Chennai (formerly Madras; Tamil: சென்னை), is the capital of the southern India state of Tamil Nadu. With a population of 8.6 million (2011 census), Chennai's urbanized area is the most populous in southern India and the fourth most populous in India. It is situated on the east coast of peninsular India.
Though Chennai traces its history to Fort St George and adjoining village of Madrasapatnam founded by the British East India Company in 1640, some residential districts of the city are older. The name Madras was changed to Chennai in 1997 by a special act of the Tamil Nadu legislature.
Chennai is well-connected by road, rail and air and is a staging point for tours to the 7th century Pallava temple of Mahabalipuram, an UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hindu temples of Kanchipuram, Sriperumbudur and Tirupati, the bird sanctuary of Vedanthangal and the Pondicherry ashram.
Chennai has an extremely hot and humid climate—especially in the month of May, and has heavy rains during monsoons (July to November). The worst of the heat can be avoided by visiting from November to February.
Chennai is associated with one of the twelve apostles in Christianity, Thomas. He is believed to have gone to evangelise in India and died in Mylapore, today a neighbourhood of Chennai. The two modern suburbs of Chennai, St Thomas Mount and Santhome, were named in Thomas' honour. In 1522, the Portuguese came to the area, built a port and accordingly named it São Tomé after Saint Thomas.
Chennai the modern city was founded by the British East India Company in 1639. The company purchased the land from the local Nayak or chieftain on 22 August 1639, which is why Chennai nowadays celebrates its birthday every year on 22 August. It was one of the British East India Company's first outposts in India. The company built Fort St. George which is now the administrative and legislative seat of Tamil Nadu state. Over time, George Town absorbed many nearby boroughs and grew into becoming the current metropolis of Chennai.
In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government changed the name of the city from Madras - the name adopted during British rule - to Chennai, which it says is the original name of the city.
The name Madras comes from Madraspatnam, which is what the British called the site when they settled here. Its origin is uncertain. Tradition suggests that a fishing village near to the location of the British settlement was called Madraspatnam. Others think that the early Portuguese voyagers may have called the area Madre de Sois after an early settler, or Madre de Deus after an early church (of St. Mary).
Chennai is derived from Chennapatnam, a name with almost equally uncertain origins. Tradition has it that Chennapatnam was the name of a fishing village near the location of Madraspatnam. However, it is not clear if the village was there beforehand or grew up around the British Madraspatnam settlement.
As the settlements grew, the location of Chennapatnam and Madraspatnam became confused as the two settlements merged into a single town.
Under British rule, what was then Madras gradually became an important administrative centre and was linked to the other big cities by rail, including Bombay and Calcutta. Madras was the capital city of the Madras Presidency, a subdivision that governed the areas of South India under direct British control. Upon India's independence, the city continued to be the capital of Madras State. After many of India's states were renamed and reorganised on the basis of language, Chennai became the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu.
For centuries, Chennai has been the gateway to Southern India, with a vastly different culture from the other big cities of the country. Tamil culture and tradition at its core celebrates beauty. This is revealed in its dance, sculpture and clothing. Chennai's demographics show a more diverse population than the rest of Tamil Nadu. The traditional art forms, music, dance of Tamil Nadu thrive here. The cuisine uniquely blends traditional foods, fast food and filter coffee. The architecture varies from age-old temples, to colonial buildings and twenty-first century skyscrapers. Western and Indian classical music flourish in Chennai, along with a booming nightlife. There are dance schools teaching anything from traditional Bharatnatyam to Salsa. There are music schools teaching you how to play the veena, violin, guitar or drums just about everywhere. Chennai reflects its traditional heritage from December to January during the height of the music festival. The clothing locals wear is generally conservative by Western standards but the younger generation wear contemporary.
- Music - The classical music tradition which emerged in South India including Chennai is known as Carnatic music, of which there have been many composers. Purandara Dasa, who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries, is known as the father (Pitamaha) of Carnatic music due to his pioneering contributions to the tradition. Purandara Dasa is renowned for formulating the basic lessons of Carnatic music. The contemporaries Tyagaraja , Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri of the 18th and 19th centuries, are regarded as the Trinity of Carnatic music due to the high quality music they composed. The Chennai Music Festival The compositions of these maestros are frequently played by today's artists during the music festival season. The Chennai Music Festival from mid-December to mid-January commemorates the classical music of South India, including these maestros. The festival, which has developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2,000 artists participating in over 300 concerts, is held throughout the city at numerous venues, including auditoriums, well-known temple premises and heritage bungalows. Performances consist of vocal and instrumental music, dance (solo and group), both by junior and senior artists. The music include classical vocal renditions in various South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and instruments like the flute, veena (a large string instrument), goottuvadyam (similar to the veena but without frets), nagaswaram (pipe), thavil (percussion instrument), mridangam (drum), and even ghatam (a mud pot). Information regarding tickets and venues can be obtained from the tourist office in Chennai. Nowadays, the music in the Tamil film industry has emerged as an important entertainment platform in Chennai. Kollywood as it is known, reveals the ongoing developments and changes to Tamil culture over time.
- Dance - Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu is associated with a worldwide famous form of classical dance, the Bharatnatyam. This classical dance celebrates the world and universe by showcasing the beauty of the human body. The dancer represents this by having a perfectly straight posture, a pout curving stomach, a well-rounded and a proportionate body to mass ratio, very long hair and curvy hips. The positions and moves bring the Natyashastra principles to life. The araimandi posture is another spiritual portrayal, where the dancer poses in a half-sitting, fixed position with their knees turned sideways. In the araimandi, the distance between the dancer's head and navel is equal to the distance between the ground and navel. Similarly, the distance between the dancer's right arm and left arm at full stretch is equal to that between their head and feet. This personifies creation and life.
- Cuisine - As with most of Southern India, the staple food in the city is rice. Chennai offers various non-vegetarian and vegetarian delicacies. The food in Chennai gets its flavour from a combination of condiments, herbs and spices used throughout Tamil Nadu. Tamarind, coconut and asafoetida are essential in nearly every vegetarian recipe. Refined gingelly oil is commonly used as the default oil when cooking. Mixed spices and chutney accompany meals to enhance its taste. A Chennai lunch is comprised of rice with a range of dishes, including sambar (thin lentil curry), chutney, rasam (a broth made from pepper and tamarinds) and yogurt/curd. Non-vegetarian lunches include meals cooked with chicken, fish or mutton. Appalams (papadums) are a vital accompaniment to a Tamil meal. In Chennai, it is Chettinad cuisine that stands out from the others. The cuisine is spicy and hot and offers scrumptious variety in a range of meat dishes, of which the best known is arguably Chettinad Pepper Chicken. A Chennai twist on Mughalai cuisine can be experienced in the paya (a spiced trotter's broth) and biryani. Breakfast in Chennai consists of idli (steamed rice and lentil cakes), dosa (a thin and savoury, crepe-like pancake prepared from lentil and rice batter), vada (doughnuts made by deep-frying black lentil batter), pongal (a boiled mash of lentils and rice seasoned with cashew nuts, ghee, cumin seed and pepper), upma (roasted semolina garnished with spices and oil). Most Chennai breakfasts are accompanied by sambar, melagai podi (a powdered mix of various dried lentils eaten with oil) and coconut chutney. Chennai is also renowned forfilter coffee, the most popular type of coffee in Tamil culture. It is a laborious task to make filter coffee. First the beans are roasted and ground. The coffee powder then has to be poured into a filter set along with boiling water, which is allowed to infuse for approximately 15 minutes. Then the decoction is mixed with sugar and milk. The drink once prepared is rapidly poured back and forth from one vessel to another which makes a perfect, aerated cup of coffee. Filter coffee is refreshing and has a lingering taste.
- Clothing - The traditional garment for Tamil women is the sari while the men wear the dhoti, which could be either a white pancha or a colourful lungi with typical South Indian patterns. The sari, being an unstitched wrap, enhances the shape of the wearer while only partially covering the midriff. In Indian philosophy, the navel of the Supreme Being is considered as the source of life and creativity. These principles of the sari, also hold for other forms of wrapped clothing, like the lungi worn by men. The lungi can be wrapped over clockwise or anticlockwise and can be tied at the back or fixed just along the waist line. It is sometimes lifted till the knee and tied at the waist leisurely or just held by the wearer's hand to speed up walking. In traditional Brahmin homes, men wear kachche panchey where it is tied at back by taking it between legs. A similar pattern is seen in women.
Its coastal position and closeness to the equator makes Chennai's climate humid and tropical all year round.
Chennai predominantly has two seasons - summer from April to June (35-42°C (95-108°F)), the highest temperature recorded was 45°C (113°F) in 2003) and the monsoon from October to December. The city barely gets any rain from the southwest monsoon (Jun-Sep), but receives copious amounts from the northeast monsoon from October through to December, every year amounting to between 125 and 150 cm (49 and 59 in) of rain. During some seasons, Chennai gets a greater amount of rainfall if there are depressions in the Bay of Bengal.
The period from December through to February is the mildest in terms of temperature, where the daily range on average is 19-28°C (66-82°F). Be sure to take along thin and light clothing.
Books on Chennai
- Chennai, Not Madras: Perspectives on the City (2006) by A.R. Venkatachalapathy
- The Spirit of Chepauk (1998) by S. Muthiah
- Madras Rediscovered: A Historical Guide to Looking Around (1999) by S. Muthiah
- The Story Of Fort St. George (1945) by Col. D.M. Reid
Fiction set in Chennai
- The Healing (2008) by Gita Aravamudan
- Tamarind City (2012) by Bishwanath Ghosh
Early morning cityChennai is a good morning city where all restaurants, shops and public transportation facilities are in full swing well before 6AM. Traffic is in full strength well before 8AM.
Telugu is spoken by a quarter of the city's population. Chennai is less than 60 km from the Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh border. Most Telugu-speakers are settled in Chennai for generations and are usually bilingual in both Tamil and Telugu. However, the Telugu script is far-less understood and very few are literate in the language. As the centre of anti-Hindi agitations from the 1930s and the 1960s, the city has cherished a deep-rooted animosity for Hindi. However, since the 1980s, when the much-politicized rhetoric against Hindi began to tone down, tolerance for Hindi has been growing. Nevertheless, Hindi is still not widely spoken or understood by locals, so if you don't speak Tamil, you will be better off trying English instead of Hindi.
phone: +91 44 2256 0551address: GST RdThe fourth busiest in India (after Bangalore, Mumbai & Delhi). All international flights arrive at Anna Terminal, whereas domestic flights arrive at Kamraj Terminal. Both terminals are on the same road and are away from each other. It is the second largest cargo hub in the country, after Mumbai.
- Europe and North America: British Airways (London-Heathrow) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt) fly nonstop to Chennai with connecting services from destinations in the United States and Canada. Jet Airways introduced flights to Paris in 2017.
- Southeast Asia: Thai Airways offers nonstop service from Bangkok. Silk Air, Singapore Airlines and Scoot Tigerair connect Chennai with Singapore along with many Indian carriers like Air India Express. Air Asia flies from Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Bangkok while Malaysia Airlines offers nonstop service from Malaysia. India's Jet Airways flies nonstop from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Cathay Pacific flies non-stop from Hong Kong. Batik Air offers service from Jakarta and Denpasar, Bali with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur.
- Middle East: Nonstop services are available to Chennai from all major Middle Eastern cities on Air Arabia, Air India Express, Oman Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Saudia and Gulf Air.
- Sri Lanka: Chennai is a hub for flights from Colombo with Sri Lankan Airlines, Jet Airways, Air India Express and JetLite.
- Domestic: All major Indian domestic carriers (Jet Airways, Spice, Go Air, Indigo) fly to and from Chennai, connecting the city with destinations all across India. Most domestic carriers also use Chennai as a hub for flights to the smaller towns in Southern India.
Airport to central business district
Tirusulam Suburban Railway StationThis is the most affordable option for getting into downtown Chennai. The train stops at both Egmore and Chennai Park. To get to Chennai Central, follow the crowds exiting the train at Chennai Park station. It is recommended to get first-class tickets if you end up reaching the airport at a peak time. Overcrowding frequently occurs in the general compartments as they take commuters to and from work. During peak periods, even first-class compartments can get crowded.
Use the prepaid taxi to reach the central business district. Every terminal has many taxi booths when you leave the airport. Fast Track has the best rep, figure on around ₹560 to the city centre for a Toyota Innova or equivalent. The fares differ for the international and domestic terminals though the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the standard taxis (black with yellow tops) or the private call-taxi (which can come in any colour). It is better to have some loose change when paying at the counters. The taxi number is written on your charge slip. One copy is for the passenger while the other is for the driver to collect the fare from the counter. Make your way to the taxi stand and get the taxi number allotted at the designated desk. The helpful drivers will offer to take your luggage and guide you to the taxi that drives up quickly near the allotment desk.
"Fasttrack" pre-paid taxi service has booths in the domestic and international terminals. Comparing with the rest of the taxis their fare and service is pretty much good. Depends on your need you can get from Maruti van to Toyota Innova.
The prepaid and yellow top taxis are not air-conditioned, were made in the 1970s and 80s, are rickety and are prone to stop midway in a journey. The drivers sometimes exhibit rough dangerous behaviour and can demand exorbitant fares. The "prepaid" may mean nothing and they may demand more when you get down. Stay away from these types of taxis.
Aviation Express is very overpriced.
The Chennai Metro connects the airport to the city for up to ₹50, e.g. to the CMBT bus station or Koyambedu with a change at Alandur (Jan 2017). It is being expanded into the centre of the city.
Ola and Uber have become more prominent and travellers can easily book a journey on these services using a smart phone. They are generally cheaper than all prepaid taxis.
Chennai Central Railway Station
address: Poonamallee High Rd, Poongavanapuram'South' Line. Take it to west to Central Beach or to South(west) to Tambaram passing Tirusulam station (a couple hundred metres away from Chennai International Airport).
Chennai Egmore Railway StationThe other main long-distance train station. It has trains which cover all the places in Tamil Nadu and also a few important places outside it. Many long distance trains to Egmore stop at Tambaram (code TBM).
Chennai Beach Stationaddress: North Beach Road, George TownServes the suburban services of the Chennai suburban railway (headstation of the South line) and Mass Rapid Transit System of Chennai and a few passenger trains.
Perambur Railway Stationaddress: Perambur High Rd, Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Bunder Garden, PerambuServes the suburban areas of Chennai.
Tambaram Railway Stationaddress: Railway Station Road, Tambaram EastServes the suburban areas of Chennai. Trains to Chennai Beach (every 5-10 min), to Chengalpet (every 10-15 min) and to Kancheepuram (half hourly or so)
CMBTphone: +91 44 24794705 (Enquiry)address: CMBT Passenger Way, KoyambeduOne of Asia's largest bus stations. Seven different state owned corporations drive buses to and from various destinations within South India. There are hourly buses for places like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli. You will get the option of A/C or Non-A/C coaches for cities like Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad. It has six platforms in three bus fingers with 180 bus bays
Omni bus terminusaddress: Kaliamman Koil St, Virrugambakkam, KoyambeduThis one is used by several private players that also operate buses between most southern destinations. During the weekends most buses are fully occupied and it's better to reserve a ticket in advance. Omni Bus Booking: No:B-15, Ground Floor, Sriji majestic complex (right next to Omni bus terminus).
All buses terminate near Koyambedu but there are different stands for state owned (CMBT) and private buses (Omni bus terminus). The two terminals are near each other, and it is better to tell your exact destination to the taxi/auto-rickshaw driver. Buses usually drop passengers at various points in the city before reaching the terminus. Ak the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.
Several private players also operate buses between most southern destinations. During the weekends most buses are fully occupied and it's better to reserve a ticket in advance. All buses terminate near Koyambedu but there are different stands for state-owned (CMBT) and private buses (Omni bus terminus). The two terminals are near each other, and it is better to tell your exact destination to the taxi/auto-rickshaw driver. Buses usually drop passengers at various points in the city before reaching the terminus. Feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.
By carChennai is very well connected and to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Kolkata, Bengaluru, Tiruchy/Madurai, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry. With the progress of the Golden Quadrilateral project, driving down from Bangalore is an option too. There are many car rental companies available.
Getting around the heart of Chennai city often takes time, due to traffic and heavy congestion. So it is advisable to plan your journey accordingly. Travelling within Chennai is not so cheap by Indian metropolitan standards, and are quite cheap by European and USA standards.
By trainChennai has a suburban train network. There are four routes:
Chennai Central Suburban Railway Station#*
Arakkonam Suburban Railway Station
# Chennai Central Suburban Railway Station (see above)
Gummidipoondi Suburban Railway Station#*
Sulurpet Suburban Railway Station
Gudur Railway Station
Chennai Beach Suburban Railway Station#*
Tambaram Suburban Railway Station
Chengalpet Suburban Railway Station
# Chennai Beach Suburban Railway Station (see above)
Velachery (MRTS) Suburban Railway Station
The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. The frequency of suburban trains is generally good and it is advisable to take a first class ticket during peak hours. Trains offer a reliable alternative to quickly reach your destination when compared to buses which might get trapped in traffic jams. The fare in Chennai suburban trains is the lowest in the country and you don't have to compromise comfort for the meagre amount that you pay as in other Indian metros. There is a separate ladies compartment in the suburban trains that are relatively less crowded even in peak hours. The lowest second class train fare is ₹5/-. However, you might need to wait even for almost half an hour in a queue for ticket during peak hours. So it would be best if you buy a card that is available at every station that can be used to buy tickets from a ticket vending machine that almost nobody uses. Always keep your baggage safe when you are travelling in the suburban railway system.
Chennai Metro Rail
Chennai Metro Rail is regularly being extended. Other lines are under construction and will soon be operational. They will connect the airport, the railway station, the CMBT bus station and most of the city. Frequency is 10 minutes between Alandur and Shenoy Nagar and 20 minutes between airport and Nehru Park. Chennai Metro Rail operates M-Sa 6AM-10PM and Su 8AM-10PM.
The maximum fare between Chennai Airport to Nehru Park (which is 1½ km from Egmore and 2½ km from Chennai Central) is ₹60 per person. The Tourist Travel Card offers unlimited travel within the Chennai Metro Rail network for a day. It costs ₹100, of which ₹50 when it is returned. Chennai Metro Rail has baggage checking like airport and is very safe.
Chennai Airport Metro is 400-500 m away from Chennai International and Domestic Terminal.
Also tourist can use the Chennai Metro Rail app (Google Play store/Apple Itune). The app provides details about train timings, exit gates and platform, fare between two stations, the nearest metro station, and how to reach the station by car, public transport and walking.
By busMetropolitan Transport Corporation buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap.
Broadway city bus terminusaddress: NSC Bose Rd, Esplanade, George TownThe largest city bus terminus of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai), Chennai. - It lies opposite the Madras High Court along the Esplanade in George Town. It is a connecting point to several areas in the city. The bus terminus is at the southern end of Broadway.
MTC Chennai operates AC bus service between important routes like Parrys - Tambaram, Parrys - CMBT, Chennai Central - CMBT, Chennai central - Tambaram, etc. Most frequent AC bus runs between CMBT towards Pondicherry and are known as East coast road (ECR) buses and is very popular for intracity travel too.
Daily and weekly bus passes are available for tourists costing ₹50 or ₹300. They can be used on normal and deluxe bus services (but not AC) on all routes within the city. It is worthwhile to purchase the daily pass if you plan to visit more than a couple of places in a day and it will save you from the trouble to maintain loose change. The daily pass can be purchased on the first bus you board from the conductor, while the weekly and monthly passes are sold at kiosks in major termini.
Bus route information for MTC Chennai is available online at official site and Jaanlo.
State Express Transport Corporation buses go to different parts of the state. Private carriers also run to other towns/cities in state. You can buy these bus tickets online at redBus or readIndia or RathiMeena or Myticketbuddy.
By auto-rickshawChennai has about 71,000 auto rickshaws.
The fares of Chennai auto-rickshaws have been an enormous political topic for many years and has contributed to the perception that the city's auto rickshaw drivers never use meters and continually fleece passengers. However, despite the reputation, trips by auto rickshaw actually are quick, cheap and quite often based on the metered price.
The minimum fare is set at ₹25 for the first 1.8 km and ₹12/km for every additional kilometre (2013). Waiting charges were set at ₹3.50 for every five minutes and ₹42 per hour. Between 11PM and 5AM, the fare is 50% higher than the normal daytime rate.
Auto rickshaw meters are being outfitted with GPS and electronic digital receipt printers. As of 2015, though, only a small fraction of autos have these features.
Despite the official fares, the situation as of 2015 is for the driver and passenger to agree before the ride begins to a price of a) meter, b) meter + some additional amount, or c) a fixed price.
Whether the auto driver will agree to a metered fare depends on many factors. Generally, many drivers will agree to a fare of meter plus ₹10-30 additional. But at busy times such as rush hours on weekdays, almost no drivers will agree to the metered price and will insist on a fixed price, or at a minimum demand a fare of meter plus ₹30-100. On the other hand, at slower times, for example Sundays, many drivers will agree to metered prices with no surcharge. Some drivers will simply never accept metered fares no matter what time it is.
The fixed prices which auto drivers demand is related to distance. They generally have a good sense for how much the fare would be for a given route and ask for fixed prices around double what it would cost by meter. For shorter distances which would cost ₹25-50 by the meter, the fixed price demanded is ₹100-150. For longer distances which would cost ₹50-150 by meter, the fixed price demanded will be ₹200-300. Depending on the situation, it's possible to negotiate down the demanded fixed price.
For short distances up to 1.8 km, auto drivers as of 2015 very rarely will agree to the metered price of ₹25. Generally, ₹40-50 is the minimum most will require for any trip, although at off-peak hours, it might be possible with negotiation and speaking to many autos to find a driver who will agree to ₹30-40. For a typical trip in the city of 3-5km, many drivers will demand ₹100-150, but at non-peak hours a fare of ₹50-₹0 will usually be sufficient after speaking to a few drivers.
At all times, the price agreed depends very much on the passenger's knowledge of the distance involved and price it would cost by meter, his/her negotiation skill, and the time s/he is willing to spend asking auto after auto. In almost any central area, there are many autos around, so if you have the time, it's possible to save quite a bit by speaking to many auto drivers until you find an acceptable fare.
Many passengers now opt for Ola, Uber or other similar taxi-order services simply to avoid the frustration and time involved with negotiating with auto after auto.
All autos in Chennai have meters, but at least a quarter of drivers have disabled their meter in some way in order to make it not functional and the passenger must agree to a fixed price if s/he wants to use that auto. For those meters which function, you can see the price, kilometers and waiting time, and thereby confirm that the meter is fairly following the official tariff structure.
Share autos have emerged as an alternative mode of transport in Chennai. They are over-sized three wheelers running on diesel and charge slightly more than the bus. There are four wheelers known as meter taxis, which don't have a meter and are not taxis. Another four wheeler, Magic (manufactured by Tata), has started running in and around the city, which operate similar to share autos and meter taxis. They are all over crowded and the drivers indulge in rash driving, owing to the competition. The only advantage is that it is cost effective.
If you are fascinated by the idea of going around in an auto, think about all those foreigners, who are riding an auto from Chennai to Mumbai.
A Chennai-based event management company, Chennai Event Management Services, has been having auto-rickshaw rallies from Chennai to Mumbai, or Kanyakumari, etc., and has developed a great fan following for them.
By taxiTaxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are available by phone. They are mostly reliable, can be ordered air-conditioned, and have digital fare meters, although time-based hire is also possible with some companies. Most companies charge a minimum fare of ₹150/-, which is for 5 km (3 mi) and for every subsequent kilometre they charge ₹18/-. Alternatively, you can hire a car for a half/full day for around ₹800/1300. These figures are for basic non-AC Ambassadors, add about 50% if you want a comfier aircon Tata Indica. Waiting charges are included in the meter cost but you are required to pay parking and toll fees additional to the fare displayed in the meter. If your trip is time-sensitive, it's best to book your taxi a few hours in advance and call shortly before your trip to confirm.
Most prepaid taxi operators have choice of vehicles. Indica is the ubiquitous hatch back that can seat 3 passengers, but it is almost impossible to find one of these well maintained. Opt for a Figo or Liva instead of the Indica when you book the taxi, these are newer models and likely to be in better state of maintenance. If you prefer a sedan, choices are Etios, Maruti Dzire and Ford Fiesta. SUV models Innova or Xylo have more space and are suitable for small groups (up to 7). Innova has a well deserved reputation with travellers for airport transfers due to the reliability, spacious seats and capacity to carry more luggage.
Tourist cabs - Are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram, Tirupati, etc. Costs about ₹10 per kilometre and ₹100 per hour as hire charges. Also generally there is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport.
Some radio taxi services are:
phone: +91 44 3000 2000
phone: +91 44 3006 3006
phone: +91 44 4422 4422
phone: +91 44 6060 1010
phone: +91-44-44 55 66 77
By carIt is generally not advisable for foreign travellers to drive on their own as they might be unaware of the traffic rules and congestion in the city. The roads in Chennai are better maintained than the average Indian road. The main highway is Anna Salai also known as Mount Road.
The complex road routes may confuse novice driver and it is sheer waste of time. If you choose to rent a car, it's strongly advised to hire a driver as well. Typical driver fee comes to around ₹250 for 4-hour shift and an additional ₹50 every hour thereafter. Outstation trips cost a driver fee of ₹750 for a 12-hour journey.
Diesel and petrol are used as fuel in India and it varies with the model of the car. Some cars have identical models with only a D badge to indicate diesel. Make sure you find out what type of fuel the car uses from the rental company.
ECR or East Coast Road is one of the very few places around Chennai that is best enjoyed by car. There are a lot of scenic views with many sightseeing options along the route. For most of the sights within the city limits, travellers would be better served by public transport or a taxi.
phone: +91 44 24985455, +91 44 24980758address: 38, Santhome High Road, MylaporeIn the whole world, there are only three churches built over the tomb of an Apostle of Jesus Christ- the Basilica of Saint Peter built over the tomb of St.Peter in Rome, Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela built over the tomb of St.James in Spain and Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas built over the tomb of St.Thomas. Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas is in Chennai, India. The present National Shrine of St.Thomas is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who came to India in the year 52 AD. After preaching on the west coast, he came to Chennai (formerly Madras), and suffered martyrdom on a hill at the outskirts of the city, today known as "St. Thomas Mount." His body was buried on the spot over which the present Basilica stands. A valuable work of art kept in the Basilica is an ancient painting of Our Blessed Mother, in front of which the other great apostle of India, St. Francis Xavier, used to pray. There are two new structures today: the Tomb Chapel below the Basilica and 'Museum cum theatre'. The new underground chapel with a separate access outside the church structure, allows pilgrims to pray at the tomb and tourists to visit it, without disturbing the sacred functions in the church. The museum exhibits artifacts connected with St. Thomas and the Basilica, and the theatre is used for screening a short video on the life of the Apostle.
phone: +91 44 24911246, +91 44 365 263 421address: Elliot's Beach, Beach Rd, Ashtalakshmi Garden, Besant NagarFounded in the 16th century after the three miracles: the apparition of Mary and Jesus to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the survival of Portuguese sailors assaulted by a violent sea storm.
Church of Our Lady of LightBuilt in 1516 by the Portuguese.
Descanso Churchaddress: St. Mary's Road, MylaporeA cultural and religious centre. Built in the 17th century. This was where St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, took rest and also served the people.
phone: +91 90431 13263 (Mobil)address: Perumal Nagar, Mogappair EastBuilt in the 1890s as the Perambur Railway Church, when it was under the railway authorities. Here was earlier a predominantly Anglo-Indian congregation though now there are also families from other southern states.
phone: +91 44 2642 4005address: Tana StProtestant Church which is more than 100 years old.
address: Poonamallee High Road, New Bupathy NagarNeoclassical church. Built in 1821. The St. Andrews Church has finely etched white Doric columns, black and white tiled marble roof, and a high, sky-blue dome of enviable beauty. On the inner surface of the dome, constellations of stars, as they can be viewed in Scotland, are painted realistically. The body of the church is a circle, with rectangular compartments to the east and west. The circular part 24.5 m in diameter, is crowned by a shallow masonry dome colored a deep blue. This is painted with golden starsand supported by 16 fluted pillars with Corinthian capitals
address: Armenian Street, ParrysConstructed in 1712 and reconstructed in 1772. The graves of about 350 Armenians have been laid out throughout the Church. The founder, publisher and editor of the world's first Armenian periodical "Azdarar", Reverend Haroutiun Shmavonian, is buried here. The Belfry adjacent to the main church structure houses six large bells which are rung every Sunday at 9:30AM.
phone: +91 44-28114261, +91 98409 31556 (mobile)address: 224, Cathedral RdBuilt in 1815. A neoclassical church. Showing elements of Georgian architecture. It has a towering 45-m spire and ionic columns. The highlight of this cathedral is the graveyard. Connected by a guardrail what was made up of war emblems of the capture of Srirangapatnam in 1799.
St. Lazarus' Church
St. Mary's Churchaddress: Rajaji SalaiThis is one of the oldest surviving churches built by the British in India. This is the first English church in India and the oldest Anglican church in the East. Designed by William Dixon, the then Master Gunner of the Fort, it was constructed under the supervision of the Governor Streynsham Master. Given the precarious nature of the English presence in India at the time (not to mention later attacks by the French and the locals), the church has a defensive stance- thick walls, castellated parapets and a well within the grounds - to withstand any bombardment or siege). The church was consecrated on 28 October 1680. The tower was completed in 1701; the steeple added in 1710 and the tower was connected to the main body of the church in 1759. Robert Clive - more famous as Clive of India - married Margaret Maskelyne here in 1753. The first but equally famous wedding was that of Governor Elihu Yale (who was to become the benefactor of Yale College) to Catherine Himmers in November 1680. The interior of the church contains many fascinating plaques and monuments to early British India evoking past glories and lives full of achievement. It also contains the old colours of the Madras Fusiliers, the first European regiment of the East India Company. The glass windows, wall frescos, teak plaques still shine with their all time glory.
phone: +91 44 2538 4848address: 63/110, Armenian Street,George Town
address: Pedariyar koil Street
St. Matthias Churchphone: +91 44 2532 3124address: 7, Vepery Church Road, VeperyOne of the oldest churches in Chennai which was built by the British. Its also has a higher secondary school in the campus which has boys and girls studying in the school.
Saint Theresa Church Peramburaddress: Siruvallur High Rd, Jagannathan Colony
St. Thomas Mountaddress: Parangi Malai, St Thomas Mount, Chennai South.St. Thomas, referred to as Didymus, in the Gospel of St.John is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He is one of the prime witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. St. Thomas Mount is associated with St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have been martyred here. The mount is commonly called in Tamil "Parangi Malai" or "Bhringi Malai'.History says 2000 years ago, a saint 'Parangi' lived here ('parangi' in Tamil language is used to refer to a white person). According to local myth, St. Thomas was one of the first Christians to reach India and to preach Christianity. He is believed to have reached South India in AD 52, and spent the last years of his life in a cave on this hill. Tradition states that Thomas was assassinated by an arrow in AD 72, by persons hostile to him. Thus, the hillock acquired the name St. Thomas Mount. Over time Anglo-Indians predominated in this area. A small relic-filled Church built in 1523 by the Portuguese stands at the summit of the 300 feet (90m) high St. Thomas Mount. The place was visited by Pope John Paul II during his visit to India on 5 February 1986. At the northern foot of the mount, is a gateway of four impressive arches surmounted by a cross bearing the inscribed date 1547. A flight of 160 steps leads up to the summit of the mount. There are fourteen stations of the cross erected on the way to the summit.
Queenship of Mary Churchaddress: Vethagiri St, Chintadripet, Adikesavarpuram, Park Town
phone: +91 44 2640 0717address: 78/91, Medavakkam Tank Rd, Sanyasipuram, KilpaukIn Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107-year-old monument.
Bahram Jung Mosqueaddress: Anna Salai, NandanamLate 18th century.
Big Mosqueaddress: Walajah Road in TriplicaneThis is a historical landmark. Constructed by Wallajah family in memory of Nawab Muhammad Ali Walajah, in 1795. It is an imposing structure of symmetry and form of architectural magnificence with an imposing facade. The Mosque stands in extensive grounds, which are being used as a forum for religious and cultural activities. The magnificent grey granite structure is built without steel and wood. This architectural marvel is one of the important mosques in Chennai. The Nawab’s descendants are still living in a mansion known as Amir Mahal. One distinctive feature of this mosque is that the chronogram engraved in stone and fixed on the inside of the western wall of the mosque is by a non-Muslim, Rajah Makkan Lal “Khirad”, a Persian and Arabic scholar of repute, who was the private secretary to the Nawab. It may be mentioned in this regard that, as far as is known, no other mosque in the world has a chronogram composed by a non-Muslim. The Mosque has two minarets at the front. Medieval architecture is clearly visible in the construction of this great mosque. The Eid Prayer timing remains the same, 10AM, since 1749 A.D. This historic mosque is under the management of H.H. Adjoining the Wallajah Mosque is the tomb of the great Islamic saint Maulana Abdul Ali Bahrul Uloom, a divine scholar of the days of the Nawab Wallajah. In this enclosure also are the tombs of the late Nawabs of the Carnatic, the Princess of Arcot and other eminent Muslim scholars and theologians. Wallajah Mosque can be reached either from Ellis Rd (backside) or the Triplicane High Rd.
Casa Verona's Mosque
Dharma Kidangu Mosqueaddress: Angappa Naicken St, Mannady, George TownRebuilt 2008.
Hafiz Ahmad Khan Mosque
address: 822, Mt Rd, Anna Salai
Thousand Lights Mosqueaddress: Peters Road, Peters Colony, Royapetta19th-century multi-domed mosque.
Adeeswar Templeaddress: 82 Santhome Hwy Road, Raja Annamalaipuram, Chennai-28This temple is the exact replica of Sabari Malai, Kerala where Lord Iyyappa is worshipped.
Alamelumangapuram Anjaneya Temple
Anantha Padmanabhaswami Templeaddress: Adyar Signal
Angala Parameswari Templeaddress: Royapuram
Angalamman Templeaddress: Choolaimedu
Anjaneyaswami Templeaddress: Nanganallur, Chennai-61This temple is very famous because of the deep veneration shown for Lord Hanuman. One amazing fact about this temple is the 32 feet (10m) idol of Anjaneyar that is moulded out of a single rock.
Arulmigu Bala Subramanya Swamy Templeaddress: Eldam's Rd
Ashtalakshmi Templeaddress: Elliots Beach, Besant Nagar, Chennai.The temple is dedicated to Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Astha, in Sanskrit, is the number eight and eight forms of Lakshmi are worshipped in the Ashtalakshmi temple.
address: Anna Nagar
Ayyappan Templeaddress: Madhavan Nair Street, Mahalingapuram, Nungambakkam, Chennai-34This is the first temple dedicated to lord Ayyappan in Chennai city. The temple also houses Lord Vinayakar and Lord Subramanian with his consorts Valli and Devayani constituted the Parivarams.
Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple
Chennakesava Perumal Temple
Chintadri Pillaiyar Kovil Ekambareswarar Templeaddress: Ekambareshwar Agraharam St, Edapalaiyam, George Town
ISKCON Temple, ChennaiInjambakkam. Krishna temple built in 2012.
Kachchaleswarar TempleShiva temple.
Kali, Bari Mallikesvarar Templeaddress: Madhya Kailash
Kaligambal Templeaddress: Thambu Chetty Street, Chennai-1.Dedicated to Kalikambal and Kamateswarar, this temple was built close to sea shore but was relocated in 1640 AD. The great Maratha ruler Shivaji came in the temple to worship on 3 October 1667.
address: 21, Permual Koil Street, Srinivasa Nagar, MangaduThis temple is dedicated to the Divine Mother Shakti as Kamakshi Amman.
Kandaswamy Templeaddress: Cheyyur villageThe temple was built in 11th century AD and is home to some unique, rich inscriptions of that century, giving an insight into the architectural characteristics of the style adopted by Chola Kings, who dominated those times. Veera Rajendra Chola and Kulothungan III built the Kandaswamy Temple. More two temples built here, at same time, are dedicated to Vanmikhanathar, i.e. Lord Siva, and to Perumal or Lord Vishnu. The Kandaswamy Temple is situated between the Shiva and Vishnu temples and Lord Kandaswamy or Shiva is the principal deity of the temple. The temple has number of shrines of other demigods like Lord Someswara, Goddess Meenakshi, Vinayaka, Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara and Muthukumaraswamy, also called as Samharamurthy. The temple has an idol of Muruga, son of the Lord Shiva, standing on five different positions, called by distinct names like: Nrutta Skandar (dancing Muruga), Brahma Sastha (created from Brahma), Balaskandar (child Shanmuga), Sivagurunathar (as teacher to Siva) and Pulinthar (vedan hunter). This Kandaswamy temple of Chennai is the most distinctive one. Other than the deities of utmost belief and the tranquil environment, the temple has an image of Kazhukundran, who had made an artful creation of a temple car in 1521 CE, which is used during the Skanda Sashti festival.
address: Kapaleesvarar Sannadhi Street, MylaporeShiva temple.
address: # 12, North Mada Street, MylaporeOne of Chennai's oldest and best-known temples, said to date to the 8th century, although the present structure dates to the 1600s. Notable above all for its soaring, incredibly detailed 37m gopuram (entrance gate). There is a large water tank behind the temple, used for the Thaipusam festival (Jan-Feb), and plenty of flower shops all around and the famous street markets of Mylapore selling Indian handicrafts and brass vessels. Within easy striking distance of the city centre. This temple is for Goddess Karpagambal or 'Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree'. The goddess is one of the forms of Parvati, Lord Shiva's wife. Nearby the temple, there are pharmacy shops selling traditional Indian medicines of Ayurveda and Siddha.
Karaneeswarar Temple (of Lord Siva)address: Mylapore
Karaneeswarar Temple (of Lord Siva)address: Saidapet
Kasi Viswanatha Temple (of Lord Siva)address: Ayanavaram
Kasi Viswanatha Temple (of Lord Siva)address: Mambalam
Kothandaramar Temple (of Lord Rama wielding Kothandam - His bow)address: Mambalam
Kothandaramaswami Temple (of Lord Rama wielding Kothandam - His bow)address: Nandambakkam
Krishnaswami Temple (of Lord Krishna)address: Muthialpet
Kundrathur Shiva templeaddress: KundrathurSekkizhar built this temple 1,000 years ago.
Kumaran Kundramsmall hillock at Kumaran Kundram near by Madras Institute of Technology, very near by the Chennai airport (around 9 km or 5 miles or 15-20 minutes). The temple can also be reached from the airport to Chromepet station by the MRTS train towards Tambaram.
Marundeeswarar Templeaddress: Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai-41.This temple is believed to have been built in 11th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the temple was also visited by Saint Valmiki, who authored the Hindu epic Ramayana. The temple has two entrances, one from East Coast Road and the other from West Tank Street, both adorned by 5-tiered gopuram (gateway tower). The entrance from the West Tank Street has got three gates whereas the entrance from the East Coast Road has only one gate. The temple occupies an area of about - numerous images adorn the pillars of the temple, while stucco figures adorn the gopurams. The Mandapam (hall) housing the Somaskanda form of Shiva has 36 massive pillars adorned with carvings.
Marundeswarar TempleA Shiva temple having a rich sthala purana or location history.
Mathyakailash Templeaddress: Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai-20.Very popular for locals. Ananda Vinayagar Lord Ganesha (the bestower of Happiness. Ananda, in Sanskrit, means Happiness) sits right in the centre of Parameshwar, Ambikai and Thirumal. The temple is very close to the IIT Madras and Adyar Cancer Institute.
Mundaka Kanni Amman Temple (of Goddess Shakthi)address: Mylapore
Muthialpet Bairagimadam Temple
address: Tiruvallikkeni (Triplicane)Parthasarathy means 'charioteer of Arjuna'. At Tiruvallikkeni (Triplicane) as the Britishers called it, is considered be the oldest temple in the Chennai and origins date back to the 8th century AD, the reference of which has been made in the Vaishnavite works of the Alwar saints. The existence of the Tiruvallikkeni village in referred in the Pallava records and before. The temple derived its name from the pond in front of the temple. It was built by the Pallavas. The temple was renovated by later dynasties, the Chola and the Vijayanagar kingdom. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The name Parthasarathy has been derived from two Sanskrit words Partha and Sarathy. The former word refers to Arjuna and the later means Charioteer. Its architecture is a combination of several temple building styles. There are inscriptions of the Pallavas, Cholas and the Vijayanagar kingdom on the temple structure. The temple besides being dedicated to Parthasarathy is also revered for Venkatakrishnaswami and to Ranganathar. The temple, when it was built, housed five avataras of the deity Vishnu. The structure, as it stands today, houses the shrines of popular deities like Venkatakrishnan with Rukmani, Balaraman, Satyaki, Anirudha, Pradyumna, Rama, Lakshmana, Barata, Sita, Shatrugna, Varadaraja and Hanuman.
Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple
Ravishwarar Temple Sethu Kshetramaddress: Mylapore
Saidapet Kamakshi Amman Temple
Shirdi Sai Baba Templeaddress: Venkatesa Agraharam, Mylapore, Chennai-4.Built in the memory of the revered saint Sai Baba of Shirdi, this temple is among the two shrines dedicated in Sai Baba's name in the city.
Sri Balaji Templeaddress: T. Nagar.
phone: +91 44 2462110address: 31 Ramakrishna Math RdMylapore. Swami Vivekananda on his return from the west was requested by the devotees in Madras (now Chennai) to start a Math here. To fulfill their desire Swamiji sent his brother-disciple Swami Ramakrishnananda to Madras in March 1897. After reaching Madras, the first thing Swami Ramakrishnananda did was to set up a small shrine for Sri Ramakrishna at a rented house. He lived there and led a life of renunciation, service and austerities. Slowly he built up the institution as the present Sri Ramakrishna Math and thus Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, came into existence. This is the oldest centre of the Ramakrishna Order in the South. Srimat Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, the 12th President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, laid the foundation-stone for this Universal Temple on 1 December 1994 in a grand function. It took five years for the project to take shape as the present grand Universal Temple. On 7 Feb 2000 the temple was dedicated by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, the 13th President of the Ramakrishna Order. Sri Ramakrishna Math completed hundred years of its service in 1997. The Math is regarded for its spiritual traditions, modern outlook, acceptance of all religions, service as the way of life. With its lushy green surroundings, the Universal Temple is the ideal spot for contemplation and meditation.
address: Venkata Narayana Road, T.Nagar, Chennai-17.Millions of devotees throng this world-renowned temple of Lord Venkatachalapathi. The temple is constructed and maintained by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. It is very crowded on Saturdays and Sundays. The temple contains a book store.
Thiruneermalai Vishnu Templeaddress: Mallima Veedi, ThiruneermalaiThis temple is one of the 108 places considered sacred by Vaishnatives. Legend has it that sage Valmiki prayed in the temple and saw the divine darshan of Lord Vishnu in three forms.
Thyagaraswamy Temple, Thiruvottiyur
Vadapalani Murugan Templeaddress: Near the Andavar Koil Street, Vadapalani, Chennai.This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga. Renovated in 1920s, the temple has grown popularity due to the visits by many cinema stars.
Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple
Vedagiriswarar Templeaddress: ThirukkalukundramThe main attraction here is the large temple atop the mountain which houses the deity of Vedagiriswarar, Lord Shiva.
Other holy places
Royapuram Fire Templeaddress: RoyapuramA Parsi fire temple built in 1910.
Valluvar Kottamaddress: Valluvar Kottam High Rd, NungambakkamValluvar Kottam marks the memorial of one of the renowned poet and saint of the region, Tiruvalluvar. The memorial is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. There is a 101-feet (30m) high temple chariot structure with a life-size image of the poet in it. This chariot is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. The monument stands as a massive auditorium and was open to public in 1976. Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture. Valluvar Kottam has quite an extensive space. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4,000 people. It is a revered place in the city as it is considered to bear the impressions of the Tamil culture. The auditorium is surrounded by granite pillars that have the inscriptions taken from the famous work of the poet. The epic Tiruvalluvar, written by the poet consists of 1,330 verses, all of which are inscribed on the granite pillar. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils.
Fort St. GeorgeIt was (formerly known as White Town) was established as the East India Company's fortified foothold in Madras and it was from this small trading post (or 'factory' as it was then known) that British influence spread throughout India. The establishment of Fort St. George marked the birth of the new city that is Madras, in the year 1640. The fort was named after St George who is believed to have preached in the region. The British East India Company, after buying the land from the Nayak of Vandavasi in 1639, led the establishment of what was called the Madrasemen, the permanent settlement of the company. One year later they built the fort as a commanding post in the region. With the increased trade activities of East India Company the region soon developed into a popular trade and commerce centre. The British enjoyed the supremacy in the region till 1746, when the French attacked the fort and captured it. After three years, in 1749 the British regained the ruling power by signing a treaty with the French. In the meantime they fortified the base in order to sustain the invasion of Hyder Ali and the French. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. It is a military architecture marvel, which was started as a trading post and later evolved to be the origin of modern Indian Army. St. George Fort holds great historical importance and is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India. It has a number of other monuments within its boundaries. Inside the Fort is the Fort Museum is decorated with cannons of Tipu Sultan. There are a lot of interesting artifacts showcased in the museum like coins, artifacts and so on. Apart from the museum, the southern division of the Archaeological Survey of India is located here. The place is famous for its exotic collection of books in the library. Today, Fort St George is famous for housing the legislative assembly and is known as the secretariat building. The fort in its present form looks more like a mansion, rather any fort. Various Government offices function inside this building, including the structure which used to be the residence of Robert Clive called the Clive House. St. Mary's Church, situated in the fort, is one of the oldest surviving churches built by the British in India. The tallest flag pole in the country can be seen here: its height is . The pole is now made of metal. The original had been made entirely of teak wood.
Museums and art galleries
phone: +91 44 24410025, +91 44 24416751, +91 44 24915250, +91 44 24918787address: Gandhi Mandapam RdBuilt in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars.
Government MuseumPantheon Rd, Egmore. Established in 1857, the Government Museum of Chennai is one of the popular tourist destinations in the city. It is a multi-purpose State Government Museum in Egmore, which is in the heart of the city, spreading over an area of 16.25 acres (7 ha) of land. Six independent buildings in this Museum campus has 46 galleries. There is an Archaeology Section, Zoology Section, Botany Section, Geology Section, Numismatics Section, Bronze Gallery, Children’s museum, art gallery and various other interesting sections and galleries. It is considered to be one of the oldest museums of India, since its inception dates back to the Colonial rule. There is history behind the origin of this museum. In 1846 AD, the Madras Literary Society debated the proposal of establishing a museum in the then Madras. The proposal was approved by the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. The Chennai Government Museum was given this sprawling complex which is maintained by the State Government. There are six independent buildings in the Museum campus, which compose of 46 galleries. The museum was inaugurated on December 5, 1896 by the Sir Arthur Eli bank Havelock, the then Governor. He named it after the former Governor, Lord Connenmara. The museum was designed by H. Irvin, the consulting architect of the Government of Madras. The Government Museum has a splendid hall, marvellous reading room and striking Teak wood shelf and stands divided into a number of sections. Parts of the museum are often closed. Phone: +91 44 28193238, 9:30AM-5PM except holidays. A free guide service is available at 11AM and 3PM.
Integral Coach FactoryThe Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum. The Regional Rail Museum is situated near ICF, Perambur, Chennai amidst the New Avadi Road/Anna Nagar Round Tana/ICF Bus Terminus and Villivakkam.
National Art Galleryphone: +91 44 28193238The building of National Arts Gallery was built in the year 1907. This magnificent red sandstone building was designed by Henry Irwin and built by T. Namberumal Chetty. The building represents a typical Indo-Saracenic structure and was initially famous as Victoria Memorial Hall. Built with sandstone and adorned with motifs, the building bears impressions of Mughal architecture. The structure as well as the gallery collections are key factors responsible for the much credited tourist place. The gallery exhibits medieval handicrafts, sculptures, metal ware and paintings belonging to various schools of art, all from the past. The gallery displays paintings belonging to different schools and eras. The gallery's collections are displayed in four different sections that are: Tanjore Painting Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. The Tanjore paintings on glass are wonderful. The miniature paintings from Rajput and Mughal eras are fascinating too. The handicrafts that are displayed in National Arts Gallery belong to the 11th and 12th century, Indian handicrafts, period.
phone: +91 44 28446188address: TriplicaneA colonial house where Swami Vivekananda stayed after his return from Chicago. It was also the location of the Ramakrishna Math for a decade before the Math was moved to its present location in Mylapore. The house now features a museum, painting gallery, photo gallery, book shop and video show on the life and teaching of Vivekananda. It is maintained by the Ramakrishna Math. Meditation and spirituality classes are arranged regularly at a nominal cost.
BeachesChennai has several well known beaches:
Breezy Beachaddress: Water Land Drive Rd, Lakshmana Perumal Nagar, Valmiki NagarIt is smaller and less popular than the Elliot's beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliot's beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful. Evenings are very pleasant and with gentle breezy here, Lots of tourists are attracted towards this beach. Since the residential area around this beach is occupied predominantly by young professionals working in the IT/ITES industries (that thrive in the area), this beach has turned into a hot-spot for them. It is less polluted and environment friendly. Those who look for a calm, cool and breezy place to relax, this beach is the best place in Chennai.
Covelongaddress: KancheepuramIt was known earlier is a small fishing village. Now it is a luxury beach resort. There was a fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali. Now a luxury beach resort. It was here that the French General Labourdonnais landed his troops in 1746. Later it was taken by Robert Clive in 1752 and destroyed. The Beach is separated from the mainland by the canal running from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. Taj Group of Hotels runs the Fisherman's Cove Resort with rooms in the main buildings and cottages and the sandy beach here. A small public beach can also be accessed through a narrow drivable road. This beach is still mostly used by the fishermen, but gets crowded on weekend.
Edward Elliot's beachaddress: Elliot's Promenade, Urrur Kuppam, Besant NagarThis is spread along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beach for Chennai youth. This beach is comparatively quieter. At the end of this beach are the Velankanni church and the Ashtalakshmi temple. Good roads, pavements, walking track illuminated sands, makes a visit to this beach a real pleasure.
Marina Beachaddress: Water Land Drive Rd,Valmiki Nagar, Netaji NagarThis is 12 km long and offers excellent opportunities for walks and has a very wide sandy foreshore. Its width is up to 300 m (985 ft). The Marina of Madras is the second longest beach in the world. it is an elegant promenade with flower beds along its lanes. Along the shore, there are many buildings built during the British colonial rule. - It is the most popular gathering place for locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It can also get very crowded at those times. The beach is relatively less crowded in the early mornings and more pleasant. Walk along the Marina in the evening to cool off and eat crispy sundal and murukku. Watching sunset and sunrise from the beach is an experience by itself. It's not a swimming beach, though you will see people fully clothed taking partial dips. Other lesser known places in the Marina: Anna Square: Dr. C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was a very respectable personality among the people of Tamil Nadu. The mortal remains of Dr. C.N. Annadurai were buried at Anna Square, which is situated at the northern end of the Marina Beach. People from different parts of the state come here to pay their tribute to the great leader. It is in the center of a park and the entrance is attractive. The beautiful arch is in the shape of twin converging elephant tusks. The tomb of Dr. C.N. Annadurai is flanked by imposing memorial pillar and eternal flame. People of Tamil Nadu affectionately called him 'Anna' meaning the elder brother. Though listed here Anna Square is not a must see place. There is nothing much to see, unless you have lots of time to spare.
Arignar Anna Zoological Parkphone: +91 44 22751089This zoological park is situated in the outskirts of the Chennai metropolitan (nearly 40km from the city center). Chennai has the distinction of having the first zoo in India, which was started in 1855. This park is said to be one of the biggest in South East Asia. The wildlife population is exhibited in a large open moated island enclosure with a simulated natural environment. More than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are housed in this park. Lion safari vehicles, elephant rides, battery operated vehicles are some of the facilities available. The peak time is during Pongal and weekend holidays.
Guindy National Parkaddress: Sardar Vallabhai Patel Rd, Adyar, GuindyThe park area stands close to 280 hectares. Guindy Park is probably the smallest national park in the country and the only park within the city suburbs of India. The park is inhabited by more than 20 species of trees, about 14 varieties of shrubs and more than 14 species of woodland mammals. The place also houses many species of rare birds and amphibians. The dry deciduous forests of Guindy are lined with tree species like Amona Squamosa, Atlanta Monophylla, Feronia Limonia and Azadirachta India. The popular park animals include species like Indian Antelope (Black Buck), Elephant, Spotted Deer, Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hedgehog, Pangolin and Jackal. Some rare bird species found in the park include Black Winged Kite, Honey Buzzard, and Pariah Kite. The park is also home to many reptile and amphibian species.
Guindy Snake ParkFounded by one of the prominent wildlife conservationist Romulus Whitaker. The park houses a number of snake species, lizards, crocodiles and turtles. The park breeds more than 30 species of Indian snakes. Some of the most sought after species include King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Reticulated Python, Adders and Vipers. In addition to the snakes the park also breeds species of lizards, crocodiles and turtles. The museum in the park premises contains preserved specimens of many reptiles and amphibians. They have a snake display show 4 times daily, and live snakes of different species are shown to the audience with a voice over in 3 languages (English, Tamil and Hindi).
Semmozhi Poongaaddress: cathedral roadA botanical garden with a wide variety of Bonsai plants.
- During summers it becomes too hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (7-9PM) on the Marina beach and Elliots Beach (Besant Nagar). It's a nice idea to pack dinner and have a picnic on the beach as most locals do. If you happen to drive a car you can also consider taking along a few foldable chairs. Beyond 10PM, no one is permitted to be on the beach. There are policemen on the beach to ensure people follow this rule, and on some occasions they tend to shoo people out by 9PM. However, if you are an early riser, you might consider visiting the beaches early morning around 6 to 8AM The sunrise is wonderful and there is a slight breeze as well. However, be warned that there are dogs lying all over the place and you have a high chance of getting hit by a cricket ball if you aren't looking.
- Stroll along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for knick-knacks. Be warned that it is an intensely crowded place, where you have to elbow your way through.
- Take a bus or an auto to Mylapore Tank and take a walk around Mylapore especially in and around the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The crowds, sounds, fragrances of temple incense and flowers and the tiny shops are to be definitely experienced though keep away on Fridays. It gets too hectic even for experienced Mylaporeans.
- Chennai is also home to one of the best preserved Art Deco architectural areas in India, Parry's Corner. Its also Chennai's oldest Central Business District though it has long since given way to Nungambakkam and T Nagar. If you're particularly interested in architecture or photography, this is a must visit place. Don't forget the nooks and crannies.
Music and danceChennai is famous for its concerts and performances that take place in various auditoriums and temples throughout the year, which are announced in the Hindu and other local newspapers. During the Tamil month of Maargazhi (December - January) there is a series of classical Carnatic music concerts and classical dance performances in various parts of the city, but the best are organized in various Sabhas (loosely translates to "concert house"). You will see mostly older celebrities, although occasionally there will be some world-class young virtuosos. Free entry passes are usually given out for debutante performances (called Arangetram in Tamil) and for performances held on weekdays (before 4PM when the crowd starts filling up).
phone: +91 92821 06425 or +91 98412 96684Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road.
GK ParigiIn Cine Abinayam star night programme.
Indian Institute of Music and Artsaddress: R.K Swamy Auditorium, Sir Sivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore
Kalalayaa Art Academyphone: +91 98408 77546address: 2nd Floor, 100 ft Bye Pass Road, Velachery
phone: +91 44 2499 7788 or +91 44 2495 2695Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road. (30th Year Art Festival).
phone: +91 44-2811 2231 or +91 44-2811 5162No. 168, T.T.K. Road,Chennai - 600 014.
Nungambakkam Cultural Academy Trust
phone: +91 44 43561198 or +91 42146632address: Madras Seva Sadan, No 7, Harrington Road, Chetpet
phone: +91 44 2814 0806address: Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar, 20. Maharajapuram Santhanam Road, T.NagarThe 49th Art and Dance Festival & Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha And the 24th Natya Kala Conference.
phone: +91 44 2815 2166address: Vani Mahal, 103, GN Chetty Road(The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha).
VDS Arts AcademyMOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6:30PM, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artists. Admission: free.
Chennai is a major centre of Bharata Natyam with over 1,000 dance performances a year. More dance forms are now encouraged and taught like Kuchipudi (Traditional dance form from Andhra Pradesh), Mohini Attam, etc. Some other dances like Odissi Manipuri can be found, but are rarer.
CinemaWhen in Chennai, do not miss a chance to watch a movie. There are several new Tamil movie releases every Friday or to coincide with holidays. Apart from Tamil, movies in other Indian languages like Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam also get wide releases in Chennai. Many of the Hollywood franchise movies enjoy a huge fan following and are screened at some theaters (dubbed) in Tamil. Make sure to book your tickets in advance especially for the weekend, because most of the cinemas will be sold out. Chennai also provides best cinematic experience at lowest cost ₹120/- and lesser, which is very less compared to other metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Check out any local newspaper or websites to get to know the movies running in and around Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are
Abhirami Cine ComplexPurasawalkam, in the Abirami Mega mall.
address: Coromandel Plaza 87/1A, 5th Floor, Navalur
Devi CineplexIn the heart of Chennai on Anna Salai. The Cineplex is a huge complex and a great architectural beauty.
phone: +91 9840499445 (bookings), +91 9940699336 (general enquiries)address: 810 Poonamallee High Road , KilpaukFeatures Hindi, Tamil, other South Indian and English movies. The cinemas halls are air-conditioned.
phone: +91 44 4224 4224address: Express Avenue, Royapettah8 premier quality screens with 3D, Dolby Atmos and RDX technology. Each of the 8 screens has a different decor which adds to the style quotient of the place.
Ganga Theatre ComplexKolathur.
InoxChennai Citi Centre, R.K.Salai
Kamala CinemasVadapalani, opposite the Green Park hotel.
address: #34 East Coast Road, KanathurECR. 14-screen multiplex, far away from the bustle of the city. Except in rare cases, reservation is not a must and seats can be booked at the counter.
PVRAMPA SkyWalk Mall, Nelson Manickam Rd. The Grand Mall,Velachery
Rohini Cinema ComplexKoyambedu.
Sangam Cine ComplexIn kilpauk. For tickets.
phone: +91 44 42244224address: Thiru-vi-ka RdOne of the best theaters. Provides quality food and the main screen is one of the biggest in India. Celebrities and cine stars frequent this complex.
Shanti Cine ComplexAnna Salai
S2 Thiagaraya Cinemas
Udhayam TheatreAshok Pillar.
phone: +91 44 4224 4224address: The Forum Vijaya Mall, NSK Salai, Arcot Road, Vadapalani, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600026, India
Chennai has been one of the prominent sporting location in India, with wide variety of sports played almost everywhere right from every street corners to big stadium matches.
M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
Cricket by itself is a festival in India,every TV in the Mall is tuned to cricket during the match season and the whole city would be tuned in to the sport some way or another. Chennai is an international venue for cricket and is also a home ground for the Chennai super Kings cricket team. While in Chennai it might be interesting to catch a game and enjoy the electric spirit of Indian cricket. Close to Chepauk there are several sporting goods stores where you can buy good quality cricket equipment at low prices.
Chennai Open. A prominent ATP250 tennis tournament that happens around January every year, the event has attracted lot of high ranked players such as Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moyá, Stanislas Wawrinka and Leader Paes. The SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam (a short walk from Valluvar Kottam) is the venue for the event since 1997. The event is well organized with details including ticket sales published online.
Nehru StadiumNehru stadium was built during 1990s and has hosted many hockey and football matches. Apart from this, there's a huge indoor stadium next to Nehru stadium.
Chennai has dozens of different institutes of higher learning from arts to engineering. The city also offers plenty of opportunities to learn Yoga, Bhartanatyam, Carnatic music and the Bhagavad Gita.
Alliance française de Madrasphone: +91 44-28279803Indo-French cultural center and a place to learn French
Bharatia Vidya Bhavan
phone: +1-800-102-4353address: 737, Anna SalaiEnglish courses, IELTS preparation courses. Also houses a large library in the campus.
Chinmaya Missionphone: +91 44 2826 5641, +91 44 2827 4046address: 2 13th Ave Harrington Rd, Chetpet
address: No.4, 5th Street, Rutland Gate, Chennai 600 006German language courses, culture and other events
International Society For Krishna Consciousnessphone: +91 44 2501 9303, +91 44 2501 9147address: Hare Krishna Land Injambakkam
phone: +91-44-24981185, +91 9442515557 (mobile)address: No 117, Luz Church Road
phone: +91 44 2491 1836, +91 44 2491 4359address: Kalakshetra Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur
phone: +91 44 2493 7998, +91 44 2493 3092address: 31, 4th Cross St, R.K. Nagar
phone: +91 44 2493 7803, +91 44 2493 7596address: 124, 126 (Old #64/65) Greenways Rd
Raja YogaLearn Yoga free of cost.
phone: +91 44 4217 1111address: SRCM Road, ManapakkamLearn Relaxation, Meditation and Yoga free of cost.
phone: +91 44 2491 2815address: Adyar
Ampa SkywalkA shopping mall in Chennai with western and Indian brands featuring in the shops. Most popular for its PVR Cinemas multiplex, Star Bazaar grocery store and one of the few McDonald's in the city. It also has a food court and a boutique hotel.
address: 10, Radhakrishnan SalaiMostly men's western-wear brands like Adidas, Louis Philippe, Parx and Zodiac. Has a good food court, an Indian restaurant, INOX cinema and a supermarket.
address: Royapettah High Rd.It is the second largest shopping mall in South India and features unique stores like Hamley's, Global Desi and Peekaboo, designer wear like Guess and Diesel and high-street chains like Body Shop, Tie Rack, Esprit and Lush. It has a few fine-dining restaurants and also one of the largest food courts in India. Escape Cinemas, a 40,000 sq ft, 8-screen multiplex is on the 3rd floor. Local youth usually abbreviate the name to EA, from the huge sign on the building entrance.
Ispahani Centeraddress: Nungambakkam Road.An early shopping centre - has a cafe, bar & shops.
Phoenix Market cityAt Velachery with approximately 2.4 million square feet (including 0.45 million square feet of parking) of developable area. In addition to the usual Market City components, Market City Chennai is expected to include an IT park.
Prince Plazaaddress: Pantheon Road, EgmoreIt has been featured in many movies.
address: 2, Harrington Rd, Chetpet.This is one of the largest department stores in Chennai, and you can buy everything from clothes to shoes to books here.
address: 769, Anna Salai.Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times. The original was destroyed in a fire, and the current building dates back to 1983. The new Phase III section even has a mock Indo-Saracenic atrium in the style of the original. One of the earliest shopping malls in India, it has slightly lost its charm with the arrival of swanky new malls, but it is still an excellent place to buy handicrafts, ethnic wear, Indian jewellery and books (it houses the largest Landmark bookstore in Chennai). There is a reasonably good food court on the 2nd level of Phase I and Phase III.
phone: +91 44 4904 9000address: 183, Arcot Road, NSK Salai, Vadapalani, 600026
BooksChennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.
Alwar's Roadside bookshopOpposite Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
Kennedys Book HouseAnna Salai.
- Vendors near the Central Station
- Vendors on Mount Rd outside Devi Theatre and the GPO (General Post Office)
For more current publications:
Gigglesaddress: Connemara Hotel Binny RdGeneral books from a friendly shop keeper.
LandmarkSpencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Rd) - books, toys, CDs, 4 locations:
- Spencer Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - 37,000 sq. ft.
- Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road - 12,000 sq. ft. - the original store.
- Chennai Citi Centre, Radhakrishnan Salai.
- Ampa Mall, Injambakkam- newest location.
OdysseyBehind Gandhi Nagar Bus Stand, Adyar and Express Avenue,Royapettah
Chennai Book Fair (annual)Location and dates may vary annually. If you happen to be in Chennai in January, Chennai Book Fair is an event not to miss. Plan to visit on a weekday as they attract lesser crowds and you can browse through the collections peacefully. If you pick a weekend or holiday, try to visit in the morning instead of the evening. Look through all the shops but it is usually better to skip the marquee stalls and visit the smaller ones which have books stacked all around. You will be rewarded with some great finds as these shops have lesser known but excellent titles from all around the world. Carry cash as many of the smaller shops do not accept credit/debit cards and cash also helps to bargain down the price of the books to some extent. On average, paperback novels in bargain shops cost ₹100 to ₹200. A budget of ₹3000 should be enough to purchase a good collection of books.
phone: +91 44 4500 0020address: 27/14, C V Raman Road, AlwarpetBoutique clothing from natural fabrics for women.
phone: +91 44 4208 176777/13, Corporation Shopping Complex, C.P. Ramaswamy Rd, Alwarpet. Contemporary clothing from natural fibres for women.
address: 3 Woods RdThe Ilford House location at is probably the best in terms of choices and selections. This is the place to go for all your natural-dyed, hand loomed and hand made textiles. The prices have been going up the last few years, but FabIndia is the only source for this sort of textile in Chennai at any retail outlet.
Handloom ExhibitionsYear-round there is always a handloom exhibition profiling the work of one state or the other. These temporary installations (you'll have to check the local papers to find out where they set up) generally have a good selection of interesting fabrics and textile products. And there is always the option to bargain, which makes it a better bet than oft-overpriced retail stores. The Royapettah YMCA (across from Royapettah Hospital) has a regular handloom exhibition.
Just Casualsphone: +91 44 28273882address: Nungambakkam, 1, Sterling Rd.A good place to head if you're in the mood for the Banana Republic/Abercrombie/Old Navy/Gap type stuff. They seem to get all the export rejects or overstocks. You'll find that all the brand tags are cut out due to some agreement with the manufacturer. The quality and prices are good, but unfortunately there's no bargaining possible.
address: 162 Anna SalaiThere are several outlets of Raymond shop around Chennai. Custom tailored shirts, suits and other wardrobe accessories for men.
Shanti ColonyAnnanagar is a hub for "seconds" clothing as in the above description for "Just Casuals".
Amethystphone: +91 44 2820 3582address: Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Rd, Jeypore Colony, GopalapuramHandicrafts.
Ashvita - Arts and Artifactsphone: +91 44 2847 6063address: 11 2nd St Radhakrishnan Salai, MylaporeArt, jewellery, photo prints.
Crafts and Weavesphone: +91 44 2466 0232address: #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, MylaporeHandicrafts.
Giri StoresAdjacent to Kabaleeswarar Temple, (opposite the Radha Silk Emporium, Mylapore Tank). Hindu spiritual items like Rudraksha garlands, books, CDs & tapes for chanting, incense sticks, camphor and lamps.
address: Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Rd & Phase 3, Spencers PlazaLeather goods.
Jidoka Storephone: +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317address: 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High RdHandicrafts.
Manasthalaphone: +91 44 2433 2842address: 12 Cenotaph RdTerracotta ceramics.
Poombukaraddress: 108 Anna Salai, PlandmarkThey sell handicrafts.
Poppat Jamalsaddress: Mount Rd Anna SalaiCrockery.
phone: +91-44-2852 3141address: 180, (old No.765) Anna SalaiThey have a huge display of handicraft items, paintings, wood carvings and metal work statues.
Vimonisha Art Galleryaddress: 12 Khadar Nawaz Khan RdHandicrafts.
Apparao Galleriesphone: +91 44 2827 226address: 7th St, Wallace Garden.
phone: +91 44 98405 43420address: 222 Peters RdRoyapettah.
Contemporary arts and crafts showroomphone: +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159address: 41 CP Ramaswamy RdAlwarpet
Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Galleryphone: +91 44 4359 223address: 70 1st Main RdCIT Nagar.
phone: +91 44 42188989address: Dhandayuthapani Nagar, 2nd St, Kotturpuram
Raasi Art Galleryphone: +91 44 2441 0389address: 1 Anna AveBakthavatsala Nagar, Adayar.
Aavaranaaphone: +91 44 24988292address: 15, Ashoka Street, Alwarpet.
phone: +91 44 28193175address: No.350, Pantheon Road, EgmoreState government operated store. Good place to buy authentic silk sarees and dhotis. They also sell other items like salwar sets, curtains, bedsheets, pillow covers, etc.
Radha Silk Emporium (Rasi)Silk sarees, ethnic wear, arts & crafts in multiple locations.
- 1 Sannadhi St, Mylapore, ☎ +91 44 2494 1906
- 827, Dhun Building, Mount Rd, ☎ +91 44 2852 0251
- 23 1st Main Rd, Nanganallur, ☎ +91 44 2232 4176
Vardhrams and Son's SilksHarington Rd, Chetpat.
Aarthi Thanga Maligaiaddress: 60 East Kalamandapam RdRoyapuram. Gold for reasonable prices.
Aishwarya JewelleryMylapore Tank. Gold and silverware.
B.B Jewelleryaddress: 6/127 Arcot RdPorur. Specializing in gold.
Bapalal JewellersKakani Towers, Cathedral Road. Diamond merchants.
Jaipur Gemsaddress: 50 Cathedral RdExclusive designer StarFire Diamond jewellery, authentic Jadau jewellery.
Joyalukkasaddress: 39 North Usman RdT'Nagar. India's largest exclusive jewellery mall, housing the worlds largest jewellery showroom of international retailer Joyalukkas amongst other world renowned retailers.
Jugalkishore JewellersCP Ramaswaamy Road, Alwarpet. Traditional and antique jewellery.
KanishkUsman Road, T'Nagar. Great value for money & wide range.
address: New No. 59, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, MylaporeJewellers since 1929. For exclusive diamond jewellery.
Narayana Pearlsaddress: Kasi Arcade, T.NagarGood collection.
Rasvihar138 Luz Church Road, Mylapore. For exclusive contemporary jewellery.
address: 100 Ft Bypass Road, near Velachery Lake, VelacheryFrom the house of Titan. Gold, diamond and platinum jewelery. Trendy collections, transparent pricing and clear billing. Tanishq also operates other outlets in Adyar, Anna Nagar and T.Nagar
Vummidi Bangaru Jewelleryaddress: NungambakkamFeatures diamonds and gold. There is also a location T'Nagar.
Lakshman shruthiaddress: Vadapalani Signal, VadapalaniMusical instruments, CDs.
Sapthaswara MusicalsFeatures Western and Indian musical instruments.
Shruthi Musicalsphone: +91 44 2660 3630address: 10 Harleys Rd., Kilpauk
Sruthilayaisphone: +91 44 2499 4045,+91 44 2498 2625address: 93 Royapettah High Rd, MylaporeMusical instruments.
In addition to these there are several exhibitions at Das Community Hall (Cathedral Rd) and Shankara Hall (TTK Rd), where artisans display their work. Check the local newspapers for details and timings.
All these budget eateries serve only vegetarian food and are very cheap.
phone: +91 44 4549 0324address: New No. 97, Old No.45, Nungambakkam High Road in NungambakkamA popular vegetarian "health" restaurant that cooks its foods using ayurvedic principles. The food is truly delicious, and the concept is that they are cooked with low amounts of oil, using healthy ingredients. The chain also features ayurvedic and yogic classes.
Eat N Drinkaddress: 570-N, Anna Salai, TeynampetSouth Indian fast food, from masala dosas to uttapam and pongal. Fast, cheap, tasty and hygienic.
Geetha Café,Pondy Bazaar. South Indian tiffin.
Hot ChipsT.Nagar and Anna Nagar for budget priced South Indian tiffin, including North Indian chat (snack) items.
Hotel Saravana BhavanProbably Chennai's best known vegetarian restaurant chain, with 25 branches in Chennai itself (incl. one next to Kapaleeswarar Temple). Pure vegetarian Indian food with high standards of hygiene.
Karpagambal Messaddress: Mylapore, opposite the Kapaleeswarar templeCheap and authentic South Indian Food.
Kebab Junctionphone: +91 44 4215 8036address: No. 19, Mount Road, Royapettah, NV
Mansuk'saddress: T.Nagar.Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
Palimaraddress: Parsn Complex, Mount Rd, Anna SalaiSouth Indian cuisine.
Rathna Cafeaddress: Triplicane. also Thiruvanmiyur, opposite the RTOFor fluffy hot idlis, hot vadai, delicious pongal dripping in ghee and accompanied by sambhar. Quality maintained for more than 100 years. More expensive than Murugan Idli shop.
address: No. 82, Nungambakkam High Road, NungambakkamVegetarian chain restaurant with a mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices.
The Spice Boxphone: +91 44 4304 2365address: ThiruvanmyurLunch deliveries and gourmet outdoor catering. Wholesome, innovative lunch-dinner in 6 options is great to try out.
Sri Krishna Sweetsaddress: Mount Rd, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai, also at MG Rd, Shastri NagarIndian sweets & salad bar. North Indian "chat" (snack) items.
Vasantha BhavanChain of vegetarian restaurants.
Aiwophone: +91 44 66514241address: 7 Rosy Towers, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam.Fusion and health foods. A 14-course meal served on a conveyer belt that moves around the room. Various dishes served are supposed to be cooked in olive oil. Healthy tasty food for the health conscious. Table reservations. South Indian
Amaravathiphone: +91 44 28116416, +91 44 28110305address: 1 Cathedral Road GopalpuramSouth Indian sea food cuisines and is known for its spicy Andhra food. Their famous Andhra meals, chicken and mutton biryani. Vazahapoo and keerai vadi are a must try. Chilly chicken, chili paneer, momos, soups, burgers, rolls, etc. Punjabi dishes like kadhai chicken, butter chicken, daal makhni, roti, butter naan, paneer butter masala, allu matar etc. Special fish prawns and Amaravathi chicken are the main dishs of the restaurant. Seating: 135 covers. Valet parking and take away. Table reservations. South Indian.
Amethyst cafe and restaurantphone: +91 44 2820 3582, +91 44 28353581 (resv)address: Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, GopalapuramVegetarian. Multi-cuisine. Garden and patio cafe and restaurant with a mix of western (pastas, burgers) and Indian fare. Cuisines served by Amethyst are Coffee and International. It is a nice, cozy, romantic place to chill out on weekends. Their cuisine is nice and so is their interiors. Its a colonial house turned into a restaurant. Table reservations available.
Ammaphone: +91 44 28340242address: 1 Dr. Giri Rd, T NagarNon-vegetarian South Indian. Known for authentic Chettinadu cuisine. Table reservations (non-vegetarian).
Anjapparphone: +91 44 28217200, +91 44 2825666, +91 44 42144573address: J.P. Tower, 7/2, Nungambakkam High Rd.non-vegetarian South Indian. Speciality: Anjappar Popular Meals: White Rice, Chettinad Chicken, Mutton Gravy, Fish Gravy, Sambar, Rasam, Kootu, Porial, Keerai, Curd, Buttermilk, Appalam. Also famous for Spl. Mutton Dum Biriyani, Nattu Koli Biriyani and Chettinaad Fish Masala.
- They have other outlets in Chennai: - Anna Nagar: +91 44 26264111 - Chennai Airport-Food Court- Anna International Airport: +91 44 22561793, 2256194 - Near Central Station: +91 44 25382666, 25383334 - Egmore: (+91 44 42134111, 42179222) - Purasaiwalkam: (+91 44 42089188, 26400200) - T'Nagar ☎ +91 44 224328444, +91 44 224328555) - Mylapore:, ☎ +91 44 224982883, +91 44 224981226) - R.K.Salai: ☎ +91 44 228114555, 28114666.
Anupama Southern Spice
Gallopin GooseberriesBurgers, sandwiches and entrees. Has two outlets:
Gyan VaishnavMount Road, near Anand Theatre. North Indian.
KadalivanamMogappair, 100% natural, fully vegetarian restaurant.
Murugans Idli Shop2 locations: GN Chetty Road T. Nagar and Besant Nagar. Murugan Idli Shop is a chain restaurant, and the GN Chetty Road shop in particular is a well-kept secret among locals as a purveyor of high-quality food; on weekends, there is a long line for entry. South Indian.
Noodle HouseA chain restaurant, whoese locations include: 1. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) and 2. the Intersection of Sterling Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam. Chinese.
PizzaurantVelachery Road, Little Mount, Saidapet. Cuisine pizza & pasta. (Without MSG.) Home delivery for nearby areas, very Indian.
Swati and Swayam
phone: +91 44 2220 0000address: No. 63 Mount Road, Guindy, Little Mount, GuindyThe award winning Peshawari is the Indian speciality restaurant with the rugged flavours of the North-West Frontier and the art of tandoori cooking. The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style which is viewed through the open kitchen. (5-star hotel) Rated Expensive.
phone: +91 44 28161000, +91 44 43911000 (Table reservations)address: The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G N Chetty Road, T NagarThe highest open to sky restaurant in the city, featuring grills and Indian cuisines. Seating capacity 120.
phone: +91 44 24511130address: Lounge Beach Garden, #4, Shri Krishna Enclave, KottivakkamItalian-owned and run, authentic Italian food. The famous wood fired oven pizza, home made pastas, steaks and salads.
phone: +91 44 42601234, +91 44 42601230 (Table Reservations)address: Eldorado No 112, Nungambakam High RoadItalian restaurant. Italian classic cuisine with a perfect wine. Chef's favourites: Pizza Mellino, Pasta del Fattore and In Wines- Brunello di Montalcino.
phone: +91 44 5500 2827address: Nungambakkam High Road, NungambakkamGourmet Italian dining, replaced Patio.
phone: +91 44 32216635address: 146, TTK Road, AlwarpetHibachi style, the cook prepares your meal with a show right in front of you. Very entertaining especially for younger diners. Excellent sushi and sashimi. ₹2000 for a meal for two.
Cedarsphone: +91 44 42182397address: Wallace Garden Road, NungambakkamDim lit ambience is beautiful with exquisite furnishing in Mediterranean style. They serve the most authentic Lebanese, Middle Eastern delicacies and some interesting Mediterranean cuisines.
phone: +91 44 28221461address: 73, Cathedral Road, GopalapuramMexican. Above Hot Breads as an extension, they are best known for their fajitas (sizzlers) and enchiladas (a tortilla wrap with some Mexican rice). Expensive.
phone: +91 44 42815777, +91 44 42815776 (reservations)address: 55, 2nd Main Road, Raja Annamalaipuram (near Kaliappa Hospital)Cream Centre offers a wide range of vegetarian food choices- North Indian and Mexican, to American, Italian and even Lebanese. Nachos, Channa Bhatura, American Corn Cheese Ball, Sizzlers & Sizzling Brownie. A specialty here is the Mera Thali, where you have a choice of dishes from which you can make your own thali.
phone: +91 44 28463333, +91 44 28463358address: Emall hotel, Express Avenue Mall, Gate No 1, Pattullous Road, Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002.100% vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant. Serves fare from all around the world - Thai soup, Mexican main course, Indian spices tadka, French pastry for desserts.
phone: +91 44 28115770address: 74, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram (opposite the Chola Sheraton)Mainly North Indian and Iranian inspired dish. Specialities: Bagani Bahar, Paneer Musselum. Rated expensive.
phone: +91 44 22310101address: Radisson G R T Hotel, G.S.T. Road, St Thomas MountSpecialities: Galoutti Kabab, Tangri and Murgh Malai Kababs, Fish and Mutton Kababs. They serve alcohol and have valet parking.
phone: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545 (reservations)address: 1 GST Rd, Le Royal Meridien, St. Thomas MountIndia Restaurant serving Royal Indian Cuisine. Live Ghazal performances. A Private dining room is available for up to 12 persons and an intimate bar for pre-dinner drinks.
Kayalphone: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545 (reservations)address: Le Royal Meridien, 1, G.S.T. Road, St. Thomas MountSeafood restaurant. Coriander prawn, seafood platter, Kadia lobster, prawn biryani. Nice complimentary garlic bread with butter.
Dakshinphone: +91 44 24994101address: Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 132, T.T.K. Road, AlwarpetSouth Indian Cuisines- Dakshin offers the 'rare' pleasures of ethnic coastal and regional cuisines. The choicest cuisine of the four Southern states served in a regal setting. Live Carnatic Music. Expensive but excellent food- Starters include traditional, kuli paniyaram. Try the Idi appam or Appam with mutton stew. Desert: Kulfi.
Southern Spicephone: +91 44 55002827address: Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam
phone: +91 44 24322640address: 146, TTK Road, AlwarpetThe authentic flavour of Thailand. Seating capacity 68.
phone: +91 44 48622727address: 30/31, Second Main Road, Kasturibai Nagar, Adyar
Chennai is a difficult place to drink. Government rule states that only establishments with a minimum of 21 rooms can obtain a bar or liquor license. Hence there are no standalone bars or pubs here. All the bars that are around are part of some hotel or the other and in general overpriced.
Government run liquor stores called TASMAC are all over the place but in general not at all a pleasant experience. They usually have unpleasant staff and environment and usually will have local brands. Also they always tend to mark up each bottle by ₹5-10 over the listed price. Go for it if you want a one time war like experience in order to obtain some booze!
Nightclubs close at 11PM, even on Fridays and Saturdays, according to government rule.
Paradise Baraddress: 20 South Usman RdAruna Hotel, T Nagar, +91 24346565/0834
phone: +91 98 4172 1110address: Liberty Park Hotel, 1st Main Road, UI Colony, KodambakkamVery nice decor and good service for the price. It gets crowded on important cricket match days as the local sports fans gather for a drink here.
Bike and BarrelResidency Towers, T.Nagar.nice ambience there are 2 levels lower level for couples and upper level for stags. Nice sitting arrangement but can get crowded Expect to spend around ₹1,000 for 2 people for drinks and food.
CambridgeHotel Dee Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
CrystalHotel Ranjit, Nungambakkam High road, Nungambakkam.
DieselG.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar
GrammyHotel Sabhari, Thirumala Pillai Road, T.Nagar
HudsonHarrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, +91 42222777: Has two levels. Hudson Upper and H2O. Cramped seating providing very little privacy. The Liquor stable is limited to the local brands and a bottle or two of Scotch.
address: 100 Feet RdHotel Ambica Empire, Vadapalani
Star RockKodambakkam High Road (Next to Palmgrove hotel), Nungambakkam
Zero° baraddress: 29 Thirumalai Pillai RdQuality Inn Sabari, ground floor, T.Nagar
Distil BarTaj Connemara, Binny Road
DublinPark Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, +91 24994101
Durrants BarChola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, +91 28110101
address: Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
address: Kences Inn Hotel, North Boag Road, T Nagar
The Westministerphone: +91 44 2499 4101Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet
phone: +91 44 28161000address: The Accord Metropolitan, 35,G.N.Chetty Road, T'NagarPopular labels, ingenious cocktails, rare blends of liquor & a wide selection of hot and cold canapés. Seating capacity 76.
Local specialities - soft drinks
Fruit Bizzaddress: left corner building from ananda bhavan road to guindyThis is one of the best juice shops very famous in adyar region. Shop open from morning 10AM till 1AM.
NeerMoarSpicy butter milk, with local seasoning. Available at most South Indian restaurants.
Tender CoconutDefinitely try a tender coconut on a hot summer's day. Available on roadside stalls at ₹35 to 40, a coconut.
Broadlands lodging housephone: +91 44 2854 8131address: No 18, Vallabha Agraharam StreetVery popular with the backpacker crowd, leafy courtyard, a rustic feel to the whole hotel, good rooms are in the back of the hotel and two of the most recommended rooms are room # 43 and 44, which are roof cottages.
Cristal Guest Housephone: +91 44 285 13011address: 34, CNK Road, TriplicaneVery clean and friendly place with western toilets. No towels provided; bring your own. Near good/inexpensive eateries. This place is walking distance from the beach and a bus stops to reach various sites.
phone: +91 44 2819 4377address: 37 Gandhi Irwin Road
Hotel Impala Continentalphone: +91 44 2819 1423, +91 44 2819 1778address: 12 Gandhi Irwin Rd
phone: +91 44 2495 9984address: South Mada Street, Mylapore.
phone: +91 93600 17001address: 28, Ethiraj Sala, Egmore
phone: +91 44 2811 3111address: 72-75, Dr Radha Krishnan Salai, CIT Colony, MylaporeIt is sometimes crowded and a tad busy. There is a nice quiet art gallery and cafe nearby.
Old Woodlandsphone: +91 44 2848 2150, +91 44 2848 2152address: Shop No: 25, West Cott Road, RoyapettahLittle known, but an excellent place to stay. The hotel building is at least one hundred years old and stands in the middle of sprawling grounds and surrounded by massive trees. The main building was once the palace of Raja of Ramnad. The auto-rickshaws and taxis will not tell you about the place as the hotel does not pay a commission to middlemen.
Palace Lodgephone: +91 44 28190687address: new No. 69, old No. 32, Egmore High Road, EgmoreReasonably clean, staff okay.
Sri Krishna Residencyphone: +91 44 24643617address: South mada StMylapore.
phone: +91 44 42664508, +91 80566 74964 (mobile)address: 41 Subathral St, TriplicaneClean spotless rooms and nice staff. It is about 100 m behind Thaj Regency Hotel on the small street. Look for the black marble entrance and sign. All rooms have bath, fan, sat TV and intercom. Squat toilets only. No mosquito nets on the windows though. Prices are ₹200 for a single person, ₹250 for two persons and ₹300 for 3 persons per 24 hours. Predominantly an Indian clientele. Close to Broadlands Lodge, Comfort Hotel, and the great Gee Gee Internet and Surya Restaurant (old name Maharaj). The whole spot is about 300 m from the T-junction of Triplicane High Rd and Walaja Rd where there is a bus stop of 27B bus to CMBT under the big tree (every 5 minutes).
Hotel Krishna Bhavanphone: +91 4425615211address: 53 New Avadi Road, Kilpauk, Aspiran Garden Colony, Kilpauk
A/c Dormitoryaddress: Retirement Room @ Central Railway Station
phone: +91 44 2362 2284address: # 77 Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, 100 Feet Rd, Vadapalani.Nearby to Chennai Metropolitan Bus Terminus and Vadapalani Lord Murugan Temple. 51 rooms.
Dee-Cee Manorphone: +91 98841 85500address: 90 Nagapattinam-Chennai Hwy, Gopalapuram, Chintadripet,
address: 120 Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar
phone: +91 44 5222 2777address: 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam
phone: +91 44 4423 2323address: 72 Sardal Patel Rd, Guindy
phone: +91 44 2472-5950, +91 44 4232 1231address: 9, 1st Main Rd, UI Colony, Kodambakkam5 min away from the heart of the shopping district - T.Nagar. Ask for a 15% discount before you make a reservation. They sometimes have a better deal for the multiple night stays listed on their website.
Mowbrays Innaddress: TTK Road, Alwarpet
phone: +91 44 2819 3638address: 3 Kenneth Lane, Egmore
phone: +91 44 28114941address: 71 Cathedral Rd, Gopalapuram32 rooms in central Chennai.
Peninsulaphone: +91 44 2815 0005address: 51 GN Chetty Rd, T. Nagar
phone: +91 44 2847 2211address: 25 Dr Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
phone: +91 44 2819 2219address: 22 Kennet Lane, Egmore
Ranjitphone: +91 44 2827 0521address: 15 Nungambakkam High Rd.
phone: +91 44 28253434address: 49 GN Chetty Rd, T.Nagar
address: Boag Rd, T.Nagar
phone: +91 44 7100 0001address: No 94 Sathyadev Ave, MRC NagarThe residence is 10 minutes away from the Chennai CBD. Studio through to 3-bedroom apartments. Each apartment features kitchens, separate living rooms complete with home entertainment systems.
phone: +91 44 2852 7171address: 39, Montieth Road, Egmore.
address: 146, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore
SplurgeThe closest hotels to the airport are The Trident, Le Royal Meridian, Hilton and Radisson GRT Hotel all five star properties.
phone: +91 44 2816 1000-4391 1000address: 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar
phone: +91 44 3966 5500address: By Starwood Hotels, 102 Rajiv Gandhi Salai, Sholinganallur.
phone: +91 44 2855 4476address: 30, Montieth Road, EgmoreFriendly staff.
phone: +91 44 66764000address: 564, Anna SalaiKnown by locals simply as the Marriott, this is a gorgeous renovated business hotel on the western edge of the city core, near the airport. Two restaurants, gym, no pool.
phone: +91 44 2846 3333address: Express Avenue Mall, Gate # 1, Patullos Rd
phone: +91 44 6100 1235address: 365 Anna Salai, Teynampet
phone: +91 44 2220 0000address: No. 63, Mount Road, GuindyNew 5-star hotel in Guindy. Grand design cues taken from Chola architecture.
phone: +91 44 2811 0101
phone: +91 44 5214 4000address: 601, Anna Salai, NungambakkamModern style with a film theme.
Radisson GRT Hotelphone: +91 44 2231 0101address: #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction)
phone: +91 44 3000 4777address: Gandhi Irwin Bridge Road, Egmore,Chennai,Tamil Nadu-600008Near the Egmore railway station, providing easy access to central business areas. Includes a restaurant. Road facing rooms can be noisy.
phone: +91 44 2231 4343address: 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction)
phone: +91 44 5500 0000address: Binny Rd
phone: +91 44 5500 2827address: 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam
phone: +91 44 2234 4747address: 1/24, G.S.T. Rd
phone: +91 44 3366 1234address: MRC Nagar,Adyar
phone: +91 44 2499 4101address: 132, TTK Road, Alwarpet
Fisherman's Coveluxury beach resort
address: 124/1, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Guindy
address: 1/238 IT Expressway, Semmencherry
phone: +91 44 7177 1234address: 39, Velachery Road, Guindy
address: 2 Ethiraj Salai, Egmore
phone: +91 44 4225 2525address: 120, St Marys Road, Alwarpet
address: 2, Club House Road, Anna Salai
phone: +91 44 4393 9999address: 636, Anna Salai, Teynampet
phone: +91 44 6633 3777address: 154, Velachery
phone: +91 4466970000address: 144/7, Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR), Kottivakkam5-star hotel. Offers 10% discount with free Wi-Fi and breakfast on online bookings.
It is advisable for women, especially unaccompanied ones, to dress modestly and limit their interaction with unfamiliar local men. Foreigners are generally overcharged by autorickshaws simply because they are ignorant of the prevailing fares. It is necessary to confirm whether the driver knows the exact destination and to fix the fare before boarding. 'Autos', as autorickshaws are known in Chennai, are notorious for fleecing customers, tourists and locals alike.
Be alert to your surroundings and watch where you step, especially if you get caught in a large crowd where it is difficult to look at what is in front of you. Cross streets extremely carefully as traffic is generally heavy. On major roads, use the underground crossings (locally called "subways"). Avoid using underground road-crossing/ subways in the night or if you notice them to be empty. Traffic signals are frequently ignored by drivers and pedestrians alike, and it is not at all advisable for tourists to try driving in Chennai.
Chennai summers are humid and sultry; it's better to step out with an umbrella, bottled water and some oral rehydration salts (available from pharmacies, the brand name is Electral). These come in handy if you happen to get dehydrated.
Chennai is the medical capital of South East Asia.
phone: +91 44 2829 3333address: Greams Lane, Nungambakkam
phone: +91 44 4228 8500address: 91A Millers Rd.
Balaji Hospitalphone: +91 44 2234 5282address: G.S.T Road,Guindy
phone: +91 44 4344 1544address: 814, Poonamallee High Rd,, Kilpauk
phone: +91 44 25951329address: Royapuram
phone: +91 44 2226 2244address: 103, G.S.T. Road, Tambaram West
phone: +91 44 2656 8000address: Moggapair 37
Ramachandra Hospitalphone: +91 44 2476 8403address: Porur
address: No1, Radial Road, pallikaranai
Dr.Mehta's Hospitalphone: +91 44 42271000address: No2,McNichols Road,3rd Lane,Chetpet
phone: +91 44 22492288, +91 44 42002288address: 4/112, Mt. Poonamalee High Road
phone: +91 44 4933 4933 (For Emergency)address: No. 52, 1st Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar
phone: 044 - 28193578 (For Emergency)address: 155,Egmore High Road
- Apollo Pharmacy, All Over the City
- Health & Glow, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road; Nungambakkam High Road
- Madras Medical Mission, 24 Hr. Pharmacy, Mogappiar
- The Psychotherapy Clinic,26/1, Arcot Street,T.nagar
- My Mother Pharmacy,E.B.Colony
- Parasu Dental Pharmacy 11, 3rd cross st kasthurbha nagar adyar chennai - 20 ph 4211 5000
- MedPlus India, All Over the City
LandlinesBSNL and Airtel Reliance, Tata, are main providers of terrestrial telephone lines in Chennai. You can make long distance calls from one of the many booths that display NSD/ISD i.e. National Subscriber Dialling (National Long Distance) and International Subscriber Dialling (International Long Distance). Calling cards are also available with these providers which are considerably cheap.
Mobile phonesCell phone rates are among the cheapest in the world. There are 10 GSM service providers:
- BSNL GSM Triband with 3G services
- AirTel GSM Triband with 3G services
- Vodafone GSM Triband with 3G services
- Reliance GSM
- Tata DOCOMO GSM
- Idea GSM
- MTS CDMA
- Videocon GSM
You can buy a sim card with a photo and a copy of your passport. For making long distance calls Aircel is cheaper with ₹49 card calls to US and Canada will be ₹1.50/Min. this will work only in home network. For other destinations Please check with operator.
CDMA service providers are Reliance,TATA Indicom, Virgin Mobile and MTS.
Starter packs and top-up cards can be picked up from numerous outlets. Seemles roaming across the country is provided by all providers.
InternetThere are several Internet cafes from where you can access the internet for sending email or uploading your digital photos.
- Reliance WebWorld, incorporating JavaGreen coffee shops, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road); TTK Road, Alwarpet, Besant Nagar, L.B.Road, Adyar. The TTK Road branch has free wifi if you use the coffee shop.
- MTS MBLAZE High Speed Broadband Internet Through USB Modems. Call +91 9150-955-955
Apart from that you can access Internet provided in your hotel or if you are staying long you can buy Internet packs from all mobile providers.
- ABN Amro, Harrington Road, Opp Residency Hotel on GN Chetty Road, Adyar - Sardar Patel Road, TTK Road, next to Citibank branch
- Andhra Bank, All over Chennai
- HSBC, Adyar, Mylapore, Pondy Bazzar, Tidel Park, Kadar Nawaz Khan Road, Annanagar, Rajaji Salai, Kathipara Junction
- American Express, Near Anand Theatre, Anna Salai (Mount Road)
- Citibank, Opp Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road); Opp Hotel Parthan, GN Chetty Road, Opposite Citi Centre, Velachery Highway, near Vijaya Nagar Bus terminus, Nanganallur.
- HDFC Bank, ITC Centre, Anna Salai (Mount Road),Anna Nagar(West); All over Chennai
- ICICI Bank, All over Chennai
- Axis Bank, All over Chennai
- Standard Chartered Bank, Haddows Road
- State Bank of India, All over Chennai. They have an ATM locator online.
- Indian Overseas Bank, All over Chennai,they have InstaCash ATMs.
- Indian bank, All over Chennai
- Oriental Bank of Commerce, Adyar LB Road, Mylapore, G N Chetty Road T nagar.
ATM cards issued by any bank will work with ATM of any other bank, but they may impose restrictions on number of transactions, amount per transaction and may also charge a small transaction fee of ₹20.
Money changersMany hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not have the best rates.
It is best to change money at the city-based money changers than the ones at the airports. The ones at the airport offer much less for exchanging forex into Indian rupees (₹) and sell forex for a much higher rate than the market rate.
- American Express, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai
- Thomas Cook, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai
Beauty parlors & hair salons
- Ayush, Anna Nagar (+91 26223102/26223446/26203862), Kilpauk (+91 52179635/26472298), Mylapore (+91 52067071/30907691) - Therapy includes Abhyangam, Abhyangam with Pichu, Abhyangam with local Pizhichil, Abhyangam with Thalam, Udvartanam, Abhyangam with Nasyam, Abhyangam with local Navarakizhi, Muka Lepam
- Anushka,6,Thyagaraya Road,Pondy Bazaar, T.Nagar, +91 52179197
- Celeste Beauty Salon, Spencer Plaza,(Mobile -9941130508) F-26, Phase 1, First floor
- Dollys beauty parlour, Elcanso Plaza, Egmore, +91 9840118882
- Green Trends, 1576, 13th Main Road, Anna Nagar (+91 26161534); Ashok Nagar (+91 52193636); Adyar (+91 24451759); Purusawakkam (+91 52174414); Taylors Road, Kilpauk (+91 26453331); T. Nagar (+91 28143886); Velachery (+91 22445590); Virugambakkam (+91 55511973) - Exotic natural treatments like Strawberry facial, Avocado Butter Massage Facial, Red Banana Facial, Baby-Corn under eye treatment! etc.
- Jazzy, North Boag Road, T. Nagar
- Lakme, Adayar (+91 24469730), Alwarpet (+91 24662481), Anna Nagar (+91 26268841), Ashok Nagar (+91 23750207), Kilpauk (+91 52179634), Nungambakkam (+91 28333050), T. Nagar (+91 28155577)
- Naturals, Unisex beauty salon with more than 100 salons around Chennai.
- Salon Nayana, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar, +91 28256064
- Style Mantra- Makeover Concepts, Nungambakkam (+91 28280066), R.K. Salai (+91 28110707)
- Blue 'Boutique Gym'-329, TTK Road, Alwarpet.#24996045,24996064.
- Body Sports Gym-Govindan Road, Saidapet. #9841151091
- Gold's Gym 17, Kasturi Rangan Road Alwarpet, +91 44 42088201
- Mind N Body 360 degree Fitness Studio - Ramapuram & Mugalivakkam. #9600030058, 8754409900, 044-42014949
- O2 Gym, Kader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam, Velachery
- Soldiers Gym, Triplicane High Road, Triplicane (and on Anna Salai)
- Talwalkars, Near Khader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam
- Talwalkars, 23rd Cross Street,Indira Nagar, Adyar
Post & telegraphsThe telegraph office on Anna Salai (Mount Rd), near Higgin Bothoms accepts letters and parcels up to 8PM with a small late fee. Snail Mail in India is by a Post Card (25Ps), Inland Letter ₹5, or envelope ₹5. Speed Post facility allows you to send mail more conveniently than a courier service. They have a pan India coverage and also provide international service. International delivery is considerably slower than private competitors like FedEX or UPS but it is also much cheaper. Telegraph services have been discontinued from July 2013 citing very poor response.
Due to proliferation of mobile phones and VOIP, the public telephones are fast disappearing. Telephone Booths or public telephones in India can still be found near travel hotspots like the airport, railway station or CMBT and usually painted with the letters PCO (Public Call office,local calls), STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) and ISD (International Subscriber Dialling). All booths have electronic metering and you pay what's displayed on the meter (included in the metering is a nominal ₹2 as service charges). You'll also get a receipt if you insist on one. Coin operated phones ₹1 are located in many busy junctions (easily identified by bright yellow or red colour) but support only local calls.
Libraries & cultural centres
- American Information Resource Center Library (within the American Consulate - see list of consulates)
- Anna Centenary Library - Kotturpuram, Phone - 65515031
- British Council - Anna Salai, Phone - 52050600 Ext 350/351.
- Connemara Library - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Phone 28193751.
- Max Mueller Bhavan (German) - Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd., Nungambakkam.
- phone: +91 44-28330888address: 18 (Old 24), 3F, YAFA Tower, Khader Nawaz Khan Rd, Nungambakkam
- phone: +91 44-2852 4141address: 202 Anna Salai
- phone: +91 44-24301600address: 9 Boat Club Rd
Greecephone: +91 44-8203663address: Νο 37 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
- phone: +91 44-24323860address: No.12/1 Cenetoph Rd Ist St, Teynampet
Malaysiaphone: +91 44 28226895address: New no.7,Old no.3, Cenotaph Road, 1st street, teynampet, Chennai-600018
Russiaaddress: Santhome High Rd, Santhome
- phone: +91 44 28158207address: 17-A, North Boag Road, T Nagar
United Kingdomphone: +91 44 42192151address: 20 Anderson Rd, Nungambakkam
- phone: +91 44-2857-4000address: 220 Anna Salai, Gemini Circle
- Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram has many temples, mostly built during the Pallava Dynasty (275-897CE), including several on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The town is also famous for stone carving, and has schools that train most of India's carvers. Carvings and other handicrafts are sold all over town.
The East Coast Road could very well be termed the entertainment highway of Chennai. The road is new, flanked by the sea on the left and dotted with amusement spots through the entire stretch. Driving down ECR is an experience. Really! You can pick and choose from amusement parks, water sports centres, beaches, eco conservation, cultural and religious centres, restaurants or resorts to spend your day in. The road caters to practically every type of pastime that one could think about. Be prepared to pay a small toll fee.
- Ahaa Water Park: A spot for frolicking in water, the Ahaa Water Park offers a variety of water sports and fun activities. It has a wave generator, which can generate waves of up to 3.5 ft.
- Beach Resorts: Another convenience that is found in plenty on the East Coast Road is the presence of several comfortable, pleasing, beach resorts, which enable you to take a break, and enjoy a seaside environment. Take your pick from those mentioned below:
- - Buena Vista - Blue Lagoon - Green Country Resort - Fisherman's Cove - Casuarina Bay -
Madras Crocodile Bank25 km from Chennai. The brainchild of Romulus Whittaker, the acknowledged specialist on reptiles, this center has gained fame as an endeavor for the preservation and propagation of endangered species of crocodiles. The center also houses a large variety of snakes. To get to Crocodile Bank from Chennai (Triplicane), you need to get on the PP19/B/X bus (runs along the beach) to Kovalum, which is the last stop for ₹14 (75mins/30 km). Then at this same intersection, get on 588/C/X bus to Mamallapurum (7 km/7mins) for ₹14/18AC. Night Safari: Tue-Sat (by advance booking only) 7:00PM-8:30PM. Adult: Rs.200/-, Children (below 10 years): Rs.100/-
- - Basera - Blue Lagoon - Thanjavur Restaurant - Food Village - Coastal Kitchen - Hot Kitchen -
TemplesSouth India is famous for its temples. Even if you aren't on a pilgrimage, these are worth a visit if you are interested in grand buildings and architecture. There are 33, 000 temples in and around Chennai. Some of them are -
- Chidambaram — Approximately 250 km from Chennai. The famous Lord Nataraja temple which has the golden roof for the moolavar which was offered by Parantaka Chola I.
- Kanchipuram — (6 km. Take a bus or a train). Kamakshi temple, seat of one of the Shankaracharyas - the closest Hinduism comes to a spiritual head.
- Madurai— Home to the famous Meenakshi temple.
- Swamithoppe— Ayya Vaikundar Pathi, religious headquarters of Ayyavazhi.
- Thanjavur — Brihadeswara temple (Big Temple).
- Tiruchirapalli — It's situated 350 km south of chennai. By NH45 Trichy can be reached in 5-6 hrs and it has lot of attractions including the Srirangam temple (Sri Renganathar), Ucchi Pillayar (Rock Fort temple) and the river Cauvery.
- Tirunelveli— Home to the Tamil Nadu's largest Shiva temple, "Nellaiappar Temple".
- Tirupati — Approximately 150 km from Chennai, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- Tiruvallur — Approximately 45 km from Chennai. It is famous for its Vaidhya Veera raghava Swami Temple and Sri Viswaroopa Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami Ashram which has a 40 ft tall Murti of Hanuman.
- Tiruvannamalai — Arunachala Temple famous for full moon day girivalam and Deepam