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Chennai Travel Guide

Discussion in 'Destination Guides' started by Chahal, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Chahal

    Chahal ਜੱਟ ਕੀ ਤੇ ਘੱਟ ਕੀ Staff Member

    Things to Know Before Visiting Chennai

    Even if you have a luxurious lifestyle, craving for exploring the beauty of nature will never let you live monotonous life. Traveling to far off places give a chance to experience different cultures, striking sites and variety of food to give favor to taste buds. If you have planned to visit worth-seeing places of India, Chennai is on the top of the list. It is the capital of Tamil Nadu and known as biggest commercial and industrial center. In Global Cities Index, Chennai is included among Beta level cities. India Today survey has proclaimed Chennai as Best City, whereas Tourism guide publisher has nominated Chennai among world’s best cities to visit in 2015.

    Amusement Activities in Chennai

    Chennai has serene and close to nature lifestyle that attracts visitors. People are living contented and hassle free life. During your stay in Chennai, there are many things to do to make your trip etched in your mind. Especially, if you are visiting this place with family members or friends, you need to search places where you can spend good time. When you are on holidays, getting some sources of entertainment is included in your priority list. Get happy as Chennai has the world standard amusement parks and sports activities.

    • Queensland Amusement Park
    The amusement park is fully equipped with latest gadgets and facilities. Queensland amusement park is situated at Banglore Trunk Road and has covered more than seventy acres area. Free Fall tower, Aplen Blitz, Enterprise, Roller Coaster, Cabin Car, Water Rides, boating, Swimming American Wave pool, Centrox, Hanging Coaster, Bumper Car, Crazy Horses, Mini Wheel, Kids Taxi, Frog Slide, Go Cart, Orchestra and Octopus are the worth mentioning rides in Queensland park.

    • EPV World Amusement Park
    EPV World amusement park is designed just like an Italian historic palace. It has water games, exciting water slides for kids and adults. For all age groups, pogo games are captivating and become the part of your memories forever. What is more interesting here to enjoy lunch in floating boat and view endless beauty. In addition to snacks, coffee, and corns, there is a variety of cuisines like South Indian, Italian, Chinese and North Indian, etc.

    • Dolphin City Park
    Dolphin City Park offers only one of its kind activities like the performance of Sea Lion, underwater view, boating, open air theater, chuck wagon, animal simulator, swimming, disco scooter and dragon ride etc.

    • Dash-N-Splash
    It had almost 21-acre area and situated near national highway 4. It is a compelling place for kids as they enjoy exciting rides here. It offers facilities like the vegetarian cafeteria, shops, lockers and change room, etc.

    Beaches to Visit in Chennai

    Chennai city has the God gifted natural beauty, humid climate, and sea beaches. For worldwide tourists, nothing is as exciting as the presence of beaches and moderate temperature. Visitors from different parts of world select Chennai for a holiday trip. Sunrise and sunset view of these beaches is unforgettable. Glittering white sand, the sound of waves, blue sky, flying birds, and enchanting breeze compel visitors to forget worries of bustling life and relish these moments.

    There are many sports activities arranged to indulge guests in fun games. Fishing village, church, monument, temples and fort near these beaches have enhanced their beauty. It is recommended to view the Bay of Bengal at sunset time to capture an innate wealth of nature in your mind. There are many famous beaches, but visitors do not forget to visit these three beaches:

    • Covelong Beach - Kovalam Beach
    It has spell bound power and offers water sports activities, swimming, and windsurfing, etc. Covelong was the significant port in past built by Dutch in colonial times built a fort here which has now been transformed into a luxury hotel Taj Fisherman's Cove. It is just forty km away from the main city. The presence of palm trees, white sand, and the sunshine give soothing effect and mental peace.

    • Elliot’s Beach
    This beach is closest to the main city and located in the vicinity of Besant Nagar. It is a more captivating beach for youngsters as most of the night parties are arranged near this beach. Ashtalakshmi Temple and Church are the two attractions that receive tourists of different religions.

    • Marina Beach
    It is one of the most visiting beaches of Tamil Nadu. Marina beach is longest beach in the region and second largest all over the world. This beach has covered almost 13-kilometer area. Captivating views compel visitors to spend maximum time here and capture priceless moments in their cameras.

    Regardless of the crowd, couples prefer to stroll near the seaside and feel splashing waves of sea water on their feet. Alongside beach, there are food stalls. Pony rides and skating rings for kids are safe activities that are performed under the guidance of instructors.

    Turtle Breeding Point

    Olive Ridley turtle is endangered species but you can watch hundreds of turtles in winter and spring season. Turtles come at Chennai beach area to lay eggs whereas hatchlings move to deep sea in the month of April. If you are going to visit Chennai during nesting season, make your kids happy by showing a high number of turtles at the seashore.

    Places to Visit in Chennai

    • Guindy National Park
    Guindy National Park is spread over 2.70 sq km area. Park has become the homeland of various animals like spotted deer, black bucks, jackals, hyenas, turtles, mongoose, hedgehogs, birds, and pangolins. Guidy Park has shady trees, streams and lakes to give natural surroundings to animals. Restricted area of the park cannot be visited until and unless you are going with forest ranger.

    • Theosophical Society
    When you have planned to stay in Chennai for more than a week, you must visit non-commercial areas that are closed to nature. Theosophical society has above 250 acres area where tall trees, fresh air, and calm atmosphere will stray you away from the busy lifestyle. For non-members, this area remains open for five hours in a day.

    • Crocodile Bank
    After visiting scenic beaches and amusement places, Chennai excursions motivate visitors to visit wildlife. Almost forty km away from Chennai, Crocodile Bank is located. Romulus Whittaker, a famous German Biologist, has set up research and breeding center for crocodiles. Different African and Indian species of alligator and crocodile can be seen here. Crocodile Bank has covered an area of 3.2 hectares and known as the biggest bank for crocodiles in India.

    • Connemara Public Library
    Whether you need to search newspaper, periodical or any Indian published book, this library will never discourage the visitors. Library which is divided into various sections based on video hall, textbooks, reference room and IAS study material

    • Cinema Halls
    In India, movie stars are given great respect. Therefore, each city has a list of good cinemas. In Chennai, Tamil movies are considered the desired means of enjoyment. Movie heroes are given honor and great respect by residents. Most of the movies in cinemas are in Tamil but some cinemas play out latest Hollywood movies for tourists.

    • Discotheques and Nightlife in Chennai
    Chennai has a lot of daytime activities and gives tourists chance to celebrate nightlife in a unique way. People reveal to show cultural life in discotheques. Fire is set on the floor as soon as it gets dark to give some good time to outsiders. Pubs, Lounges, and disco clubs make nightlife more colorful and lively. HFO, Dublin, Pasha, Flame Le Club, Geoffrey’s, Zara and 601 Anna Salahi are some of the night hangouts where exotic drinks and gourmet foods are also available.

    Historical Places in Chennai

    Chennai has a great historical background. There are spiritual centers, churches and temples that attract tourists.

    • Kapaleeshwar Temple
    To get an introduction of historical places, start your trip from Kapaleeshwar temple. Students of Archeology love to visit oldest places in Chennai. It is claimed that this temple was constructed in the 7th century. It is said that temple was destroyed by Portuguese army and reconstructed in the 16th century. Kapaleeshwar Temple is one of the best designs of Dravidian architecture.

    • Parthsarthy Temple
    This temple is dedicated to Hindu Lord Krishna. There are 108 sacred places where Lord Vishnu worshiped and Parthasarathy temple is one of such places. Temple is designed to show four incarnations of Vishnu Lord.

    • Little Mount Shrine
    St. Thomas visited this place, and his footprints are preserved on a rock. Side by side historical importance of little Mount shrine, this place gives a fantastic view of Chennai airport and city as well. If you are eager to enjoy pleasing atmosphere and touch of historical places, Little Mount Shrine is second to none.

    • St. Mary Church
    This is the oldest church in Asia, and it was constructed by Streynsham, legends of East India Company. It was built in 1680 with astonishing features like the ability to withstand during explosions. Moreover, the roof is full bomb proof. Hundreds of years have passed but still there are architectural vestiges of the woodwork. This church has an amazing replica of last Supper of Da Vinci. An old copy of Bible dated before 1660 AD is present in this church for the sake of interested visitors.

    • Government Museum
    Sightseeing museum in Chennai was constructed in Colonial rule. This museum has remarkable sculptures, paintings of old ages and modern style. To get some idea of Chennai heritage, do not forget to add Government Museum in places to visit list.

    • Senate House
    Famous architect of 19th century, Robert Fellows Chisholm was the supervisor of this magnificent monument. It is located close to Marina Beach. A serene beauty, Byzantine design, and Indo-Saracenic design have made Senate House an adorable piece of art.

    • Velankanni Church
    Velankanni Church is most respected places in Chennai that are visited throughout the year. Museum is also connected with this church to show incredible gold and silver crafts.

    Festivals in Chennai

    India is famous for diversity of cultures. Chennai has many cultural attractions that are enjoyed by residents and foreigners as well.

    • Natvanjali Dance Festival
    This festival is held at Chennai to pay homage to Lord Nataraja. In the month of February-March, visitors come from all parts of India to participate in this celebration.

    • Music & Dance Festival
    The specialty of this festival is Classical Dance and Carnatic Music. This festival is also known as Margazhi. If you are interested in joining this festival, visit Chennai during mid of December to January.

    • Tourism & Travel Fair
    To support cultural heritage, Tourism Development Corporation of Tamil Nadu announces Tourism Fair every year. This splendid festival held in January. Tourists do not only enjoy this festival but get interesting information about Chennai as well.

    • Pongal
    It is the thanksgiving type of harvest festival that is held in Chennai in January. This festival shows that farming season is ended, so people worship for the new season with good will.

    Best Foods & Drinks

    Chennai (Madras) is famous for its divergent cultural heritage, architecture, classical dances and delicious foods and drinks. Visiting Chennai does not restrict you to eat Indian dishes only, visitors are given a wide range of options to select from continental, Chinese, Fast food, budget buffet or international cuisine.

    Chennai is blessed with delicious non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes. While visiting worth seeing places, do not miss the best food items. As compared to other areas, savors of South India are more craving. Here is the list of some food items that you should include in your to-eat list.

    Kuzhi Paniyaram is delicious Tamil dish that is made by adding rice and pulses. People use to eat this dish in spicy and sweet form. Spicy flavor has green chiles and sautéed onions. Kothu Parotta dish is best for vegetarians. Instead of eating it in the restaurant, try to get the flavor of Kothu Parotta from roadside shops. Meat, eggs, and spicy sauces are added as basic ingredients. Puttu is cylinder shape of steamed rice with coconut is appetizing breakfast dish. Its taste is like fish curry. Bisi Bele Bhath is rice dish that includes vegetables, spices such as tamarind pulp, curry leaves, nutmeg, and asafetida. Appam is a kind of pancake, made by coconut milk and rice batter. Appam Egg, Appam honey, and Palappam are some of the variations. Puliyogare Rice can bring water in your mouth whenever you remember this dish. It has ground nuts, curry leaves, and coconut to enhance its flavor.

    Idiyappam, Sundal, Muruku, Mysore Pak and chicken Chettinad are some of the dishes that will never tempt you to select any other dish here. As far as drinks are concerned, do not forget to taste Lassi, Masala Chai, Rose Milk, Sulaimani with Nimbu, Masala Mor, Nimbo with Jalzeera and Filter Coffee.

    Best Restaurants

    • Pan Asian
    Popular restaurant at ITC Grand Chola has marked its presence due to cultural food items. As the name shows, this restaurant has Asian foods that are cooked by using rich spices and taste enhancing sub-continent ingredients.

    • Madras Pavilion
    It is near Pan Asian restaurant but offers a wide range of Eastern and Western dishes. It is most visited buffet restaurant where tastes are maintained without compromising on quality. Dining options like bacon, poached eggs, North Indian and Chettinad Cuisine are served in a refined way.

    • Taj Coromandel Hotel Southern Spice
    For South Indian food lovers, this hotel provides classic dishes of Indian states: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Coconut chutney and papads, dosas and appams are the best appetizers before dinner.

    • Dakshin
    Dakshin offers best Southern spicy foods and aromatic dishes. It is more appealing for guests to enjoy Karnatic live music and Tanjore paintings here.

    • Italia Chennai
    If you want to eat Italian dishes, Italia Chennai is hot favorite place of visitors. Italian classy dishes, enough dining space, outdoor courtyard and ideal dining setting have made it equivalent to world class hotels.

    Shopping Malls

    A trip can never get completed until and unless shopping malls are visited to select gifts for friends and family members. In Chennai, world-class shopping malls are located where outlets of international brands are within access. Express Avenue, City Centre, Gold Mall, Phoenix Market City, Ramee Mall, The Forum Vijaya Mall and Spencer Plaza are the largest malls in Chennai. These shopping malls are destination of residents and foreigners whenever they need services like beauty salon, tattoo parlour, footwear, boutiques, fitness center, kids and mother care, handicraft, beauty products, watches, and automobiles.

    • Cotton Street
    Chennai has moist weather therefore cotton is the most suitable material to use in different seasons. Cotton Street has striking wardrobe stuff in various florals, a spectrum of colors and somber pastels. This street has more than 60 shops to buy quality material for bedspreads, tablecloths, and curtains.

    Best Time to Visit Chennai

    South East cost location and climate of the tropical zone are the two factors that have made the climate of Chennai humid and hot. In the summer season, temperature touches the figure 45 C at daytime whereas highest temperature at night is near about 25 C. Average temperature is almost 28 C. Tropical zone causes an excess of rainfall therefore temperature remains pleasant.

    Winter season is short, starting from November and ends in February. Most of the foreigners come from European countries and cannot enjoy the hot summer season. It is the reason; winter season is considered as the best season for tourist. Weather in winter is pleasant therefore visitors try to explore nature, enjoy the sunshine near white sand beaches and take part in nighttime activities. Rainfall in winter season makes these trips memorable.

    Visiting Chennai in winter season does not mean to bring all your woolen dresses, heavy jackets, and coats. The temperature in Chennai remains almost 20 C. Lowest temperature recorded in Chennai is 17 C. While packing, do not forget to bring umbrella or raincoat to have fun during rainfall.

    • Reasons To Select Winter Season
    Various reasons motivate tourists to pick winter season for a holiday trip. First of all, moderate temperate in this season makes it easy to spend each and every moment in fun making activities without getting exasperated. Secondly, all important festivals and fairs are held in the winter season. Pongal is four days celebration to welcome the new farming season. Cattle are decorated, and yards are beautified with rangoli colors and classical dances are performed to amuse guests. Carnatic Music during traditional festival brings famous musicians to make this event more action-packed for tourists.

    How to Visit Chennai?

    • By Plane
    It is easy for worldwide tourists to visit this beautiful place as city is connected to Singapore, Middle East, London, Malaysia, New York, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and many others through international airport at Anna Terminal. Domestic carriers connect this spectacular place to all other cities of India. From the airport, it is quite easy to hire a taxi and reach your destination.

    • By Train
    Chennai Egmore and Chennai Central are the two stations that are linked with Bus Terminal and Airport. Chennai Central station is fixed for trains from Ahmadabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Coimbatore and many others whereas Egmore station covers Tamil Nadu places. After reaching Chennai railway station, use a taxi to reach your hotel.

    • By Bus
    Mofussil Chennai Bus Terminal is largest bus station in Asia. It is connected with the railway station, airport and seven significant states of India.

    • By Taxi/ Car
    To visit different places in Chennai, taxi is a convenient mode of transportation. It is good to book a taxi in advance and make a plan for places to go. Foreign tourists are not recommended to drive their cars as they do not know the routes. Moreover, it is difficult for them to drive in rush hours. If you are interested in getting a car on rent, it is good to hire a driver for outstation trips.

    Accommodation in Chennai

    It is easy to find accommodation of your choice and budget in Chennai. Each hotel has given a description of the bedroom, facilities, Google Map and distance from city center and cost for one night stay. Customer's Reviews and a list of amenities help in deciding the best hotel online. Some of the highly recommended hotels are Savera Chennai, The Residency, Ramada Chennai, The Raintree, Clarion Chennai, The Park Chennai, Deccan Plaza, Hablis Chennai, Radha Regent and The Iris Hotel.

    In short, Cultural significance, the beauty of nature and thrilling places to visit have made Chennai primary destination for tourists. For the last six years, Chennai has been beating other cities in terms of sightseers’ arrival. A majority of foreign visitors, who visit the India select Chennai to spend holidays. As compared to other cities, it has something special for all age groups. Amusement parks, crocodile bank and Zoo for kids; best shopping malls, movie theaters, water sports, historical places and beaches for adults have made it low budget but enjoyable vacation place.

  2. Kathleen

    Kathleen New Member

    I would like to imagine that I have one week to spend in Chennai. Seven full days, not counting the day for arrival and the one of departure. What are five essential things to see in the city? I am interested in history, culture, art, natural landscape, and almost anything that is not "commercial."