Chennai Travel Guide

Vibrant, vivacious and vivid - Chennai's amazing amalgamation of the classical Tamil aestheticism with a new layer of cosmopolitan culture is definitely a treat for every traveller who decides to explore this coastal metropolitan city. Spanning a wide range of diverse attractions, the ample places to visit in Chennai will enthrall travellers to the core. Founded by the British in 1639, Chennai went on to emerge as a topmost tourist attraction apart from being the hub of Tamil politics, economy and culture. Beautiful beaches, a motley assortment of architectural wonders in the form of temples and numerous eateries offering delectable local and international fare - there are many points of interest in Chennai that will fill you up with charming experiences. While in the city, you will get a chance to relive the days of the Chalukya and the Chola Dynasties at the Government Museum, take a walk at India's first fortress built by the British, or observe the classic Dravidian architecture at the numerous temples sprinkled all over the city. For those who love outdoorsy things, the Guindy National Park or the campus of the Theosophical Society at Adyar is the place to be. The boulevard of the Theosophical Society is a great place to visit and take a stroll that eventually heads towards the San Thome Church.

Needless to say, this neo-Gothic Cathedral is an absolute treat to the eyes. Other must visit places in Chennai comprise a host of temples including the likes of Kapaleeshwarar Temple and Parthasarathy Temple. Both these shrines offer unique Dravidian architecture that leaves travellers in awe. Admire the timeless beauty of the temples and offer your prayers at these religious sites. The city's historic temples, churches, colourful markets, art-hubs always ensure that visitors have plenty of things to do in Chennai. Explore the city's government museum, visit the planetarium, watch sunset at Marina Beach as you grab some fried seafood snacks or go wildlife spotting at the Snake Park or at the Guindy National Park-Chennai will never fail to enthral you with its myriad experiences.  In our Chennai travel guide we will tell you all about the several places to visit and some of the must do things in Chennai From offering prayers at the numerous temples to reliving the past at historical museums and forts to wildlife safaris at the few natural parks and strolling at the longest sea beach in Asia - we have covered it all.

Best Time to Visit Chennai

Chennai is located right on the banks of the Bay of Bengal and enjoys a tropical humid climate year-round. Summers are very hot and sunny while monsoons record moderate to heavy rainfall, thereby increasing the humidity levels in the air to a substantial extent. Winters are probably the best time to visit Chennai as the temperature is moderate and the weather is pleasant.

  • Summer

    Summer

    Chennai experiences severe summers. The summer season beginning from March extends almost till October, with some splashes of rains in between. However, the underlying warmness continues to remain year-round. Talking about hottest months, the duration from late May till mid-June records the highest temperature with mercury levels crossing 45° Celsius pretty often. Needless to say, that the scorching heat makes it nearly impossible to include Chennai as your summer vacation outing. However, the cool breeze of the sea, post sunset, offers some respite.

  • Monsoon

    Monsoon

    Just like pan-India, Chennai experiences monsoons from mid-June to September, though with an underlying warmness in the air. Humidity levels go up substantially accompanied by moderate to heavy rains. Though few travel junkies do visit Chennai during monsoons, exploring the city amidst rainfall can get somewhat difficult.

  • Winter

    Winter

    Winters are the best time to visit Chennai. With a slight warmth in the air, the weather is pretty much pleasant and makes for an ideal time to explore the city. Winters in Chennai are very short-lived spanning from November to February with January recording the lowest temperature. Temperature during winters range between 14°C and 22°C. Chennai also receives occasional splashes of rain during winters, making the weather all the more pleasant. A tour of Chennai during winters can be highly enjoyed.

Places to Visit and Things to Do in Chennai

Those who want to experience the authenticity of Tamil culture and soak into its savoir-faire clubbed with a strong modern-day cosmopolitan influence, Chennai is a must visit place. Right from offering prayers at the numerous religious shrines to taking a leisurely stroll at the longest beach in Asia to reliving the days of the yore at many historical architectures - a tour of Chennai will leave you asking for more.

  • Sri Bhaktha Anjaneyaswami Temple

    Located in Nanganallur, the Bhaktha Anjaneyaswami Temple is prominent religious shrine in Chennai. The shrine attracts several tourists round the year. The temple's presiding deity happens to be Lord Hanuman. Standing tall at a height of 40 feet, the idol is believed to be the biggest Hanuman statue in India. Carved out of a single granite stone, the statue is slightly green in colour. The temple has corridors running from the main sanctum to other shrines.

  • Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

    Dedicated to Sai Baba, the Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a major place of worship that attracts thousands of devotees round the year. A peaceful-place, do remember to offer your prayers and seek blessings at this temple. One of the major features of the temple is that, they offer prasadam to each and every visitor and that too almost every minute.

  • Kapaleshwarar Temple

    Built in the 7th century, the Kapaleshwarar Temple in Mylapore is an old shrine. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple boasts an impressive Dravidian architecture where devotees throng in large numbers throughout the year. The present structure is believed to have been reconstructed in the 16th century after the Portuguese destroyed the temple. The temple's most important feature happens to be a brightly coloured gopuram and a pillared mandapa.

  • Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam

    Located in T Nagar, the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam is a popular religious shrine highly regarded by the Tamilians. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is said that the temple is one of the richest shrines in south India. Its popularity attracts devotees in large numbers throughout the year. Just like any other temples in south India, this shrine is also built in the typical Dravidian style of architecture, though its white in colour.

  • Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

    The Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is yet another popular Hindu religious shrine in Chennai. The presiding deity of the temple happens to be Lord Vishnu. The statue of Lord Vishnu is here seen in a reclining posture with the five-headed serpent and worshipping a Shiva Lingam. One cannot stop admiring the beauty of the deity. Built in 1962, the temple boasts of a south-Indian architecture and is highly revered among the Malayali community of Chennai.

  • Thousand Lights Mosque

    Located in Anna Salai, the Thousand Lights Mosque is prominent place of worship in Chennai. Built in 1820, the mosque's medieval Indo Saracenic architectural is highly admirable. It is said that, the hall inside the mosque is so huge that 1000 lamps were used to lit it up. Since then, the mosque came to be known as Thousand Lights Mosque. The shrine is highly regarded by the Shia community.

  • Ramakrishna Temple

    As the name suggests, the Ramkrishna Temple is dedicated to the famous saint and religious reformer, Ramakrishna Paramhansa. The temple was founded in 1897 by Swami Ramakrishnananda, a direct disciple of the former who came to Chennai to spread his guru's message. It has the idols of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. The temple authorities are actively involved in social development and offers free education to underprivileged children and rehabilitation to the needy.

  • Sri Parthasarathy Temple

    The Parthasarathy Temple is yet another prominent shrine in the city of Chennai that attracts thousands of devotees year-round. Situated in Triplicane, the temple is one of the oldest shrines and was built in the 8th century AD by the rulers of the Pallava Dynasty with later addition by the Cholas and the Vijaynagar Empire. An ultimate example of Dravidian architecture, the myriad Tamil and Telugu inscriptions on the temple are worth noting.

  • St. George Fort and Museum

    One of the prominent places of interest in Chennai, the St. George Fort and Museum was built by the British in 1653. Since its inception, the structure has undergone several facelifts and today happens to be centre of Tamil Nadu's legislative assembly. The museum in the fort displays on Chennai's origins and the fort, an interesting military memorabilia and an extensive artwork from colonial times. Read more

  • San Thome Cathedral and Basillica

    The white neo-gothic cathedral leaves behind an indelible impression on the visitors with its 180 feet tall spire. Considered one of the holiest shrines of Christianity, the Basilica has the remains of St Thomas, (one of Jesus' 12 apostles) who came here to preach. The church was originally built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, later reconstructed in its latest form on 1898. Read more

  • Vivekananda House and Museum

    Dedicated to the famous religious reformer, the Vivekananda House and Museum is another must visit place in Chennai. The house is remembered as the place where Swami Vivekananda stayed for a while after returning from the US. Spherical in shape and rising three-storey high, the structure is located in the busy locality of Kamaraj Salai. There's a museum that houses several photos and events from the great monk's life.

  • Marina Beach

    The Marina Beach happens to one of the main attractions of this coastal city. Sprawling over a distance of more than 13 kilometres, the coastline is the longest in Asia and the second longest in the world after the Miami Beach, Florida. It runs from Fort St. George in the north to Besant Nagar in the south. Travellers must make it a point to visit this landmark of Chennai while in the city. Early morning and dusk are the best time to visit the coastline when a cool breeze flows from the sea. Read more

  • Government Museum

    History lovers and culture vultures can have an awesome time exploring the Government Museum of the city. The museum is a treasure trove of artefacts from the 6th century onwards and houses artefacts from all major south Indian kingdoms like the Cholas, the Chalukyas, the Hoysalas and the Pallavas. There are also certain galleries dedicated to zoology and natural history. One of the major highlights is the National Art Gallery that some artefacts belonging to the Deccani, Rajasthani and even Mughal dynasties. Read more

  • Guindy National Park and Snake Park

    One of the smallest national parks of India, the Guindy National Park and its adjacent Snake Park are also prominent tourist attractions in the city. It is also one of the very few national parks located within a main city. The park is home to several rare species of animals including blackbucks, spotted deer, jackals, a variety of snakes, lizards, geckos and tortoises. The park attracts more than 700,000 visitors every year.

  • Elliot's Beach

    Located roughly 60 kilometres away from the city centre, the Elliot's Beach is yet another prominent coastline in the city of Chennai. Also known as Bessie Beach, the coastline lies extreme south of the Marina Beach and is quite popular with the youngsters of the city. There's a lot to do in this tranquil beach - watch the sun set across the horizon, build sand castles on the beach or simply lie on the beach and enjoy the cool breeze. Read more

Where to Stay in Chennai?

As a metropolitan city, it goes without saying that there are host of accommodation options in the city catering to all kinds of travellers. Whether you are an international traveller or travelling from a different part of the country, you can choose accommodations in the city as per your taste. Be it budget hotels or mid-range ones at a central location or high-end hotels overlooking the sea - you can find all kinds of options in Chennai.

How to Reach Chennai?

Being a state capital and a prominent metropolitan city, Chennai is easily accessible from all over India. Right from Assam in the extreme northeast to the extreme west coast of Gujarat - travellers can avail major modes of transport to reach Chennai. From railways to airways to roadways, every means of transport is bound towards Chennai.

  • By Air

    If you are travelling to the city by air, you need to land at the Chennai International Airport. The airport is well-connected by several domestic and international airlines that ply several times a day.

  • By Rail

    The main railway station for the city happens to be the Chennai Central Station. The junction is extremely well-connected with numerous local and express trains throughout India. Train tickets can be booked online beforehand.

  • By Road

    Chennai can be reached via road as well since the city is very well connected by a wide network of roads. Several National Highways (NH) and State Highways connect Chennai to hundreds of Indian cities. If you are adventurous enough you can choose to opt for a road trip to Chennai from Kolkata via NH 16. On the other hand, if you are travelling from Bengaluru, you have to take NH 48 and while travelling from Thiruvananthapuram you have to take NH 38.

Tamil Nadu Travel Information at a Glance

There's an abundance of culture, tradition, art, craft, nature, and wildlife experiences awaiting in Tamil Nadu. Choose from our wide array of Tamil Nadu travel packages and get that incredible holiday experience at this colour palette kind of a destination. We design the finest tour packages keeping your likes and dislikes in mind so that you are guaranteed a holistic travelling experience that too in a budget of your choice.