If the adrenaline-junkie in you yearns for more than just routine drives, try these adventurous road trips from Chennai to feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins. By Sushmita Srivastav
Best road trips from Chennai for your next adventure
Chennai to Palar River
The wild Palar River gushing through three different states and covering a distance of 350 kilometres to meet the Bay of Bengal near Kalpakkam, attracts many off-road enthusiasts from Chennai. A mix of water, sand, slush, boulders, rocks, and rubbles makes the rugged terrain difficult to drive on, and the adrenaline-pumping adventure even has an annual off-roading challenge under its name. Though just over two hours away from Chennai, the drive to Palar River needs a sturdy ride as well as experienced hands behind the wheel.
Duration of the trip: 2 hours and 30 minutes (115 km)
Best time to visit: August to October
Where to stay: Hotel River View
Where to eat: The in-house restaurants at the hotel will make sure you are served with great meals.
Chennai to Kolli Hills
‘Seventy bends and a great fall’ is probably the best label to define a drive to Kolli Hills. Needless to say, your driving game must be pretty strong to pull off this one. A winding stretch of over 30 km with 70 heady hairpin curves, Kolli Malai (or Kolli Hills) grimly translates to the ‘mountain of death’ for a reason. Apart from its treacherous route, it is also famous for the Arapaleeshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and a waterfall called Agaya Gangai. This features on your top bucket list when it comes to taking those adventurous road trips from Chennai.
Duration of the trip: 6 hours and 45 minutes (363 km)
Best time to visit: March-June; September-December
Where to stay: Silverline Hotel Kolli Hills
Where to eat: Ask for healthy regional dishes made from locally-grown millets like Kutharavali, Samai, Thinai, etc. at the hotel’s main restaurant.
Chennai to Valparai
Brace yourself for surprises if you are willing to take the 12-hour-long road trip from Chennai to Valparai. While the drive till Pollachi via Coimbatore is a rather pleasant one (make sure to stop for some crisp ghee-roasted paper dosais on your way), the route ahead changes without dropping a hint. The temperature drops all of a sudden, the scenery transforms completely, the Anaimalai range starts peeping from behind the thick woods, and Aliyar Dam arrives. But just as you start to enjoy different shades of green and blue, meandering roads bring in 40 sharp hairpin bends that make you swirl in your seat and your head bob before you reach your destination.
Duration of the trip: 12 hours (590 km)
Best time to visit: September to March
Where to stay: Whispering Falls Resort Valparai
Where to eat: The Whispering Falls Kitchen at the hotel offers authentic Chettinad cuisine with a great view.
Chennai to Kumbakonam
Ditch your SUV for this one—the route to Kumbakonam deserves a biking trip! The East Coast Road will quickly take you to the quaint town nestled amid the silence of Tamil Nadu‘s Thanjavur and dotted with colourful gopurams. But as the journey comes to close, don’t shy away from taking detours. The cool wind in your hair and serpentine roads ahead of Varudachalam would seldom let you switch to top gear and give you the adrenaline rush you were longing for.
Duration of the trip: 5 hours and 45 minutes (282 km)
Best time to visit: November to February
Where to stay: Mantra Koodam
Where to eat: Do not miss the 106-year-old Sri Mangalambiga Vilas restaurant on your way for they are known for serving traditional vegetarian South Indian food and their special coffee.