Sriharikota is a barrier island in the Andhra Pradesh state of India. It is most famous as the home of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), one of the two satellite launch centres in India (the other is in Thiruvananthapuram).
Sullurpeta is the nearest town to Sriharikota. It is about 20 km away. Sullurpeta is fairly well-connected to Chennai, which is about 80 km from there. To get to Sullurpeta from Chennai, get to the CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus) at Koyambedu in Chennai. Buses to Nellore, Tada etc. will most probably take you to Sullurpeta. You will find most of these buses on Platform 3 (Bus Bay No. 18, 19). The travel time from CMBT to Sullurpeta is 2 hours, along NH 5, a four-lane road. Once at the Sullurpeta bus stand, get to the 'SHAR' (Sriharikota Range) bus stand, which is about a kilometer or two away. You could either take an auto or perhaps a share-auto to get there. From the 'SHAR' bus stand, bus service to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (which is the only thing at Sriharikota) is available, although getting into a jeep or a share-auto would be the best way to get there. A word of caution here, you might have to stand on the foot board in the rear end of the jeep or sit in the driver's seat and yet not drive the jeep! The jeep drive would cost ₹10 per person and the share auto even lesser. The drive is extremely beautiful with the Pulicat lake on both sides of the road. The Pulicat Bird Sanctuary is also on the Road and if lucky, you might spot some pelicans too!
Local cabs usually Ambassador or Indica cars would charge you about ₹250/- to SHAR.
You could take an electric train from Chennai Central to Sullurpeta, this would actually work out cheaper than the bus and is definitely more comfortable. The travel time is around 2 to 2.5 hours by train.
To get around the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, you need prior permission. Knowing an employee at the space centre might help.
If you are planning to get to Sriharikota to watch a rocket launch and do not know anybody working at the Space Centre, never mind. You could still watch the launch, although from outside the entrance of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Stopping the jeep a little before the Space Centre entrance will be the best thing to do. Alight from the jeep about half a kilometer before the Space Station and look straight in the direction of the Space Station entrance. The launch will be visible fairly well, and also audible more than fairly well.
- 1 ISRO Rocket Launch View Gallery.
On being permitted to enter the Satish Dhawan Space Station, one could tour the whole place and have a look at the launch vehicles and pads from up-close. Typically, without permission, one cannot enter the Space Station. The security during a launch is further beefed-up, however the launch can be watched from outside the Space Station itself.
Pulicat Lake is another destination close by which can be visited for backwaters, migratory birds and boating
Rocket models, posters, fresh, yummy and cheap sea food from local fishermen, and that's all you can get here.
There is a canteen outside the Space Station where you will get water, soft drinks, biscuits etc.
There is a canteen outside the Space Centre where you will get water, soft drinks, biscuits etc. However, it is suggested that you carry your own stuff from the nearest town Sullurupeta. The canteen is sometimes closed and all you can get is only water from the CISF personnel manning the entrance gate to SHAR.
The nearest town from Sriharikota is Sullurpeta. There you will find boarding and lodging. Sriharikota as such has only the Space Centre and in all probability will not offer any place to sleep.
Knowing an employee working at SHAR would help as they can accommodate you in the Guest House or Hostel that is damn cheap.