Enjoying the status of being amongst the four major metropolis in India and Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai can most often be described as the ultimate ‘Getaway to South.’ Owing to its location and proximity to cities like Pondicherry, Tirupati and Kanyakumari, it is preferred holiday destination for many. But hang on, it’s not just the getaways that will excite you, the city has packed a bigger chunk of things to do for anyone who visits. Home to some of the greatest forts, beautiful temples, monuments, churches and theme parks, Chennai has something from everyone. Food buffs and shopaholics delight! There are many street markets, shopping malls, local eateries and fine dining options that you will love in this city. And that’s not all! Chennai is home to the second longest natural beach in the world, Marina Beach.
While most of the temples in Chennai are dedicated to different forms of Lord Shiva, there are many churches to lookout for too. They are a brilliant example of history well-preserved. The world famous San Thome Church, which is amongst the only three St. Thomas Basilicas in the world (the other two are located in Rome and Spain) is located in Chennai.
Chennai has attractions galore for kids too. They can rejoice at not one but six different theme parks that are spread across different parts of the city. Many fun-filled learning opportunities also await them at the city’s zoos and national parks. The joy ride at the railways museum is a must-not-miss.
With so much to do during the day, there are no lack of options to spend the night away too. Chennai’s nightlife is gearing up fast as the city is filled with entertainment zones in malls, glamorous lounge bars, happening pubs and more.
In and Around
Fort St. George
St. George Fort, located on the banks of Bay of Bengal, was built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. The military architecture marvel, it was erected as a trading post.
Situated at the Egmore area of Chennai, Freemasons Hall is the living example of the cultural and traditional heritage of the people who inhabited the ancient city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras.
Incepted during colonial rule, the Government Museum of Chennai is one of the one of the oldest museums of India. The main attractions of the museum include the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Amravathi Gallery and the National Art Gallery.
Kamaraj Memorial House
Kamaraj Memorial House built in the memory of Shri Kamaraj, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The House exhibits vast library of his favourite books and a long range of photographs since his childhood days to the later years.
MGR Memorial is a tribute to the former actor cum politician of Tamil Nadu, MGR Ramachandran. The memorial will show you collection of a number of distinctive items which he used in his lifetime.
Senate House of Chennai is located at the campus of University of Madras, near the Marina Beach. The House was constructed under the supervision of one of the greatest architects of the 19th century reflecting truly an architectural marvel.
Thousand Lights Mosque
The ‘Thousand Lights Mosque’ is a well-known holyplace for Muslims in Chennai. The Mosque attracts number of non-Muslims as well and is primarily popular for a number of reasons, such as its name, its architecture and its historical and religious importance.
Valluvar Kottam is built to pay homage to the great Tamil Poet and Saint Thiruvalluvar who wrote ‘Thirukkural’. The monument sits at the place where an unused lake existed in past. The monument is in the shape of a temple chariot and contains a lively and splendid statue of the poet.
If you want to explore the vibrant heroic past of India, visit the War Memorial of Chennai. The memorials are dedicated to those soldiers who laid their lives for the welfare of the nation as well as those who died as martyrs, serving their nation.
Santhome Cathedral Basilica
A sacred shrine of utmost faith among Catholic Christians, Santhome Cathedral Basilica was built during the Portuguese settlement in the region in 1600s. Embraced with Neo-Gothic style of architecture the church is a peaceful pious place. Must visit!
St. Mary’s Church
The St. Mary Church lying at the famous monument, Fort St. George is an excellent place to visit and make your trip to Chennai worthwhile.
Velakannai Church, called the ‘Mecca of Christians’ is the principal shrine of Mother Mary where she is admired and revered as the ‘Lady of Health’. Take some time on a trip to Chennai to see the striking church situated at the Elliot’s Beach at Basant Nagar.
The shrine of the first omniscient teacher of Jainism, Rishbhadev or Adi Jain, Adeeswar Temple also known as Polal Temple is situated just 9 km away from the city. It would be ever-memorable and cherishing experience to visit the temple and offer the words of worship at this holy place.
The Kandaswamy Temple built in 11th century by Chola Kings is a sacred shrine of Lord Kandaswamy or Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga, son of Lord Shiva. The temple is also a destination to celebrate Skandasasthi and Parhuni festivals.
The Kapaleeswarar Temple situated at Mylapore in Chennai is a prime shrine of Lord Shiva. The temple receives utmost reverence from the residents of Chennai. The temple depicts Goddess Parvati worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of a peacock.
The temple situated at Triplicane pays homage to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu for playing role of the charioteer of the brave warrior Arjuna in the battle field of Mahabharata.
The temple is primarily devoted to Lord Muruga, though the premise has number of deities of other demigods also. The temple is a 125 years old construction and has become a place of celebration of Skanda Sasthi and Panguni Utthiram.
Covelong Beach is one of the finest beaches on the coast of Coromandel, located at a distance of 40 km from Chennai. The beach embraced with the picturesque locals strives to give you the perfect retreat away from the hum drum of the city life.
Located towards the south of Marina Beach, Elliot’s Beach is one of the cleanest beaches and an extremely calm and tranquil place in the city of Chennai. The beach is known as ‘Bessei’ among natives of the city.
Marina Beach is situated at Kamaraj Road, just 3 km away from the city Chennai. Extending to a length of 13 km, it is considered to be second largest beach of the world covering the region from St. George Fort to Mahabalipuram.
Bring out the child-like within you by visiting the amusement parks of Chennai. Dash-N-Splash, Dplphin City, Kishkinta, Little Folks, and MGM ‘Dizee World’ beach Resort are the most popular amusement parks of the city. Must visit!
Gain an insight into the nightlife and youthfulness of Chennai with the discotheques of the city. To help you find a good discotheque, we will suggest you HFO, Dublin, Pasha, The Park, Flame Le Club, Gepffrey’s and Zara-Tapas Pub which are the most happening ones.
Wake up the adventure-freak within you and head towards Chennai. A number of water sports like Tarsha Water Sports, Muttukadu Boat House, Pichavaram and many more are waiting for you!
Chennai is home to the Tamil film industry Kollywood. Enjoy the Tamil movies in number of multiplexes, Cineplexes and PVR cinemas in the city. You can enjoy here movies in other languages as well!
The City Centre, Spencer Plaza, Gold Mall, Express Avenue and many other giant malls serve the city. These shopping malls have variety as well as quality. Have a go and grab all what you wish to buy!
A visit to the wildlife sanctuary rich in crocodiles, alligators and several other reptiles would be adventurous as well as fulfilling. It is just 44 km far from the capital city Chennai and in the vicinity of Mahabalipuram.
Former Mamallapuram, the place is around 60 km far from Chennai. Its shore temple and carving are the most alluring ones. A preferred tourist destination, it forms ‘Golden Tourism Triangle’ with Chennai and Kanchipuram.
A popular picnic spot Muttukadu is situated in Kanchipuram, 36 km away from Chennai. Here you can enjoy backwaters, boat house and various water sports surrounded by lush Greenland and coconut trees.
The small seashore town, Pulicat is located in Thiruvalluvar district about 60 km far from Chennai. The place is known for its beaches, Dutch cemetery, bird sanctuary and Pulicat Lake.
The ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur is famous for its grand Chola temples. The paintings and architecture is worth a look. Have a visit!
Located on the coast of south east India, Chennai has a hot and humid climate for most of the year so the best time to visit this historic capital of Tamil Nadu is the winters (November to February).
How to Reach
Touted to be the third busiest airports in India, Chennai International airport is just 7 kilometres away from the city. It has two terminals. Most of the international and domestic airline carriers have direct flights to the terminal called Anna International Airport in Chennai making the airport well-connected to most major airports in the world. Domestic airlines operate on a daily basis at the Kamaraj Domestic terminal (located near the international terminal, just 150 meters away from each other.)
There are pre-paid taxi booths outside the airport from where you can hire a taxi and reach your destination. Charges may vary as per the cab vendor. However if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, auto-rickshaws can take you to the city at a relatively low fare.
Home to the headquarters of the Southern Railway, Chennai has three major railway stations namely Chennai Central (code MAS), Chennai Egmore which is just 2 kilometres from the city (code MS) and Tambaram which serves the suburban areas of Chennai. Many super-fast and express trains run on a daily basis and are well-connected to cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad, Kolkata and other Indian cities. Some of the popular trains are Chennai Mail, Guwahati Express, GT Express, Chennai Central and Andaman Express. Outside the station, you would find many prepaid taxis, cabs and auto-rickshaws that are available for hire.
Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal (CMBT) is one of Asia’s largest bus stations. Around seven state owned companies run buses to and from various destinations within South India. they connect cities like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and others. You can choose from deluxe, semi-deluxe, hi-tech, rajahamsa executive and sleeper buses while taking a route to any of the neighbouring cities. Also, there are various buses that connect major cities Bangalore and Calicut to Chennai.
The road network in Chennai is excellent and is well-connected to most of the neighbouring towns. There are 5 national highways that navigate towards major Indian cities like Kolkata, Bengaluru (330 kms), Madurai (326 kms), Tiruvallur (47 kms), Nellore (181 kms), Vellore (136 kms) and Pondicherry (162 kms). Many cab vendors like Clear Car Rental, Avis and Carzonrent provide various cab rental facilities for tourists. The drive from Chennai to Pondicherry is indeed a scenic one backed by a good road network.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Hotel Raj Park
180, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet,
City Center, Near U S Consulate ,
Chennai , Tamil Nadu,600018
19 G S T Road,Guindy,Chennai, Guindy
Airport Zone Chennai Trade Centre ,
Chennai , Tamil Nadu,600032
146, Dr Radhakrishna Road, City Center,
1 Km to U S Consulate , Chennai ,
Where to Eat
204/A, Swadesh, East Coast Rd,
Akkarai, Chennai 600119
636, Anna Salai,
Teynampet, The Raintree Hotel,
Shri Devi Park Hotel, 1,
Hanumantha Road, North Usman Road,
T. Nagar, Chennai