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Places to see in Chennai

Discussion in 'Tamil Nadu' started by Robo12, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Robo12

    Robo12 New Member

    I want to explore Chennai and would like to find out what I can see there. I know the place is full of temples, but I think for me seeing only one or two temples is enough for me.

    I would like to know what the other places to see in Chennai, which are different from the just the temples are?

    I plan to stay in Chennai for ten days which I think it enough to see places there. If you think that I would require more days then, please mention.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is the 3rd largest city in the country and the 36th largest urban area in the world. The Chennai Metropolitan Area ranked as the 3rd largest economy in the country as having the 3rd highest GDP per capita. Aside from the temples, there are numerous other attractions in the city of Chennai. There are museums, galleries, beaches, historical monuments and other tourist attractions the make Chennai one of the most visited cities in the country.

    In your 10 days in Chennai, be sure to visit these places:

    • Fort Museum - This museum is located in Fort St. George. It was built around 1795 and houses artefacts related to the British rule. Originally, the museum housed the office of the Madras Bank. On the second floor, you can find the Public Exchange Hall that served as a place for public meetings, lottery draws and other entertainment shows. The museum now houses collections of weapons, coins, medals, uniforms and other artefacts from England, Scotland, France and India which can be traced back to the colonial period. You can also find a large statue of Lord Cornwallis here. The first ever flown flag after the independence of India from the British is also showcased in the museum.
    • Railway Museum - This museum was established in 2002. It is located near the ICF Bus Terminus in Chennai. The museum is set amidst 6.5 acres of land, with an outdoor exhibit showcasing heritage trains which can be traced back to the 1800s. There's also a toy train here that visitors can ride to tour around the museum. There's also an indoor exhibit, showcasing the history of Integral Coach Factory and Indian Railways through photographs.
    • Government Museum - This museum can be found in Egmore in Chennai. It was established in 1851, making it the 2nd oldest museum in the country after the Indian Museum in Kolkata. The museum complex consists of 6 buildings, with about 46 galleries in total. The collections in the museum range from natural history, zoology, archeology and numismatics.
    • Dakshinachitra Museum - You can find this on East Coast Road in Muttukadu in Chennai. This is a living history museum opened in the year 1996 by the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra means A Picture of the South, as the museum showcases the art, culture, tradition and lifestyle of the South Indian region. The museum has about 18 heritage houses, featuring the lives of the people living in Southern India, like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. These houses were actual houses, demolished and then transferred to the location where they are now. Special programs and classes are also offered for classic dances, craft making and puppet shows.
    • Birla Planetarium - You can find this in Gandhi Mandapam Road in Kotturpuram. It was built in 1988, dedicated to the great industrialist, BM Birla. The planetarium has a versatile opto-mechanical GOTO GM II starfield projector, special effects projector and XY table system which can stimulate celestial phenomenon. The museum offers night sky viewing, courses in astronomy and special shows on every second Saturday of the month. There are also daily shows about the universe and the solar system.
    • Semmozhi Poonga - You can find this in the Cathedral Road in the Anna-Salai Junction in Teynampet in Chennai. It is a botanical garden established in the year 2010. Semmozhi Poonga means Classical Language Park. The garden can be subdivided into several sections: palm court, tree court, golden garden, bonsai garden, cascade garden, water and rock garden, butterfly garden, fern garden, sunken garden and theme garden. There are over 500 species of plants, flowers and trees in the garden. There's also an artificial pond within the garden that attracts ducks and other species of birds.
    • Natesan Park - This is located in T. Nagar in Chennai. This was opened in 1950 by the Minister of Agriculture. It has a separate tennis court area and is rich in flora. Some of the plant species that you see here are bougainvilleas, mahoganies, neem trees and aralias.
    • Madras Crocodile Bank - You can find this in Vadanemmeli in Chennai. This is a reptile zoo and a herpetology research station established by Romulus Whitaker in the year 1976. The main attraction here is the Crocodile Conservation Centre which has bred thousands of crocodiles since its establishment. You can find about 14 species of the 23 species of crocodiles in the world here. Two of these 14 species are critically endangered and the other 3 are threatened species. There are over 2,400 crocodiles here and many more species of turtles, snakes and lizards.
    • Arignar Anna Zoological Park - This is located in Vandalur, a suburban town in Chennai. Previously, it was known as Vandalur Zoo which was opened in 1985. It was and still is the largest zoological garden in the country. It was renamed after Tamil political Anna Durai who was commonly referred to as Aringar Annadurai. There are over 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles in the zoo. Some of the commonly spotted animals here are sambars, barking deers, tigers, jaguars, panthers, lions and elephants.
    • Guindy National Park - This is located in Rangeguindy in Chennai. It is the 8th smallest national park in the country. It is also one of the few national parks located within the city. It is home to about 14 species of mammals and was established in 1977. Some of the commonly spotted animals here are blackbucks, chitals, jackals, bonnet macaques and hyenas. The park is also home to about 150 species of birds like grey partridges, crows, honey buzzards and golden-backed woodpeckers.
    Bodies of Water
    • Muttukadu Lake - This is a simple lake found in Muttukadu in Chennai. There are boating facilities and water activities that you can do here though. Some of these are rowing, wind surfing, water skiing and speed boating. There's also a restaurant here where you can dine while enjoying the view of the lake.
    • Pulicat Lake - This is the second largest water lagoon in India, after the Chilika Lake. About 96% of the lake is in Andhra Pradesh and the remaining is on Tamil Nadu. Numerous species of birds flock here especially during migratory season. As a result, two bird sanctuaries were built around the area, one in Andhra Pradesh and another one in Tamil Nadu. Thus, if you enjoy bird watching, consider going to this lake. Some of the commonly spotted birds here are flamingoes, pelicans, kingfishers, herons, painted storks, spoonbills and ducks.
    • Marina Beach - This beach runs from Fort St. George to Foreshore Estate in Chennai. It is the longest natural urban beach in the country and the second longest in the world. On an average weekday, visitors here are estimated to be around 30,000. The beach is definitely commercialised with about 500 shops run by 1,212 vendors in its shores and surroundings. There are also facilities for horse riding around the beach. Swimming is not permitted on the beach though due to strong undercurrents.
    • Edward Elliot's Beach - This is also known as Besant Nagar Beach or simply, Bessie. It forms the end point of the Marina Beach and can be found in Besant Nagar. It was named after the Governor of Madras, Edward Elliot. It is one of the more secluded and cleaner beaches in Chennai. So if you want some seclusion and privacy, consider visiting this beach.
    • VGP Golden Beach - This is located in the East Coast Road, near the seaside road from Chennai to Cuddalore via Pondicherry. The beach is private and owned by the VGP Amusement Park. Therefore, to gain access to it, you need to buy an entry ticket to the park. The shores of the beach have powdery white sands and the water is safe for swimming. Since it's a private beach, it's not as crowded unlike the Marina Beach.
    • Covelong Beach - Covelong is a fishing village in Chennai. The beach here is well known for its surfing and wind surfing school. The school also has a resort so you can stay within the area as Chennai proper is about 40 kms away from the village.
    • Breezy Beach - This is also known as the Thiruvanmiyur Beach. You can find it in Valmiki Nagar in Chennai. The beach is smaller than the Marina Beach but it's incredibly clean and unpolluted. The sands are golden in colour and the water is clear. There are some beach shacks offering delectable dishes as well.
    • MGR Memorial - This memorial, along with many others, can be found near the Marina Beach. It is dedicated to MG Ramachandran, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. It was built in 1988 but was inaugurated 2 years after by Janaki Ramachandran, the wife of MG Ramachandran.
    • Vivekananda House - This is also known as the Ice House. This is where Swami Vivekananda stayed for 9 days during his visit in Chennai in 1897. You can find it in the busy street of Kamarajar Salai. It has different sections as well, one of which is the Cultural Heritage of India section showcasing paintings tracing the evolution of the culture of the country as time passed by. Other sections feature photographs showing the history and life of Swami Vivekananda.
    • Fort St. George - This is the first British fortress in India. It was founded in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras. The fort contains the St. Mary's Church, which is the oldest Anglican church in the country. There are also tombstones here which are considered the oldest British tombstones in the country. It is now the headquarters for the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu.
    • Alamparai Fort - This is located in Kadappakam, which was constructed in the late 17th century. It was built around the Mughal era, between 1736 and 1740 CE. It was initially under the rule of the Nawab of Arcot, Doste Ali Khan until it was handed over to the French.
    Theme/Amusement Parks
    • Queen's Land - This is located in Poonamallee in Chennai. It opened in 2003 and covers about 70 acres of land. The park is open from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm on weekdays and from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm on weekends and holidays. It is closed during Mondays for maintenance, with the exception of holidays. There are about 51 rides, 33 of which are for adults and 18 are for children. Aside from the dry rides, there's also a swimming pool with some water rides.
    • Kishkinta Theme Park - You can find this five kilometres west of Tambaram Bus Stand and Suburban Railway Station. They have dry rides, water rides, wave pools and kiddie rides. Their food village has different cuisines and dishes as well. They are open from Mondays to Saturdays at 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. They are open during Sundays and holidays from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm. They are closed during Wednesdays except during holidays.
    • MGM Dizzee World - This theme park is located on the East Coast Road in Chennai. They have adult rides, children rides and family rides. They also have an amphitheatre and boating facilities. Restaurants and food stalls are also available inside the park. They are open during weekdays from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm. They are open during weekends and holidays from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm.
    • VGP Universal Kingdom - This is located on the East Coast Road in Chennai. The amusement park has a petting zoo, family rides, children's rides, thrill rides, water rides, snow park and even eateries inside. The VGP Golden Beach is also located within the park premises. They also have regular live shows to entertain the guests. They are open daily from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm.
    I hope this helps!


    I think 10 days are enough to explore Chennai since you're going to be skipping most of the temples. And I didn't include them in the list since you requested for it. Have fun!