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48 Hours in Chennai: What to Do and Where to Go

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So, you are travelling to South India via Chennai and you have 48 hours before you leave for the other destination. Great! Now, I can’t give you an estimate of how interesting your stay in Chennai is going to get but it is true that every journey made to this exuberant land is a memorable one. I am sure, though that your trip won’t get any bizarre like that of Shahrukh Khan (in Chennai Express) who falls into a situation that cuts both ways (having to indulge in life threatening situations and on the other hand finding true love) but there are many reasons that a trip down to Chennai is an experience that has its own thrill. After all it’s not for nothing that this Tamil Capital is called the Gateway of South India, Chennai definitely has potentials to entertain, exhilarate and surprise you.  Here’s how you can make most of your 48 hours in Chennai but before that take a look at this lovely video that celebrates the spirit of Chennai.

People of Chennai are proud of their culture as well as their modern living and it can clearly be seen by the ways the city is designed. Although 48 hours is a very short time to see and judge what this grand city is all about, however indulging in a well planned tour can help in learning a lot in less time. Now, the trick here would be to plan the trip to Chennai in a way where all aspects of the city can be included. A tour that can cover beach, museum, monument, market, mall, street food, traditional food and a modern restaurant would be ideal. Here are a few options that you must include in your itinerary:


Morning Sightseeing
Your 48hours in Chennai will allow you two mornings and may I recommend the following:

  • Drive on the beach road – You can choose your stretch but an ideal one would start from Royapuram or Ennore to all the way up to Besant Nagar or ECR.
  • Visit Santhome’s Church - Visit the church and its basement and the little chapel. The Church remains open between 6am to 8pm and boasts stained glass windows and a statue of St Thomas in a sitting posture.  It also consists of a museum, library and a shop selling prayer material.
  • Visit Temples - Kapaleeshwar temple and Parthasarthy temple.

Kapaleeshwar Temple is the fine specimen of architecture, its detailed Gopuram structure measuring 37 metres high and is a fine example of Dravidian style. Parthasarthy Temple on the other hand is one of the historical places in Chennai as it is said to be the oldest temple in the city. Coloured Gopurams are the highlights of this temple.

Kapaleeshwar Temple Timings: 5.30am to 12pm

Parthasarthy Temple Timings: 4am to 11.30pm

  • Visit Armenian Church – An 18th century church, it is the only shrine left in Chennai that tells about the Armenian community that lived here centuries ago. The church is open between 9am and 12.30pm and boasts beautiful architecture and quite surroundings.

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Afternoon Sightseeing
Remember that Chennai gets really hot in the afternoons; therefore it is ideal to plan for places like museum, theaters, shopping malls or a park (depending upon how hot the day is).

  • Visit St Thomas Mount – Believed to be the site of St Thomas’ martyrdom in AD 72, St. Thomas is a small hillock with the Church of Our Lady of Expectation built atop it by the Portuguese in 1523. The church is reckoned to have fragment of Thomas’ finger bone and a cross he carved. The shrine can be visited between 6am and 8pm and boasts beautiful views of the city
  •  Spend time in Fort St George – Built by British in the 17th century, Fort George now houses Tamil Nadu’s Legislative Assembly and Secretariat along with a museum and a church. The Fort Museum displays Chennai’s origins and interesting military memorabilia and artwork from colonial times. There is also a portrait gallery of colonial-era that includes a very assured-looking Robert Clive (Clive of India). The Fort remains open for visitors between 9am and 5pm.
  • Watch Film Shoot -  It is a great idea to catch film shooting in any of the studios in Kodambakkam or Vadapalani
  • Visit Chepauk – The place is famed for M.A Chidambaram Stadium. Even if you are not a fan of cricket, you shall like this place which has a palace built in Indo Sarcenic style. You can also visit the University while you are in the area.
  • Guindy Park and Snake Park - Guindy Park is the only national park situated in the middle of a city. The park has a rich population of birds, animals and reptiles. One can see blackbucks, spotted deer, jackals and tortoise here. The Snake Park on the other side is the home to cobras and pythons, although birds like partridge, quail, fly catcher and buzzards can also be found here. One can also plan a visit to Crocodile Park.

Timings: 9am to 5.30pm

  • Visit Connemara Public Library – This late 19th century library is a treasure house of centuries-old publications. With a collection of over 600,000 books, it is one of Asia’s largest libraries. While you are at the museum, try and watch a play and visit the Bronze Gallery. The library opens between 9am and 7.30pm.
  • Watch a Rajinikanth or a Dhanush movie in a regular theatre - Seems like Rajnikanth is in the DNA of the Chennaikarans. What better way to celebrate the spirit of Chennai than to watch a movie of the Thailavva in a single screen theatre.
  • Watch a Dance Performance at Kalakshetra – There are some or the other event that keeps happening in Kalakshetra, ideal would be to look online and book a ticket if there is a dance performance on the dates that you are arriving on.

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Evening Sightseeing
Evenings in Chennai are comparatively cooler, so one can plan to head out in the streets. Here are some suggestions as to what to do in Chennai in the evening.

  • Head to Elliots – One can savour thengai, mangai pattani sundal here.
  • Watch Sunset at Broken Bridge – Broken Bridge is also ideal for birding. I mean what can be better than witnessing a beautiful sunset along with watching some lovely birds.
  • Try Road Side Sandwiches - The sandwiches near Alsa Mall is something to look forward too. The place is an oldie and has been a popular joint for people of all ages in Chennia. Icecream parlours – would have loved to say Jafars and Dasaprakash, but in their absence will settle for Snowfield.
  • Go for Some Saree Shopping/Window Shopping – This is one thing that you must to do in Chennai and that is to be the part of the saree mania. Go to Panagal Park and ask shopkeepers to show you every saree of your fancy at Nallis, Kumarans, RMKV ,Chennai silks and Sundari.
  • Chill at Contemporary Chennai – Hangout at offee shops, lounge bars, exclusive boutiques or at premium malls. Enjoy events like Mediterranean or Mexican fare, fusion concerts and international film festivals, art shows, contemporary dance and much much more.
  • Walk around Ranganathan Street - If you wish to shop like a local, you need to visit Ranganathan Street in T Nagar or Purasaiwalkam or Luz market. This will let you understand shopping culture in Chennai.
  • Stroll through Triplicane – This place alone has the potential to provide some important insights on Chennai city. You can walk around the old book stores, get lost in the winding lanes, visit temples, eat in Ratna Cafe, look at the architecture around, gaze at the domes, and witness the remains of the old Nawabi culture around Wallajah and the Agraharams in the area.

Also, one has the choice to take a ride on MRTS or the Hop on Hop off Bus for Chennai Darshan. Apart from the suggestions we have made above there are couple of other
places in Chennai that you can visit. Here is the list:

  • Marina Beach
  • Birla Planetarium
  • Vivekananda House
  • Theosophical Society
  • Samco
  • Moore Market
  • Alamparai Fort
  • Saravana Bhawan
  • Cholamandal Artist Village
  • Covelong Beach
  • Vellankani Shrine
  • Thousand Light Mosque
  • Arignar Anna Zoological Park
  • Semmozhi Poonga
  • MGM Dizee World
  • Dakshina Chitra

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Wow! That’s a long list, I know your 48hours in Chennai city will not be enough to see all of this but you can surely adjust some of these exotic places in your itinerary. But if you are still confused and thinking how to plan a tour in Chennai, then give Tour My India a call at   +91-9212777223/24   or simply drop us an email at TMI promises to make your experience in Chennai an unforgettable one!

Don’t hesitate to drop in your queries regarding different tour packages in India. We at Tour My India will be happy to help you.

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From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a well traveled writer whose love for nature can be seen in her writings. She loves to trek and enjoy nature and portrait photography. Nidhi has covered most of the valleys along the foaming streams of Jammu & Kashmir and aspire to cover all major trekking routes of Ladakh and Uttarakhand. She also takes keen interest in different cultures and traditions of the world and enjoys collecting mementos. With her flair for writing and personal travelling experiences, she offers vividly descriptive write ups.

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