Tourist’s guide to Chennai, India: attractions and beaches

The city of Chennai (India) is located on the southeast coast of the country, on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal. This city, founded in 1639, is now the capital of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai city view

Interesting fact! Until 1996, Chennai had another name: Madras. This name was changed because it had Portuguese roots.

Chennai is recognized as the central gateway to South India, and this is entirely justified. Chennai International Airport is the third busiest in India, and from there there are flights to many cities across the country, and even to very small towns in South India.

Chennai, whose total area exceeds 181 km², is divided into 5 districts. Most industrial enterprises are located on the north side of the city, and business districts in the central part. On the south side, residential quarters are equipped and the offices of many IT companies are concentrated. To the south-west is the main road of Mount Road and the main railway stations: Egmore for communications throughout Tamil Nadu and Central, from where flights depart throughout the country.

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Chennai Central Station

The city of Chennai, with a population of more than 9 million people, makes a different impression. On the one hand, it ranks 13th from the end in the world in terms of cleanliness, its streets are literally crammed with vehicles, and the heated air is saturated with heavy smog. On the other hand, it is recognized as the center of cultural life of South India and has many unique attractions.

Interesting fact! The city has the second largest film studio in India – Collywood. She releases about 300 films a year.

Temples worth seeing

As in any city in India, Chennai has many temples worth seeing.

Advice! During their examination, one should beware of the so-called “guides” who “accidentally” go nearby and conduct a spontaneous excursion. It must be said right away that their services and explanations are not needed, and in the future there is no way to maintain communication with them. Otherwise, at the end of the “excursion” these ubiquitous “guides” will begin to demand money, and not at all small – sometimes the amount reaches $ 60.

Dravida Temple Kapalishvarar
Dravida Temple Kapalishvarar

It is believed that this Shiva temple was built in the VIII century, but the modern building in various sources is attributed to the XII or XVI centuries. And the main pyramidal tower, towering above the gate on the east side, was built in 1906.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple is Chennai’s main architectural landmark and one of the most interesting examples of Dravidian religious art. The main entrance, located on the east side, passes under the unique gate: their height is 37 m, and they are decorated with a huge number of sculptures of Hindu deities.

Behind the building there is a vast pond, which is used for religious rituals not only by Indians, but also by Muslims. In addition, Kapaleeshwarar Temple often hosts various celebrations and festivals.

  • Kapalishvarar Temple is open every day from 5:00 to 12:00 and from 16: 00-22: 00.
  • The entrance is free.
  • Location of this attraction: Kapaleesvarar Sannadhi Street / Vinayaka Nagar Colony, Chennai 600004, Tamil Nadu, India.
Sai Baba Temple
Sai Baba Statue

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is well known among admirers of Sai Baba. Although the building is not very remarkable outside, inside there are a lot of colorful sculptures dedicated to Sai Baba and various deities of India. This is a calm, serene place where you can sit for long hours and get peace of mind.

Around Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is quite spacious and green, and to the right of the entrance is a concrete walled tree.

At the temple there is a small cafe where you can very, very cheaply buy delicious tea ($ 0.028 = 2 rupees), strong coffee ($ 0.042 = 3 rupees), mineral water ($ 0.14 = 10 rupees).

This religious attraction is located at: Gowramsnkovil St, Cholamandal Artists Village, Injambakkam, Chennai 600115, Tamil Nadu, India.

Radha Krishna Temple

The temple for Krishna is located in the depths of the territory, from the entrance gate you need to go about 1 km Like the surrounding area, the building is large – thousands of visitors can accommodate inside. However, it is a very quiet place where you can calmly meditate.

Radha Krishna Temple inside

The spacious rooms feature statues of Krishna and other Indian deities, beautifully decorated with fabrics and ornaments.

In the building, near the entrance, there is a small shop with books. And next to the temple there is a souvenir shop and a dining room, where for lunch and dinner a buffet with delicious vegetarian dishes is served.

Especially beautiful Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple looks in the evening when the multi-colored lights.

  • This Chennai attraction is open to visitors daily from 4:30 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 21:00.
  • It is located on the outskirts of the city: Hare Krishna Land, Bhaktivedanta Swami Road / Injambakkam, Chennai 600119, Tamil Nadu, India.

Sri Partasarati Temple
Sri Partasarati Temple

This attraction belongs to the most ancient buildings of Chennai – it is dated to the VIII century.

The two main towers of the temple complex stand on two opposite sides: Parthasarati from the east, Narasimha – from the west. Five small viman towers house all the main shrines of the temple. The main deity of Parthasarati (a statue almost 3 m high) holds a sword with one hand, and his second hand is folded in a gesture of mercy and compassion.

Sri Parthasarathy Temple hosts several large-scale festivals throughout the year. The most famous and interesting is the Theppam Water Festival (Theppotphsavam), which takes place in January-February.

Entrance to the territory is free, but only Indians can approach idols. Everyone else has to consider them from a distance of 7-12 m.

  • Opening hours of Sri Parthasarathy: every day from 6:00 to 21:00, a break from 12:30 to 16:00.
  • Attraction address: Nareana Krishnaraja Peram, Triplican, Chennai 600005, Tamil Nadu, India.
Ashtalakshmi Temple
Ashtalakshmi Temple

Compared with the bulk of religious buildings in India, Ashtalakshmi Temple was built recently – in 1974. This is a bright, beautiful multi-storey building with interesting architecture.

This attraction is dedicated to Lakshmi – the goddess of prosperity, good luck and happiness. In 9 rooms on different floors, 8 of its incarnations are represented.

  • Admission to Ashtalakshmi is free. Opening hours: daily from 06:30 to 21:00, a break from 12:00 to 16:00.
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple is located on the seafront in the Besant Nagar region. Address: Elliots beach, 6/21 paindi Amman Kovil, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090, Tamil Nadu, India.
Wadapalani Murugan Temple

Vadapalani Murugan Temple is a completely extraordinary landmark in Changnai. Throughout the year, there are a huge number of marriages – from 6,000 to 7,000.

Wadapalani Murugan Temple

On the territory of the temple complex, in addition to the temple itself with a very spacious marriage room, where several couples of newlyweds can simultaneously be located, there is also a hotel where you can organize a feast for guests with special food for marriage. This combination allows couples from the poorest sections of society to marry here, while avoiding the additional cost.

On the territory of this attraction Chennai photo and video shooting is prohibited.

Vadapalani Murugan is located very close to the Vadapalani metro station: Palani Andavar Koil St, Vadapalani, Chennai 600026, Tamil Nadu, India.

Other attractions

The city and port of Chennai was built as an outpost of Britain, and the British colonialists brought European culture and architecture to the city. Some buildings, serving as a vivid example of such architecture, have survived to this day.

Interesting fact! Chennai is a fairly conservative city, there are not so many clubs and discos here. At the same time, nightclubs are bars, and there are more and more of them in the city. They work until approximately 3:00.

Central railway station
Central railway station

Chennai Central Station was built in 1873, it is designed in the style of the new Gothic with elements of romance. The building looks very beautiful and rich, which is facilitated by its rich red color and white finish. This attraction is listed as the cultural heritage of India, and it is maintained in decent condition.

Chennai Central Railway Station is the busiest transport hub in South India and one of the most important terminals in the country, with about 550,000 passengers daily. There are bookstores, restaurants, shopping and internet centers at the station. And at the same time a completely inadequate waiting room that can accommodate no more than 1000 people.

But, despite its historical and architectural value, this attraction is an ordinary railway station, of which there are many in India. It is very far from international standards: it is dirty, noisy, insecure, there are a lot of beggars.

Location of Central Railway Station: Kannappar Thidal, Periyamet, Chennai 600003, Tamil Nadu, India.

Catholic Cathedral of St. Thomas
Catholic Cathedral of St. Thomas

The very first church at the burial place of St. Thomas was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese, and at the very end of the 19th century the British rebuilt it.

San Thome Church – a beautiful snow-white building with gabled towers, made in the Neo-Gothic style, has a height of 47 m. Nearby there are new buildings: a gravestone chapel, a theater, a museum. Since the chapel is separate, pilgrims have the opportunity to pray at the grave, and tourists can go there and at the same time not interfere with the service in the cathedral.

In the museum you can see things that are related to St. Thomas and tell about the history of the cathedral, and in the theater they show a short video about the life of the apostle.

The cathedral has a special attraction: the old image “Our Blessed Mother”.

  • You can visit the cathedral any day from 6:00 to 22:00.
  • Location: 38 San Thome High Road, Chennai 600004, Tamil Nadu, India.
Ranganatan Street, T-Nagar Market

Ranganathan Street, T-Nagar – this attraction has a completely extraordinary character. This is the busiest street in the city – the market street, where a large number of cafes and restaurants are concentrated, as well as a variety of shops with an extensive assortment of goods (items and food) at low prices.

It’s very convenient to get to T-Nagar, as the overpass line runs along it, and the station is on the street itself.

Ranganatan Street

But how noisy, dusty it is, what chaotic crowds of a thronging people it is difficult to gather more people within 1 m² than is done on Ranganathan Street. Here you have to carefully monitor your pockets, purse and wallet, so as not to become a victim of lovers of easy money.

And although it’s hard to spend more than an hour on T-Nagar, this attraction is noteworthy. You need to be here at least once.

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Beach Holidays in Chennai

Chennai is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, and its beaches are very beautiful. But, unlike other resorts in India, beach holidays in Chennai have their own peculiarities: you cannot swim there due to the strong undercurrent along the entire coastline.

There is no rescue equipment on any beach in the city, as well as rescuers themselves. But there is a special beach police that monitors the order.

Advice! You need to come to the beaches in ordinary clothes. People in bathing suits look completely inappropriate here and attract close attention.

Marina beach
Marina beach

Marina beach stretches for 12 km in length, and the width of the sandy coastal zone reaches almost 300 m. This beach is popular with locals, it is always full of people here, especially on weekends and in summer, when there is intense heat. Although you can’t swim here, you can see the real India: how family and friendly picnics go, how fishermen go about their fishing, how young people play cricket and fly kites. On the territory of this beach there are many cafes in which fishermen hand over the catch they have just caught, so you can always try fresh seafood here.

But Marina beach is mixed. Unfortunately, this is one of the dirtiest beaches, and it can be difficult to find a clean place to lie down or sit down in the sand.

Edward elliot’s beach
Edward elliot's beach

South of Marina beach, right behind the marina, is Elliott Beach. Since it is located next to the Besant Nagar area, it is often called Besant Nagar beach.

Elliott Beach is small and much cleaner than Marina beach. And although the residents of the city also like to relax on this beach, a more quiet and serene atmosphere reigns here. On weekends, Elliot Beach is usually crowded, so it is better to relax on weekdays.

There are several surf spots on Edward Elliot’s beach, often there are good waves for this sport. If you wish, it’s even possible to swim here, as the current is not everywhere too strong.

Breezy beach
Breezy beach

This beach is located on the south side of the city, in the residential area of ​​Valmiki Nagar. There are not too many cafes and merchants on Breezy beach, the infrastructure is poorly developed. The beach is not very popular, but it is much quieter and calmer than other beaches in the city. And besides, cleaner than the rest – perhaps this is the cleanest local beach.

Options and cost of accommodation

Living in Chennai is more expensive than in other cities of Tamil Nadu, and the local service is not worth the money spent. Among tourists, guest houses, 3 * hotels and, to a slightly lesser extent, 4 * hotels are in demand.

The best budget accommodation can be found in the vicinity of Triplicain High Road. Cheap options can be found in Kenneth Lane in Egmore, in addition to Egmore concentrated the bulk of mid-range hotels. More expensive hotels are located in the green southwestern part of the city.

Hotel in Chennai

In high season, a double room for a day can be rented for the following money:

  • in a guesthouse: from $ 9, there are places for $ 16, the average cost is $ 13;
  • in a 3 * hotel: from $ 20 to $ 40, although there are rooms for $ 50;
  • in a 4 * hotel: from $ 50 to $ 100.

Weather: when to come to Chennai

The climate in Chennai (India) is subequatorial, monsoon, quite humid.

Monthly Weather in Chennai

Air temperature throughout the year does not change very much:

  • most of all the air warms up in May-June: + 37 … + 42 ° C;
  • from September to the end of December the temperature is more comfortable: + 28 … + 34 ° С;
  • cooler than anything happens in January: +24 ° C;
  • in January-March, the air warms up to an average of +27 ° С.

Interesting fact! The minimum temperature that was recorded here is +14.8 ° C, the maximum + 45 ° C.

Sea water temperature

When rains fall throughout India during the southwestern monsoon (June to September), modest rains occur in Chennai. Heavy rains caused by the northeastern monsoon take place in the city from October to mid-December.

High season in Chennai (India) – in December-March. At this time, during the day, the temperature rarely exceeds +30 ° C, and at night it is also quite comfortable. Humidity in this period is minimal: 3-16 mm of precipitation per month.

Advice! In summer, when it is too humid and stuffy, you need to walk with an umbrella, and always carry a bottle of water and oral rehydration salt (sold in Electral pharmacies) in case of dehydration.

Walk along the non-tourist streets of Chennai:

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