Located on the Coromandel coast of Bay of Bengal, Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu. The ‘capital of the south’ has always been an unfashionable sibling among India’s four biggest cities, with scorching southern heat, bustling city traffic, and lack of sparkling look as of other metro cities. It is the biggest industrial and commercial centre in South India, and a major cultural, economic and educational centre. With its historic landmarks and buildings, long sandy beaches, cultural and art centers and parks, Chennai is one of the favourite tourist destinations that offered many interesting locations to visitors.
Places to See in Chennai: Chennai, rich with its historical culture and heritage features a number of sight seeing spots. These include:
Established in 1851, Government Museum of Chennai is popular as the Madras Museum. Factually being the second oldest museum of India (after Kolkata’s Indian Museum), this museum is a treasure in itself! As a rich repository of finest masterpieces of art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics and much more, the MadrasMuseum assures to lure one and all. Spread across an area of 16.25 acres of land, the Government Museum is also counted among the largest museums of South Asia.
This place is very closely related to the great Indian saint Swami Vivekananda who glorified Indian culture in-front of the whole world, thus making us proud. Vivekananda house or Vivekananda Illam is a museum in Chennai which is looked upon as an important landmark by the followers of Swami Vivekananda. It is treated as a place of pilgrimage as this is where Swami Vivekananda stayed after returning from his visit to the west in 1897.
Victory War Memorial:
Chennai or Madras (as most of us call it), is considered as the gateway to south India. Iconic Marina Beach, which is counted among the longest beaches in the world, is a part of the city. Victory War Memorial or the Cupid’s Bow in Chennai is one of the two war memorials located here, MadrasWarCemetery being the other one. The memorial is situated at the beginning of Marina Beach, near Fort St. George.
Almost 500 years old in its construction, the Kattubava Mosque or Kattubava Pallivasal is a popular mosque in the state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Padukkottai-Madurai Highways, it is among the notable Islamic Pilgrim Centres in India.
A beautifully built structure, the Kattubava Mosque entombs a saint called Bava Fakruddin. Popularly known as Kattubava, he was the grandson of the honorable saint of Nagore Shahul Hameed. The mosque looks as peaceful from its exteriors as it is from within. The architecture of the mosque is truly phenomenal with exquisite detailings.
The Big Mosque Chennai is located in the Janbazar area of Triplicane in Chennai, along Wallajah Road. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in this capital city. The mosque is located a short distance away from the Queiad-e-Milleth High Road.Constructed in 1795, the Big Mosque Chennai is one of the most important historical monuments of Chennai. Also popularly termed as the Wallajah Mosque (big mosque), it was built by the family of the Nawab Wallajah in his memory. The architecture embodies the fusion of Indian, Islamic, and Iranian influences.
The Big Mosque Chennai is built completely out of gray granite and has been successful in outliving the ravages of time. Neither wood nor steel has been used in any part of this mosque. The mosque is provided with two lofty minarets at the front. The architecture is quite typical of the medieval period. The use of iron or other such materials which are susceptible to the elements have been completely avoided while constructing this mosque.
The Kandaswamy Temple of Chennai is in Cheyyur, 29 kilometers from Madurantakam. The KandaswamyTemple is dedicated to Lord Kandaswamy or Shiva is the principal deity of this temple. Besides, there are the shrines of, Lord Someswara, Goddess Meenakshi, Muthukumaraswamy, also popular as Samharamurthy. There are several other deities as well, for instance the Vinayaka, Dakshinamurthy and Chandikeswara. You shall also find the deity of Murga, known to be a son of Lord Shiva. The Murga deity is observed to be standing in five different positions. The Kandaswamy Temple of Chennai attracts tourists due to the different figures standing in specific postures.
The Kapaleeswarar Temple of Chennai is a very old and revered temple of Mylapore in Chennai. The ‘gopuram’ (tower) of this edifice is peculiar to all representative specimens of Dravidian architecture. Consecrated to Lord Shiva, this temple contains some beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints (Nayanmars) decorating the outer courtyard are rare examples.
Dash-n-Splash in Chennai is an amusement park located about 30 kilometers away from the city of Chennai, in Tamil Nadu. The park is on the national highway number 4, which leads to Bangalore. The amusement park is based at MevallurKuppamVillage in Chennai. The administrative office of the park is situated in the city itself, at Tambu Chetty Street. Dash-n-Splash of Chennai is an amazing water retreat which covers a huge area in the MevallurKuppamVillage. The park has plenty of water reservoirs and shaded locations which gives you a total family refreshment. The water slides are the most popular events to the visitors at Dash-N-Splash of Chennai.
The enchanting Covelong Beach of Chennai is located at a distance of 40 kilometers from Chennai. Covelong Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Chennai marked for its serene beauty and various other beach activities. Covelong Beach of Chennai was built by the Nawab of Carnatic. Covelong Beach in Chennai was once the hub of the French in India. There are three prominent beaches in Chennai :
Adventure lovers can involve themselves in a number of water sports in the Covelong Beach at Chennai. They can enjoy water sports like wind surfing and swimming which are the are popular activities of the tourists here. Covelong Beach at Chennai is separated from the main land by a canal that run from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. You will be pleased to see the peaceful and tranquil ambiance in the Covelong Beach in Chennai. This most popular beach on the CoromandalCoast has become an ideal spot for one who wish to meditate. Other attractions of the breathtakingly beautiful CovelongBeach near Chennai are old Dutch fort, church and a mosque. You can see the the forts and other ruins of the historical structures around the Covelong Beach near Chennai. There are ancient Catholic Church, historical monuments, mosques only few yards away from the tranquil beach. The ruins and the old historical structure in the Covelong beach near Chennai still stands erect to tell the tale of the historical past of Tamil Nadu
St. Thomas Mount
Historically speaking, the commencement of Christianity in India is credited to St Thomas. Saint Thomas spread the ‘Good Word’ among the South Indians. However, some critical circumstances led him to take refuge in the fabled Little Mount. Later, while he was on his way to Little Mount, about 3 km away, he was martyred and that place is still remember for him and aptly called St. Thomas Mount. It is located in Parangimalai and happens to be one of the most attractive spots for tourists as well as for religious devotees in Chennai. People on a holy pilgrimage to India include the other churches along with St Thomas Mount on their itinerary. The oil paintings found here are also worth a look, especially the one that St. Thomas brought with him and was drawn by his fellow apostle Luke. The church was reconstructed in the 16th century.
MGM Dizzee World:
The MGM Dizzee world is strategically located on the East Coast Road. Opened from 10 am to 6:30 pm, it is bustling with people throughout the week. With 35 acre area coverage that comes with a beach, a resort, amusement park, truly makes for a great trip. It is a children-friendly amusement park with an entire section dedicated to kids. The rides include Giant Wheel, ParachuteTower, Kamikaze Ranger, Roller coaster, Rocking Boat, among others. Revolution and Venture rides are hot favourites among teens. If you want to have a good time as well as spend some valuable moments with your family, MGM Dizzee World is the place to be. There are more than 60 rides and about 1,500 people visiting the place weekly. This pushes the overall annual footfall count crosses the 5 million mark.
The Ayyappan temple in Anna Nagar was constructed when a group of people living together decided to build a temple to worship the God they were devoted to. This temple started out as a simple and humble establishment but later on proceeded to become something enormous which is now a well-known landmark in Chennai. It has the Panchaloka idol of Ayyappan and also of other deities such as Ganesha, Anjaneyar, Durga and Muruga.
VGP Universal Kingdom
VGP Universal Kingdom, commonly known as VGP, is located on the East Coast Road. It is open from 10:00 am in the morning to 6:30 pm in the evening during weekdays and till 7:30 pm during weekends. This pioneer among amusement parks in Chennai is known for its safety. The place is both affordable as well as holds much promise for fun and entertainment. The Giant Wheel and Rain Dance are its key attractions. The big ‘Family Dosa’ available at the cafeteria is in itself a major attraction. It also has a beach in close proximity. Rides for kids available here are the best ones available in the city.
St. George’s Fort
This masterpiece by the British speaks volumes about the Neo-Classical construction style the British had adopted earlier. It is open on all days except on Friday. It can be visited from 9:00 am in the morning to 4.30 pm. The entrance ticket costs a meagre Rs. 5 for Indians and $2 for foreigners. Photography is strictly prohibited in this fort. It has managed to retain its beauty over the years, thanks to the excellent maintenance efforts by the Government. It serves as a library of information, particularly about matters related to the colonial rule in India and ancient Chennai.
Mahalingapuram Sree Ayyappa Temple
Mahalingapuram Sree Ayyappa Temple is located in the busy Nungambakkam area of Chennai. This temple opens early in the morning for customary rituals and remain open to devotees till 9:00 pm. There are many people who come here hoping to cherish a calm state of mind. The magazine published by this temple is called Pushpabhishekam. This magazine propagates a vast array of well-being and tips related to spirituality, health, education, family, society and more. This temple is beautifully decorated with lamps and flowers on all major festive occasions. Devotees bring turmeric, vermilion, flowers and coconut to offer to the Gods.
The Annai Velankanni Church is located in Besant Nagar and remains open throughout the week. There are masses in English, Tamil and Malayalam every day. Annual fuctions and festivals including Christmas and Ascension Day are celebrated with great joy and feasts. VelankanniChurch is among the most revered pilgrimage destination visited by people from all around the world. The church also has a museum that displays valuables crafted out of gold, silver and the like that have been offered by the devotees.
Marina Beach is the longest urban beach in India and second longest in the world running along the Bay of Bengal. The beach stretches over 13 km and is a major attraction of Chennai. Though bathing and swimming are strictly prohibited at the beach, but it has a lot more to lure its visitors. It offers best scenic views of sunset and sunrise and is famous for its shops and food stalls where you can relish best of delicacies. A stroll or a pony ride along the beach is simply mesmerising.
Located at the East Coast Road, the VGP Golden Beach borders the Bay of Bengal and it takes about half an hour to go from Marina Beach to the Golden Beach. It is a resort that has a amusement park offering rides like go-karting, water chute, roller coaster, among many others. There are also cultural shows being organised by the resort.
The Parthasarathy Temple, also known as Arulmigu Parthasarathyswamy, is a Vaishanavite temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is in the form of ‘parthasarathy’, the charioteer for Arjuna in the Mahabharata war. The temple is most widely renowned as one of the 108 sacred places where Lord Vishnu is worshipped. The temple is said to be unique as it has four different incarnations or forms of Lord Vishnu, namely, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Narasimha and Lord Varaha.
The Vadapalani temple, also called as “Arulmigu Vadapalani Andavar Thirukoil”, is a temple dedicated to Lord Muruga and is known for its powers in blessing those who pray to him. This temple was built during the 17th century and has gained popularity as the years have passed. This temple also houses other gods besides the main deity, Palani Andavar, and hence is a place where one can worship many gods under a single roof. The other gods present here include Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Paravathi and Lord Hanuman. Anjaneyar / Hanuman’s image is inscribed on a pillar and the devotees offer him butter as a gift in order to get their wishes fulfilled. The temple is known for its significance in the film industry as it has featured in a number of films and the location around the temple is home to many famous celebrities as well.
Nearby attractions from Chennai: You can easily make a number of trips to the nearby destinations like:
Among the favorite weekend getaways from Chennai is Sriperumbudur. Situated at a distance of 40 kms from the city Sriperumbudur is located in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu. Although the city is an industrialized area it still is home to numerous gardens and parks that are refreshment from the fast paced city life.
Yelagiri Hills is one of the most frequented nearby gateways from Chennai. Yelagiri is a 3-4 hours drive from Chennai. A hill station engulfed in tranquillity Yelagiri is actually a cluster of small villages, spread around hills. Untouched by the evils of pollution and globalization Yelagiri Hills is home to several green valleys, orchards and rose-gardens set amidst the serenity of Mother Nature. Some of the famous sightseeing options in Yelagiri include VelvanTemple, PunganoorLake, Swamimalai Hills and the Jalagamparai Waterfalls.
If you want to club your vacation along with a pilgrimage then Tirupati is the ultimate destination. Tirupati is located in the Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh and is situated at a distance of 152 kms from Chennai. Tirupati is regarded as one of the eight most important places of worship of the Hindu’s. Tirupati houses a 2m high standing idol of Lord Vishnu on a lotus flanked by his partners Bhudevi and Sride. This statue is said to grant any wish made in front of it. A masterpiece of south Indian architecture Tirupati is believed to shelter a host of other temples as well.
Another popular tourist spot near Chennai is the beautiful little city of Sadras. Situated along the Coromandel Coast, Sadras lies at a distance of 69 kms from Chennai. Steeped in history this fort city was declared a Dutch Colony in the 17th century. Sadras offers a number of sightseeing options. Apart from its various forts and naval battlefields the city boasts of some of the most beautiful moments of the bygone eras of the country.
An ancient port city lying on the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu, Mahabalipuram is located at a distance of 60 kms from Chennai. This city is among the popular nearby gateways of Chennai. Having a strong historical backdrop, Mahabalipuram is home to some of the rarest historical monuments that were built during the Pallava Dynasty. Most of the temples are in the form of rock cut caves. One of the city’s prime attractions is its beautiful and unspoilt beaches which offer a host of activities like fishing and boating.
Things to do in Chennai: Apart from sight seeing, shopping in Chennai, is a truly delightful experience. The region boasts of an exceptionally rich heritage of arts and crafts. One of the most popular items for shopping in Tamil Nadu is its silk fabric. Thanjavur, Coimbatore and Kanchipuram have earned worldwide fame for the silks whereas in Mahabalipuram you can buy the stone sculptures. At the same time the bronze and brass cast statues and artifacts would leave you spoilt for choice.
Best time to visit Chennai: The winter season that is from November to February, is the best time to visit Chennai when one can rejuvenate and relishes the beholding endowments.
How to go ?
The third busiest airport of India is the Chennai International Airport which is located at a distance of 7 km from the main city. Both, international and domestic flights land at different terminals: the international flights arrive at the Anna Terminal whereas the domestic flights at Kamaraj Terminal. These two terminals are located at a distance of only 150 metres from each other. Both the terminals are well connected to the major cities of India and the world.
Chennai Central (code MAS) and Chennai Egmore (code MS) are the two main long distance train stations. There are daily trains from Chennai to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad, Kolkata and most of the big cities of India.
One of Asia’s largest bus stations, the CMBT, is in Chennai. There are seven different state owned corporations which drive buses to and from various destinations within South India. There are hourly buses for places like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli etc.
Where to stay ?
There are numerous accommodation facilities in Chennai. Some options are:
Hilton Hotels and Resort: +91-44-222-55555 Website: www3.hilton.com
Radisson Blu Hotel: +91 44 2231 0101 Website: www.radissonblu.com
Apple Residency: +91- 044 – 28544201 Website: www.appleresidency.com
Asiana Place: +91 44 6679 88 88 Website: www.asianaplace.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.