Chennai, previously known as Madras, is the soul of South India. The city is comprised of several urban villages and an assortment of neighborhoods, which makes Tamil Nadu’s capital a more pleasant place for visitors and tourists. It is the home of South Indian’s inventive, religious and culinary traditions.
In recent years, Chennai has upgraded with many luxury hotels, eccentric cafes, dazzling boutiques, smart modern-day restaurants, and lots of glamorous bars and clubs. Chennai is among India’s four biggest cities, in which you can explore many long-established temples, astonishing South Indian culture, and beach-side tropical life.
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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 neighbouring town of Mahabalipuram, with its ancient temples and rock carvings of the 7th century Pallava kingdom is an UNESC0 World heritage site
Chennai was ranked 9th in travel guide Lonely Planet’s 2015 top 10 cities ranking
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One of the Chennai’s most attractive and impressive venues is Kapaleeshwarar Temple, which is situated in its most traditional and cheerful neighborhood – Mylapore. This historic temple was built in 1566, after the seaside destruction from Portuguese.
The place is filled with many architectural elements such as a rainbow-colored Gopuram (a gatehouse tower), pillared mandapas (pavilions), and a huge tank. The temple is dedicated to the country’s most popular and supreme deity, Lord Shiva.
Since Chennai is very popular as the home of lots of historical monuments, Chayavaneashwara temple is another classical example of this city’s specialty. The temple is dedicated Lord Krishna, built in 8th century by the Pallavas, and further embellished by the kings of Vijayanagar dynasty in the 16th century.
Chayavaneashwara Temple is a great exposure of South India’s amazing architecture; spread over 1.5 acres of land. This classical monument is decorated with a small shrine placed on Adi Sesha (a sculpture of Lord Sheshnaag). This astonishing temple is counted among 108 sacred places of Vaishnavites (traditions of Lord Vishnu).
Thousand Light Mosque
Thousand Light Mosque is one of the foremost tourist attractions in Chennai, which is located at the converging point of Mount Road and Peter’s Road. The site is spread over 5 acres of land and comprised of two tall minarets and five inward curving domes. These features of the mosque represent modern West Asian influence.
The walls of the Mosque are inscribed with the quotations of the holy book Quran. The reason is that in the bygone days, one thousand lamps were lighted to illuminate the Assembly Hall which was located at the place where the mosque now stands. As the name suggests, this religious palace has thousand lamps located in the Assembly hall which enlighten the whole mosque.
Kalakshetra is the school of Tamil’s classical arts such as dance and music. The place is located in beautiful and shady areas of South Chennai. The place mostly catches up visitors in mornings where they quietly stroll into the complex and it’s Rukmini Devi (Goddess) Museum. It is among must-do activities in Chennai for tourists.
On the other side of road, there is beautiful craft center, where tourists will experience a unique style of hand-loom weavings, block-printed textiles and various styles of hand-painting on fabrics with vegetable dyes.
Sri Viswaroopa Adhivyadhihara Bhakta Anjaneyaswami Temple
This holy temple is located in Nanganallur and is very popular in whole Chennai city due to a 40-feet tall idol statue of Lord Hanuman. The location is only 10 kilometers far from the mid city. This religious place represents modern architecture, made up of single granite stone.
The statue of Lord Hanuman is the center of attraction for visitors, tourists and worshippers. The temple is well-constructed and maintained with corridors running along the main sanctum to other shrines. The Mandapa inside the temple is large enough to accommodate a lot of devotees.
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Fort St. George
The fort is one of the origins of British East India Company, and it was established in 1653, then after it has gone under many facelifts. Now, it is counted as one of the historic buildings, represented as Tamil Nadu’s legislative Assembly and Secretariat.
The museum of the fort exhibits the formation of Chennai City, and displays interesting artworks from colonial period and military memorabilia. The gallery section on its first floor is comprised of colonial-era VIPs like Robert Clive (Clive of India). This place is appealing to visitors and tourists who want to dig deeper in historical events.
St Andrew Church
St Andrew Church is one of the India’s most wonderful churches, which was built for Scottish residents in Madras, in the early 19th century. The church is located near the Egmore railway station, having beautiful garden.
This 1821 neoclassical Scottish church rising up in greeneries of frenzied Egmore. The church has a 52 feet diameter dome in the central area with extensions on two sides and a tall spire on one side. Moreover, there is a large, beautiful stained glass window behind the altar. All these elements make this palace a must-visit asset in Chennai.
One of the famous beaches in India is Marina Beach, near which you will find lot of attractions such as fish markets, a cricket stadium, corn-roasters, and families enjoying the breeze in seashores. The best time to experience the beauty of this beach is early morning sunrise or evening sunset.
On the south end of this beach, you will find the famous Madras Lighthouse, and among all on this one has a lift. This is the best venue to experience the panoramic views of city and never-ending sea.
Theosophical Society is a calm and composed place, which will provide you peaceful, nature-rich, hassle-free retreat from the city. The location holds the perfect point to stroll into calm environment. It is surrounded by a church, mosque, Buddhist shrine, Zoroastrian temple and a Hindu temple.
This eye-catching place is full of huge variety of native flora, including a 450-year old banyan tree. For nature lovers and visitors who want a relaxing environment can experience a great exposure to the beauty of greeneries at this place.
This temple is not only one of Chennai’s oldest temples but considered to be one of the ancient temples in South India. It is constructed by Pallavas in 8th century in the name of Lord Krishna, as the charioteer Parthasarathy.
The temple has many attractive architectural sculpture composed on the walls with fine stone-carved colonnade entrance. It is famous for its shrines which are dedicated to five incarnations of Lord Vishnu. This religious place is very popular among worshippers as well as visitors coming from outside.
Christ The King Church
With large, attention-grabbing gothic structure, Christ the King Church holds the capability to attract tourists and visitors not just from India but from other countries as well. It is 150 feet high and 60 feet wide including stained glass windows.
Its unique structure makes this building stand out from other churches. Hundreds of students and people come every day to sing prayers and make this place worth experiencing if you are going to Chennai.
Chennai is one of the major cities of India and that’s why huge number of tourists and visitors come to experience the beauty of South India. They will experience classical heritage of India, religious flavors from traditional temples, artistic fun from the streets of city and seashore attractions along the Marina Beach. This essential guide will help you to visit most popular places in Chennai – the soul of South India.