Best Places for a Solo Trip Around Chennai
Are you looking for best places for a solo trip around Chennai? This article describes the list of places in Chennai to enjoy alone
Places in Chennai to Enjoy Alone
The best trips are those where you are in the driver’s seat, metaphorically of course. You choose your destinations, and you decide the pace. That is what solo travel allows you to do. No restrictions, no holding back. A solo trip around Chennai is the best way to explore the city and the places around it. We have shortlisted a few destinations for a solo travel Chennai trip, get into your rented car, and zoom off.
Beaches and Chennai
The best places in Chennai to enjoy alone are its beaches. And there are quite a few. Marina Beach is one of the longest in the world. It is also one of the most vibrant places in the city. Hordes of people visit it every day, and there is never a dull moment. And yet, among all that crowd, you can still find a spot, to sit on the sand and enjoy the waves crashing into the shores.
The memorial built in honour of Karl Schmidt, a European sailor, who lost his life, trying to save a young British girl, is the highlight of Edward Elliot’s beach. The promenade here has rows of shops, selling food, clothes and jewellery and other artefacts.
Head to the Covelong beach for lessons in surfing. And while you are there take a walk through the fishing hamlet, soak in the simplicity of the natives, and when you are done doing that, hitch a ride on a fishing boat, and venture into the Bay of Bengal.
Stop by at Fisherman’s Cove, a lovely 5-star property, owned by the Taj Group. Enjoy a spa session, or a meal at the hotel, built on the ramparts of a Dutch Fort. The hotel’s sprawling lawns lead to a private beach.
One of the Twelve
The best places for a solo trip around Chennai must include a visit to the Catholic Churches here. These aren’t ordinary Churches, they are unique, for a reason. St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, was martyred here, and three places of worship are dedicated to him.
The San Thome Cathedral is a Basilica, built on the tomb of St. Thomas. It is one of the three Basilica’s in the world, built on an apostle’s tomb. The other two are St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and Santiago De Compostela, in Spain, where St. James, the apostle, is buried. The magnificent gothic architecture is impressive. There is a museum in the Church, with a lot of interesting artefacts from that era.
On Little Mount, is a cave, where the apostle is said to have lived. An opening at the back of the cave is believed to be the route that St. Thomas took to escape the locals who had come to kill him. The cave also bears hand and foot impressions, of the apostle. There is a natural spring, in the rocky terrain, that never runs dry, is said to have miraculous healing powers. Legend has it that the spring had emerged out of nowhere, at the apostle's command.
One of the places in Chennai to enjoy alone is on St. Thomas Mount, the hill shrine. The 17th-century chapel has a lot of relics and is a much-revered place. The panoramic view from the top of the mount is terrific. It overlooks the runway of the Chennai Airport and offers a panoramic view of the entire city.
Mylapore is one of the oldest residential areas of Chennai. It still maintains its old-world charm, narrow streets, old houses and a lot of history. The robust smell of freshly ground coffee beans, sizzling hot vadas and the sights and smells of the colour of flowers, lining the streets, describe the quintessential essence of Mylapore.
The Kapaleeswarar Temple takes centre stage. The magnificent temple is dedicated to Shiva. It is an ancient 7th-century temple, with distinctive Dravidian architecture, with a massive gopuram, standing tall. Even after all these centuries, it is still used as a place of worship. And if you enter the temple premises, you will witness the elaborate and enthralling rituals, to the almost hypnotic chants of holy verses, and the clanging of bells. The overpowering smell of incense and the glow of earthen oil lamps add to the mesmerising experience.
Not far from here is the Ramakrishna Math, built-in the devotion of a 19th-century religious guru, Sri Ramakrishna. Inside you will find a universal temple, a multimedia museum, a shrine dedicated to the guru, and a mandapam and a well-stocked library, which houses books on the life of the spiritual guru and writings on religion and philosophy. Books and CDs on the teachings of the guru are available here.
East Coast Road
The East Coast Road, popularly known as ECR, runs parallel to the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is a scenic stretch of road, with a lot of interesting things to see and do.
If joy rides and adrenaline rush excite you, then a stop at the VGP Theme Park is recommended. The place is also a resort, with cosy cottages and several restaurants on the premises. However, its USP is the private beach that visitors can access.
Art and culture enthusiasts must visit the Cholamandal Artists’ Village. The exhibits showcase the city’s heritage and culture. Established over half-a-century ago, the village boasts of being the largest and most significant contemporary artists' community in the country.
The Madras Crocodile Bank is the best place to see different species of crocodiles and alligators in a solo trip around Chennai. The sprawling campus is home to more than 2,400 crocs, gharials and alligators and over 4,000 reptiles, including some of the deadliest snakes on the planet. They have several activities, which promise to be quite an experience, such as night safari, underwater gharial exhibit and feeding Jaws, an enormous crocodile. Jaws has the distinction of being the biggest captive crocodile in India. The property is a natural habitat for some rare birds that nest in the trees.
Go further down the same stretch of road, and you reach Kovalam, a little fishing hamlet, which has gained popularity for being a surfing destination. A surfing school here conducts lessons in surfing. The waters are safe and the trainers experienced – you can learn surfing techniques and get some practice too.