enjoy the sunset. This beach is very clean and is for spending leisure time. The wave comes to shore and then sweeps away. Overall a fantastic experience not only solo but, this Beach in Mahabalipuram is great for families too.
Old ruins of the light house is situated adjacent to the new lighthouse. The old one is a piece of architecture. The old one is made from granite rock. There is a little hill to climb and then the view from lighthouse is mesmerizing. The sunset from this place is impressive.
Pondicherry (1-2 days)
After an impressive 2 day sightseeing in Mahabalipuram we went early in the morning for Pondicherry. The east coast road was taking us to Pondicherry. Feel the french they say when going in Pondicherry. We were surely not going at high speed but still easily managed to cover a 100km long stretch in 2 hours. While Chennai to Kanyakumari is a long stretch and some of us wanted to ride more but others were reluctant to visit places in Pondicherry. We wanted to feel french and decided to stay here for a day.
Places visited in Pondicherry
Manakula Vinayagar Temple
The temple of Manakula Vinayagar Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple has seen some history. People here have saved this temple as it was being destroyed by Dupleix. Now this temple remains a vary popular among devotees and history buffs.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
This historical church is located just opposite of Pondicherry railway station. French architecture is simply stunning. This temple holds a great place in the heart of people here. The stunning stained window glasses and the peaceful atmosphere inside is one of a kind experience.
We had some time left in Pondicherry so we thought to visit this stunning beach. An absolutely fantastic beach which is very well maintained. There are many restaurants and refreshment stores here where you can have great tasting food. The seafood seems a little pricey but the taste will overcome the flaws. Keep in mind the closing time is around 6 pm.
Another day started early. Pondicherry to Pichavaram is around 80 km and will take around 2 hours to reach there. NH 32 is a route to take. We reached there early and started to visit the forests and parks of Pichavaram
The largest mangrove forest in India is here only. Spread across 1100 hectares the place was fun and exciting. We went with the boat ride and experienced a beautiful boat ride. While the place was mesmerizing but the ticket counter was not. The average waiting time would be approx 60 min. Some said they have been waiting for many hours. IF you happen to overcome that then you would see why this is so popular.
Then comes waiting time for boats, which is usually 90 min for rowboats and 20 min for a motor boat. While the boating cost is not expensive but waiting is for sure. After overcoming all these obstacles we went in a boat and saw the beautiful mangrove forest. The canal is not deep and relies on rainfall for water.
Pro tip: If you pay a bit extra to boatmen he will surely take you to a bit interior which is worth it.
Rameshwaram (2 days)
While Pichavaram was very beautiful but too popular. It seemed like everyone wants to visit Pichavaram only. Initially, we had thought to do 2-day sightseeing but on the second day we went ahead for Rameshwaram.
The day started early as usual. While earlier rides were short distance but now to reach Rameshwaram the journey was of 360 km. The coastal road seems magical here. We knew that this is the eastern coastal road but now it was more like Golden east coastal road. Views were enchanting and the sea never seemed to end. We halted 2 or 3 times for short tea breaks and bit of lunch. We reached Rameshwaram in 9 hours and went straight ahead to our hotel.
Day 2 was when we did some sightseeing and went around. Rameshwaram is actually a nice little place. There many places to visit though few places we went were
Dhanushkodi is the place where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. The drive from the hotel to here was just 45 mins. This is a once in a lifetime experience. Standing at the end of India and surrounded by water all around is surely enthralling. Also, if you go in the morning the breeze is pretty pleasant. Explore beaches on both sides. See the calm and lazy bay of Bengal on left and see restless Indian ocean on right.
You can spend 2 to 3 hours here but vehicles kept coming in and due to less space we had to move out.
Arulmigu Ramanatha Swamy Temple/ Rameshwaram Temple
We had to visit Rameshwaram temple. Not only this temple has a historic and religious value but also it is beautifully built. The temple is in Rameshwaram Island and the main deity is Lord Shiva.
While the original temple was a thatched hut but rulers of Ramanathapuram rebuilt it into a grand structure. The big and infinite pillars along with the long corridor are a few of many beautiful things around here. Not only pillars but there are many paintings and decorative items which make the temple alluring.
The next morning we went for Kanyakumari, Our main aim when we started this joureny of Chennai to Kanyakumari. Kanyakumari is 310 km from Rameshwaram and is a pretty scenic journey. It took us 6 hours to reach Kanyakumari from Rameshwaram.
The southernmost part of the Indian mainland was our dream and we were very excited to capture that moment. We reached Kanyakumari and straight headed for the southernmost part.
The place is surrounded by elevated patches of hills and seashore. The beach is well maintained and is pretty scenic. We came to know that this is the place where the Arabian sea, Bay of Bengal, and Indian ocean meets. while the coastline is stretched up to 70 km but the tip is my favourite. We stayed there till late evening watching the sunset. Booked a room in Kanyakumari and straight went towards the hotel.
Munnar (2 days)
While our journey was complete as our aim was up to Kanyakumari but we took another NH 44 for Munnar. The Kashmir of southern India Munnar is surely one of the most beautiful places. The serene landscapes, forest, valleys, tea estates all add charm to this wonderland. Kanyakumari to Munnar is a 370 km long ride. While in the initial days of our journey we were around the coastal line but now the case wasn’t the same. We started Early from Kanyakumari and were able to complete our journey in 8 hours. These 8 hours also include our frequent breaks at tea stalls and lunch too.
By the time we reached Munnar it was already getting late. We surely wanted to visit the same day but could not. While on the second we Visited a lot of places like. Munnar remains one of the last scenic place in this road trip of Chennai to Kanyakumari.
Just 2 km from Munnar is Photo point which is a pretty famous place here. The place is very scenic as it is surrounded by exotic tea plantations and woods.
These waterfalls are also close to Munnar. just 2 km away from the town these are in the beautiful hills of Munnar. The serene environment around here is peaceful.
Yelagiri (1 day)
Now our journey was coming to end of our Chennai to Kanayakumari trip as we were reaching near Chennai. We decided not to prolong this adventure and drive straight to Yelagiri. Yelagiri will be our stopping point tonight before going for Chennai another day. Yelagiri is 450 km from Munnar and can be completed in 9 n a half hours. Though the journey was pretty long and tiring, frequent breaks during the journey made it go smooth.
Back to Chennai (1 day)
Didn’t visited much of Yelagiri a bit of sightseeing here and there. We straight headed for Chennai from Yelagiri. From Yelagiri Chennai is Round 230 km. The trip takes you towards the city. Soon you realize your epic adventure has come to an end. We covered the journey in 4 hours and said goodbye to everyone.
So, Here is your 12-day itinerary of a road trip from Chennai to Kanyakumari and back to Chennai.
A Route map Chennai to Kanyakumari
CHENNAI TO KANYAKUMARI AND BACK ITINERARY SHORT VIDEO