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CHENNAI

Sights & Experiences

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About Chennai

With its historic landmarks and buildings, long sandy beaches, cultural and art centers and parks, Chennai's tourism offers many potentially interesting locations to visitors. A notable tourist attraction in Chennai is actually in the neighboring town of Mahabalipuram, with its ancient temples and rock carvings of the 7th century Pallava kingdom is an UNESCO World Heritage site

Chennai Attractions

  • Marina Beach is a 13-km-long urban beach along the Bay of Bengal that runs from Fort St. George in the north up to Foreshore Estate in the south. It is India's longest beach and one of the world's longest beaches. Attractions at the Marina include the Chennai Lighthouse and memorials for national leaders. The Marina's 6 km promenade includes statues of several historical figures including Mahatma Gandhi, Annie Besant, Robert Caldwell, Thiruvalluvar, Bharathiyar and Kamrajar.
  • Government Museum, Egmore Established in 1851, the museum consisting of six buildings and 46 galleries The objects displayed in the museum cover a variety of artifacts and objects covering diverse fields including archeology, numismatics, zoology, natural history, sculptures, palm- leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings.
  • Historical Monuments
    • Vivekanandar Illam or Vivekananda house is remembered as the place where Swami Vivekananda stayed for nine days when he visited Chennai (then Madras) in 1897. Vivekananda House now houses a permanent exhibition on Indian Culture. Located on the busy Kamrajar Salai along the Marina Beach, it has become an important spiritual tourist attraction in the city
    • Valluvar Kottam is a popular monument in Chennai, dedicated to the classical Tamil poet,philosopher, and saint, Thiruvalluvar
  • Historic Government Buildings
    • Fort St. George is the name of the first British fortress in India, founded in 1639 at the coastal city of Madras. The fort is a stronghold with 6 meter high walls that withstood a number of assaults in the 18th century. It is a feasible contention to say that the city evolved around the fortress. The Fort currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings.
    • Ripon Building, commissioned in 1913 and named after Lord Ripon, Governor General of India and father of local self-government. It is the headquarters of the city's municipal body Greater Chennai Corporation, the world's 2nd oldest municipal corporation after the City of London Corporation.
  • Art and Crafts
    • DakshinaChitra is a living history museum run by the Chennai Craft Foundation, is a depiction of the way of life prevalent in 5 south Indian states collectively called as South India with exhibitions and workshops of the arts and crafts and performing artists of South India. There are around 4,220 artefacts on display; 3,200 are art-related, and 70 pertain to contemporary subjects.
    • Kalakshetra, a centre for the revival of Indian art and crafts — especially the dance form of Bharatnatyam is located in Besant Nagar. Founded in January 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale, the institution achieved national and international recognition for its unique style and perfectionism.
    • Cholamandalam Artists' Village, on the East Coast Road, offers a view of artists and sculptors at work in their own studios and permanent gallery.
  • Places of Worship
    • Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore estimated to have been built in the 7th century by the Pallavas and has inscriptions dating back to 12th century is one of the most visited worship places by tourists visiting the city.
    • Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the god Krishna. The temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai.
    • St. Thomas Mount, the site where St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, was believed to have been martyred. A shrine dedicated to "Our Lady of Expectation" (Mother Mary) was built in 1523 on top of the mount.
    • Santhome Basilica is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Santhome. It was built in the 16th century by Portugueseexplorers, over the tomb of Saint Thomas. This church is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an Apostle of Jesus
  • Shopping
    Chennai has some unique places to offer for shopping. Art and crafts, contemporary and traditional artwork, antiques, jewellery are available in the city. Traditional items like the leaf and palmyra-fiber handicrafts from Tirunelveli, bronze and brass castings and traditional jewellery from Kumbakonam, metal works from Thanjavur, stone carvings from Mahabalipuram, silks from Kanchipura are for sale in shops and boutiques.
    • T. Nagar, the neighbourhood is the shopping hub of the city. Two main areas are Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street which deals mainly in textiles and silks or gold, silver and diamond jewellery.
  • Climate
    Chennai has a tropical wet and dry climate. The city lies on the thermal equator and is also on the coast, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. The best part of the year to visit Chennai is during September to October.
  • Transport
    • Air
      The Chennai International Airport is the fourth busiest in India and handles 400 flights a day. The city is connected to major hubs across Asia, Europe, and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers
    • Rail
      Chennai hosts the headquarters of the Southern Railway. The city has four main railway terminals. Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Chennai Beach and Tambaram. Chennai Central station, the city's largest, provides access to other major cities as well as many other smaller towns across India. Whereas Chennai Egmore provides access to destinations primarily within Tamil Nadu. The Chennai suburban railway network, one of the oldest in the country, facilitates transportation within the city.
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