Welcome to Chennai, one of the bustling cities in South India that has a rich cultural heritage and a cosmopolitan vibe. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is often referred to as the “Gateway to South India”. With a vibrant mix of history, culture, and modernity, Chennai attracts tourists from all over the globe. In this post, we will highlight some of the best attractions and things to do in Chennai, designed to provide you with memorable experiences and an authentic taste of what this amazing city has to offer. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of Chennai!
The 5 Best City Walking Tours in Chennai
- Local Tour of Heritage and Architectural Buildings in Chennai
- Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves Temples Tour
- Heritage Walk Through Mylapore the Cultural Nerve Centre of Chennai
- Chennai Full Day Sightseeing in a Private Car
- Following the Foot Steps of St Thomas Day Trip in Chennai
The 5 Best City Walking Tours in Chennai
1. Local Tour of Heritage and Architectural Buildings in Chennai
This self-guided audio tour takes you on a six-day exploration of Chennai’s heritage and architectural buildings. With direct access to an audio guide in one playlist for all tourist attractions, you can create your own tour itinerary and choose your starting and ending points as per your convenience.
The tour includes admission fees to all necessary locations and a personally created tour itinerary map with an audio guide for each attraction. The tour starts at the Chennai Central Railway Station and includes stops at the Ripon Building, the Government Museum, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, and many more.
Confirmation of your booking will be sent to you via email on your selected date of travel, along with links to access the audio guide. Please note that the tour is not wheelchair accessible and may require the use of public transportation.
Experience the rich history and culture of Chennai through this informative and customizable tour.
2. Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram Private Caves Temples Tour
Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the historic sites in Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Explore the art and architecture of the 7th and 8th centuries, with a focus on stone carvings and rock-cutting work. Discover the magnificent Shore Temple and Five Rathas shrine in Mahabalipuram, surrounded by lush gardens. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the “golden city of a thousand temples” in Kanchipuram. Marvel at the grand buildings that reflect the architectural experiments of different dynasties that ruled this city. Shop for exclusive Kanchipuram silk and cotton saris and experience the rich history of Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. A truly enchanting experience awaits you on this private caves temples tour.
3. Heritage Walk Through Mylapore the Cultural Nerve Centre of Chennai
Explore the cultural hub of Mylapore in Chennai with a heritage-themed walking tour. Begin your day early with a traditional South Indian breakfast with coffee included. Enjoy visits to the famous Kapaleeshwar Temple, Ramakrishna Math temple, and San Thome Basilica. A professional guide will provide interesting historical information about top local attractions. All entrance fees are included, and you can request a pickup, or head directly to the meeting point at Hotel Saravana Bhavan. Don’t miss the chance to discover the charms of Mylapore on foot with this exciting tour.
4. Chennai Full Day Sightseeing in a Private Car
Discover the best of Chennai with a full day sightseeing tour in a private car. Your air-conditioned vehicle will pick you up from your hotel or specified pick-up address, and take you on a journey through the city. Enjoy the convenience of having a driver and fuel charges included, as well as all parking and toll charges. You won’t have to worry about entrance fees to monuments and any meals during the tour are also covered.
During the tour, you’ll get to visit the historic Fort St. George, where you can learn about the Dutch, British, and French influences on Chennai’s early history. Be sure to check out the museum while you’re there. Explore the bustling and colorful Burma Bazaar, where you can find everything from spices to textiles. Visit the impressive Kapaleeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and see the intricate carvings and architecture.
Other stops on the tour include the beautiful Marina Beach, the stunning San Thome Cathedral, and the serene Theosophical Society. In between stops, you’ll get to drive around and see even more of the city.
This private tour allows you to customize the itinerary to your liking and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your time in Chennai. Confirmation will be received at the time of booking, and this tour is open to most travelers (please note that it is not wheelchair accessible). Public transportation is nearby, giving you the flexibility to continue exploring Chennai on your own once the tour is over.
5. Following the Foot Steps of St Thomas Day Trip in Chennai
Explore the religious landmarks of Chennai on this full-day guided tour. Follow in the footsteps of St. Thomas and visit the cave in Little Mount, St. Thomas Mount and the St. Thome Basilica. Learn about the history of Christianity in the city and the influence that St. Thomas had on India between AD52 and AD72. Enjoy a curated itinerary and in-depth commentary provided by your guide, as well as lunch and convenient pickup and drop-off from Chennai hotels. Admission fees to all attractions are included.
Chennai Travel Guide: Top Frequently Asked QuestionsChennai, formerly known as Madras, is a bustling metropolis located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. The city is a perfect blend of history, culture, and modernity. Chennai is home to countless landmarks that witness its rich past, such as temples, forts, museums, churches, and beaches. Any tourist visiting Chennai is sure to be perplexed with a lot of queries. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help any curious tourist navigate the city seamlessly.
1. What is the best time to visit Chennai?The best time of year to visit Chennai is between November and February as it is the coolest and driest season. The weather is pleasant during these months, making it easy to explore the city without getting exhausted. The temperature ranges between 20-25 degrees Celsius during this period. However, the prices of hotels and flights tend to rise during this season. In contrast, monsoons are from October to November, and summers are from March to June, during which it can be quite humid and hot in Chennai.
2. What is the local language spoken in Chennai?The most widely spoken language in Chennai is Tamil. However, English is also widely used in the city for communication. Hindi is also widely understood and spoken.
3. What are the must-visit places in Chennai?Chennai is a city with a lot of beautiful places. Here are some of the must-visit places:
- Marina Beach: The second-largest beach in the world is a beautiful destination, where you can enjoy a stunning sunset and try some local street food.
- Kapaleeshwarar Temple: One of the oldest temples in Chennai, it is a beautiful example of Dravidian architecture and an important religious site for Hindus.
- Fort St. George: A historical landmark in Chennai, this fort was built by the British in 1644 and is home to several museums and historical artefacts.
- Government Museum: It is one of the oldest and broadest museums in India that showcases ancient art and artifacts.
- Edward Elliot’s Beach: A beach in Besant Nagar, Chennai, that is a popular destination for families and tourists.
- Mahabalipuram: A UNESCO World Heritage site located about an hour south of Chennai filled with ancient temples, rock carvings and other architectural wonders.
4. What are some of the famous food dishes to try in Chennai?Chennai is known for its delicious and authentic South Indian cuisine. Some of the must-try dishes include:
- Idli, Dosa, Vada and Sambar: These are typical South Indian breakfast dishes that one shouldn’t miss. You can taste them at several places all around the city.
- Chettinad cuisine: One of the spiciest and most famous cuisines from Tamil Nadu that offers dishes like Chicken Chettinad, Prawn Masala, and Fish Curry.
- Filter Coffee: Chennai is famous for its filter coffee. It is a must-try for any tourist visiting the city.
5. What local festivals are celebrated in Chennai?Chennai celebrates numerous festivals throughout the year, out of which some of the most prominent ones are:
- Pongal: A four-day festival celebrated to mark the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of the harvest season.
- Chennai Music Season: A cultural event that occurs during December-January features music concerts by famous singers.
- Dance and Music Festival: A month-long celebration of Carnatic music and dance in December – January.
- Chithirai Festival: A 10-day festival celebrated in April-May that attracts a significant crowd in the city.
- Diwali: The festival of lights celebrated in October-November with grandeur and enthusiasm.
6. What is the most convenient mode of transportation in Chennai?Chennai has an extensive public transport system consisting of buses, suburban trains, auto-rickshaws, and taxis. The Chennai Metro Rail is the latest entry in the transport scene and offers an excellent option for faster and comfortable travel across the city. However, taxis and auto-rickshaws could prove to be slightly expensive for tourists. The best way to explore Chennai is by using public transport, as it’s cheaper and environmentally friendly.
7. Are there any beaches in Chennai?Yes, Chennai boasts some of the beautiful beaches in India. Marina Beach is the most famous one; it stretches over 13 kilometres and provides an excellent view of the Bay of Bengal. Elliot’s Beach, Covelong Beach, and Golden Beach are some of the other famous ones. These beaches offer a perfect escape from the bustling city life and are ideal for relaxation.
8. Is it safe to travel alone in Chennai?Chennai is a relatively safe city to travel alone. The locals are friendly and helpful, and you can explore the city without any hassles. However, like any big city in the world, it’s essential to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
9. Are there any shopping malls in Chennai?Yes, Chennai has its fair share of shopping malls that offer a wide range of national and international brands. Some of the famous malls in Chennai are Phoenix Market City, Express Avenue, Forum Vijaya Mall, and Ampa Skywalk. You can shop for clothes, electronic gadgets, home decor, and much more at these malls.
10. Do I need to carry cash or cards in Chennai?Chennai is a modern city that is equipped with multiple ATMs, credit card acceptance vendors, and online payment systems. You don’t need to carry large amounts of cash with you. However, it’s always advisable to have a little bit of cash on hand for street food, temples, and other small expenses that might not accept cards or online payments.
Final ThoughtsChennai is a vibrant city that offers a variety of experiences that are unmatched. Its rich cultural heritage, vibrant and deliciously spicy food, beautiful places, and delightful people make it a perfect tourist destination. We hope this blog post helped answer some of the most frequently asked questions by tourists about Chennai. Happy Travelling!
How to Spend Your Time as a Tourist in ChennaiChennai, also known as Madras, is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is an important cultural, economic, and educational center in South India. Chennai is home to many beautiful temples, beaches, parks, and museums that attract tourists from all over the world. In this guide, we will show you how to spend your time as a tourist in Chennai, so you can make the most of your trip.
1. Visit the Kapaleeshwarar TempleThe Kapaleeshwarar Temple is one of the most famous temples in Chennai. It is located in the Mylapore neighborhood and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture, intricate carvings, and religious significance. Visitors can attend the daily poojas (worship services) and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. It is important to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering the temple.
2. Explore the Fort St. GeorgeFort St. George is a historic fort and museum located in the center of Chennai. It was built by the British East India Company in 1644 and served as the headquarters of the British administration in South India until India gained independence in 1947. Visitors can explore the fort, see the British-era artifacts, and learn about the colonial history of Chennai. The museum also has a cinema hall where short films about Chennai’s history are shown.
3. Relax at Marina BeachMarina Beach is the longest urban beach in India and is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. The beach stretches for 13 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal and offers stunning views of the sunrise and sunset. Visitors can take a walk on the beach, enjoy the sea breeze, and try some local street food. It is important to be cautious while swimming in the sea, as the currents can be strong.
4. Visit the Government MuseumThe Government Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums in India, located in the Egmore neighborhood of Chennai. It has a vast collection of artifacts from the ancient and medieval periods, including sculptures, paintings, coins, and inscriptions. Visitors can also see the exhibits on the history of Tamil Nadu and natural history. The museum is closed on Fridays.
5. Shop for Souvenirs at Pondy BazaarPondy Bazaar is a popular shopping district in Chennai, located in the T. Nagar neighborhood. It has a wide range of shops selling clothes, jewelry, electronics, and souvenirs. Visitors can bargain for good deals and find unique items to take back home. The market is busiest in the evenings and on weekends, so it is best to visit during weekdays.
6. Try the Local CuisineChennai is known for its delicious food, especially the South Indian cuisine. Visitors can try the traditional dishes like dosa, idli, vada, sambar, and chutney at the local restaurants and street stalls. There are also many specialty restaurants that serve the regional delicacies like Chettinad cuisine and seafood. It is important to be cautious about the hygiene and quality of food while eating out.
7. Visit the San Thome CathedralThe San Thome Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church located in the Mylapore neighborhood of Chennai. It is dedicated to St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who is believed to have visited India in the 1st century. The cathedral has a beautiful neo-Gothic architecture and houses the relic of St. Thomas. Visitors can attend the daily mass and admire the stained glass windows.
8. Take a Trip to MahabalipuramMahabalipuram is a seaside town located 60 kilometers south of Chennai. It has many ancient monuments and temples built during the Pallava dynasty in the 7th and 8th centuries. Visitors can see the famous Shore Temple, the Pancha Rathas, and the Arjuna’s Penance, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Mahabalipuram is also known for its scenic beaches and seafood restaurants.
Book Your Tour NowChennai offers a rich cultural experience for tourists with its temples, museums, beaches, and cuisine. Visitors can follow this guide to plan their itinerary and make the most of their trip. It is important to respect the local customs and traditions while exploring the city. Have a great time in Chennai!
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