Madras, or Chennai as it is now called, is known as the Gateway of Southern India. The East India Company developed Madras as one of the major trading centres in India. Chennai has a blend of Dravidian and Gothic architecture in its buildings. The city might have grown but it has never lost its traditional grace and charm. The Tamil society might have incorporated English culture but the Dravidian roots are as strong as ever.
Chennai is the epitome of tradition, culture and life-style of Southern India. But like the rest of India, Chennai has over the years, developed its share of urban style and modernity. Accommodation and transportation are cheap and efficient. It is very likely that the temples that you will visit in Chennai are unlike any other that you have seen before. Visit the 4.5-km long Golden Marina beach - one of the longest beaches in the world.
Unlike Mumbai, the Chennai port is not a natural harbour. Nevertheless, this man-made port is very modern and efficient in handling cargo and other traffic. Today Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and commands a major share in the trade from the South.
Chennai, the gracious capital city of Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest metropolis in India. Chennai city tour guide, chennai india tourist information, chennai city major attractions, excursions arround chennai, chennai travel tours guide Located on a 17km stretch of the Coramandel coast, the city is trisected by the waterways of Cooum and Adyar and the Buckingham Canal.
With a population of 6 million people, Chennai is a vibrant city ever growing, expanding and changing every year.Chennai city tour guide, chennai india tourist information, chennai city major attractions, excursions arround chennai, chennai travel tours guide Popularly regarded as the "Gateway to the South", Chennai presents culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India. Music, dance and all other art forms of the South are cherished and nurtured in this city which, though industrialized, continues to be traditional and conventional in many ways.
The region of Chennai was called Tondaimandalm in those days and had its military headquarters at Puzhal, which is now a small and rather insignificant village on the outskirts of the city.
Modern Chennai grew out of a small village when in 1639 a fishing hamlet called Madraspatnam was selected by early English merchants of the East India Company as a site for the settlement.
Chennai is a gracious city that has a clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist infrastructural facilities which make it a convenient entry point or base to start your tour of Tamil Nadu and South India. Marina Beach, Chennai Tour Packages Where religion is concerned, history has certainly left its mark on this city which is believed to have been the place of St. Thomas, in the outskirt of the city. There are a number of churches in Chennai that are connected with the life and times of this apostle. Chennai city tour guide, chennai india tourist information, chennai city major attractions, excursions arround chennai, chennai travel tours guide There are also several ancient temples around Chennai, and, within the city itself are two magnificent temples - a temple in Triplicane and another in Mylapore.
Well connected by roads from Kozhikode, Kannur, Ooty (175 km from Kalpetta) and Mysore (140 km from Kalpetta).
Erstwhile Madras now renamed as Chennai, it is the cultural heartland as well as the focal point for India’s 1950 year old Christian faith. A prominent gateway to the southern part of India, the British Empire and the Yale University was nurtures in this very place. The capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, it is among the four metropolitan cities of India. Placed on the coastline of the country the exotic city famous for the temples, coconut trees and the silk sarees welcomes each and every visitors to experience its unique beauty by the Bay of Bengal.
In earlier times, the city was a fishing community center and made the capital of the British residency in 1639. Classical form of dance, music,art and literature have all gained eminence from this place and spread to other parts of the country. In the present context, Chennai had evolved out to be a world class city with the merge of the ancient civilization,the colonial powers influence and the modern thinkers to create an industrial, IT savvy city of the 21st century.
» Parthsarthy Temple
Constructed under the able leadership of the Pallava Kings of South India, the beautiful temple came to existence in the 16th century. Placed in the middle of the city, the temple is renowned for the attractive beauty of its archways or the gopuram. A whole locality can be seen of late sprung around the temple surroundings.
Kapaleeshwar Temple, Chennai » Kapaleeshwar Temple
The Kapalehwar Temple ably demonstrate the architectural skills of the Dravidian and was created in the 13th century. Situated in the malapore area of Chennai, the temple is the focal point of the local markets that operate in the evening hours and residential quaters have come around it. The entrance to the temple is painted with different colours with the puranic legends sculpted on the inner sanctorum facing to the east.
» Santhome Cathedral
The Santhome Cathedral is built on the tomb of Apostle St Thomas who came to India from the Palestines and is one of the major pilgrimage center of the Christians. Erected by the Persian Christians, the Cathedral was refurbished in 1606 and turned into a cathedral. Later in the early 19th century it was reconstructed in the form of a basilica with a museum inside with a 16th century map of South Asia.
» Fort St. George
An important Fort during the pre independence period, it was built by Sir Day as the first real estate of the British rule in India. Created on the coast line of the bay of Bengal, the fort is endowed with a granite exterior finishing that houses the barracks for the British army along with a parade ground. The oldest church of Chennai, the St Mary’s Church is its neighbour. The fort was attacked many a times first by Daud Khan, general of Emperor Aurangzeb, in 1701, then by the Marathas in 1741 and by Hyder Ali in the late 18th century. Glimpses of early Chennai are still preserved in Clive Corner, Wellesley House, Fort Museum and St. Mary's church.
» Marina Beach
Extending from the St, George Fort to the Mahabalipuram, the Marina Beach offers a stunning look in the dusk. The sun set in the evening hours bring a lot of visitors to the beach. Thousands of beauty lovers gather at the beach and the snack stall, the ice creams and peanuts all adore the banks of the beach for the benefit of the peoples. Not the least, the parrot reader and the Tarot card fortune teller are seen at work in full command trying to change the fortune of peoples in just few minutes. To the south there is the ice house from where Vivekananda preached his philosophy and was earlier used to store massive ice blocks shipped from America.
» National Art Gallery
Preserved in a splendid Indo- Saracenic buildings, the gallery was earlier called as Victoria Memorial Hall designed by Henry Irwin. According to the well known historian Tillotson it as one of the proudest expression of the Indo-Sarcenic movement. Exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, handicraft, metal ware, ivory carvings from 11th century are to be found in the corners of the museum.
Shopping Mall, Chennai» Theosophical Society
The Theosophical movement given birth by Madame Blavatsky and Col Olcott is head quatered in Adyar. The society is responsible for the revival of the Indian spiritual learning and the head office consists of a superb old building having a vast hall where complete silence is maintained during the praying hours. Nearby the huge edifice, there is a old Banyan tree believed to be the second largest in India. There is also a serene Garden of Remembrance and a fine Library with a collection of old manuscripts.
Silk sarees are common in Chennai, and probably the best buys are Nalli and Kumaran, while for jewellery T Nagar is the best place to be. For Handicraft items Victoria technical institute at Anna Salem or the Khadi Gramodyog is the best. Apart from these Spencer plaza is one of the best mall to shop for clothings and other accessories.
The city offers a lots of luxury hotels around the city center to facilitate the accommodations of the visitors. From among a variety of choice like Five Star Hotels, Four Star Hotels and Budget Hotels, the notable among them are Fisherman’s cave,Taj Corromandel, Chola Sheratonand the GRT Grand.
How to reach
Air: Chennai is extremely well connected by air with major cities in India and is served by Indian Airlines, Jet airways and Sahara Airlines with frequent flights. Madras is also an International Airport as well and is served by several International Airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Airlanka, Emirates, Indian Airlines, Air India and a few others.
Road: Chennai is well connected with almost every major South Indian city.
Rail: Chennai is well connected to Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and to almost all other cities in Southern India by a network of super fast trains.
More great attractions can be found in the Explore Wildlife in India page.