Chennai earlier known as Madras, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu and among the world’s 50 largest cities. India’s fourth largest metropolis, Chennai is renowned for its rich history, beaches, anglo-indian architecture, cultural festivals, educational institutions, textile industry and shopping venues.
Chennai is seen as the gateway to Southern India.The city houses Asia’s largest hospitals and specialist doctors, contributing to a growing wave of medical tourism.
Attractions: Fort St George built by the British, currently the administrative headquarters of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu, housing historic buildings and monuments such as the St. Mary’s Church, popularly known as the ‘Westminster Abbey of the East’ and Dakshina Chitra, a living art museum showcasing the culture of South India through exhibits, folk performances, village artisans and craft activities. The most popular public attractions in Chennai are the Government Museum that houses relics and artifacts of the bygone dynasties, the Marina beach, the world’s second longest urban beach and the Besant Nagar beach which is quieter than the Marina.
If you love dance, you might want to go to Kalakshetra, an institute of dance and the performing arts that teaches and promotes bharata natyam, a traditional form of dance from South India. The Vandalur zoo is a must-visit if you have kids as it is an open-zoo, home to 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. You could also visit Pulicat (60 km from Chennai) known primarily for its Dutch and Portuguese influences. The Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, famed for its flamingoes, which create visible sheets of pink across the lake also showcases natural beauty and serenity. The Theosophical society set up in Chennai in 1882 has a green campus with a large library of spiritual books if you are interested. Don’t miss trying the famous south indian cuisine like idli, dosa, vada and complete lunch meals!
Shopping: Textiles, cotton garments, traditional silk hand-woven saris, carved wood work, shell souvenirs and trinkets, footwear & bags, crockery, jewelry, stationary and music accessories. Various malls and local markets offer a variety of products to make your shopping jaunts worth it!
Accessibility: Chennai is accessible from most Indian and international cities by air. Train and road travel is also frequently preferred by tourists visiting South India.
Best time to visit: Chennai is hot and humid through the year. Best time to visit would be September – March, April and May being the hottest months of the year.