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Chennai

General Information

Chennai is the capital city of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal. Chennai is sometimes also called the "Gateway to South India" as it is well connected with all tourist attractions of South India. Chennai is the 34th largest metropolitan city of the world and boasts of the second longest seashore of the world. Most people speak Tamil language in the city while you can easily converse in English with educated people here. Chennai is home to the distinct classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. Chennai has remained the hotbed of regional politics and Dravidian movement in India.

The city experiences a tropical climate and its soil is made of shale, clay and sandstone through which runoff rainwater percolates quickly. The weather remains humid and hot for most part of the year. January is the coolest month when temperature remains between 15 °C –22 °C. Monsoon arrives in the city from October to December and sometimes cyclones also hit it. Highest rainfall of 257 cm was recorded in the city in the year 2005.

Tourist attractions in Chennai

Marina Beach : The 12 km long and 300 m wide Marina Beach is the second longest beach of the world and has a wide sandy foreshore. There is an elegant promenade with flower beds. Stroll on the golden sands of Marina Beach, sip of coconut water and do not forget to taste the crispy murukku and sundal. Anna Square is another popular hangout destination of Marina Beach.

Fort St. George : The fort was built by the British East India Company on the banks of Bay of Bengal in the year 1640. Fort Museum houses the cannons of Tipu Sultan and his other armory. It now houses the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu and is also referred as the Secretariat Building.

Parthasarthy Temple : The 8th century temple is considered to be the oldest temple of Chennai. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna and inscriptions from Pallava, Chola and Vijaynagar rulers are found on its walls. There are shrines of other deities also in the temple like those of Rama, Vishnu, Rukmani, Hanuman etc.

St. Mary's Church : It is considered to be the oldest surviving church built by the British in India. It is the first church built by the British in India. St Mary's Church was consecrated in October 1680 and has defensive thick walls. Its interiors have fascinating plaques that evoke memories of its glorious past.

Other attractions of Chennai are:

  • Covelong
  • Edward Elliot's Beach
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Thomas
  • Sri Ramakrishna Math Universal Temple
  • Kapaleeshwarar Temple
  • Big Mosque
  • Valluvar Kottam
  • Government Museum
  • National Art Gallery
  • Guindy National Park
  • Birla Planetarium
  • Arinjar Anna Zoological Park
Getting There

By Air : Chennai International Airport is the third busiest airport in India, the other two being Mumbai and Delhi. You can board in flights to Europe and North America, South East Asia and Middle East from the airport. Domestic flights are also available for Port Blair, Andaman Islands and other cities in India.

By Train : Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore are the main railway stations of Chennai that connect the city with the rest of India. Some trains to Chennai Central stop at Perambur while some bound for Chennai Egmore stop at Tambaram.

By Road : CMBT is the main bus terminus of Chennai which is counted among the biggest in Asia. Seven state owned corporations run buses from Chennai to other cities in south India viz. Tirupati, Pondicherry, Bangalore, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad.

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