Coronavirus, Visit

Love the Sea? Make a plan to drive across the ECR during this lockdown!

At this point when the world is fighting a global pandemic, being productive is a tedious task. In the wake of the nationwide lockdown, here is an idea that can help you distract from the current crisis and become better at productivity. Once the situation is taken care of, all the sea lovers can go on an adventurous road trip across the scenic East Coast Region of South India.

The East Coast Road, along the Bay of Bengal, is a popular route for road trips. The route is a part of the NH32 and SH49, and offers stunning views of the coastline. With many interesting stops in between, the drive generally starts from Chennai and ends at Kanyakumari. Here is how you can plan your stops on this road trip. 

Route:

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Cuddalore – Chidambaram – Velankanni – Rameswaram – Dhanushkodi – Rameswaram – Thoothukudi – Manapad – Kanyakumari

(C)Google Maps

Day 1

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (150km)

Begin your journey along the east coast from the capital city of Chennai. On this road trip, along with some extraordinary views, you will cover about 770km. First stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram. On the way to this architectural masterpiece, you will be crossing Thiruvanmiyur Beach, ECR Beach or Kovalam Beach. If you wish, you can stop for some time to enjoy the beaches. 

Next, head to the colourful union territory of Puducherry. Dotted with serene beaches, cosy cafes and lively French quarters, Puducherry is a must-visit town. 

Day 2 

Puducherry – Cuddalore – Chidambaram (66km)

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On this day, you will be driving about 66km to reach Chidambaram. This temple city is known for its Thillai Nataraja Temple. The region is rich with historical evidence that will take you back in the time. Chidambaram has seen all successful dynasties of history. On your way to this place, you can pause to explore another historical town, Cuddalore. Cuddalore holds a deep religious significance for all the devotees in the country. 

Day 3

Chidambaram – Velankanni (97km)

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This day includes spectacular panoramas of the Bay of Bengal. A 97km drive on the East Coast Road will lead you to the religious town of Velankanni, famous for its Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Velankanni rests beautifully on the Coromandel Coast and boasts a gorgeous beach.

Day 4 

Velankanni – Rameswaram – Dhanushkodi – Rameshwaram (300km)

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Start driving in search of the best on the East Coast Road. Today you will cover about 300km of the journey, and witness some beautiful scenery before settling down for the night at Rameshwaram. First stop of the day is Rameshwaram, the historical pilgrimage. This town houses many sites that attract tourists from all over the country. Next, enjoy a smooth ride on the Pamban Road and head to Dhanushkodi and Arichal Munai. Dhanushkodi is a deserted town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island with a sneak peek of Sri Lanka. 

Day 5 

Rameswaram – Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi (192km)

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After spending day four in Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, head to the turquoise waters of Thoothukudi. Following a picturesque drive on the state highway, halt at Thoothukudi. Here, enjoy the beaches and endless water activities like kayaking and kite-surfing. Thoothukudi also offers snorkelling trips in the Gulf of Mannar.

Day 6 

Thoothukudi – Manapad (55km)

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Leave Thoothukudi for the beautiful town of Manapad, which is one and a half hours away from Thoothukudi. This town has landscapes straight out of a postcard. Manapad is one of the many colourful hamlets of Tamil Nadu, known to have one of the best-surfing sites in India. Its distinct coastline makes it a photogenic location.

Day 7 

Manapad – Kanyakumari (74km)

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On the last day of the road trip, you will drive for another 74km on the Eastern Coast Road and reach your final destination, Kanyakumari. This coastal town holds religious importance for both Hindus and Christians. Also, do not miss the sunset and sunrise at the Triveni Sangam, where the three water bodies meet. 

You can easily make changes in this itinerary according to your likes and dislikes. All budget accommodations are available at most of the stay points. So, no more wasting time in the lockdown. Start planning already!

‘Curated By Sonal Agarwal’