Chennai “The Capital of Tamil Nadu”

 Chennai

Chennai, formerly known as Madras – the capital of Tamil Nadu is a perfect example of the Dravidian movement in India. This vibrant city enthrals visitors with its rich culture, heritage & history which serves as a “Gateway to South India”. It blends ancient culture with modern metropolis & well known for its stunning temples, Churches, museums, beaches & delicious South Indian cuisine. Chennai has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers & warm winters. The best time to visit Chennai is from November to February when the weather is pleasant.

How to Reach Chennai

By Air

The Chennai International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic and cargo movement, just behind the airports in Delhi and Mumbai and is therefore one of the easiest international airports to get into the country. It has two terminals Kamaraj Terminal handles domestic flights connecting the Indian region and The International Terminal, named Anna Terminal connects to the major airports around the world.

Domestic Terminal:

There are two terminals available Terminal 1 and Terminal 4

Terminal 01:

During Domestic arrival, guests arrive through A2 & A3 gate, and they depart through D1, D2, D3 and D4.

The Airlines that are operating in this terminal are Indigo, Spice Jet, and Akasha Air.

Terminal 04:

Guests arrive through the A 10 exit and depart through Gate D 15, and D 16. The Airlines that are operating in this terminal are Air India, Vistara, Air India Express & Alliance Air.

International Terminal is 02:

During International Arrival, guests arrive through the A5 Exit gate and they depart through Gate D6, D7, D8 and D9.

For Domestic arrival, Our guest relation Executive will receive the guests from the baggage claim area and for departure till the check-in counter.

Lounge services are offered for both international and domestic departures. Guests can make use of the service by paying directly. Lounges are situated in such a way that guests can only access them after passing the security check.

Airport Facilities:

  • Disabled Services. Wheelchair rental services are available which can be arranged in coordination with airport staff.
  • Indian Bank ATM is available in Terminal 1 (Inside as well as outside as well)
  • Wi-Fi is available for 45 minutes at the different terminals (we should provide a local contact number to get the OTP).
  • Apollo Pharmacy is available in Both T1 & T4 Departure’s
  • Medical and Health Scan facilities
  • Childcare Room
  • Conference Rooms
  • Prayers Rooms
  • Food Courts (like Madras Coffee House, Sangeetha Veg Restaurant, Café Coffee Day, KFC, Burger King, Tea shops, etc., are available outside the Airport
  • Other Services available are an information Counter, Tourist and Railway Information Booths, Currency exchange, Lost & Found, Restrooms, Smoking Areas, Telephone, Baggage Assistance, Baggage Wrapping, Self-Check-in & Post office.
  • Shuttle (Battery car) services are available in all terminals as well as at the airport metro station and it’s free for passengers alone, subject to availability.
  • There is a shopping mall called “Aero Hub” which is located just opposite the T2 Terminal. Also, PVR Cinemas is available inside the shopping mall.

 By Train – Chennai Central railway station which connects major trains from the Northern part of India and Egmore Station connects major parts of Southern India, are the two-train terminus for long-distance trains from other parts of India. Both the stations are of colonial architecture.  These stations are well-connected to other parts of the city by metro, bus, and taxi.

 By Road – Chennai has a well-developed bus network connecting the city to various parts within itself and nearby areas. Mainly, Dr. MGR BUS Terminus (Koyambedu) is the largest bus terminus and serves as a main hub for inter-state buses connecting Chennai to various cities across India. Kilambakkam Bus Terminus is a relatively new station serving destinations south of Chennai.

 Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL): Chennai Metro Rail services are well connected with the whole of Chennai city from Chennai Airport.

 By Sea – There are two ports in Chennai – Chennai Port and Ennore Port. Regular ships from Chennai to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is a Government vessel. The cruise will be seasonal, and Several cruise lines offer cruises to Chennai as part of a larger itinerary that includes other destinations in India, Sri Lanka, & Maldives.

 Places to visit in Chennai: 

 Santhome Church: The church in Mylapore, also officially known as St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Thomas, is a minor basilica of the Catholic Church in India. The present structure was built over the tomb of Saint Thomas in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers. The British rebuilt the church in 1893 and it was elevated to the status of a Cathedral. It is one of the three basilicas in the world built on the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain. The Saint Thomas enshrined here is believed to be Saint Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus. The church exhibits Neo-Gothic revival architecture with stained glass windows, a rib vault ceiling made of teak wood, and statues depicting biblical scenes.

Time to Visit: 10.00 AM to 05.00 PM 

Holidays: No 

 Church of Our Lady of Light / Mylapore Luz Church: It is a Catholic shrine located in Mylapore, Chennai, India & one of the oldest churches in the city. It is also referred to as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The church exhibits Gothic architectural influences with a simple facade and elegant interiors. Built-in 1516 by Portuguese missionaries, the church is believed to have been named after a chapel in Portugal dedicated to Our Lady of Light. History says that Portuguese sailors lost at sea, prayed to Mother Mary for safe passage and upon reaching land, built a church on the spot where they landed, naming it Luz, which means “light” in Portuguese. The Church of Our Lady of Light is a popular pilgrimage destination for Christians, especially Catholics. It is known for its miraculous powers and many devotees flock to the church seeking blessings and for healings.

Time to Visit: 08.00 AM to 11.00 AM & from 01.00 PM to 05.00 PM. 

Holidays: No 

Kapaleeshwarar Temple: Kapaleeshwarar temple is one of the most prominent Shiva temples in India & situated in Mylapore. The temple was built around the 7th century CE and is an example of South Indian Architecture. There are some beliefs about the temple’s origins that the initial structure was built in the 3rd century BCE. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, worshipped as Kapaleeshwarar, which means “Lord of the Skull” and is represented by the lingam. Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort, is worshipped as Karpagambal, the goddess of the wish-yielding tree. The Kapaleeshwarar temple is a beautiful example of the Dravidian architectural style, characterized by gateway towers, intricate sculptures, and pillared halls.

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 04.00 PM to 08.30 PM. 

Holidays: No 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple. 

Sri Parthasarathy Temple: The Parthasarathy Temple is a 6th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Vishnu & it is in Thiruvallikeni also called Triplicane. The name ‘Parthasarathy’ means the ‘charioteer of Arjuna’, referring to Krishna’s role as a charioteer to Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata. It was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century by King Narasimha Varman I. The temple has representations of five forms of Vishnu: Yoga Narasimha, Rama, Gajendra Varadaraja, Ranganatha, and Krishna as Parthasarathy. It is classified as one among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The most important festival is the Vaikunta Ekadasi, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). The temple is also a centre for classical Indian music and dance.

Time to Visit: 06.00 AM to 12.00 PM & from 04.00 PM to 09.00 PM. 

Please note, that non-Hindus will not be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple. 

St. George Fort Museum: The Fort St. George Museum is a museum located within the Fort St. George, a historical fort in Chennai & the museum was established in 1948. The museum collection consists of over 3,600 antiquities spread across ten galleries over three floors. A collection of objects from the British Raj era, including portraits of the Governors of Madras, military uniforms, and coins minted during British rule. The armaments section features displays of various weapons such as cannons, guns, swords and daggers used during British rule. A gallery dedicated to burial urns and a sarcophagus, providing insights into burial practices in South India during the Neolithic and Iron Age.

Time to Visit: 09.30 AM to 05.00 PM 

Still Camera Fee: Allowed with Permission at free of cost and can be used without flash.

Holidays: Friday & Government Holidays.

Government Museum: The Government Museum, Chennai, also known as the Madras Museum, is a treasure trove of human history and culture located in Egmore. It is the second-oldest museum in India & established in 1851. The museum is particularly rich in archaeological and numismatic collections. It has the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe, the country’s best collection of South Indian bronzes, and a gallery dedicated to the Indus Valley Civilization. The museum also has a significant collection of Mughal miniature paintings, sculptures, and decorative art objects. It showcases a rich collection of artefacts encompassing archaeology, anthropology, numismatics, geology, botany, and zoology.

Time to Visit: 09.30 AM to 04.30 PM 

Holidays: Friday & National Holidays. 

Theosophical Society: The Theosophical Society is headquartered in Adyar, Chennai. It is a large campus with several buildings, a library, a printing press, and a beautiful garden known as the Huddleston Gardens. The Society publishes several journals and books, and it offers a variety of educational programs. The Theosophical Society in Chennai is a popular destination for those interested in philosophy, religion, and spirituality. The campus is a peaceful and serene place, and the library is a valuable resource for scholars.

Time to Visit: 08:45 AM to 10:00 AM & from 02:00 PM to 04:00 PM (Monday to Saturday)

Entrance Fee: No 

For your kind information – the Theosophical Society is currently closed & Visitors are not allowed. 

Ice House (Vivekananda Illam): The Ice House, also known as Vivekananda Illam, is a historical building located on Marina Beach in Chennai. It was built in 1842 by Frederic Tudor to store ice, a novelty at the time. Later Swami Vivekananda, a famous Hindu monk, stayed here for nine days in 1897 after his return from the West. This is how the building gained its association with him and the name Vivekananda Illam (Illam means house in Tamil). The building has been under the management of Ramakrishna Math, a monastic order founded by Swami Vivekananda’s guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, since 1917. It houses a museum dedicated to Swami Vivekananda’s life and teachings. The museum utilizes modern technology to create an immersive experience, including virtual reality and augmented reality exhibits.

Time to Visit: 10.00 AM to 12.30 PM & from 02.00 PM to 05.00 PM 

Holidays: All Mondays 

St. Marys Church: This Anglican church is the oldest surviving British building in India, completed in 1680. It’s located within the grounds of Fort St. George. It is a British style of architecture & is often referred to as the “Westminster Abbey of the East.” Some notable figures like Elihu Yale (founder of Yale University) were married here.

Time to Visit: 10.00 AM to 06.00 PM 

Holidays: No, but Visitors are not allowed on Sunday due to the mass

Aringar Anna Zoological Park: It is also well known as the Vandalur Zoo & first public zoo in India established in 1855. This Zoological park is in Vandalur which is 31 Km away from Chennai city centre. It is affiliated with the Central Zoo Authority of India and spread over an area of 602 hectares (1,490 acres) including a rescue and rehabilitation centre. The Zoo houses several species of flora and fauna and is known for its wide variety of animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and many more. It also has a collection of birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Time to Visit: 09.00 AM to 05.00 PM (Ticket Booking Counter closes at 4:30 PM

Holidays: Tuesday 

St. Thomas Mount: St. Thomas Mount is a small hillock located in Guindy which is also locally called “Parangimalai”. This place holds significance for its religious history as it is believed to be the place where St. Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ travelled to South India to spread Christianity & he spent many years here and was martyred in 72 AD. A shrine dedicated to “Our Lady of Expectation” (Mother Mary) was built in 1523 on the top of the mountain. The altar of this shrine was built on the spot where St. Thomas’ death is traditionally believed to have occurred. Over the centuries, a church has been built atop the mount, commemorating St. Thomas.

Time to Visit: 07.00 AM to 07.00 PM 

Holidays: No. 

Kalakshetra: Kalakshetra is a cultural academy founded in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale, a renowned dancer. It was dedicated to preserving traditional values in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music. The institute is known for its unique style of Bharatanatyam dance, which emphasizes grace, purity, and spiritual expression. Kalakshetra also offers courses in other Indian classical dance forms like Kuchipudi, Odissi, and Mohiniyattam. Besides dance, the institute offers training in music, yoga, and traditional crafts like weaving, painting, and sculpture. This foundation regularly hosts cultural events, workshops, and lectures throughout the year.

Time to visit: 08:00 to 08:30 hrs prayer / Class: 10:00 hrs to 12:00 hrs (Between Monday to Friday) / 1, 3rd & 5th Saturday: 09:00 AM to 01:00 PM

Holidays: Saturdays, Sundays, Public / National Holidays & School Summer Holidays. 

Cholamandal Artist’ Village:  Cholamandal is a haven for art enthusiasts and a significant landmark for contemporary Indian art in located 09 Kms from Adayar along the New Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai. It was established in 1966 by innovation of artist K.C.S. Paniker, who envisioned a space where artists could live, work, and interact with each other in an inspiring environment. Some prominent galleries include Cholamandal Artists’ Village Main Gallery, Coomaraswamy Hall, Shilpa Sadan, and Kala Raksha showcasing a diverse range of contemporary Indian art, including paintings, sculptures, and prints. Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art (CCCA) established in 2009 is a major attraction within the village and has two exhibition halls, Laburnum and Indigo, that showcase contemporary art exhibitions on a regular basis. The village has several shops selling art supplies, handcrafted souvenirs, and traditional Indian artifacts. Cholamandal Artists’ Village often hosts cultural events such as art workshops, artist talks, and music and dance performances.

Time to Visit: 09.30 AM to 06.30 PM 

Holidays: No 

Drive passes visit as follows, which can only be seen from outside:

Ripon Building

The High Court

Thousands Lights Mosque

Madras University

The Secretariat

The Victory War Memorial

 Beaches in Chennai: 

 Marina Beach: Undoubtedly, the most famous beach in Chennai. Marina Beach is the second longest urban beach in India, stretches for 114 km and is by far Chennai’s most frequented beach. In 1885, the then-governor of Madras, Mount Stuart Elphinstone Grant Duff, built a promenade along the beach and named it the Madras Marina. It’s a perfect spot for a stroll, enjoying the cool breeze or simply unwinding and people-watching. The beach is lined with food stalls offering a delightful array of local snacks and refreshments, catering to all taste buds. The beach offers stunning views of the Bay of Bengal, making it a perfect spot to witness the magical play of colours during sunrise and sunset. Marina Beach is home to several memorials dedicated to some of the most revered figures in Tamil Nadu’s political and social history including Dr. C.N Annadurai, Dr. M. G Ramachandran, Dr. M. Karunanidhi and Dr. J. Jayalalithaa.

Elliot’s Beach: It is simply called Besant Nagar Beach, marks the end point of the Marina. The beach was named after Edward Elliot, a chief magistrate and superintendent of police of the Madras Presidency in colonial India. In contrast to the bustling Marina Beach, Elliot’s Beach offers a more peaceful and serene atmosphere for its cleaner shores & calmer waves, making it ideal for families and relaxation. Numerous restaurants and cafes line the beachfront, serving a variety of cuisines and offering stunning views of the beach. A prominent landmark on the beach is the Karl Schmidt Memorial, erected in memory of a Dutch sailor who lost his life trying to save the lives of others. The beach boasts scenic beauty with golden sand and clear waters, perfect for a refreshing dip or a leisurely walk along the shore.

Shopping places In Chennai – everyone likes to do shopping in Chennai while they visit. City offers a delightful shopping experience, catering to all budgets and preferences.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple Bazaar: It is a great place to buy pooja items, spices, dry fruits, souvenirs and handicrafts.

Pondy Bazaar: Often referred to as “Little Pondicherry”, this vibrant market is a paradise for shopaholics, offering a dazzling array of clothes, footwear, fashion accessories, and household items. From trendy outfits to traditional sarees, you can find everything here at pocket-friendly prices.

 Parry’s Corner: Located in the heart of George Town, Parry’s Corner is a bustling wholesale market famous for electronics, hardware, and stationery items. You can find a great variety of products at incredibly low prices here.

 Sowcarpet: A haven for everything wedding-related, Sowcarpet is a must-visit for those seeking traditional Indian clothing, jewellery, and decorations. The market is also known for its vibrant flower market and its wide variety of spices and dry fruits.

 Nagar Ranganathan Street: Renowned for its textile shops and retail outlets. T. Nagar, Ranganathan Street is a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists alike. It offers a wide range of sarees, dress materials, and readymade garments at various price points.

 Anna Nagar: This upscale neighbourhood is known for its trendy boutiques, designer wear stores, and home decor shops. It’s a great place to find unique and stylish items.

 

 

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