Chennai Tourism

Chennai Tourism

Chennai Info

  • State: Tamil Nadu
  • Famous for/as: City
  • Altitude: 6 m
  • Pincode: 600001
  • District: Chennai
  • Language: Tamil
  • STD code: 044
  • Weather: Summer 23 to 37°C, Winter 20 to 28°C
Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu and the fourth largest city in India. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is popularly known as ‘the gateway to the South’ as it is the seat of culture and learning in South India. Hailed as the automobile capital of India, Chennai is the third largest commercial and industrial hub of India.

As per folk lore, the name ‘Chennaipattinam’ arrived from the Chenna Kesava Perumal temple. It is also believed that the region was named after Damarla Chennappa Nayakudu, who was the Nayaka of Kalahasthi and Vandavasi. Several tools related to the Stone Age recovered from Pallavaram of Chennai, by the Archaeological Survey of India, points to the fact that Chennai region held a megalithic cultural establishment.  

The recorded history of Chennai can be dated back to 1st century AD, when it was regarded as an important military and economic hub. Later Chennai was ruled by many South Indian dynasties like the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and Vijayanagara. The Portuguese arrived at Chennai during 1522 and they were followed by the Dutch in 1612.  

The British East India Company came to Chennai in 1639. It was the adjacent village of Madraspattinam that was chosen as the place to settle in by the British. The town of George Town, with the fort of St. George became their stronghold in the South. George Town was granted its first municipal charter in 1688, which makes it the oldest municipal corporation in India.

In the 17th century, Madraspattinam and Chennaipattinam were merged by the British and it was renamed as Madraspattinam. By the end of 18th century, most of Tamil Nadu came under their control. Under British rule Chennai was transformed to become a major urban centre and naval base in South India. It was in 1996 that ‘Madras’ or ‘Madraspattinam’ was renamed as ‘Chennai’ by the Tamil Nadu State Government.

Chennai, today, is one of the major tourist destinations in South India. Chennai is famous for its temples and churches which are considered as fine examples of architecture and craftsmanship. Parthasarathy Temple, Kaapaleshwar temple, Ashtalakshmi temple, Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Velankanni Church, etc. are some of the famous religious attractions in Chennai.

The highlight of Chennai tourism is its beaches. Chennai is home to one of the longest urban beaches in the world, Marina Beach, which is 12 km long. The months from November to March are the best time to visit Chennai, when the weather is pleasant.

The city also enjoys a vibrant culture, which is an amalgamation of the old and new. Of the many festivals celebrated, Tamil New Year is one of the biggest. It is celebrated by locals with great pomp and fervour. Festivities, feasting and giving gifts mark the occasion. The festival is also known as Puthandu in many parts of Tamil Nadu. Tamil New Year is considered an auspicious time by Tamilians to start something new. 

The vicinity of Chennai to Mamallapuram, Pondicherry, Kanyakumari, Chidambaram, Tiruvallur, Tirupati, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Swamithoppe, Kanchipuram, Thanjavur,   Tiruvannamalai and Tiruchirapalli makes it a hotspot among tourists.

Anna International Airport lies 7 km south of Chennai. The airport is connected by several international airlines including Air India, British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Air Lanka and Malaysia Airlines. Pre-paid taxis and airport coaches are available at the airport.

Chennai has three major railway stations - the Chennai Central is the biggest, Egmore station and Tambaram station. For quick access across the city, the recently introduced north-south MRTS (Mass Rapid Transport System) can be boarded. Chennai Central and Egmore are the main railway stations that link north and west India, respectively with south India.

At Chennai, most government bus services for Tamil Nadu which is TSTC and other private buses ply to all the cities in the state. The interstate bus service now operates from the newly opened Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Koyembedu and is believed to be the largest bus station in Asia. Private bus services along with deluxe Volvo bus services are available from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Cochin and Coimbatore.

Best time to visit Chennai in the next six months

  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March

Chennai Traveller Reviews

Read 440 destination reviews
with average rating of 5.6/7, 1
out of 28988 Chennai reviews 440
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Aroof Sr

  • Tourist
  • Aroof Sr
  • Lives in Nellore
  • 2 Reviews
  •  5 readers

"Good" new review

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted Yesterday
Most of the places are good and well infrastructure, hotel are good maintains.
Road line coupes with metro project. Historical places are surrounded near to city, OMR **** ECR road are most farable place in Chennai. This two road are parallel and well maintain.
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Manish soni

  • Tourist
  • Manish soni
  • 2 Reviews
  •  79 readers

"Nice city, only weather is not good" new review

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted 1 week ago
I liked Chennai a lot. Transportation is ultimate, you will get a lot of buses for every place in Chennai. People are good. Food is the best. I really liked sarvana bhavan, The only problem I faced is with weather. You will keep sweating, AC is must in Chennai.
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Pratik Jena

  • Guru
  • Pratik Jena
  • Lives in Cuttack
  • 92 photos
  • 65 Reviews
  •  432 helpful votes
  •  106705 readers

"Thalaiva's Land Madras" new review

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted 3 weeks ago
Chennai is another metro city which has some excellent markets (especially steel), malls and many more things. If one wants to enjoy a city life vacation then this is it. There are also many beaches here to visit, the most famous being the "Marina Beach". Do try the sweet corn in marina beach as I hadn't eaten such tasty sweet corns ever before. There are a number of temples to visit in Chennai also. Do try the typical Tamil meal, which is awesome. The filter coffee here is also unique.

The best thing to do out is here is adventure in near VGP beach like The VGP Snow kingdom, which was magical. It was the best thing that I visited in Chennai. One can also go to Kanchipuram and Mamallapuram which are located on the outskirts of Chennai.

The roads here are also excellent. There are also a numerous IT firms and core companies which have huge buildings and sprawling campuses here in Chennai. Overall a good experience. But the only problem I faced many times is language. People here don't understand Hindi at all and some even don't know English, which was a huge problem for me.
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Bhushavali Natarajan

  • Tourist
  • Bhushavali Natarajan
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 22 photos
  • 10 Reviews
  •  700 readers

"One day itineraries in Chennai" new review

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
1. Hitting the East Coast - Begin early morning sunrise at Elliots Beach and check out Memorial & Broken Bridge. Next stop at Thiuruvanmiyur Marundeeswarar Temple, Chandal Artists' Village and Dakshina Chitra. As you cross a back waters, stop by and do some bird watching. You'll spot Egrets, Cormorants, Pelicans, Painted storks and many more and if you're lucky, Flamingoes as well! If there are kids, Crocodile bank (created by Romulus Whitaker) is a good stop. By noon reach Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO protected site, a collection of rock-cut monuments built in 6th-7th C CE, which ideally needs atleast 4 days to see if you're into art, sculpture & heritage, and the least of half a day to get the mildest essence of it. Sunset on the beach here with Seashore temple backdrop is just mesmerizing! From Thiruvanmiyur Hop-in Hop-off bus service is available! Share autos are always available.
2. Get the British & Dutch flavour - Being named Madras by the British, being a colony of British for such a long time, Chennai has its own share of centuries old Churches and colonial buildings. Begin with the oldest operational railway station of India (obviously built by British) at Royapuram. Walk to Armenian Church and have a look at Madras High Court as well. Then go along the coast and visit Santhome Cathedral. Take the ECR and check out the ruins of Alhambra (Alamparai) & Sadras (Sadurangapattinam) Dutch Forts.
3. For the Nature Lover - Begin early morning to see the birds wake up and leave their nests at Pallikkaranai Marsh Lands. Get to Kalakshetra to do some more bird watching & Theosophical Society to see one of world's largest & oldest banyan tree. By dusk be at Adyar Estuary or Kelambakkam to see more birds returning to their nests. Head over to the Sholinganallur Beach to enjoy the sea (its not as crowded as Marina or Besant nagar) as night falls. If you're there in a weekend between Jan-Mar, head over to Neelankarai by late night and participate in the Turtle Walk, to protect the eggs of the endangered Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
4. For the Active & Adventurous Opt 1 - Though Chennai isn't blessed with too many trekking spots there are a few - Tada or Nagari or Nagala. All these places are in outskirts of Chennai and each and every place would take the whole day by itself.
5. For the Active & Adventurous Opt 2 - Climb Pallavaram Hill and watch the flights take off at Chennai International Airport. Head over to Ottiyambakkam for open-air open-water swim in the abandoned yet picturesque stone quarry. Finally go Speed Boating & Kayaking at Mudaliyarkuppam.
6. Going Southwards - Visit Aringnar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur esp for its Lion & Deer safari where you get to drive in an enclosed van in the acres & acres of free habitat of lions (yes, lions do get very close to the van to check out who you are, but don't worry, 'you' are inside a cage) !! Check out Madambakkam Dhenupurishwarar Temple and the 10th C CE political inscriptions at Uthiramerur. Head over to Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary by sunset to watch the migratory birds returning to their nests.
7. Going Northwards - Have a look at the Madras High Court building for its Colonial Architecture and visit Armenian Church. Head straight ahead to Pulicat where you can go boating on the in the backwaters to the secret little islands in them. There's a Dutch Cemetry as well and if you're there in Nov-Mar, its perfect to do some birding. Don't forget to stop over at Annamalaicheri to watch Flamingoes !!! If you're lucky enough, from here, you might spot a rocket launching from our missile launching station at Sriharikota!
8. Going the Mylapore direction - Begin at Marina Beach near Kamarajar Promenade (nature & people watching) then Marina Light House (city & sea view). Over to Santhome Cathedral, Kapaleeswarar Temple (Hinduism) and Sri Ramakrishna Math (modern monastery building whose ideologies root from Swami Vivekananda). If you're in Mylapore in Dec-Jan, you're in for a dance, drama, music, art feast of Margazhi Festival !!!
9. All about Food & Shopping (in Chennai style) - Begin the day with a combo breakfast at Saravana Bhavan in Mylapore. Check out some like glass bangles, beaded necklaces and traditional hair accessories in the street side shops. May be you can get some sculptures of Gods as well. Bargaining is necessary. If heat goes up, have a fresh tender coconut water! Head over to Vijaya or Shanti for some gorgeous temple jewelry (obviously, fake). Head to Rangachari or Radha Silks (Rasi) for some gorgeous sarees, half sarees or salwars. Next go to Thyagaraya Nagar (T Nagar) and head to Grand Sweets & Snacks or Adyar Ananda Bhavan for lunch. A 5 storey building in Pondy Bazaar has been newly built to accommodate all the street hawkers. The ground floor is for fresh flowers. Get to 1st floor & upwards and you can find everything from hairpins to clothing to books to jewelry to bags to shoes - what not !!! Again bargaining is necessary. Cash is needed as none here would have card machine, but be careful with your purse & gold jewelry. Go over to Besant Nagar by sunset and enjoy some street side Groundnuts savoury mix & raw mango with chilli powder and jalapeno & plantain bajji. If you're still hungry head to Murugan Idli Kadai for dinner. (Yes, to begin with I wrote 'in Chennai Style'. That's exactly why I skipped all shopping malls, branded stores and multi-cuisine hotels which can be found in any other city as well. Its not special to Chennai).
10. Day out to Kanchipuram - Seen much of Chennai? Why not head to Kanchipuram and get doused in the traditional beauty of the temple town. Here are a few more than 50 temples. If you're planning to get Silk Sarees head over to one of the cooperative societies' outlets in MG Road (Mahatma Gandhi) Road to get authentic silk and not to get cheated with price as well.
11. Day out to Pondicherry - Seen much of Chennai? Why not head to Pondicherry and get a bit of French flavour
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Vaishnavi Devakumar

  • Tourist
  • Vaishnavi Devakumar
  • Lives in Chennai
  • 1 Review
  •  406 readers

"My home city"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Chennai s my hometown ... Almost I went to all places in Chennai ... Mahabalipuram whr you ve rocks caves beach shopping antique items and my fav moon rackers famous for fish and it's a nice place to hangout wit as well as your loved one ... If you wanna go for a long drive, then take ecr ... Adventurous Queensland, vgp, MGM, kishkinta, wild tribe ranch ... Breezy marina, Bessy, Kovalam, thirunmiyar, ecr bay beach ... Fantabulous Phoenix forum ea ampa malls ... Gloating places, muttukad boating, zoo, park, museum ... Temple ... Only thing you don find s snow ... ;-)
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Mahadev Raval

  • Scout
  • Mahadev Raval
  • Beachbum
  • Lives in Surat
  • 6 Reviews
  •  5 helpful votes
  •  5425 readers

"Good to go"

  • 4.5/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Although it was a good place to visit but the heat was excoriating. And we had to cut down our sight seeing trip which was for 8 hrs ... To 4 hrs and be back in the AC room. And we were keen to visit golden beach since my daughter child hood. But the heat was unbearable. And the place is converted to an amusement park and most of the rides not working and safety level was 3/10. We paid hafty entry fees and were disappointed by the management of the place. Better avoid this place. And for the beaches. You need to walk 1tleast 1 km. To reach the water in hot sand even in the evening ... Better check the weather before visiting these places ..
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Kanchan Raitani

  • Connoisseur
  • Kanchan Raitani
  • Lives in New Delhi
  • 40 photos
  • 20 Reviews
  •  62 helpful votes
  •  13121 readers

"Too hot to handle!"

  • 3.5/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
As we were about to land in Chennai, I heard our pilot say that the temperature in Chennai today is 39 degrees. WHAT? It was not that hot in New Delhi! Finally landed, took my luggage and surprise - there was no ola or uber available near the airport. Apparently, there is some rule that ola and uber cabs cannot park in the airport or be easily available for the travellers. There are the black and yellow prepaid taxis available which take exorbitant rates. So, a 25 mins distance that took 220/- by Ola, I was charged Rs. 450 by the prepaid taxi. PLUS - they will just NOT talk to you in Hindi. They just won't, even if they know how.

Best places to visit (what I could manage in approx 2 days).

1) Besant Beach - try the bajjis (pakoras basically).

2) Cozee cafe - near the beach.

3) Downing Street - awesome shepherd's pie.

4) Time out - Awesome burgers!

5) GLM Meridian - I stayed in this hotel - their tomato & dhaniya shorba is to die for!

6) Saw few churches and temples while driving around - wish I had more time to explore - definitely next time.

It really helps if you have a friend or relatives there - the process is eased out. Whatever it was, I had a good time :)
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Rajendra Kumar

  • Tourist
  • Rajendra Kumar
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 1 Review
  •  508 readers

"Nice place to visit"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Its a good city for family weekend purpose. There are so many place to visit likie Beach, Temples. Different variety of food especially south Indian (unique touch which can be felt in South-Indian restaurant). Shopping malls are good. There were so many things especially for children. Airports are good. Infact metro is also started.
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Natarajan n

  • Tourist
  • Natarajan n
  • 4 Reviews
  •  3 helpful votes
  •  560 readers

"Excellent tourist place with lot of entertainments & outing options."

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Chennai - A true cosmopolitan city where you can meet people of all classes. You can get access from a local to hifi areas in less time. And Food, the true taste of South Indian Cuisine where the list didn't ends with only idli & vada. There are a lot of menus including international menus. And its the core part of south indian cinema. Tollywood, a world familiar cinema industry of quality Tamil cinemas. Instead of Reading my reviews, just get there & definitely you will fall in love with the city.
Only annoying thing is the weather condition! A little hot weather but its not a big thing on seeing other attractions!
Goahead & indulge yourselves in a true cosmopolitan of south india!
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  • 3 votes

Anita vashist

  • Tourist
  • Anita vashist
  • 2 Reviews
  •  551 readers

"Visit Chennai to Witness a Cleaner City with Good Roads, but Brace for its Weather (Hot Hotter Hotte"

  • 5.0/7
  • Posted 2 months ago
Chennai is a Well Maintained city.
I always wanted to visit, but my husband hated it because of its weather.
We in fact, planned for Mahabalipuram & I convinced him to stay & see Chennai for a day. He was like, Chennai is another capital of a state. What we see in Bangalore, would be same in Chennai, but with hot climate.
This time, we wanted to explore Chennai more by public transport, so we chose to Travel by Lalbagh Express. We reached in the afternoon.
Auto & Chennai Metro:
Prepaid Auto from Chennai Central Railway station to Royal Regency was 39 INR. But the driver demanded 50 upfront & its a common thing. It was just 750-900 Mts. We had luggage & we had to pass through Chennai Metro construction. So we decided to take Auto. My husband was like, what good are we seeing? Its Metro Here. Notorious Auto drivers etc. He was cursing the hot weather too.
Hotel Room:
Reached Royal Regency. Free ted by Front office for the sake of formality. They lacked spirit. No smile. It was like, take your keys & go to your room. We were given Room 507. We entered 5th Floor to be greeted by 2 fellow hotel residents seated at common area sofa smoking & loudly speaking on phone. We said, that's fine & entered the room. We found dirty bathrooms with stained & shoddy shower curtains & rusted fittings. Curtains were so dirty that we didn't even feel like pushing it aside with some aid. Faucet & towel holders were heavily rusted. Towels were rough that we didn't use them. There were some broken shelves with much dust in it. Wardrobes were had heavily rusted hanger holding rod & was badly designed. It was difficult to put hangers on to it as it had very less gap for it.
Was OK, but the tax (VAT & Service Tax) are Heavy. If room service is taken, then it adds heavy service charge. For Ex: A Kinley water bottle of 20 INR coasted me 53 INR.
Hotel Service & Travel Desk Staff are courteous & accomodative.
We showed them the snaps of Bathroom & Wardrobe only to get a response that they are aware of it & the renovation is going on slowly. We were able to hear some repair sound during our stay, however, we didn't go to evidence the same.
View From the Room
It was awful to see the drainage kind of some river or so.
Nearby Eateries:
Murugan Idly shop is just a few mts away. Its very good with tasty Podi dishes, its very expensive. A Podi (chutney powder) Butter Masala Dosa would cost 90+ INR. 2-3 times costlier than Bangalore.
Travel Nearby
OLA / Uber are good compared to Notorious Auto. Of late, we found Fasttrack is much better.
The best we had. My husband suggested Tamilnadu Tourism Dept Corporation's City Tour. We took half day (Only Half Day tour is available) by AC coach. It covered Secretariat Building, State Govt Run Museums & Monuments, Snake Park in Guindy National Park, a old & famous temple & Marina Beach.
We went to ancient Kapaleeshwara template, which was really good. We had lunch in the famous Saravana Bhavan near office & Dinner at another famous chain of Hotels in Chennai, Sangeeta. It was average to good, but again the prices with taxes were really heavy.
Finally, my husband started appreciating Chennai for its well maintained less traffic Roads (without humps & potholes), ancient museums & landmark places, he still regrets for going through the torture of Hot climate
Chennai to Mahabalipuram Travel Options
OLA out station for Mahabalipuram drop estimated 2250 INR. Travel Desk at Royal Regency was courteous to negotiate & quoted 1800 INR for Drop & for 1 day sight seeing 2500 INR. While returning from Mahabalipuram, we found the better option of Fast Track, which charges metered charge of 9 INR/ km & it was just 965 INR including driver bata & taxes. They also have 1 day package at almost half the cost of Royal Regencies travel desk ...
Chennai Centrail Railway station
While returning to Bangalore, we had a chance to explore the railway station. It was in deed better than Bangalore's. Railway IRCTC catering service is better compared to other options w. Are. T cleanliness & menu options. As we arrived 2hrs early to our same Lalbagh Express, we found AC prepaid waiting rooms. It was clean & charges were nominal 20 INR/ hr. One should have PNR number to use it. Only issue with it is, its in the first floor, difficult for people with considerable Luggage & for the elderly people.
Overall Experience: 3. 5 to 4 on a scale of 5, with 1 = Lowest & 5 = Highest.
My husband was happy with only Mahabalipuram resort. He was OK with Chennai except its weather.
Hope this review helps.
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