Also known by the name of Madras, this vibrant city is home to some of India’s finest beaches, art galleries, rich museums, and places of religious importance. Apart from all things touristy, Chennai also is place to try adventure sports. It is ideally a place where you would like to chill out. It is also famed as one of the best places for exquisite cuisines and culture. In India many North Indians know South India by the name of Chennai, which signifies its importance and relevance in neighbouring regions. The city boasts to have the luxuries of modern world as well as the charm of ancient India. At first sight this city might not stun you, but as you will explore it, it will leave an unforgettable impression in your heart and mind. Here are the top things to do in Chennai.
Marina Beach – It is the most iconic spots of Chennai, longest urban beach in India and second longest in World. It is also most crowded beach in India. With carnival like atmosphere, you’ll find shops selling souvenirs, people flying kites, stalls with snacks, amusement rides, kids playing cricket.
Fort St. George – Popularly called as White Town, it was once British stronghold in Coromandel Coast. It also houses the first British residential complex, Clive House. It now houses the legislative assembly of state. It also has a part turned museum exhibiting more than 3600 British era artefacts.
Kapaleeswarar Temple – With more than 1300 years of history this is the oldest temple of city. Located in the religious Mylapore region of Chennai, it is built in Dravidian and Vijaynagari style of architecture. It has a holy tank enclosed within. It also hosts cultural (music n dance) performances.
Government Museum – It is one of the oldest museums in India and is known for its collection related to Tamil history. Its Bronze gallery is full of 7th century Pallava era artefacts, 10th century Chola era sculptures like that of Nataraja. Then there are archaeological, anthropology galleries.
Anna Centenary Library – Spread over 9 acres, it is one of largest libraries in Asia. It is a new complex of 21st century, and is home to more than 1.2 million books, periodicals, encyclopaedias and volumes. It has digital books too. A part of the library is dedicated to Tamil and regional languages.
Santhome Cathedral Basilica – Located in Mylapore region of city, it is one of only three basilicas in world to be constructed over tomb of a direct Apostle of Jesus. It is built in neo gothic style of architecture by the Portuguese. Behind the church also is tomb of St. Thomas with one of his relic.
Elliot Beach – Also known as Besant Nagar Beach, it is quite popular amidst the youngsters of city. It has many eateries, restaurants, cafes in vicinity. It is less crowded than Marina beach and can be a good alternative to sunbathe or stroll. It is so serene that you can hear the sea splashing sounds.
Pulicat Lake – Located near to Chennai, it is the second largest saline water lake in India. Rich with flora and fauna, it also is called Pulicat Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. There could be no better place in Chennai for bird watching than this. Here you can expect exotic, local and migratory birds.
Vivekananda House – Also known as Ice House, it is dedicated to spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda and is maintained by Sri Ramakrishna Math. It is a Victorian styled building that houses artefacts related to Swami’s life and Indian culture. Swami had also stayed here for six weeks.
Broken Bridge – As name suggests it is broken bridge but quite popular amongst youngsters for great sunset and panoramic views of the city it offers. It is also been filmed in lots of Tamil movies adding to its popularity. It is suggested that you don’t visit here late night as it could be unsafe.
Turtle Walk – From December to April each year, the coast of Chennai becomes hatching ground of endangered Olive Ridley turtles. It is when you can volunteer to collect their eggs, and take them to hatchery. It is one of life time experience as conservationist and you can also see the rare turtles.
St. Mary’s Church – This yellow washed religious site is the oldest Anglican church of India. It is also India’s oldest surviving British built church. At time of its construction it was the only bomb proof building in the fort. It also has a painting of last supper brought from post war Pondicherry.
Madras Crocodile Bank Trust – It is the largest crocodile sanctuary in India that works for the conservation and research of reptiles in India. It exhibits more than 2400 species of reptiles, and is home to 14 major species of crocs n alligators. It also hosts night safaris, and feeding programs.
Guindy National Park – It is the lungs of Chennai and is blessed with dense forest, scrub lands, lakes n streams. It is home to 20 species of Indian snakes, 2 species of exotic crocodiles, 4 species of Indian lizards, all 3 species of Indian crocodiles, slider turtle and green iguana, n3 species of Indian turtles.
MGM Dizzee World – It is one of the largest and oldest amusement parks of India. It is must visit for families especially with kids. It has water slides, boat rides, snow shower, and various swings. It was first to introduce Jurong’s Bird Show from Singapore, and Hot air balloon ride in amusement park.