Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is the largest city of Tamil Nadu by population and area. Formerly known as Madras, the capital city of Tamil Nadu is a combo of traditional ethics and culture with the texture of a modern and upgraded lifestyle. Known for its historical and huge Temples, Chennai hosts India’s largest and the world’s second-largest beach, Marina Beach. As per thes urvey report of the 2011 Indian census, Chennai ranked as the sixth-most crowded city in India and fourth-most crowded urban agglomeration. Famous for its skyline of towering skyscrapers, Chennai is one of the smart cities, having a different aura and charm which definitely can’t be ignored.
Chennai City and its surroundings were ruled by many rulers including Chola, Pallava, Pandya, and Vijayanagara Kingdoms. The seaside land, which earlier contained the fishing village Madrasapattinam, was acquired by the British East India Company from Damarla Chennapa Nayaka, the Nayak ruler, during the 17th century. The British military founded the Madras city, and port and built Fort St. George, the first British fortress in India, which the French controlled briefly during 1746, before becoming the winter capital of the Madras Presidency, a colonial province of the British Raj in the Indian subcontinent. In 1947, after India acquired its Independence, Madras continued as the capital city of the Madras State and present-day Tamil Nadu. In 1996, the city was officially renamed Chennai.
Being the 6th most crowded city in India, Chennai is a turmoil of traffic and a humid climate, but apart from this Chennai is also known for having many tourist attractions including India’s largest beach. Some interesting places and attractions to visit in Chennai include the following:
- Marina Beach - Situated in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Marina Beach is a soothing urban beach along the Bay of Bengal that got its popularity because of its pristine and intact beauty, pleasant ambiance, and well-maintained ecosystems. Spread across an area of 13 km in length and 437m in width, Marina Beach is India’s largest and world’s second-largest beach.
- Guindy National Park - Spread across an area of 2.7057 km2, Guindy National Park is the 8th smallest National Park in India and comes among the major attractions of Chennai. The park has around 14 variants of mammals including chital, blackbuck, spotted deer, jackal, small Indian civet, common palm civet, bonnet macaque, hyena, pangolin, hedgehog, three-striped palm squirrel, and common mongoose. The park also has black-napedhares and different species of bats and rodents.
- Government Museum - Built in 1851, Government Museum is the second oldest Museum in India after Kolkata’s Indian Museum. Situated in the neighborhood of Chennai, Egmore, the Museum is specifically rich innumismatic and archaeological collections.
- Edward Elliot's Beach - Commonly known as Besant Nagar Beach, Edward Elliot Beach is a raw urban beach situated in the Besant Nagar locality of Chennai. Formed in the end-zone of the Marina Beach coast, the name of the beach is borrowed from the name of Edward Elliot, the former Chief Magistrate, Superintendent of Madras, and Governor of Chennai during the British time. A fabulously calm and soothing beach which is also known as one of the cleanest beaches in the town.
- Vadapalani Murugan Temple - Built in 1865, Vadapalani Murugan Temple is a Hindu Temple devoted to the God of War, Lord Muruga. The Murugan temple hosts many festivals throughout the year, including Panguni Brahmmotsavam, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Shivratri, and Skanda Sashti.
- Queensland Amusement Park - Spread across an area of 70 acres, Queensland Amusement Park is a fun-filled theme park. Offers ample opportunities to enjoy and amuse, the park hosts nearly 50 amazing rides including both regular and water rides. The Queensland Amusement Park also has a play area for kids and a food court offering tasty food.
- Chicken 65 - Originated in Chennai, Chicken 65 is a spicy, deep-fried chicken dish popular as a quick snack. Made with marinated chicken, deep-fried and stir fry with green chilies and curry leaves is a must-try snack in Chennai.
- Mulligatawny Soup - Mulligatawny soup is one of the originated soups from South Indian Cuisine which got its name from the Tamil words miḷagu (pepper) and taṇṇi (water). The dish got its popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries with a variety of recipe versions. This soup consists of traditional ingredients like grated coconut with British adaptions like apple, carrot, and chicken, and is primarily served with a few atoms of rice.
- Idly - One of the popular and staple foods of Tamil Nadu Idly is also very liked in Chennai and this fluffy and soft idli tastes best with sambar and chutney. Idli is available in every nook and corner of the town and one of the best-known joints for Idli is Murugan Idly Shop which serves Idli with a variety of Chutneys.
- Atho - Initially a Burmese dish, Atho is a famous street food in Chennai. Made with noodles cooked with spices, julienned veggies, and tamarind chutney, Atho is a perfect mixture of tastes.
- Full Meals - Visit to Chennai is incomplete without having the full meal served in a large banana leaf. Easily available in both small and big restaurants one could find traditional Tamil Nadu meals consisting of simply yet deliciously made sabzis along with papad and thick curd.
- Uthappam - Popularly taken as Uthappam is a famous South Indian-originated dish. Made with a batter of rice flour, urad dal, and the required amount of water, Uthappam is like a thick dosa cooked with the topping of julienned veggies.
Things to do
Famous for its towering skyscrapers skyline, Chennai is a combination of old traditions and cultures with a twist of modern lifestyle. Apart from the pristine beaches and temples, the city has many things to offer, that can be enjoyed during the stay in Chennai.
- Birla Planetarium - Contributing a virtual tour to the night sky and owning cosmic shows on anespecially hemispherical aluminum inner dome, Birla Planetarium is a knowledgable yet fun place to visit with your family, especially with the kids.
- MGR Film City - Built-in 1994, intending to attract filmmakers and tourists, MGR Film City covers a huge area of 70 acres, consisting of different sets to serve as scenery or backdrop for the movies. The Film City was named after the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran.
- VGP Golden Beach - Being one of the pristine water and amazing landscape, VGP Golden Beach is preferred by many. The best part of the beach is that it is a private beach and is attached to an amusement park that offers a lot of fun rides and experiences. A perfect beach with accessibility to an amusement park, VGP Golden Beach is a perfect weekend day out place, to visit with family.
- Kishkinta Theme Park - One of the most popular amusement theme parks in Chennai City, Kishkinta Theme Park holds a wide range of slides and huge rides designed for both kids and adults. The Theme Park remains open from Monday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and on Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Shopping at Goa
- Thyagaraya Nagar - Once a residential area, Thyagaraya Nagar also known as T Nagar is one of the largest shopping markets. An outstanding hub for shopping, the locality consists of limitless vendors of sarees, jewelry, and other accessories and utensils. Quite a crowded place throughout the day, the market offers products at discounted rates and one can try their luck in bargaining also.
- Pondy Bazaar - Busiest and most crowded Bazaar in Chennai, Pondy Bazaar makes sure of it that its customers will get every single product from the shopping list. Having a variety of products starting from toys, clothing, and jewelry to appliances, electronics, and music DVDs the Pondy Bazaar holds both low-range to high-range products.
- Sowcarpet - A one-stop destination for churidars, lehengas, cholis, and other dresses inherent to North India, Sowcarpet is one of the known markets of Chennai. Located in the northern part of Chennai and the market is mostly crowded with North Indians.
- Pantheon Road - Due to experiencing a hot tropical climate, folks of Chennai prefer cotton clothes and while talking about cotton clothes, Pantheon Road is the best market in this context. Pantheon Road serves the best quality cotton garments with different ranges and various shades including both pastels and bright eye-catching colors.
A living example of a perfect combination of traditional culture and upgraded lifestyle, Chennai hosts several big and popular malls where one can get branded and latest fashion clothes and accessories. Some of the popular ones are listed below:
- Express Avenue, Pattullos Rd
- Spectrum Mall, Gopal Colony
- Ampa Skywalk, Nelson Manickam Road
- Phoenix Market City Mall, Velachery Rd, Indira Gandhi Nagar
- VR Chennai, Thirumangalam, Anna Nagar
- The Forum Vijaya Mall, Arcot Rd, Vadapalani
- 10 Downing Street - One of the oldest Pubs in town, 10 Downing Street still holds with an energetic and lively charm. A fancy British pub with several attractions including retro night, Bollywood night, karaoke night, and a ladies’ night, the pub is preferred by many, especially for celebrations.
- Radio Room - Justifying its name, the Radio Room is a themed pub designed like a radio room. Located in MRC Nagar, the pub is one of the best places to consider for Saturday parties, offering refreshing cocktails likeMilo cocktail and Pina Colada.
- Pasha-The Park - Pasha: The Park is one the best places for nightlife in Chennai and is located in Nungambakkam. The lounge in this pub is one of the oldest and best lounges in the city. A great place for late-night party animals with a colorful and alive atmosphere and appealing combinations of drinks, Pasha: The Park is an expensive place but the ambiance and environment are surely worth it.
- Q Bar - Since most of the pubs close by 1:00 p.m., the Q Bar in Guindy remains open till 3:00 a.m. Accompanied by a lavish rooftop bar and dance floor, where one can dance under the stars, the Q Bar is known for its scenic and impressive ambiance.
Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is known for its historical Temples and pristine beaches. One of the famous tourist destinations on the southern border of India, Chennai is a busy metropolitan city hosting the world’s second-largest beach, Marina Beach, and other attractions like India’s second-oldest Museum, Government Museum, some fun Amusement Parks and other beautiful and soothing beaches.