As COVID-19 cases in Chennai are gradually coming down and the rules are getting a bit relaxed, this might be a good time to plan some sightseeing in the city. We’ve rounded up five secret places in Chennai that will let you enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about social distancing. By Amitha Ameen

1. Broken Bridge


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As the name suggests, this is a half-broken bridge on the other side of the posh Adyar area. Earlier used by fishermen to cross the river from Elliot’s to Santhome beach, the bridge was constructed in 1967 but was destroyed by strong river currents in the following year. The area later became popular as a cinema shooting spot. This place is great to hang away from the crowds and even get in a few great shots for your Instagram account.

2. Theosophical Society


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Spread across 260 acres, the international headquarters of Theosophical Society doesn’t get nearly as enough credit as it should. Rich in flora and fauna, this small forest is a great place to enjoy some time with nature. Did we mention that there is a banyan tree ‘Adyar Alamaram’ that is 450 years old inside this place? Couple that with a stroll through mangroves, stopping by to check out the marine animals and spotting exotic birds — this is one of the best places in Chennai where you don’t have to worry about social distancing.

3. St Thomas Mount


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Situated atop a small hillock, St Thomas Mount is one of the underrated places that have a lot on offer. There is a beautiful cathedral on top which earlier served as a lighthouse during the 16th and 17 centuries. The mount can also be a mini-road trip getaway and once you reach the top you can enjoy uninterrupted views of aeroplanes taking off and landing as the mount is situated close to the Chennai Airport. This place is great for catching beautiful sunsets and sunrises, too.

4. Senji


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This one is not exactly in Chennai but takes just a little over two hours and can provide the perfect mini-road trip for you while staying in close proximity to the city. Unknown even by most Chennaites, this place holds an old-world charm that you will instantly fall in love with. Along with a largely rural setup, Senji holds many historically important temples and forts including the Senji Fort. Great photo-ops, delicious local food, and very similar in landscape to Hampi in Karnataka, this one is our favourite.

5. East Coast Road


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Now, this is not exactly a place but a strip of road that connects Chennai to Puducherry and further, lined all the way with a shoreline. While the drive on ECR is in itself something to boast about, the highway is dotted with arts cafes and beach facing bistros. Now, who wouldn’t want to put their feet up and enjoy a cool cocktail while taking in the ocean views? And as a bonus, you will not have to worry about social distancing for miles.

Related: #TnlRoadTrips: Here Are Our Top 5 Favourite Culinary Road Trips From Chennai