The fascinating city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, lies on the stunning Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. Today, this capital city of the southern state of Tamil Nadu has developed itself around the command post of Fort St George which was established by the British in 1639. Chennai is one of the four metropolitan cities of India and an extremely attractive destination to head to. This travel guide will adequately reveal some of the richest relics of the state which lie strewn all around Chennai.
Best time to visit Chennai
Chennai experiences extremely hot and humid weather during the summer months of March to May. Even though the monsoon brings a little relief from June till August, the winter months between November and February are nice and pleasant which makes sightseeing easy.
Chennai is well connected by major Indian cities as well as a majority of international destinations. You can get great deals on Dubai to Chennai flights if you book in advance. The city is also the headquarters of the Southern Railway which connects all parts of India by superfast trains. A major network of highways leads to all the important destinations through an excellent inter state bus service. Cruise lines and other passenger vessels regularly drop anchor at the Chennai port.
Chennai has a good network of suburban trains which run from 4am to midnight at regular intervals. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses are another option for getting around the city. You can also move around Chennai in metered taxis and auto rickshaws, but it is tough to convince the drivers to use them.
Shopping in Chennai
Shopping in Chennai is said to be a wonderful experience as this cosmopolitan metropolis is known for its exquisite silk sarees, antiques and jewellery. The Victoria Technical Institute at Anna Salai houses a great collection of beautiful artifacts and handicrafts which go a long way in supporting the local artisans. The diverse culture and tradition of Chennai makes shopping here a memorable experience.
Important monuments of Chennai
The city’s rich historic past is aptly reflected in the many monuments which lie in and around Chennai. The fortified complex of Fort St George, the Fort Museum and the oldest British Church in India, St Mary’s Church are worth a visit. The 8th century Kapaleeshwar Temple is the best known place of worship in South India. Rare paintings and artifacts can be seen in the museum of the Basilica of the Northern Shrine of St Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Churches in Chennai
The churches of Chennai showcase the significant presence of European powers which first settled in this colony. As a result of the blendiy of the different traditions and their religious beliefs, the city became a hub of various sects. The Church St Thomas Mount was the first built by the Portuguese followed by other important ones like Santhome Cathedral Basilica and Luz Church.
Museums of Chennai
Chennai is home to two important museums, the Government Museum and the Vivekananda Museum.The Government Museum houses a plethora of rare artifacts and also serves as an office for all the departments concerned with preservation of Indian antiques. The Vivekananda Museum is located in the famous Ice House of Chennai, a building in which ice did not melt in spite of the soaring temperatures outside. Swami Vivekananda used to teach the philosophy of life here before the Ice House was changed into a museum.