Chennai, the southernmost metro in India, dazzles its visitors with its temples, beaches, south Indian food and music. However, not many know that the Tamil capital also has a lot to offer for the adventure enthusiasts. If you are ready to push yourself and see how far you can go, here are list of top adventures in Chennai.
You may not associate India with surfing, but the coast experiences waves around a meter high year round, except during the pre-monsoon and monsoon season (May – September) when waves get to 2.5 – 4.5 meters.
Big Rock is a lesser known surf spot. It is located just south of Chennai, off the point at Fisherman’s Cove. The tide and wave height come together to form an awesome left barrel. Covelong beach is home to a luxury beach resort, but it also has some great surfing. The beach is clean and the locals are friendly in this well known destination for surfers.
If you don’t know how to surf, don’t worry! There are many surfing schools available to learn.
Scuba diving is a relatively new activity in the east coast of India. If you’re willing to drive a few hours south, from Chennai to Pondicherry, you can enjoy the warm waters of the dive sites there. Although diving is done throughout the year, peak dive season is January through June and September to October. Enjoy natural reefs, whale sharks, manta rays and lots of jack fish schools.
Learning to dive is no problem, with diving school being easily accessible all-round the year.
Cycling isn’t the most popular sport in India, but it is starting to catch on. Chennai recently opened India’s very first cycling cafe in March 2015. You may find dedicated bicycle routes a little scarce in Chennai, but there are a number of road routes that will take you along the coast.
In the southern part of the city, the Kamarajar Promenade runs along the coast, offering beautiful beach vistas to cycle through. The Chennai Bypass is one of the more popular inland routes, running roughly north – south outside of the city.
To enjoy some of the natural beauty surrounding Chennai, you may want to go trekking. There are a number of trails near the city, for every skill level.
Tada Falls is about 90km outside of Chennai and is accessible from the city by bus, train and car. This 10 km, medium difficulty trek will take you past pristine pools and streams as well as a temple to Shiva. It ends at a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by rocks. Be sure to go early in the day, so that you can spend the hottest part of the day at the falls.
Mahabalipuram temple is a UNESCO world heritage site located 40km outside of Chennai, accessible by train and bus. The trek will take you past the 1400 year old shore temple; Arjuna’s Penance rock carvings; Vraha Mandapa, a temple cut into the rock; a giant natural rock known as Krishna’s Butterball; and the Five Rathas, chariots cut out of huge rocks.
Sailing is one of the most popular water sports and with the fantastic sailing conditions that Chennai has to offer, it’s no wonder the city has a long association with this sport. Clubs like Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSI), Royal Madras Yacht Club (RMYC) actively promote sailing as an adventure and leisure activity. They conduct regular training camps for children and adults to teach sailing.
‘Off Road Sports’ located on the East coast road of Chennai is one of the best adventure camps in South India for trying the ATV rides. Go ahead and challenge the diverse rugged terrain ranging from beach to Jungle for over 7 Km on power bikes from 50-1000 CC.
This sport can be enjoyed with family, friends and colleagues and the only requirement is the participants have to be over 10 years.
Always remember to bring lots of water when you go on an adventure outside of Chennai, and plan activities before or after the mid-afternoon heat. Weekends are a great time to get out of the city and enjoy the natural beauty and rich heritage that this city has to offer.
Featured Image credit: V.Vasant, Flickr