Chennai Tourism

Chennai – Sun and Sand

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu is the gateway to many interesting places. This city is a beautiful blend of cultural extravaganza. The presence of glittering beaches, eateries, religious spots such as temples and churches, historical attractions and a lot more makes this city worth exploring.

Travellers come to Chennai from all parts of the world but only use this place as a transit spot in order to visit Pondicherry, Madurai, Kanchipuram, Kochi, Varkala, and many more locations. The unique attractions of the city are often ignored because of its hustling bustling life. But Chennai is way more than that. It is an important historical city with incredible places of sightseeing.

Chennai: A Quick View of the state 
Official Language Tamil
Dial Code 044
Population 10,316 million (as of 2018)
Currency Indian Rupee (INR)
Time Zone UTC+05:30 (IST)
Area 426 km²

About Chennai

The history of Chennai goes back a long way. Previously known as Madras, a name shortened from Madraspattinam, has been mentioned in many ancient texts and scriptures. Recorded history suggests that Mudhiras, a town lying between between Penna River of Nellore and the Ponnaiyar river of Cuddalore was under Chola Kingdom’s rule. Capital of Chennai was then at Kanchipuram and city had a strategic value for trade and commute purposes.

The Dutch arrived in Chennai, India in 1612 and captured the region, establishing their rule near Pulicat. Later in 1626, The British decided to construct a factory while the French settled a few miles away at a small patch of land now known as Pondicherry.

During this time period, Chennai became a trade centre of the Southern India. A flourishing port and strategic location raised its importance. Jews and Gujarati traders also arrived here and many of them still live in this city.

Post independence, Madras city became the Capital of Tamil Nadu state. Today, this city exists as a melting pot of different lifestyles. At one part, you’ll see beautifully designed temples, and at another side you’ll find the most extravagant and happening pubs, malls and various entertainment places in Chennai. A visit to Chennai will leave you surprised with market trails, churches, cathedrals, beaches, temples and theme parks, all left for you to explore in the most detailed way possible. Since closest cities of Kerala and Karnataka are six hours away, it is always a wise decision to arrive here and then plan rest of the trip.

Today Chennai is one of the fastest growing commercial cities in India. Chennai Population is almost 70.9 lakhs. Common language spoken in Chennai is Tamil, while a majority of population speaks and understands Hindi, Kannada and Telugu as well.


Best places to visit in Chennai

Chennai is known for its amazing beaches, shopping centres, fun parks, zoo, malls, wildlife habitats, bird sanctuaries and the most magnificent temples you’ll ever come across. There are so many important tourist places in Chennai that one must make sure that their visit easily covers the best of this city. You should always keep a Chennai city map so that you are able to figure out which tourist spots are closer to the place where you are staying.

Evening strolls at the stunning beaches is one of the best things to do in Chennai:

Marina Beach

Chennai’s beach, the Marina is the second longest in the world and offers a lot of fun activities and is ideal to unwind and spend an evening. Marina Beach is counted among the topmost Chennai famous places as it has a mesmerising ambience. Many food stalls come up in the evening wherein one can enjoy the local cuisine along with delicious sea food. One can also go for shopping on the roadside stalls.

Elliot’s Beach

Elliot’s Beach is also known as Besant Nagar Beach because of its close proximity to that area. The memorial built in the memory of the Dutch sailor, Karl Schmidt is the most unique feature of this beach. Carved in white stone, this structure is a unique landmark and one of the most photographed spots in the city. The nearby attractions of AshtaLakshmi Temple and Velankanni Church are two of the important places to see in Chennai.

Covelong Beach

Covelong or Kovelam Beach is one of the less crowded beaches where one can visit to enjoy some peace and seclusion. Picturesque views and azure blue waters make Covelong one of the most romantic places in Chennai where couples can spend some personal time.

Madras Crocodile Bank

Home to many endangered species of crocodiles, this conservation society has helped in raising awareness about this wonderful creature. It is located on East Coast road and is among many interesting tourist places near Chennai. With 17 species and a population of 1700, Madras Crocodile Bank is worth visiting.

Some places that you must not forget to add in your Chennai sightseeing plans are the splendid temples and other religious sites: –

Sri Parthasarathy Temple

This exquisitely carved temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Due to its historical importance, it is counted among one of the must visited places in Chennai. This temple has several unique features and the high rise gopuram makes it distinguishable from a distance. The intricate carvings and colourful structure gives a stunning overall appearance.

Kapaleeshwar Temple

Ravishing with intricate carvings, figurines and colourful bastions, Kapaleeshwar Temple makes for an incredible spot in the city. As one of the most famous temples in Chennai, this spot boasts of Dravidian style of architecture which has also influenced many different variations all around India.

San Thome Church

Standing in white splendour, San Thome stands on the tomb of St Thomas. This pretty church is one of the Chennai’s best places because of its religious importance as well as the immense architectural splendour. Stained glass panes, windows and museum inside the church are a stunning sight to behold.


Best places near Chennai

Apart from exploring the best Chennai tourist spots, you can also plan for different attractions near the city. Mahabalipuram, an hour away from the city is a tranquil and beautiful beach town that is bedecked with striking temples. This lazy, quaint town has a certain hippie vibe and worthy of spending a day or two on a long vacation.

Pondicherry is a quaint French Town offering tranquil vibes amidst scenic beaches. Serenity Beach, Promenade Beach and Auro Beach offer absolute fun and number of water sports. Pondicherry is also worth visiting because of its gloriosu French history and the houses still exist with the similar style and design that you’ll find around the French Countryside. Pondicherry is a must visit on a one-day trip from Chennai.

Dakshina Chitra on The East Coast Road is a lovely destination. It is one of the most unique places to visit near Chennai for those who like to enjoy exhibitions on country’s culture and different lifestyles.


Walking trails of Chennai

The history of Chennai city exists in every nook and corner. With so many rich cultural and historical influences, it is evident that one can spend their whole day exploring these important places of interest and will still find something exclusive that they haven’t ticked off their bucket list. Because of this, many organizations and local groups have come up with walking tours that will take you around certain gorgeous neighbourhoods and reveal the city’s hidden treasures. Walking trails are really interesting and its exciting to explore the best places to visit in Chennai with friends and family.

Chennai Bazaar trail is one of the many fascinating tours to undertake. This tour will take you across the legendary markets of the city that are more than 200 years old. These crowded chaotic lanes are known for attractive buildings, interesting history and photogenic spots. Located in the heart of Georgetown, this trail is definitely a must do.

Steeple Chase is another iconic spot of the city which is adorned with many old churches and cathedrals. The history dates back to the time when Saint Thomas arrived here and started a Cathedral in Neo Gothic style of architecture. The highlight of this part of the city is its beautiful buildings, colonial architecture and a lot of enchanting stories.

Other important walking tours include Colonial settlements, food walks, jewellery markets, Jew town, spice markets and flower market tours. These visits will leave you mesmerized and etch a newfound impression of the Chennai Tourism in your mind.


How to reach Chennai

Being the fourth biggest city in India and a pivotal business centre, it has a convenient access to arrive and depart from India and around the world. Regular flights, trains, buses and national highways make it possible to travel here without any hassles. You can use Google for their most detailed Chennai India Map in order to make your transport easy.

By Air:

Chennai International Airport (MAA) is one of the biggest airports in India. Regular flights from around the world arrive and depart on a frequent basis making Chennai travels easy. Chennai is also used as a go to airport for destinations like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand because of its close proximity. Travellers from Germany, UAE, The UK, France, Singapore and many more countries will find direct flights. World renowned airlines operate from here and presence of world class amenities including washrooms, lounge, spa and food courts make it easy to spend time during a long distance flight. The airport is also easily accessible for the disabled.

By Rail:

Chennai is connected by a fully functional railway network operating from all around India. One can easily reach Chennai from Patna, Kolkata, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Ernakulam, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati and many more. Superfast Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Double Decker Trains also originate from here and consume less time compared to regular express trains. Strong railway network is a very unique aspect about Chennai that is rare in other Indian cities.

With two fully functional railway stations, Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore, one will never run out of options when it comes to seamless commute to other parts of the country.  

By Bus:

Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) is one of Asia’s largest bus stations. With seven different state buses running from here, it becomes easy to arrive and depart. One can easily find AC, Non AC, Deluxe, Sleeper and Super luxury buses travelling to cities of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, etc.  24 hours, seven days a week.

Many private bus operators are also present in Chennai that offer rides in super comfortable buses. If government buses are not available, then you can easily find a private bus. 

By Road:

Chennai is connected by national highways that makes travelling easier. Many visitors’ self drive from Mumbai, Delhi and even Ladakh through a well designed network of roads. Travelling to Bangalore and Cochin is a lot easier because of the world class roads offering utmost comfort and smooth driving.


Internal travel inside Chennai

Chennai has an amazing facility of internal transport. Government buses are always available for easy travelling from one part of the city to another. The newly made metro also ensures a faster commute. Metro train goes all the way to airport and also covers Chennai Central railway station which makes transport cheaper and less time consuming.

Private taxies and auto-rickshaws are always available for a comfortable commute inside the city. App based ride booking feature is also available and are always recommended for easy travels in Chennai as they help in finding rides with more reliable rates. Download a Chennai route map to get a better sense of direction.


Best time to visit Chennai

Chennai has a tropical climate which makes the summer heat almost unbearable. Chennai Weather between March to early July is not worth travelling.  The afternoons are hot and humid and it is hence not advisable to get out in the afternoon. This is also not the recommended time to explore places near Chennai.

Post monsoon, when Chennai temperature goes down, it is the best time to plan your trip. The weather between October and early February offers a pleasant condition making it a delightful time to explore the best tourist places in Chennai and plan trips for nearby places like Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry.


Chennai Map

Language Spoken

Hindi, English

Currency used:

Indian Rupee

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Chennai Tourism Guide

The rich heritage and tradition of the city are the reasons for it being referred to as the cultural capital of India. Diversified traditions and the flamboyant festivals celebrated in Chennai has made it a must visit destination for travelers from around the world. The famous architectural sites and heritage of this city has been well preserved in the finest conditions by Chennai tourism for public viewing.

To have a proper experience of the city, you must add famous places to your Chennai tourism package. This will help you explore each and every wonder that this city has in store for you. For the experience of Chennai’s beach life pay a visit to world’s second longest marina beach. If you wish to escape the scorching sun than Semmozhi Poonga Park will be the best place. For the bird lovers adding Theosophical society in their list would be the best idea. And to witness the first zoo of India, you can make a visit to Arignar Anna Zoological Park. A visit to Kapaleeswarar Temple, one of the oldest in the city, would be a delight to you. All of these places are must as recommended by Chennai tourism and will be helpful to explore if you add them to your Chennai tourism package.

With all the places to visit there are a lot of things to do in Chennai. You can go to Pulicat lake or take a walk on the breezy beach to escape the crowd. Indo-saracenic architecture can be appreciated in the national art gallery of Chennai. It stores painting and handicrafts dated back to the 11th century. Having them all included in your Chennai tour package will make your trip an amazing one.

The best time to visit Chennai is during the months of November to February; when mercury comes down, making it favorable to explore the city. To have a wonderful trip by visiting all the places mentioned in Chennai tourism, book your Chennai tourism package with Thomas Cook.

Chennai has a long drawn history and heritage that influences its present day culture till date. Chennai Holidays are a popular choice for tourists. Being a coastal city, Chennai boasts of the second largest beachfront under any municipality in the world, which proves to be an immense attraction for beach lovers who Travel to this place in hordes.

There are various Chennai Travel Packages available that exclusively cater to the beach destinations here. Tourists can visit the famed Marina Beach, Edward Elliot’s Beach, Breezy Beach and Covelong. Covelong has been transformed into a luxury beach resort where you can idle away on your Chennai Tour.

There are also numerous historical sites that attract tourists to go on a Trip to this destination. Temples, mosques and churches draw in sizeable proportion of tourists. The food culture of Chennai places it stanchly amongst the notable food destinations in India. The robust flavors and delicacies make food an important part of Chennai Vacation packages. Go on Chennai Tours and lose yourself in the mix of culture, history and nature that Chennai promises you. So avail our Chennai Holiday Packages now.

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