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East Coast Road Chennai: A Scenic Road Trip Across the Coastline of South India

At this point when the world is fighting a global pandemic, being productive is a tedious task. In the wake of a public health crisis, the idea of a road trip on the East coast road Chennai can help you 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 Chennai, 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. 


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

East Coast Road Chennai
(C)Google Maps

Day 1

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (150km)

East Coast Road Chennai

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. The first stop is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram. This is where you will come across the 8th century Shore temple. The ancient architectural masterpiece is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Durga.

You will also be crossing Thiruvanmiyur Beach, ECR Beach, or Kovalam Beach. Stop for some time to enjoy the white sandy shores. If you are feeling lucky, do try out surfing at one of the most popular spots in India.

Next, head to the colorful union territory of Puducherry. Dotted with serene beaches, cozy cafes, Puducherry is one of the most picturesque east coast road trip stops. It is a blend of Indian and French architecture. You can also go for a cycle ride along the seaside streets or just relax at the famous Rock beach.

Day 2 

Puducherry – Cuddalore – Chidambaram (66km)

Temple in South India

On this day, you will be driving about 66km to reach Chidambaram. On your way to this place, you can pause to explore another town, Cuddalore. This historical town owes its royal prominence to Pallavas and Medieval Cholas. Cuddalore holds a deep religious significance for all the devotees in the country because of the 7th century Pataleeswarar Temple.

If you have time on your hands, take a detour and visit the world-renowned Pichavaram, a mangrove forest 57 km away from Cuddalore.

Chidambaram is known for its Thillai Nataraja Temple. The temple architecture is a blend of spirituality and art. It is shown through the 108 karanas from the Natya Shastra. These depictions form the foundation for Bharatnatyam. The region is rich with historical evidence that makes it one of the popular east coast road trip stops. Chidambaram has seen all successful dynasties of history such as the Pallavas and Medieval Cholas.

Day 3

Chidambaram – Velankanni (97km)

Church in South India

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 of a gorgeous beach.

You should make a stop at this revered Catholic pilgrimage center to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. It is also called the “Lourdes of the East”. If you want to witness Christianity in its truest sense, you can choose to be a part of a festival that ends with celebrating the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

Day 4 

Velankanni – Rameswaram – Dhanushkodi – Rameshwaram (300km)

Bridge in South India

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 Hyatt Place, one of the preferred east coast road Chennai resorts amongst tourists. The first stop of the day is Rameshwaram, a historical pilgrimage. This town houses many sites that attract tourists from all over the country.

One of the most notable attractions is the Ramanathaswamy Temple. Not many people know this but Rameshwaram is one of the best spots for Kite surfing. So, you have one more reason to add this trip to your bucket list.

Next, enjoy a smooth ride on the Pamban Road and head to Dhanushkodi and Arichal Munai. Dhanushkodi is an eerie ghost town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island with a sneak peek of Sri Lanka. 

Day 5 

Rameswaram – Ramanathapuram – Thoothukudi (192km)

East Coast Road Chennai

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. The “pearl city” also offers snorkeling trips in the Gulf of Mannar.

A stop at Thoothukudi offers the chance to do some recreational fishing or an adrenaline pumped activity such as Jet skiing, scuba diving etc.

Day 6 

Thoothukudi – Manapad (55km)

Fishing in South India

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 colorful hamlets of Tamil Nadu, known to have one of the best-surfing sites in India. Its distinct coastline makes it a photogenic location.

This go-to holiday destination offers much more than waves for a surfing experience. You can see the exotic marine life such as fish, dolphins on board a glass-bottom boat at Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

Day 7 

Manapad – Kanyakumari (74km)

Temple in South India

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.

Your final destination is famous for authentic South Indian cuisine. So, don’t forget to treat your taste buds with coconut based and fish curries.

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’