A travel Guide to Chennai
Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, which is an Indian state located along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It is located on the Coromandel Coast, which has presented the city with many natural tourist places. Its previous name was Madras and it is one of those places in India where Britishers started their settlements. Today, those settlements account for some of the best Chennai tourist attractions.
Chennai, India highly contributes to the history, culture, and economy of the country. Many major industries are also located in the city, which also makes it a major commercial centre of Southern India. Many popular automobile companies have built their manufacturing plants in Chennai, because of which it is also known as ‘Detroit of India’.
Chennai tours include warm sandy beaches, ages-old temples, beautiful churches, and incredible wildlife among many other things. The city has plenty of places and things for everybody to enjoy their vacation. It is a major tourist city in India and you can easily find a Chennai travel guide to show you around with no trouble.
The city is also famous for flourishing industrial areas, a well-maintained road network, convenient railways, modern airports and seaports, multi-speciality hospitals, world-class universities, and residential complexes with modern amenities.
Places to visit in Chennai
1. Marina Beach
Known as India’s most popular beach, Marina beach is the world's second-longest urban beach with a shoreline of 12 km. The beach is the biggest landmark in Chennai and it also has its own historical significance. Due to its long coast, Britishers landed here and founded the city Madras to start trade in Southern India. The beach is one of the best Chennai attractions. People come here to enjoy a day of picnic and to take long evening walks. The beach also has a wide area, which makes it a perfect place for political parties to organise political rallies.
2. Fort St. George
Fort St. George tops the list of all the places to visit in Chennai. The fort has splendid architecture and great historical importance. Built-in 1640 AD, historians believe that it was the first British establishment in India. Britishers erected this fort as a military trading post but later it emerged as a place for the origin of the modern Indian Army to serve Englishmen. Since independence, the fort has been the seat of the Tamil Nadu state government. St. George fort has many monuments in its boundaries that are worth watching for. Among them is the St. Mary’s Church, which is one of the oldest churches built by the Britishers in India. It also has a museum that is beautiful enough to reflect the glory of those days.
3. Arignar Anna Zoological Park
Arignar Anna Zoological Park, also known as the Vandalur Zoo, is the largest zoological park in India and a key element of Chennai tourism. Started in 1855 by the prominent conservationist Edward Balfour, it was the first public zoo in India. The zoo is home to more than 1500 wild species of animals and a safe haven for about 50 endangered species of animals, birds, reptiles, and insects.
4. Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar temple was built by the Pallava dynasty around 1300 years ago in Mylapore. The temple is a religious landmark in the city and shows us the devotion, culture, and rich history of the Tamil folks. The temple management regularly hosts classical dance and music performances to entertain the visitors and to keep their age-old arts alive. The architecture exhibits its traditional Agraharam style and it also has a large water tank. Many luxurious and affordable hotels in Chennai are built near this temple to provide a stay to devotees and tourists.
5. Santhome Cathedral Basilica
You cannot exclude the presence of Christianity from Chennai tourism and the Santhome Cathedral Basilica justifies this statement. This notable Christian church is famous all around the world. Christians say that there are only three Basilicas constructed in the entire world over the tomb of the direct apostle of Jesus Christ. It was built by the Portuguese in 1523 and it got the status of minor basilica in 1956. The architecture of this cathedral represents a neo-gothic style.
Things to do in Chennai
Chennai tourist places offer you many amazing experiences, a few of which are mentioned below.
Enjoy South Indian Art in Kalakshetra Foundation
If you’re looking for things to do in Chennai, where you can see the indigenous art from a close eye, then Kalakshetra is the right place for you. Kalakshetra gives you the chance to experience different types of art in one place. It works as a cultural academy, museum, school, and performance centre for art lovers. It was founded in 1936, and since then it is teaching and preserving Indian classical music, dance, and art.
Whether you’re just a tourist or have a great interest in south Indian art, you must visit Kalakshetra to see mind-blowing performances and an educational museum. Kalakshetra has a big and beautiful campus. You can sit here on soft green grass under the shadow of trees to spend some peaceful time, but photography is strictly prohibited inside the campus.
Pick up a Souvenir from Georgetown Bazaar
If you’re looking for a place where you can interact with the local people, then Georgetown Bazaar is the place for you. Local farmers and tradesmen come here and sell everything from fruits and vegetables, spices and textiles, to bangles and hand-made decorative items. This Bazaar was known as Black Town in the olden days. You can walk in this colourful historic market and if you come here with a Chennai travel guide, he can even narrate interesting stories related to this place.
Night safari at Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is the largest crocodile sanctuary in India and one of the best Chennai tourist places. There are 17 different species of crocodile living in this sanctuary. Crocodiles are nocturnal animals so they become active at night. This crocodile bank trust takes you on a night safari where, with the help of a flashlight, you can search for this wild and dangerous creature in the dark night. It also works as a conservation and breeding centre for crocodiles. If you’re in Chennai, then go to these safaris and see the crocodiles preying and protecting their habitat.
Give a helping hand to protect Olive Ridley Turtles
Olive Ridley is a species of turtles that is facing the consequences of pollution and climate change. Every year during the month of December to January, they come to the clean coasts of the Bay of Bengal and lay eggs. The Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network allows the local people and tourists to come here on Friday and Saturday nights and together they collect the eggs and place them in the safe hatching grounds so the turtles populate more rapidly and balance the ecosystem.
Best time to visit Chennai
Looking for the best time to visit Chennai? Here is a month-wise Chennai’s climatic conditions that can help you to plan your visit.
November to February
From November to February, when north India faces severe winter, south India enjoys mild climatic conditions. During these months, the temperature of Chennai remains between 20 degrees to 25 degrees celsius, and cool sea breezes protect you from the hot sun. So winter is the best season to visit Chennai.
March to June
Chennai faces extreme heat during these months of summer. The air becomes hot and humid and the temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius. So this is kind of an off-season of Chennai tourism. However, you can find cheap deals on hotels during this season.
July to September
July to September are months of monsoon in Chennai. The entire region receives heavy rainfall and the winds blow at a fast speed. If you’re travelling to Chennai in these months, make sure to carry an umbrella and raincoat with you all the time.
How to reach Chennai
You can easily find flight, train, and road transport if you’re searching for how to reach Chennai. Being a metropolitan city, it is very well connected with not just the rest of India, but with the world also.
You can find flights to Chennai from many airports of India and from major airports of the world. The Chennai International Airport is the third busiest airport in India and it is just 7 km away from the main city.
If you’re coming to see Chennai attractions from any city in southern India, you can find a direct bus service from your location. The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal (CMBT) is one of the largest bus stations in Asia.
Taking a train ride is also a good option. The headquarters of Southern Railway is situated in Chennai. There are three railway stations in the city and many super-fast and express trains run from these stations to every major city of India.
Plan You Travel
5 Star Hotels & Resorts in Chennai
Sheraton Grand Chennai Resort & Spa
₹ 9000 per night
Saky's Villa | 3 BHK Madras Beach House
₹ 18000 per night
Novotel Chennai OMR - An Accor Brand
₹ 6431 per night
Tulip Mahindra World City | Rooms & Caretaker
₹ 3000 per night
Novotel Chennai Sipcot - An Accor Brand
₹ 5540 per night
Mercure Chennai Sriperumbudur - An Accor Brand
₹ 6040 per night
₹ 23000 per night
ITC Grand Chola, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Chennai
₹ 15500 per night
The Leela Palace Chennai
₹ 15300 per night
3 Star Hotels & Resorts in Chennai
₹ 1456 per night
Gulnaar Guest House
₹ 2200 per night
₹ 2240 per night
₹ 2000 per night
₹ 2872 per night
The Iris Hotel
₹ 2294 per night
₹ 2700 per night
₹ 3500 per night
Hotel Ashok Residency
₹ 1837 per night