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Difference between revisions of "Chennai"

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Tamil Nadu : Chennai
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===By car===
 
===By car===
It is generally not advisable for foreign travelers 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'''.  
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It is generally not advisable for foreign travelers to drive on their own as they might be unaware of the traffic rules and congestion in the city. Negotiating the Indian traffic is not a part of standard driving lessons and can only be mastered by experience. The roads in Chennai are better maintained than the average Indian road. Rush hour traffic may result in nasty jams. Chennai has three arterial roads: Anna Salai/ Mount Road, EVR Periyar Salai/ Poonamallee High Road, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai/ 100 feet Road.
  
 
If you choose to rent a car, it's highly advisable to hire a driver as well, whose fee comes to around {{INR}}150/- for an 8-hour shift.  Companies include:
 
If you choose to rent a car, it's highly advisable to hire a driver as well, whose fee comes to around {{INR}}150/- for an 8-hour shift.  Companies include:

Revision as of 16:02, 31 December 2012


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Chennai (Tamil:சென்னை) [1], formerly known as Madras, this 369-year-old city is the capital of the southern state of Tamilnadu and is India's sixth-largest city in terms of population with an estimated population of 7.45 million (2005).[2]It serves as one of the main gateways to South India and has a thriving local culture and art scene and is one of the major destinations for medical tourism. It is considered as one of the world's fastest growing cities[3] although ranks 13th in terms of cleanliness.[4]

It is on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal and has the second longest beachfront of any municipality in the world.

The Horse and rider, Anna Salai.

Contents

Understand

History

Long the site of earlier coastal settlements, Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local Telugu ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Naidu on his father's name Damerla Chennappa Naidu. The document of the land grant is dated 22 August 1639, and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on 22 August each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (23 April) and hence was named after the patron saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai. Two suburbs, Santhome and St. Thomas Mount, are named in his memory.

In 1996, the Tamilnadu government renamed Madras to Chennai providing the reason that 'Chennai' was the city's traditional name while Madras was one derived during colonial rule.

Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, a name given to the area when the British negotiated settling there with Damerla Venkatapathy Nayakudu. The origin of the name is from Muthuraja Chennappa Nayakudu as Chennapatnam.Chennappa served under Sriranga Deva Raya assisting him against the Golkonda forces of Ibrahim Qutb Shah in several battles,notably in 1576 when Penukonda was captured by Ali Adil Shah and in 1579 when he captured the Golkonda Commander Murari Rao.

In 1580, Ibrahim Qutb Shah of Golkonda invaded Kondavidu. Later he took the Udayagiri Fort and began to massacre the locals. However he was defeated after a brief fight with the Raya's army. Qutb Shah later took the fort of Vinukonda. Sriranga defeated the Sultan's forces with the assistance of his generals muthuraja Chennappa[damarla was his surname] and Kasturiranga. During this fight, Chennappa lost his life. He was succeeded by Kasturiranga. When East India Company was established the St.George fort in the present day Chennai, for which the permission was granted by Damarla Venkatadri Nayakudu,the local palegar of that area ,under the condition that area is to be named in the honour of his father Muthuraja chennapa nayakudu as muthuraja chennapatanam.The East India Company in brief named the area as madras[madras is a corrupt form of muthuraj].In earlier days this area was called as madraspattanam and also chennapatnam. Later Govt. of Tamil Nadu renamed it as Chennai. Some elder population still refer to the city as Madras but the name Chennai has caught up with much of the population.

Under the British, the then city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of Southern India that were not governed by any of the other princely states. After independence, it became the capital of the Madras state, and when the states were reorganized on a linguistic basis, it became the capital of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai boasts of many well known people including Elihu Yale, whose liberal gift funded the construction of Yale University in 1718; Indira Nooyi CEO of Pepsi International; A.R. Rahman, the musical genius of "Slumdog Millionaire", Manirathnam the ace film Director, Vijay Armirthraj, Ramesh Krishnan and his father Ramanathan Krishnanm tennis stars and chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand among many others.

Culture

Chennai is gateway to the South, and its culture is distinctly different from that of any other city in India. Tamil tradition and culture are indigenous to this region and is essentially the celebration of the beauty, which is exemplified through dance, clothing, and sculptures. Chennai is both an orthodox and a modern cosmopolitan city; the culture of the city reflects its diverse population. The traditional arts, music, dance and all other art forms of Tamilnadu grow and flourish here. The food is a unique blend of traditional, to fast foods and filter kaapi. It’s a land of temples and priests. The architecture ranges from ancient temples to modern high-rises. Music is classical and western, to the growing nightlife in the city. You can find a school for traditional Bharatanatyam or Salsa dance and for music a veena / violin or for Guitar/drums school in almost every neighborhood of the city. Chennai checks reflects its traditionalism every December when the music season is in full swing. Clothes are generally conservative but young people are contemporary.

  • Traditional Tamil Clothing - Tamil women traditionally wear the Saree or Sari while the men wear Dhoti, which could be either a white pancha or a colourful lungi with typical South Indian patterns. The sari, being an un-stitched 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. Therefore by tradition, the stomach and the navel is to be left unconcealed, though the philosophy behind the costume has largely been forgotten. This makes the realization of sharira-mandala (the body), where in Angikam bhuvanam yasya (the body is your world) unites with the shaarira-mandala (the whole universe), as expressed in the Natyashastra. These principles of the sari, also hold for other forms of wraps, like the lungi or 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's sometimes lifted till knee and tied at the waist leisurely or just held in hand to speed up walking. In tradition Brahmin homes men wear kachche panchey where it is tied at back by taking it between legs. Similar pattern is seen in women.
  • Tamilnadu Cuisine - Rice is the staple diet in Chennai, Dosa, Idli and Uttapam are popular in Chennai. The state of Tamilnadu has a distinct place in culinary map of the country. Chennai has a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies to offer. The food here gets its flavor from a host of spices and condiments used in Tamil Nadu. Coconut, tamarind and asafetida are a must for almost all vegetarian recipes. Garam masala is avoided in Tamil cuisine. Gingelly oil(made from Sesame seeds) is normally used giving it a distince flavor. Olive oil is usually not popular. Chutneys and mixed spice are served in the lunch and enhance the taste of the meal. The South India lunch (also called meals) in Chennai consists of cooked rice served with different kinds of vegetable dishes, Sambar, chutneys, Rasam (a hot broth made with tamarind juice and pepper) and curd (yogurt). The non-vegetarian lunch includes curries or dishes cooked with mutton, chicken or fish. Tamil meals are incomplete without crisp Papads or Appalam. In Chennai, Chettinad cuisine of Tamil Nadu is particularly famous. This cuisine is hot and spicy and provides delectable variety in mutton, chicken and fish dishes. Chettinad Pepper Chicken is one of the most famous dishes in Tamil Nadu. The Chennai style of Mughalai food can be tasted in the Biryani and Paya. Paya is a type of spiced trotter’s broth and is eaten with either Parathas or Appam. Breakfast or tiffin in Chennai includes idly (steamed rice cakes), dosai (a pancake made from a batter of rice) and lentils crisp fried on a pan, vadai (deep fried doughnuts made from a batter of lentils), pongal (a mash of rice and lentils boiled together and seasoned with ghee, cashew nuts, pepper and cummin seed), uppuma (cooked semolina seasoned in oil with mustard, pepper, cumin seed and dry lentils). Most of the breakfast dishes in Chennai are eaten with coconut chutney, sambar (seasoned lentil broth) and mulagai podi (a powdered mix of several dried lentils eaten with oil). Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, is famous for its filter coffee. Most Tamils have a subtle disliking for instant coffee; therefore filter coffee is more popular. The preparation of filter coffee is almost like a daily chore, the coffee beans have to be first roasted and then ground. The coffee powder is then put into a filter set and hot boiled water is added to prepare the boiling and allowed to set for about 15 minutes. The decoction is then added to milk with sugar to taste. The drink thus prepared is then poured from one container to another in rapid succession to make the perfect frothy cup of filter coffee. An exotic drink that refreshes you and the taste that lingers, served best in "Dabarah" set which includes a steel tumbler and saucer with a rim.
  • Music - There are many composers in Carnatic music. Purandara Dasa (1480-1564) is known as the father (Pitamaha) of Carnatic music due to his pioneering contributions to Carnatic music. Purandara Dasa is renowned for formulating the basic lessons of Carnatic music. The contemporaries Tyagaraja (1759-1847), Muthuswami Dikshitar, (1776-1827) and Syama Sastri (1762-1827), are regarded as the Trinity of Carnatic music due to the quality of Syama Sastri's compositions, the varieties of compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Tyagaraja's prolific output in composing kritis. The compositions of these composers are rendered frequently by artists of today during the music festival season. Chennai Music Festival or December Season is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India held during mid December to mid January in the capital city of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The festival is held at a number of venues around the city by various 'sabhas' or organizations. Besides the auditoriums, well-known temple premises and heritage bungalows are being used as venues. The month long dance and music extravaganza will have performances of eminent artistes from various parts of India. The 'Margazhi festival of Dance and Music' started early back in 1927, to commemorate the anniversary of Madras Music Academy every December, was later adopted by various organizations which held art festivals in different parts of the city. The Tamil month of 'Margazhi' (December) is a sacred month of the Hindus. South Indian classical music (Carnatic Music) which has its roots in devotion to the gods, has been a traditional form of worship from time immemorial. The city comes alive with the festival which has now developed into a cultural extravaganza with more than 2,000 artists participating in over 300 concerts. The festival also known as 'December Season' attracts expatriate Indians and scholars from around the world as well. Performances include Vocal and Instrumental music, Dance - solo and group, both by junior and senior artistes. Even upcoming artists get a chance to perform along with well-established artists. The music include classical vocal renditions in various South Indian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada and instruments like Flute, Veena (a large string instrument), Goottuvadyam (similar to Veena but without frets), 'Nagaswaram' (pipe), 'Thavil' (percussion instrument), 'Mridangam' (drum), and even 'Ghatam' (a mud pot). The season goes on till mid January when the scene shifts to Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore, where 'Thyagaraja Aradhana' a week long music festival is held to celebrate the birth of one of the greatest Carnatic composers and one among the trinity of music - Thyagaraja. Information about the tickets and the venues can be had from the tourist office, Chennai. The weather is cool and pleasant at this time of the year. November- December is the best season to visit the city. Now the music in the motion picture industry has emerged as an important entertainment platform in Chennai, over the years portraying the cultural changes, trends, aspirations and developments experienced by its people.
  • Dance - Chennai is home to the distinct dance form- the Bharat Natyam. Bharatanatyam is the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the body. This is done through its tenets of having a perfectly erect posture, a straight and pout curving stomach, a well rounded and proportionate body mass- to the body structure, very long hair and curvaceous hips. These tenets bring to life the philosophy of Natyashastra, ‘Angikam bhuvanam yasya’ (The body is your world). This is elaborated in the araimandi posture, wherein the performer assumes a half sitting position with the knees turned sideways, with a very erect posture. In this fundamental posture of the Bharatanatyam dance, the distance between the head and the navel becomes equal to that between the earth and the navel. In a similar way the distance between the outstretched right arm to the outstretched left arm becomes equal to the distance between the head and the feet, thus representing the "Natyapurusha", the embodiment of life and creation.

Climate

Climate of Chennai is Tropical.

Chennai is situated in the Thermal Equator zone which prevents extreme changes in temperature. Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (35-42°C / 95-108°F) Apr-Jun (Highest temperature ever recorded is 45°C / 113°F on 30 May 2003) and monsoon (Oct-Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the south-west monsoon (Jun-Sep) while rest of India is lashed by heavy rains, but gets its bountiful rains from the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125-150 cm (49-59 in) of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from October to December and dried up scrub lands bloom with greenery during this period.

December to February are the mildest months temperature - (19-28°C / 66-82°F). December to March is probably the best time to visit Chennai: the temperatures rarely exceed 30°C during midday and evenings are pleasant.

Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid. Be sure take along light (not flimsy) clothing. Winter fashion has never been of any use in Chennai, wearing a sweater will leave you drenched in sweat in less than five minutes.

Read

Books on or set in Chennai include:

  • Madras Discovered, Tales of Old and New Madras, Madras (1992) by S. Muthiah
  • Madras – its Past and its Present (1995) by S. Muthiah
  • Madras – its Yesterdays and Todays and Tomorrows by S. Muthiah
  • At Home in Madras (1989) by S. Muthiah
  • The Spirit of Chepauk (1998) by S. Muthiah
  • Kalyani’s Husband by S. Y. Krishnaswamy
  • The Story Of Fort St. George (1945) by Col. D.M. Reid
  • Chasing Rainbows in Chennai, [5] (2003) by Colin Todhunter

Talk

Tamil is the official language in Chennai, and also the first language of most locals. Almost all people speak Tamil, a classical language. Picking up some knowledge of the local language is useful to get by in Chennai as in every city in the world. However, knowledge of English is sufficient for the average visitor to the city. English education is widespread in Chennai as it is in any big Indian city. All educated people in Chennai can speak fluent English while almost everyone will understand simple English and can speak a few words. All important signboards are in English. All transactions with commercial establishments are typically in English. The English accent is different, there is a tendency to end sentences and words with -uh (Eg: I'm going there-uh.) and interrogative sentences with -ah (Eg: You are going there-ah?).

Unlike other major cities in India, Hindi is not widely understood. While there has been a significant increase in Hindi speakers in recent years, most locals will find it difficult to understand when you try to speak to them in Hindi. You are better off speaking English than Hindi in most southern states.

Those native to Chennai and its suburbs speak the language of Tamil with a characteristic accent. Due to the proximity of the city to the State of Andhra Pradesh (where the official language is Telugu) and the presence of a sizeable quasi Telugu speaking population in the city, there is heavy borrowing of Telugu words into the vocabulary of 'Chennai Tamil'. Another characteristic of Chennai Tamil is that the words are spoken fast, possibly in line with the fast-paced life in Chennai when compared with the rest of the state. However, the Chennai accent does not go well with many Tamils. At best, Chennai Tamil could be termed 'crude'. Nevertheless, all educated people are taught standard Tamil in school, and standard Tamil is still used in more formal settings as well as in the news.

Get in

By plane

Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA) is the third busiest in India (after Mumbai & Delhi). All international flights arrive at Anna Terminal, while the domestic flights arrive at Kamraj Terminal. The two terminals are on the same road and are 150 m (492 ft) away from each other.It is the second-largest cargo hub in the country, after Mumbai. Chennai is well connected to London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Malaysia, Middle east, New York, Hong Kong, etc. It is in the process of being upgraded to a world class airport with direct Metro rail connection to the city.

Europe and North America: Jet Airways offers daily service to New York with one stop in Brussels. Lufthansa (Frankfurt) and British Airways (London-Heathrow), fly nonstop to Chennai with connecting service from their European hubs to points in the United States and Canada.

South-East Asia: Thai Airways offers nonstop service to Bangkok. Silk Air, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways connects you to Singapore along with many Indian carriers like Indian Airlines and Air India Express. AirAsia [6] connects passengers to Kuala Lumpur, Penang with affordable fares while Malaysia Airlines offers nonstop service to Malaysia. India's very own Jet Airways flies non-stop to both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Cathay Pacific flies non-stop to Hongkong. Air Mauritius flies non-stop to Mauritius. Air Seychelles flies nonstop to seychelles.

Middle East: Nonstop services are available from Chennai to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Dammam, Doha,Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Qatar, Riyadh and Sharjah on Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, Oman Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian and Gulf Air.

Sri-Lanka: Chennai is a hub for flights to Colombo with SriLankan Airlines, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, JetLite and Kingfisher Airlines.Chennai is the traveling hub for Colombo.

Domestic: All the major Indian domestic carriers (Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Spice, Go Air, Indigo) connect Chennai with multiple flights to points all over India and most use Chennai as a hub for flights to smaller cities in South India. Paramount Airways is a low cost all business class airline that offers flights from Chennai to points in South India. Chennai is also a staging point for flights to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

Airport to City connection

The cheapest way to the city is by taking the suburban train into the city which only costs ₹ 12 ($0.2,€0.16). The suburban train connects you to Chennai Central and Egmore, the two main passenger train stations. Check your destination though, either before getting to Chennai or at the information desk. It may be impractical to take the suburban train. This is best if you don't have large amounts of baggage. You have to exit the airport and walk a considerable distance (~500m) to reach the station "Tirusulam". Tickets bought don't have to be validated but save the ticket in case there is an inspection. The Chennai Metro is under construction and expected to open in 2014. It is advisable to take a first class ticket in the train if you happen to reach the airport during peak hours. The general compartments are often over-crowded as they transport regular commuters to work. In peak hours even the first class compartments may also be crowded. Tickets are priced around ₹70 ($1.27,€0.96). Otherwise, use the pre-paid taxi booth. Aviation Express is massively overpriced.

Using the pre-paid taxi to get to the city, each terminal has several booths for several taxi companies when you exit the airport, outside before you meet the crowd. Fast Track has the best rep, figure on around Indian rupee 550 to the city centre for a minivan. The fares are different for the domestic and international terminals though the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the standard Taxis (Black with Yellow tops) which are usually the ancient Ambassador cars or the private call-taxi (which can come in any model and in any color). As in any Indian airport, you will be immediately haggled for transportation with promised offerings of the best price. A firm No should make them lose interest, ignore them if they continue harrassing you. It's better to keep small change in hand while paying at the counters. Note the taxi number written on your charge slip (one copy is for the passenger and 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 offer to take your luggage and guide you to the taxi that drives up quickly near the allotment desk.

A new cab provider named "Fasttrack" has started off their service and a pre-paid booth of them is available at both domestic and international terminals. Comparing with the rest of the taxis their fare and service is pretty much good. Depending on the number of persons and the luggage, you can hire anything from a city car to a mini van.

Prepaid and yellow top taxis are not air-conditioned, are of vintages right from 70s and 80s, rickety, prone to stop midway, drivers exhibit rough behaviour, sometimes could be dangerous, demand exorbitant fares, pre-paid may mean nothing and they may demand more when you get down. Keep away from these types. Or know that you can always negotiate. Typical ride into the farthest part of the city shouldn't cost more than ₹1000 by local standards.

By train

Chennai has two main long-distance train stations, Chennai Central (code MAS) and Chennai Egmore (code MS). Both are connected to the Airport by the Suburban rail and to the Bus Terminus by City buses. Central has daily trains from/to Bangalore, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad , Kolkata , Ahmedabad and virtually all other major Indian cities.Egmore has trains which cover all the places in Tamil Nadu and also a few important places outside it.

You can arrive at the prepaid taxi/auto stand and book a cab to transport you to your place of stay.

Many long distance trains to Egmore stop at Tambaram (code TBM) and some trains to Central stop at Perambur (code PER).These are two railway stations which serve the suburban areas of Chennai.

By bus

Chennai has one of Asia's largest bus stations, Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT). Seven different state owned corporations drive buses to and from various destinations within South India. Connected to the Airport and the passenger train stations (Chennai Central and Egmore) by direct buses, it offers a cheap and spontaneous mode of travel. 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.

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 [7]), and private buses (Omni bus terminus). Both these terminus 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 [8]. Feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination. Always ask for the ticket and carry it until the end of your journey. Conning is very rare.

  • CMBT Enquiry : +91 44 24794705

By car

Chennai 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. Indian drivers will have no problem fitting into the traffic but international drivers are strongly advised against driving in India. Rules are not really rules and lane switchings happen without any notice.

Get around

Getting around the heart of Chennai city often takes time, due to traffic and heavy congestion, more so because of construction work in progress for Chennai Metro. 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 train

Chennai has a suburban train [9] network. There are four routes:

  1. Chennai Central - Arakkonam
  2. Chennai Central - Gummidipoondi-Sulurpet-Gudur
  3. Chennai Beach - Tambaram and Chengalpet
  4. Chennai Beach - Velachery (MRTS)

The Chennai Beach - Tambaram/ Chengalpet is the most used line, it takes you from the city to Vandalur Zoo for a getaway. The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast but they were built more for practical purposes of commuting than connecting tourist attractions. Unless you know your destination for sure, check with locals or information desks for the quickest way to reach your destination. 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. The lowest second class train fare is Rs.4/-. Always keep your baggage safe when you are travelling in the suburban railway system.

By bus

Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses ply throughout the city accessing areas which are not accessed by the suburban trains. These are government-run and extremely cheap.

Chennai has few major termini from where the majority of the buses ply towards the rest of the city. More information can be had here [10]

Normally Bus Fare in MTC range from Indian rupee 4 - Indian rupee 50. Deluxe and A/C Buses are also operated on major routes. Fare for deluxe bus is almost two times as compared to normal bus. For same route, deluxe and normal bus have same number but deluxe buses are being run targeting long distance journey since it will stop at major bus stops only. So if you find normal buses too crowded, take a deluxe one. Non AC deluxe also have power gates and better suspension which you wont find in normal bus. If you have luggage with you, you might have to pay the cost of an extra person depending upon its size. A simple way of identifying the category of the bus is this: White Display Board - Standard Service, Yellow Display Board/LED- Deluxe Service, A/C Service- You will know when you look at it.

AC bus run by MTC chennai which run 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.

If you are getting into a bus from Chennai central railway station you can either catch a bus just in front of railway station or you can take the subway to cross the road and get it from the bus stop in front of government hospital.

Bus Route information for MTC Chennai is available online at official site[11], jaanlo[12], desiroutes[13] and rab[14]. While official site only provides stage wise info, others have more interactive interface which can ease your life specially if you are new to the city like desiroutes[15] is google maps based while rab[16] is based on open street maps.

By auto-rickshaw

Auto-rickshaw/Tuk-tuk drivers in Chennai do not use meters; some try to overcharge and often drive rashly, but that's part of the fun of being in Chennai. They are happy to exploit foreigners and locals alike. The advantage of being a local is that you know when you're being fleeced, and so you'll know when to walk away and find another auto.

The upside is that autos are ubiquitous and possibly the easiest form of transportation to locate. Use Auto-rickshaws only for short distances because they are uncomfortable. Before talking to an auto driver you might like to try and ask any local person what the actual fare should be, because the drivers will often ask for up to 3 times more. Even so, by Western standards, they are dirt cheap. You'll have no problem once the fare has been agreed and for short trips the Auto is a must.

  • Don't take the first auto or take the first price, take a least quote and go to the second or third.
  • Never leave anything behind when you leave.
  • Forget the meter; no one will go by it, and if they do, it's probably rigged to show a higher fare.
  • Negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand; if he doesn't agree, just go to the next auto on the road; there will always be others unless it's very late or very early or you are in a remote area: then be prepared to pay up. Stick to the agreed price, though on many occasions the driver may attempt to ask for more.
  • Consult local friends beforehand to find out reasonable market prices for the distance you intend to go.
  • Try to hail individual auto rickshaws in traffic which are heading in the general direction of your destination rather than hiring one parked in their stand as they may gang up to you.

As a general rule, expect to pay about ₹10 to ₹15 for every kilometer (0.6 mi) you travel.

  • You don't have to pay for any empty return trips that the auto-rickshaw driver has to make once you have agreed upon a fare.
  • You tell them to go to a landmark near where you want to go, and upon reaching the landmark, ask them to go a little further along a particular road to your destination. They might cite the extra distance travelled and ask for more money. So it is better to negotiate the fare upfront.
  • If you pay them for petrol, make sure you pay them the remaining fare amount after subtracting petrol charges.
  • Sometimes Airports and Railway Stations have a tariff chart.

Share autos have emerged in the recent years as an alternative mode of transport in Chennai. They are over-sized three/four wheelers charge slightly more than the bus but way lesser than a regular auto. Likewise they are faster than the buses but slower than the autos. There are four wheelers known as meter taxis, which don't have a meter and are not taxis. They supplement the existing bus services and sometimes operate on routes based on popular demand.

On a side note - 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 these auto-rickshaw rallies from Chennai to Mumbai, or Kanyakumari, etc., and has developed a great fan following for the same. More info: [17]

By taxi

Taxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are available by phone. Since there are so many listed in thr phone book already and they are mostly reliable we don't list any. They 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 Indian rupee 100/-(Non-AC)/150/-(AC), which is for 4km (2.4 mile) and for every subsequent kilometre they charge Indian rupee 12/- or 13/-.

Alternatively, you can hire a car for a half/full day for around Indian rupee 1200/1500. These figures are for basic models,add about 50% if you want the comfort of higher-end models. 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. However, there is every possibility of your not getting one in spite of advance booking as they book without any planning/system and ditch the customers in the last minute. A proper system of confirmed allotment at least 45 min prior to the scheduled time (like in Delhi/other cities) is what is required for Chennai.

There are many car rental companies available. Car rental agencies such as BookCab [18], Clear Car Rental [19], Avis [20] and Hertz [21].

Tourist Cabs - Are another choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram, Tirupati, etc. Costs about Indian rupee 10/-Indian rupee

per kilometre and Indian rupee

100 per hour as hire charges. Generally there is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport.

By car

It is generally not advisable for foreign travelers to drive on their own as they might be unaware of the traffic rules and congestion in the city. Negotiating the Indian traffic is not a part of standard driving lessons and can only be mastered by experience. The roads in Chennai are better maintained than the average Indian road. Rush hour traffic may result in nasty jams. Chennai has three arterial roads: Anna Salai/ Mount Road, EVR Periyar Salai/ Poonamallee High Road, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai/ 100 feet Road.

If you choose to rent a car, it's highly advisable to hire a driver as well, whose fee comes to around Indian rupee 150/- for an 8-hour shift. Companies include:

See

Restaurants, watering holes and discotheques have been opening with increasing frequency and while the absolute numbers aren't much, they're more experimental than most Indian metros. While in Chennai one can drop into one of the following places.

Areas

Georgetown in the north of the city is considered the oldest neighbourhood and is associated with the nearby port. The whole area is an intense experience and a hive of commercial activity. Not too many tourists visit this part of the city, which is unfortunate because if Chennai's heart is to be found anywhere, it is here. This is where the Sowcarpet area is located and one of the cities most famous thoroughfares, Mint Street .

Beaches

Chennai Marina Beach

Beach Watch Note Although Chennai beaches are both beautiful and inviting, they are not swimming beaches, due to strong under currents present along the shoreline. Swimming should not be attempted there. There are no lifeguards and rescue equipment is not provided at any of these beaches. However there are "beach police" who ride on horses and keep an eye on the people and look out for any trouble. People should avoid wearing swimwear or similar attire in the city beaches as such clothing is not appropriate there and will attract stares.

Chennai has several well known beaches:

Elliot's Beach
  • Marina Beach, 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 urban 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. The South Beach Road runs past the Madras University, the Senate House, the Chepauk Palace (Nawabs of Carnatica once held their court here). 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 freshly caught fish and Murukku. Watching the 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 located 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.
Breezy Beach- Valmiki Nagar (Thiruvanmiyur)
  • Edward Elliot's beach, is spread along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beach for Chennai youth. This beach is comparatively quieter and it is located near Besant Nagar. 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. It can get really crowded during the weekends as well.
  • Breezy Beach is located in the quiet neighborhood of Valmiki Nagar (Thiruvanmiyur) in Chennai. It 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.
  • Covelong as it was known earlier is a small fishing village located 40 km (25 mi) from Chennai on the way to Mahabalipuram. Now it is a luxury beach resort. There was a fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali. 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. Sunbathing here attracts much less attention than in the city beaches.

The coastline of Tamil Nadu stretches even further south, there are large number of hidden, untouched and uncommercialised beaches off the East Coast Road. A good 50kms south of the city, there are beaches virtually isolated perfect for few quiet hours of relaxation. Be cautious though, anti-social elements are always a risk.

Historical Places

Churches

Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas, Santhome High Rd. In 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. The shrine was restored in 2004. 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. 5:AM-9PM daily. +91 44 24985455, +91 44 24980758. Email: parishpriest@santhomechurch.com Website: www.santhomechurch.com
St. Mary's Church
  • St. Mary's Church, situated in the fort, 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. 10AM-5PM daily except closed on F.


St. Thomas Mount
  • St. Thomas Mount St Thomas Mount, 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 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.

Mosques

Big Mosque also known as Wallajah Mosque
  • Big Mosque also known as Wallajah Mosque, is situated at Walajah Road in Triplicane, Chennai 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.

Temples

Entry into the sanctum-sanctorum (the innermost part of the temple) of old temples maybe sometimes be restricted to foreigners because of the traditional beliefs that only a Hindu can enter the temples. In rare instances, it is forcefully enforced. The best thing to do in such situations is to explore the surrounding structures which are equally fascinating.

  • Kapaleeswarar Temple (Kapaleeshwara), Mylapore, [22]. One 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. Within easy striking distance of the city centre.
  • The Parthasarathy Temple [23] 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 originally 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.
Sri Ramakrishna Math- Universal Temple
  • Sri Ramakrishna_Math- Universal Temple [24], 31 Ramakrishna Math Rd, Mylapore. 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. 5AM-11:45AM and 3PM-9PM Tele: +91 044 2462110 Email: mail@chennaimath.org Web presence: www.chennaimath.org

Memorials

Valluvar Kottam
  • Valluvar Kottam, Valluvar Kottam High Rd, Nungambakkam, Chennai. Valluvar 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 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 the year 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 4000 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 1330 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.

Monuments

  • Fort St. George (formerly known as White Town), is located on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. It 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 the East India Company the region soon developed into a popular trade and commerce centre. The British enjoyed supremacy in the region until 1746, when the French attacked the fort and captured it. After three years, in 1749 the British regained power by signing a treaty with the French. In the meantime they fortified the base in order to repel the invasion of Hyder Ali and the French. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. The military architecture is interesting and holds great historical importance. Inside the Fort is the Fort Museum [25] decorated with cannons of Tipu Sultan. There are a lot of interesting artefacts showcased in the museum. Apart from the museum, the southern division of the Archaeological Survey of India is located here. Today, Fort St George is famous for its exotic collection of books in the library and housing the legislative assembly in 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 150 feet. The pole is now made of metal but was originally made entirely of teak wood. Sa-Th 10:00-17:00. Fort Museum: Children <15 yr free, Indian Adults Indian rupee

5, Foreign Adults: ₹100

  • The Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India [26] Freemasons’ Hall is located at 87, Ethiraj Salai, Egmore. It was constructed in 1923 for the troops. The architecture is classical Greek style and houses a lodge room on the first floor where Masonic meetings are held M-F 10:00-17:00 and Sa 10:00-14:00.

Museums and Art Galleries

  • Government Museum [27], Pantheon 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 located in Egmore, which is in the heart of the city, spreading over an area of 16.25 acres 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. Chennai Government Museum was handed down with a sprawling complex and the presently maintained by the State Government. There are six independent buildings in the Museum campus, which compose of 46 galleries. The Museum was formally 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, marvelous reading room and striking Teak wood shelf and stands divided into a number of sections. Note that parts of the museum are often closed. Phone: +91 44 2819-3238, 09:30-17:00 except holidays. A free guide service is available at 11:00 and 15:00.
  • National Art Gallery The 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 the Victoria Memorial Hall. Built with sandstone and adorned with motifs, the building bears impressions of Mughal architecture. It is this architecture, not just the gallery collections that make it worth a visit. The gallery exhibits medieval handicrafts, sculptures, metal ware and paintings belonging to various schools of art and eras. The gallery's collections are displayed in four different sections: 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 belong to the 11th and 12th century Indian handicraft period. The top floor, closed in May 2011, offered additional galleries. Sa-Th 09:30-17:00 except national holidays. +91 44 2819-3238.
The Birla Planetarium
  • The Birla Planetarium, at Kotturpuram, between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars. Built in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary, the Planetarium is considered to be the most modern in the country. Location: Tamilnadu Science & Technology Centre, Gandhi Mandapam Rd (Behind CLRI). Tele: +91 44 2441-0025 /6751/5250. The Science and Technology Centre is open daily except national holidays. Programmes at 10:45-13:45 and 15:45. In English at Noon, Tamil 14:30.

Miscellaneous

  • Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum. Check the website for directions as the the auto-rickshaw drivers have never heard of it.

Parks

Arinjar Anna Zoological Park
  • Arinjar Anna Zoological Park (The Vandalur Zoo), +91 044 22751089 (, fax: +91 044 22750741), [28]. 9AM-6PM daily except Tu. This zoological park is situated in the outskirts of the Chennai metropolitan. 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 Park
  • Guindy National Park, Sardar Vallabhai Patel Rd, Adyar, Guindy. M-F 9AM-5:30PM except Tu. The current park area stands close to 280 hectares. Guindy Park happens to be almost certainly 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.
    Guindy National Park
    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.
    Rs 15, Free below 10 years, 11 to above Rs 5, School Children age 5-12 from government and aided schools Rs 2, children from private schools age 5-12 Rs 10, still camera Rs 10, video camera Rs 75.
  • Guindy Snake Park, (next to Guindy National Park). M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM except Tu. Founded 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.
  • Pallikaranai wetland is a freshwater swamp in the south of the city [29]. Being able to retain water throughout the year, it forms an aquatic ecosystem. The marsh acts as a home for many endangered and as a breeding ground for thousands of migratory birds which makes it an ideal place for bird watching. A conservation project is afoot to spruce up the area and build an observation center for visitor's convenience. There have been walks conducted in the marsh by the societies like Madras Naturalists Society [30]. Contact them to find out about their events.
  • Nanmangalam Reserve Forest is a protected area between Velachery and Tambaram. According to reports, it is home to 85 different species of birds and some rare territorial orchids [31]. Similar to the above marsh, there are no regularly conducted walks, but some photography societies and nature societies organise walks once in a while.

Do

  • During summers it becomes too hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (7-9 PM) 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 10 PM, 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 9 PM.
  • 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. Also visit the Ramakrishna Muth and the Universal Temple of Sri Sri Ramakrishna on Ramakrishna Muth Road. A holy place filled with peace, silence and a spiritual environment. Gives you a lot of refreshment of mind.
  • 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.
  • The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.
  • Semmozhi Poonga is a botanical garden situated opposite to the American consulate in cathedral road, it has wide variety of Bonsoi plants and has a very nominal entry fee .


  • Kumaran Kundram (The Deity of Lord Murugan in Kumaran Kundram is considered to be equivalent to the one in Swamimalai), (Very near MIT Fly over). small hillock at Kumaran Kundram near by Madras Institute of Technology
  • Lutheran Adaikalnathar Church(TELC), Tana Street. Protestant Church which is more than 100 years old
  • St. Matthias Church, Vepery. One of the oldest churches in Chennai which was built by the British. Its also has a higher secondary school in the campus which has both boys and girls studying in the school.
  • kundrathur sivan temple (vada thirunageshvaram), kundrathur (kndrathur bus depot). sekkizhar built this temple, a 1000 year old

Music and Dance

Chennai 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.

  • The Music Academy [32], No. 168, T.T.K. Road,Chennai - 600 014. Phone: +91-44-2811 2231 / +91-44-2811 5162, Email: music@musicacademymadras.com
  • Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall [33], Madras Seva Sadan, No 7, Harrington Road , Chetpet . Call for details: +91 44 43561198 and +91 42146632, Email: info@sirmuthamemorial.com
  • VDS Arts Academy [34], MOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6:30 PM., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artists. Admission: free.
  • Brahma Gana Sabha [35], Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road, +91 92821 06425, +91 98412 96684
  • Indian Institute of Music and Arts, R.K Swamy Auditorium, Sir Sivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore.
  • Kartik Fine Arts [36], Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road. +91 44 2499 7788, +91 44 2495 2695 (30th Year Art Festival),
  • 'Sri Krishna Gana Sabha [37], "Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar, 20. Maharajapuram Santhanam Road, T.Nagar, +91 44 2814 0806 (The 49th Art and Dance Festival & Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha And the 24th Natya Kala Conference), Indian rupee

50 to Indian rupee 500 (daily rates)

  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha [38], Vani Mahal, 103, GN Chetty Road, +91 44 2815 2166 (The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha)
  • Kalalayaa Art Academy , Kalalayaa Art Academy , 2nd Floor, 100ft Bye Pass Road, Velachery.(Landmark: Opp to Bharat Petroleum Petrol Bunk, Above Nuts & Spices) +91 98408 77546, +91 44 4303 6546 [39]

GK Parigi in Cine Abinayam star night programme.contact:parige@yahoo.co.in

  • Nungambakkam Cultural Academy Trust


Chennai is a major centre of Bharata Natyam with over 1000 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.

Cinema

When in Chennai, do not miss a chance to watch a movie. Chennai is the best place to watch a movie. Make sure to book your tickets in advance especially in the weekend, because most of the cinemas will be sold out. Chennai also provides best cinematic experience at lowest cost Rs. 120/- and lesser, which is very less compared to other metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. There are several cinemas in the city. Check out any local newspaper or websites to get to know the movies running in and around Chennai. Visit [40] to get the details of movies currently running in Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are

  • Udhayam Theatre, Ashok Pillar, Chennai
  • Devi Cineplex , [41]. In the heart of Chennai on Anna Salai. The Cineplex is a huge complex and a great architectural beauty.
  • Sathyam Cine Complex [42], Thiru-vi-ka Rd, phone 044-42244224. One of the best theaters. Provides quality food and the main screen is one of the biggest in INDIA.
  • Escape Cinemas [43], Express Avenue, Royapettah, phone 044-4224 4224
  • Inox [44], Chennai Citi Centre, R.K.Salai
  • Mayajaal Cine Complex [45], ECR. 14 Screen Multiplex.
  • Abhirami Cine Complex, Purasawalkam.
  • Shanti Cine Complex, Anna Salai
  • Ega theatres [46], p.h road, Kilpauk (Features Hindi movies).
  • Sangam cine complex in kilpauk. For tickets check www.ticketnew.com.
  • Rohini Cinema Complex, Koyambedu.
  • Ganga Theatre complex in Kolathur.
  • Rakki Theatre in Ambattur.
  • PVR, AMPA SkyWalk Mall,Nelson Manickam Road.
  • AGS Royal,Villivakkam.
  • AGS Cinemas OMR,Navalur.
  • Vetri Theatre, Chromepet.

Sports

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 (Famously known as Chepauk 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 (a famous 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 good store where you can buy good quality cricket equipment's at low cost

Chennai Open

Chennai open is a prominent tennis tournament that happens around January every year, the event has attracted lot of high ranked players such as Rafael Nadal,Carlos Moyá,Leader Paes.The event is well organized with details published online including ticket sales.

Nature walks and Bird Watching

Chennai is home to many resident and wintering bird species and the city is peppered with several birding hotspots: [47]

  • Guindy National Park [48]
  • Theosophical Society Gardens [49]
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Campus
  • Pallikaranai marsh [50]
  • Nanmangalam Reserve Forest [51]
  • Siruthavur Lake
  • Chembarambakkam lake [52]
  • Kelambakkam backwaters
  • Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary [53]
  • Mudaliarkuppam backwaters
  • Vedanthangal scrub & reed bed
  • Adyar/Tholkappia Poonga
  • Pulicat Lake/Shar Road & Annamalaichery Backwaters
  • Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary [54]

Learn

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 Madras ((AFM)), No.24, College Road, Nungampaakam, Chennai 600 006 (Nearest to bus stop name: Nungampaakam Sterling Road), +91 44-28279803, [55]. Monday to Saturday: 8.30 am - 6:30 pm. Indo-French cultural center and a place to learn French. AFM is one of the best places to learn French next only to Alliance Française de Delhi.
  • Aurobindo Ashram.
  • Bharatia Vidya Bhavan.
  • Chinmaya Mission, 2 13th Ave Harrington Rd, Chetpet, +91 44 2826 5641 (+91 44 2827 4046).
  • ISKCON (International Society For Krishna Consciousness), Hare Krishna Land Injambakkam, +91 44 2501 9303 (+91 44 2501 9147).
  • Kalakshethra, Kalakshetra Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur, +91 44 2491 1836 (+91 44 2491 4359, fax: +91 44 2491 4359), [57].
  • Kishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, 31, 4th Cross St, R.K. Nagar, +91 44 2493 7998 (+91 44 2493 3092, fax: +91 44 2461 334), [58].
  • Krishnamurthi Foundation, 124, 126 (Old #64/65) Greenways Rd, +91 44 2493 7803 info@kfionline.org (+91 44 2493 7596), [59].
  • Raja Yoga (Ishwariya Vishwa Vidhyalayam), [60]. Learn Yoga free of cost.

Buy

  • Stores on Doors (Best Online Shop in Chennai for Grocery, Vegetables and Fruits), 171/4, Pallavan Street, Alwarthirunagar, Chennai (www.storesondoors.com), 044 65158534, [62].

Shopping Malls

  • Express Avenue [63], Royapettah High Road. 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.
  • Spencer Plaza [64], 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.
  • Chennai Citi Center [65] 10, Radhakrishnan Salai. Opened in March of 2006, it houses mostly 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.
  • Shoppers' Stop [66] 2, Harrington Road, Chetpet. This is one of the largest department stores in Chennai, and you can buy everything from clothes to shoes to books here.
  • Ispahani Center Nungambakkam road. An early shopping centre - has a cafe, bar & shops.
  • Prince Plaza, Pantheon road, Egmore. It has been featured in many movies.
  • Ampa Mall, [67]. A new shopping mall in Chennai with both western and Indian brands featuring in the shops. Most popular for its PVR Cinemas multiplex, Star Bazaar grocery store and one of the few McDonalds in the city. It also has a food court and a boutique hotel.

Books

Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls. With luck you may end up getting one of the best deals ever. English, Tamil and Hindi books are widely available and sold, other language books are sold by specialised stalls.

  • Alwar's Roadside bookshop opposite Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
  • Bookfield, Opposite the LIC building on Anna Salai (Mount Road)
  • Moore Market near Chennai Central
  • Vendors on Mount Road outside Devi Theatre and the GPO (General Post Office)
  • Higginbothams, Anna Salai.
  • Kennedys Book House, Anna Salai.

For more current publications

  • Landmark [68], Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Books, Toys, CD's etc. four 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

  • Odyssey, Behind Gandhi Nagar Bus Stand, Adyar and Express Avenue,Royapettah
  • Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Road - General books from a friendly shop keeper

Clothes

  • Brass Tacks [69], 77/13, Corporation Shopping Complex, C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, +91 44 4208 1767. Contemporary clothing from natural fibres for women.
  • FabIndia. [70]. The Ilford House location at 3 Woods Road 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.
  • Just Casuals, Nungambakkam, 1, Sterling Road, +91 044 28273882. 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.
  • Handloom Exhibitions. Year-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.
  • Shanti Colony, Annanagar is a hub for "seconds" clothing as in the above description for "Just Casuals".

Crafts

  • Poombukar, 108 Anna Salai, Plandmark. (opposite the LIC building in Annasalai and next to Higgingbothams book store). They sell handicrafts.
  • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Rd, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, ☎ +91 44 2820 3582. They sell handicrafts.
  • Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11 2nd St, Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, ☎ +91 44 2847 6063. Art, jewellery, photo prints.
  • Crafts and Weaves, #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore , ☎ +91 44 2466 0232. Handicrafts.
  • Giri Stores, Adjacent 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.
  • Hidesign, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Rd & Phase 3, Spencers Plaza. [71]. Leather goods.
  • Vimonisha Art Gallery, 12 Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd. Handicrafts.
  • Jidoka Store, 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High Rd, ☎ +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317. Handicrafts.
  • Poppat Jamals, Mount Rd Anna Salai, (opp. Spencers Plaza). Crockery.
  • Manasthala, 12 Cenotaph Rd, ☎ +91 44 2433 2842. Terracotta ceramics.

Art galleries

  • Prakrit Art Gallery, Dhandayuthapani Nagar, 2nd St, Kotturpuram, ☎ +91 44 42188989, [72].
  • Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, 70 1st Main Rd, CIT Nagar, ☎ +91 44 4359 223.
  • Raasi Art Gallery, 1 Anna Ave, Bakthavatsala Nagar, Adayar, ☎ +91 44 2441 0389.
  • Apparao Galleries, 7th St, Wallace Garden, ☎ +91 44 2827 226.
  • Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, 41 CP Ramaswamy Rd, Alwarpet, ☎ +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159.
  • Chennai Studio, 222 Peters Rd, Royapettah, ☎ +91 44 98405 43420, [73].

Sarees

  • Revathy Stores,No. 7/8, RK Mutt Rd, (Luz Bazaar Building), ☎ +91 44 24934328‎. Small store with a wide variety of Kalyani and Indian hand-loomed sarees.
  • Aavaranaa, 15, Ashoka Street, Alwarpet, ☎ +91 44 24988292.
  • Vardhrams and Son's Silks, Harington Rd, Chetpat.
  • 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
  • Shilpi, 29 C.P. Ramaswamy Rd, Alwarpet.

Jewellery

  • Joyalukkas , 39 North Usman Road, T'Nagar. India's largest exclusive jewellery mall, housing the worlds largest jewellery showroom of international retailer Joyalukkas amongst other world renowned retailers.
  • Jaipur Gems, 50 Cathedral Road. Exclusive designer StarFire Diamond jewellery, authentic Jadau jewellery.
  • Vummidi Bangaru Jewellery, Nungambakkam, Features diamonds and gold. There is also a location T'Nagar.
  • Aishwarya Jewellery, Mylapore Tank. Gold and silverware.
  • Bapalal Jewellers, Kakani Towers, Cathedral Road. Diamond merchants.
  • Jugalkishore Jewellers, CP Ramaswaamy Road, Alwarpet. Traditional and antique jewellery.
  • Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60 East Kalamandapam Road, Royapuram. Gold for reasonable prices.
  • narayana Pearls Good collection.Kasi Arcade,T.Nagar
  • B.B Jewellery, 6/127 Arcot Road, Porur. Specializing in gold.
  • KANISHK, Usman Road, T'Nagar. Great value for money & wide range.
  • Rasvihar, 17a, Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam. For exclusive contemporary jewellery. [74]
  • N. Gopaldas - Jewellers since 1929, New No. 59, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004. For exclusive diamond jewellery. [75]

Music

  • Sapthaswara Musicals. Features Western and Indian musical instruments.
  • Shruthi Musicals, 10 Harleys Rd, Kilpauk, ☎ +91 44 2660 3630.
  • Sruthilayais, 93 Royapettah High Rd, Mylapore, ☎ +91 44 2499 4045,+91 44 2498 2625. Musical instruments.
  • Lakshman shruthi, Vadapalani Signal, Vadapalani. Musical instruments, CDs.

In addition to these there are several exhibitions at Das Community Hall (Cathedral Rd), Shankara Hall (TTK Rd) where artisans display their work. Check the local newspapers for details and timings.

Eat

Chennai has numerous restaurants, offering an assortment of cuisine. The beach restaurants are well maintained and serve great food during the evenings. The eat outs in Chennai range from budget, midrange and to up-market. There are swanky star quality restaurants, plain open traditional vegetarian or non vegetarian restaurants- where you share a table with strangers, street stalls, tea kadais, fast food centers, western fast food centers, food courts, coffee shops, bakeries to exclusive specialty establishments. Vegetarian restaurants serve tiffin and vegetarian meals. There are also a number of restaurants that serve a variety of Tamil, Andhra and Kerala vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Many of these restaurants have nowadays diversified and offer other Indian and Indianized Chinese dishes as well. Usually the check includes a service charge, written next to 'S.C.' If no service charge is added, it is customary to leave a moderate tip.


Budget

Hot soup stand outside Santhome, Chennai

All these budget eateries serve only vegetarian food and are very cheap.

  • Eat N Drink, 570-N, Anna Salai, Teynampet (next to Courtyard Marriott). South Indian fast food, from masala dosas to uttapam and pongal. Fast, cheap, tasty and hygienic. Rs 20-40.
  • Geetha Café , Pondy Bazaar. South Indian tiffin.
  • Hot Chips, T.Nagar and Anna Nagar for budget priced South Indian tiffin, including North Indian chat (snack) items.
  • Kebab Junction, Royapettah, NV, opp. Express Ave, (near Melody theatre),
  • Karpagambal Mess, Mylapore, (opposite the Kapaleeswarar temple). Cheap and authentic South Indian Food.
  • Komalas, Kodambakkam High Rd. South Indian fast food.
  • Mansuk's, T.Nagar. Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
  • Palimar, Parsn Complex, Mount Rd, Anna Salai. South Indian cuisine.
  • Rathna Cafe, Triplicane. also Thiruvanmiyur, (opposite the RTO). For 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.
  • Sangeetha, at intersection of Valluvar Kottam High Rd and Nungambakkam High Rd in Nungambakkam Chain of vegetarian restaurants. A mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices. A chain restaurant.
  • Saravana Bhavan, [76]. Probably Chennai's best known restaurant chain, with 25 branches in Chennai itself (incl. one next to Kapaleeswarar Temple). Pure vegetarian Indian food with high standards of hygiene.
  • Sanjeevanam, New No. 97, Old No.45, Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam, Chennai; ☎+91 44 4549 0324. Adyar location: Old No.24, New No.76, B. Venkatarathinam Nagar, Adyar, [77]. A 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.
  • Sri Krishna Sweets, Mount Rd, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai, also at MG Rd, Shastri Nagar. Indian sweets & salad bar. North Indian "chat" (snack) items.
  • The Spice Box, Thiruvanmyur, ☎+91 44 4304 2365. Lunch deliveries and gourmet outdoor catering. Wholesome, innovative lunch-dinner in 6 options is great to try out.
  • Vasantha Bhavan, (near Vadapalani Bus stand). Chain of vegetarian restaurants.

Mid-range

Chinese

  • Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, (Non-Vegetarian) 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai. Good quality Chinese-Indian cuisine Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 52222777
  • The Cascade, Quality Inn Sabari, 1. floor, 29 Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai – 600 017, Tel: +91 44 2834 3030

Mexican

  • Texas Fiesta, (Non-Vegetarian) # 17/2, Shaffee Mohammed Road, off Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Chennai 600006. It is owned and operated by a Tex Mex aficionado who fell in love with this great cuisine while in the USA. Favorite dishes include chicken wings, cream of leeks and potato soup, chicken fajita and grilled tenderloin steak apart from burritos, quesadillas and tortillas. Meal for two would cost about Indian rupee

500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 43087882

Multi-cuisine

  • Amethyst, (Vegetarian),Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, Chennai. +91 44 2820 3582. 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. Highly recommendable. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28353581
  • Curry House: (Non-Vegetarian), 2, Block AB, 11th Avenue, Anna Nagar, Chennai. Hyderabadi, Chettinad, and Kerala delicacies. Good tandoori fare of the Non-Veg variety popular among the punjabi's and found all over Delhi is also offered. Open: 12PM to 3PM and 7PM to 11PM. Price range: Meals for two around Indian rupee

350. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 42611167, 42611168

North Indian

  • Dhaba Express, (Non-Vegetarian) 9, Cenotaph Road, Teynampet, Chennai and Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai. Cuisines served by Dhaba Express are North Indian. They serve Chicken Tikka Masala, Mutton Rogan Josh, Tandoori Aloo (starter), Naans and Roomali Rotis. Valet Parking. Open: 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 6:30 PM to 1:30 AM. Price range: Meals for two Indian rupee

500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 2432 8213.

  • ECR Dhaba, (Non-Vegetarian) 9/76, Kunnukadu, East Coast Road, Near Muttukadu Boat House, Chennai. Cuisines served by ECR Dhaba are Punjabi Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 27472943, +91 098407 04050. Open: 11:00 AM to 11:45 PM

Seafood

  • Coastline, (Non-Vegetarian) 118, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai. South Indian Seafood. Freshly done Interiors, slow service but delicious food. Crab Rasam, Prawn or Fish Biryani. Vide variety of sea food offerings. Must try place. Price range: Meals for two Indian rupee

600. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28251128

South Indian:

  • Aiwo, (Vegetarian), 7 Rosy Towers, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai. Fusion and health foods. Aiwo features 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. Resonably priced at Indian rupee

199 per meal inclusive of taxes.Table Reservations Tele:+91 044 66514241

  • Amaravathi: (Non-Vegetarian), 1 Cathedral Road, Gopalpuram, Chennai. It serves South 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. Wide range of delicacies includes 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. Price: Avrg. for 2 persons Indian rupee

500. Seating: 135 covers. Valet Parking and Take away. Open: Seven days a week. 11AM to 11PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 28116416, 28110305

  • Amma, (Non-Vegetarian), No 1 Dr. Giri Road, Near Bharathi Raja Hospital, T Nagar, Chennai 600017, Known for authentic Chettinadu cuisine. Price range: Meals for 2 around Indian rupee

350. Open: 11.30AM to 3.30PM and 7PM to 10.30PM. Table Reservations Tele: Mr.Chinniah +91 044 28340242, 42122176

  • Anjappar, (Non-Vegetarian) J.P. Tower, 7/2, Nungambakkam High Road, Chennai 600034. 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. Price range: Meals for two Indian rupee

500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28217200, 2825666, 42144573. 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 24328444, 24328555) Mylapore: (+91 44 24982883,24981226) R.K.Salai: (+91 44 28114555, 28114666)

  • Annalakshmi: (Vegetarian) 18/3, Rukmani Lakshmipathy Road (Marshall road), Sigapi Achi Building I Floor, Adjacent to Raja Muthaiah & Rani Meyyammai Hall, Egmore, Chennai – 600008. This is a must try expensive South Indian food restaurant. Elegant ambience, friendly service and good food. Filling portions served. Best selling dishes- Elumichai Sevai, Badam-saffron milkshake. Elite crowd. Pricy at Indian rupee

1000 for 2 meals. Open: Tuesday to Sunday (Monday weekly holiday) Lunch: 12 Noon to 2.30 PM. Dinner: 7.30 PM. to 9.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 28525109 / 044 42141210

  • Anupama Southern Spice, (Non-Vegetarian) 25, 1st Floor, G.N. Chetty Road, Thyagaraya Nagar, Chennai 600017. Specialty Andhra Cuisine. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 31000733
  • Hotel Coronet, (Non-Vegetarian) 128, Lattice Bdge Road, Adyar, Chennai 600020. This is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. Very reasonably priced, Coronet is known for its great Mughalai food. Their specialties are the mutton korma with parotha, Ceylon egg parotha, and kheema masala. They also serve Kerala Malabar dishes. Modest ambience. Open: 9 AM to Past midnight. Tele: +91 44 24413446, +91 44 24411915
  • Madurai Appu, (Non-Vegetarian) 40, Sarojini Street, T'Nagar, Chennai 600017. Speciality: Authentic Chettinad Cuisine: Known for its Chettinad Chicken Masala, Chicken and Mutton Biryani. Price range: Meals for two Indian rupee

500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 2432 8484. They have other outlets in Chennai: Valasaravakkam:: (+91 044 24861166/24860022) Mugappair: (+91 044 26567676/26567393) Triplicane: (+91 44 28580786, 28591515, 28592929) East Coast Road (ECR- Vettuvankani): (+91 44 24490077, 24491515)

Others:

  • Barbeque Nation (BBQ Nation), T.Nagar.
  • Gallopin Gooseberries, Burgers, Sandwiches and Entres. Has two outlets:

1. 4/359,Gatsby Village, Mgr Road, +91 44 24493924 2. #11, Shop #2, 2nd Floor, Greams Road, Landmark: Near Thousand Lights Police Station Phone: +91 44 28291077, 28292190

  • Gyan Vaishnav, Mount Road, Near Anand Theatre. North Indian
  • Kadalivanam, Mogappair. [78], 100% natural, fully vegetarian restaurant
  • Karaikudi, VeeraRaghava Road, T. Nagar, +91 44 2815 1021. (also at Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar, Mylapore, Thiruvanmiyur) Chettinadu cuisine.
  • Eden's, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. Wonderful Continental cuisine, fully vegetarian.
  • Once Upon A Pirate..., A Pirate Theme Restaurant, Besant Nagar Beach Road, Opp Velankanni Church. +91 44 45511980. Indian Tandoor Chinese Cuisines.
  • Murugans Idli Shop, 2 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. The price for one meal is around 20-40 rupees, or around $1. South Indian.
  • Mughal's Zaika, Rajaratnam St, Chetpet, Behind Ega Theatre. This is the best place in Chennai for any Kebabs esp their Juicy Irani Kebabs! They also serve the best & authentic Mughlai Biryani.Great value for money. One drawback (or advantage) is its non-a/c, its an Open air restaurant. The price for one meal is around Indian rupee

80 rupees, or around $2. Mughlai/Persian/Afghani/Irani.

  • Noodle House, A 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.
  • Pizzaurant, Velachery Road, Little Mount, Saidapet. Cuisine - Pizza & Pasta.(Without MSG) Home delivery for nearby areas, Very Indian.
  • Poonamallee, Breeze Hotel, 850, Poonamallee High Road. +91 44 2641 3334, +91 44 2643 0596. Multicusine
  • Ponnusamy, Commander-in-Chief Road (opp Ethiraj College), Egmore. Chettinadu cuisine
  • Rangis, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese.
  • Swati and Swayam, at Saravana Bhavan, Peters Road. South Indian.
  • Sparky's, located in Egmore, is an "American diner" operated by an American expatriate settled in Chennai. Mexican, Italian and American food. Prices range from 70-150 rps for a meal.[79]

Splurge

Afghan

  • Peshwari, Sheraton Chola Hotel, Cathedral Road, Chennai 600 086. The award winning Peshawari is the Indian specialty 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. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28110101

Chinese

  • Mainland China, Hotel Tulip Aruna, 144/145, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai.( 4 Star Hotel) The restaurant chain serves authentic cuisine from the major provinces of China. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 28238345, 044 39155261, 044 39155256
  • Shanghai Club, Hotel Chola Sheraton, 13,Cathedral Road, Chennai 600086. Well known for its most authentic Chinese Cuisine. Live three piece band. (5 Star Hotel) Rated Expensive. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28110101
  • Shansi Chinese & Tandoori Restaurant, AnnaNagar - Indian and Chinese - 26213109

Coffee Shop

  • Cafe Mercara In Chola Sharaton Hotel, 13,Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai- 600086. Coffee Boutique which serves an amazing array of coffees and tea from around the world- Burgers, pizzas, salads and snacks. (5 Star Hotel) Rated Expensive. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24322640 +91 44 28110101
  • Cilantro, Coffee Shop / Restaurant of Le Royal Méridien,1 GST Road, St.Thomas Mount, Chennai-600016. The restaurant serves continental, Indian, South Indian, Italian, Arabic Shawarma’s, Chinese, Thai and a teppenyaki grill of Japanese Cuisine. Open: 24 hrs. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545

Continental

  • The Residency, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet,Chennai. Lavish buffet and an international a la carte menu. In a gracious setting reminiscent of the Edwardian era. Live music. Open: 12.30 PM to 2.45 PM, 7.30 PM to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: 91 44 2499 4101


Grill and Indian Cuisine

  • Pergola, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar - The highest open to sky restaurant in the city- Featuring Grills/Indian cuisines- Hours of operation 19:00 Hrs- Midnight- Seating capacity 120 covers- Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28161000, 43911000.

Italian

  • Bella Ciao- Lounge Beach Garden, #4, Shri Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, Chennai- 600041, Italian-owned and run, authentic Italian food. The famous wood fired oven pizza, home made pastas, steaks and salads. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24511130
  • Little Italy, Italian Restaurant, Eldorado No 112, Nungambakam High Road, Chennai-600034. Italian classic cuisine with a perfect wine. Chef's favourites: Pizza Mellino, Pasta del Fattore and In Wines- Brunello di Montalcino. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 42601234, 42601230
  • Prego, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet Italian dining, replaced Patio
  • Rhapsody, Courtyard Marriott, 564 Anna Salai,Teynampet. +91 44 66764499 . Authentic Italian restaurant with an attached lounge.

Japanese

  • Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, The ambeince is Japanese- low seating and all that. Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi. Very Expensive-- figure on over Indian rupee

1000 for a meal here. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24453424, 24456493

Korean

  • Arirang Korean Restaurant- Dr Thirumurthy Nagar 91 Main Road Nungambakkam, Nungambakkam, Chennai-600034. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28233739

Lebanese and Middle Eastern Delicacies

  • Cedars, Wallace Garden Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600085. Dim lit ambience is beautiful with exquisite furnishing in Mediterranean style. They serve the most authentic Lebanese, Middle Eastern delicacies and some interesting Mediterranean cuisines. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 42182397

Mexican

  • Don Pepes, 73, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai. Mexican. Located above Hot Breads as an extension, They are best known for their Fajitas (sizzlers) and Enchiladas (a tortilla wrap with some mexican rice). Rated Expensive. Open: 12:00 to 2:45 PM, 7:00 to 11:45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28221461

Multi-Cuisine

  • Citrus, Savera Hotels Ltd., 146, Dr. Radhakrishnan Road, Mylapore, Chennai- 600004. Multicuisine- featuring Mediterranean barbeque and Norwegian smoked salmon. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28114700
  • Cream Centre, 55, 2nd Main Road, Raja Annamalaipuram, Chennai- 600028.(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. Open: 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM (11:00 AM to 11:00PM on Weekends). Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 42815777, +91 044 42815776.
  • Seasons, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G.N. Chetty Road, T Nagar, Chennai- Extensive Buffets featuring cuisines from all over the world- Oriental to Italian, Continental to Indian, and Global A la Carte - Open: 24 Hrs. Seating capacity 65 covers- Breakfast buffet 07:00 - 10:30 Hrs - Lunch buffet 12:30 - 15:00 Hrs - Dinner buffet 19:30 - 23:00 Hrs- Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28161000, 43911000

North Indian

  • Copper Chimney, 74, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai. (Opposite the Chola Sheraton). Mainly North Indian and Iranian inspired dish. Specialities: Bagani Bahar, Paneer Musselum. Rated expensive. Open: 12:00 to 3:00 PM, 7:00 to 12:00 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28115770, 28114941
  • The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson G R T Hotel, G.S.T. Road, St Thomas Mount, Chennai, 600016. Specialities: Galoutti Kabab, Tangri and Murgh Malai Kababs, Fish and Mutton Kababs. They serve alcohol and have velat parking. Pricing: Rated expensive. Open: 12:00PM to 2:45PM, 7:00PM to 11:45PM, Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22310101
  • Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, Le Royal Méridien,1 GST Road, St.Thomas Mount, Chennai-600016. India 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 drinksRated very Expensive. Open: For Lunch from 12.00 Noon to 3.00 PM & For Dinner from 7.00 to 11.45PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545
  • Tandoor, Quality Inn Aruna Hotel, 4th Floor, 144 & 145, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam , Chennai- 600034. Specialties: North Indian, Punjabi, Tandoori and Mongolian Amenities: Outdoor Seating and Valet Parking. Serve alcohol. Table reservations Tele: +91 44 28262626, +91 44 28283636.

Seafood Restaurant

  • Kayal, Seafood Restaurant of Le Royal Meridien, 1, G.S.T. Road, St. Thomas Mount,, Chennai 600016. Specialities: Coriander Prawn, Seafood Platter, Kadia Lobster, Prawn Biryani. Nice complimentary garlic bread with butter. Rated very Expensive. Open: 7:00 to 11:30 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545

South Indian

  • Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 132, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, Chennai. South 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. Open: 12.30 to 2.45 PM, 7.30 to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24994101.
  • Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 55002827.

Thailand Delicacies

  • Benjarong, 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018, The authentic flavor of Thailand. Seating capacity 68 covers. Open: 12.15 PM to 2.45 PM and 7.15 PM to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24322640

Drink

Chennai is a difficult place in which to drink. Government rules state that only establishments with a minimum of 21 bedrooms can obtain a bar/liquor license. Hence there are no standalone bars or pubs here. All the bars that are around are part of a hotel 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 rude staff, are filthy and do not have the brand of your choice. Also, they tend to mark up each bottle by ₹5 to ₹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 23.00, even on Fridays and Saturdays, due to government rules.


Budget

  • The Pub, Liberty Park Hotel, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - 24725950
  • Paradise Bar, Aruna Hotel, 20 South Usman Road, T Nagar, Chennai - 600017, Ph - 24346565/0834

Mid-range

  • Bike and Barrel, Residency 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 1000 for 2 people for drinks and food.
  • Champagne & Cider, Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Mount Road).
  • Crystal, Hotel Ranjit, Nungambakkam High road, Nungambakkam.
  • Grammy, Hotel Sabhari, Thirumala Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Ph -
  • Platinum, (Formerly HFO), Hotel Quality inn Aruna, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
  • Hudson, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - 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.
  • Society, Hotel Ambassador Pallava, Montieth road, Egmore, Ph - 28554476
Pretty small. Crowd is predominantly hotel guests. Attire is business casual and drinks are a little pricey.
  • Diesel, G.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar
  • Cambridge, Hotel Dee Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
  • Million Dollars, Hotel Ambica Empire, 100 Feet road, Vadapalani
  • Star Rock, Kodambakkam High Road (Next to Palmgrove hotel), Nungambakkam
  • Zero° bar, Quality Inn Sabari, ground floor, 29 Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

Splurge

  • OPM - Nightclub, The Accord Metropolitan, 35,G.N.Chetty Road, T'Nagar, Chennai- Open: 18:00 Hrs Onwards. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but available for private events. Information and Reservations: Tele: +91 44 28161000 / 43911000
  • Zodiac- Lounge Bar, The Accord Metropolitan, 35,G.N.Chetty Road, T'Nagar, Chennai- Popular labels, ingenious cocktails, rare blends of liquor & a wide selection of hot and cold canapés. Open: Monday to Friday:16:00-23:00 Hrs, Saturday & Sunday:11.00-23.00 Hrs- Seating capacity 76- Information and Reservations: Tele: +91 44 28161000 / 43911000
  • Geoffrey's- The Pub, Radha Regent (formerly- Radha Park Inn), 171, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Inner Ring Road, Arumbakkam, Chennai– 600106. Décor is a mix of British and American- very contemporary and trendy look- pool tables, swinging DJs and live shows. An area of 2700 sq ft with 97 covers which makes the largest in its kind in the city. Open: 4 pm to 11 pm on all days. Information and Reservations: Tele: 91 44 66778899
  • The Westminister. Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.
  • Zara, Cathedral Road.
  • Dublin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Ph - 24994101
  • Durrants Bar, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, Ph - 28110101
  • DIstil Bar, Taj Connemara, Binny Road
  • Leather Bar, The Park, Nungambakkam High Road
The largest liquor stable in Chennai - includes hard to source Moet & Chandon, Glenfiddich and a variety of other scotch. Loud Music.
  • The Rain Bar, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
  • The Havana, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
  • 10 Downing StreetKences Inn Hotel, North Boag Road, T Nagar

Local Specialities - Soft Drinks

  • Tender Coconut Definitely try a tender coconut on a hot summer's day. Available on roadside stalls at ₹20 a coconut.
  • NeerMoar Spicy butter milk, with local seasoning. Available at most South Indian restaurants.
  • Fruit Bizz (Adyar signal), left corner building from ananda bhavan road to guindy. This is one of the best juice shops very famous in adyar region. Shop open from morning 10 am till 1am. ₹30-50.

Sleep

  • Alcove Service Apartments Chennai, Anandapuram ,Off Dr. Ranga Road,Mylapore.Chennai 600004, +91-9900578231 (), [80]. Single room, ,Independent 3 or 4 BHK Apartments, Air-conditioned rooms, Lounge and dining area and independent bathrooms, TV,Fully Furnished Kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, toaster,mixer grinder and gas stove,complimentary Breakfast,free Wi Fi internet
  • Broadlands lodging house No 18, Vallabha Agraharam Street, (opp Star Theatre) Triplicane - a travellers institution which is very popular with the backpacker crowd, leafy courtyard, a rustic feel to the whole hotel, good rooms are situated to the back of the hotel and one of the most recommended rooms are room # 43 and 44 which are roof cottages. Rooms are 250 for single and 400 for double. great place to get over your jetlag and get "acclimatized to india" walking distance from the beach and 10 minute rickshaw ride to most places you would like to see in chennai email: broadlandshotel@yahoo.com.
  • Kanchi, C-in-C Road, Egmore
  • Old Woodlands ,(a.k.a Royapettah Woodlands/Woodlands Hotel that is next to Woodlands Theatre) in Royapettah. Phone: +91 44 2848 2150, +91 44 2848 2152. Little 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 / taxis will not tell you about the place as the hotel does not pay a commission to middlemen. Pay no more than 40 rupees to get there from the railway station.
  • New Woodlands Hotel, [81] It is sometimes crowded and a tad busy. There is a nice quiet art gallery and cafe nearby, the ashvitha cafe. Recommended for those wanting to slow down, and soak in the pace of life in Chennai. Theaters and shopping arcades are close by.
  • Sri Krishna Residency, Ph: 044 24643617 South mada street , Mylapore.
  • Hotel Karpagam International, Ph: 24613701, South mada street, Mylapore.
  • Hotel Regent, 11 Kennet Lane. Phone: +91 44 2825 3347.
  • Zam Zam Guest House, 41 Subathral Street, Triplicane. Phone: +91 44 42664508. Newly built with clean spotless rooms and nice staff. It is located about 100m 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 Indian rupee

200 for a single person, Indian rupee 250 for two persons and 300 for 3 persons per 24 hours. Predominantly an Indian scene at the time of writing. Close to Broadlands Lodge, Comfort Hotel, and the great Gee Gee Internet and Surya Restaurant (old name Maharaj). The whole spot is about 300m 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). (Feb 2010)

  • Hotel Impala Continental, 12 Gandhi Irwin Road. Phone: +91 44 2819 1423.
  • Hotel Chennai Gate, Gandhi Irwin Road. Phone: +91 44 2819 4377. Deluxe room is Rp1500 with A/C with internet socket available for Rp100 for 24hours.


  • Milestone Concepts & Services- Serviced Apartments, #11, Krishna Kuteera Apartments, Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai-600031, +91 9962078282. checkin: 24 hrs; checkout: 24 hrs. Serviced Apartments at various locations in Chennai including at Harrington Road (Chetpet), Guindy,Ramapuram, T Nagar. Best suited for travelers, NRIs and corporates looking for safe, affordable, clean & hygienic stay requirements while in Chennai. Available as single rooms or 3 BHK apartments, with 24 hrs check-in & check-out, 24 hrs Housekeeping / room service, air conditioned rooms, attached bath with hot water facility, separate lounge and dining areas, each room equipped with TVs with individual DTH connections, wi-fi internet free and a functional kitchen. Contact: +91-9962978282, +91-9841003177 email: milestoneconceptsandservices@gmail.com)

Mid-range

  • Abu Palace, Habitable, but not enjoyable (bathroom smells strongly of mold). Everything (including fridge and A/C) turn off when room keys are removed. Double room (for Indian rupee

2925) means two single beds.

  • Comfort Inn Marina Towers, 2A Ponniamman Koiil Street Egmore, Phone: +91 44 2858 5454, Fax: +91 44 2858 5454, [82]
  • Dakshin, Venkatnarayana Road, Near Nandanam Signal, T.Nagar
  • Dee-Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
  • GRT Grand Days
  • Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Near Anand Theatre)
  • Harrisons, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - +91 44 5222 2777
  • Imperial Serviced Apartment, 11 Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai- 600031. Highly recommended and suitable for both long term as well as short term stays +91 98417 42520 [83].
  • Lemon Tree Hotel, Chennai, Sardal Patel Rd, Guindy, [84].
  • Somerset Greenways Chennai, No 94 Sathyadev Avenue, MRC Nagar, +91 44 7100-0001 (, fax: +91 44 7100-0010), [85]. The residence is 10-minutes away from the central business district of Chennai. Studio to the three-bedroom apartments are available to choose from. Each apartment features kitchens, separate living rooms complete with home entertainment systems. Daily rates starts from 6500 INR.

Opposite the Raj Bhavan.

  • Liberty Park, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - +91 44 2472 5950. [86]
  • Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet
  • New Woodlands, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
  • New Victoria, Kenneth Lane, Egmore
  • Oriental Inn, 044 28114941, 71 Cathedral road, Gopalapuram, [87]. 32 rooms in central Chennai. Indian rupee

1500-2800 plus taxes.

  • Peninsula, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
  • President, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
  • Raj Residency, 22 Kennet Lane, Egmore (2 min walk from the Egmore railway station), [88]. USD 17-147.
  • Ranjit, Nungambakkam High Road,
  • Residency, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
  • Residency Towers, Boag Road, T.Nagar
  • Westin Park, Montieth Road, Egmore
  • Aspni Inn, # 77 Jawaharlal Nehru Road, 100 Feet Road, Vadapalani, Chennai - 600 026, Tamilnadu, India, +91 44 2362 2284, [89]. Aspni Inn the Luxury & Business class hotel is situated nearby Chennai Metropolitan Bus Terminus and Vadapalani Lord Murugan Temple. Aspni Inn has 51 Luxurious Rooms. Rates start at {{INR}}1000.
  • Aloft by Starwood Hotels - [90] - 102 Rajiv Gandhi Salai, Sholinganallur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 119 - Opened 1 July 2010 - from Indian rupee

4000/night

  • Best Guest House, 29 & 31 South Usman Road, Corner of Damodaran Street, Opp, T. Nagar Bus Terminus, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600017 (opposite T Nagar Bus Terminus), +91-44-24360717| 24360718. checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Double and triple ac and non-ac rooms with bathrooms and cable TV. {{INR}}300-1,000. (+13° 2' 0.48,+80° 13' 50.45)

Splurge

The closest hotels to the airport are The Trident, Le Royal Meridian, Hilton and Radisson GRT Hotel all five star properties.

  • The Accord Metropolitan, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, Tel: +91 44 2816 1000/4391 1000, Fax: +91 44 2816 1001, [91],[92]. Chennai's Premier Five Star Hotel.
  • Ambassador Pallava, 30, Montieth Road, Egmore, tel: +91 44 2855 4476, Fax: +91 44 2855 4492, pallava@ambassadorindia.com, [93]. Reasonable value and friendly staff.
  • My Fortune, Cathedral Road, tel: +91 44 2811 0101, Fax: +91 44 2811 0202, [94].
  • Courtyard Chennai, 564, Anna Salai, +91-44-66764000, [95]. Known by locals simply as the Marriott, this is a gorgeous, recently renovated business hotel located on the western edge of the city core, near the airport. Two restaurants, gym, no pool. {{INR}}7100 and up.
  • Hyatt Regency, 365 Anna Salai, Teynampet, tel: +91 44 6100 1235, [96].
  • ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, tel: +91 44 2499 4101, Fax:+91 44 2499 7101, [97].
  • Le Royal Meridian, Business District, 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 4343, Fax: +91 44 2231 4344, [98].
  • The Park, 601 Anna Salai (next to the Anna Flyover), tel: +91 44 5214 4000, Fax: +91 44 5214 4100, [99]. Modern style with a film theme.
  • Radisson GRT Hotel, Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 0101.
  • Taj Connamera, Binny Road, tel: +91 44 5500 0000, [100].
  • Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, tel: +91 44 5500 2827, [101].
  • Trident Chennai, 1/24, G.S.T. Road, tel: +91 44 2234 4747, Fax: +91 44 2234 4555, chennai@trident-hilton.com, [102].

Stay safe

Chennai is generally a safer area of India in terms of crime, although pickpocketing, muggings, and robberies sporadically occur. Keep your doors and windows shut and locked at night and do not carry or display large amounts of cash if possible.

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.

Stay healthy

While in Chennai it is advisable to drink only bottled water. Do not trust water from small local restaurants as it may be from the tap, and avoid cold or iced drinks that are not commercially sold (Bigger chains of eatieries and juice shops can be trusted to an extent). Eating fresh vegetables and fruits that have sat outside in the presence of insects can also be unhealthy, although bananas and coconuts are usually safe because they are opened only immediately before eating. Hot drinks in restaurants such as tea, coffee, and other local specialties are safe, as are packaged/bottled drinks such as Aquafina water, Frooti (a popular local mango drink) and others. If you have access to a stove, boiling tap water before drinking is also an option. Never eat from roadside shops as the food is prepared in the most unhygienic conditions.

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.

Hospitals

  • Apollo Hospitals, Greams Lane, Off Greams Road, Nungambakkam Tel - 28293333
  • Aysha Hospital, 91A Millers Rd., Tel: 26426930.
  • Balaji HospitalG.S.T Road,Guindy, Tel - 22345282
  • New Hope Medical Centre, Kilpauk, Tel - 25321532, [103]
  • CSI Rainy Hospital, Royapuram, Tel - 25951329
  • Hindu Mission Hospital, 103, G.S.T. Road, Tambaram West, Tel: 22262244, [104].
  • Madras Medical Mission, Moggapair 37 -26565961 /91, [105].
  • Ramachandra Hospital, Porur Tel:91 44 2476 8403
  • Dr.Kamakshi memorial Hospital , No1, Radial Road, pallikaranai, Chennai 600 100 [106]
  • Dr.Mehta's Hospital,No2,McNichols Road,3rd Lane,Chetpet,Chennai 31-Tel:42271000/42271004
  • Devaki Hospitals, Opposite to Rangachari cloth store mylapore

Pharmacies

  • Apollo Pharmacy, , All Over the City
  • Health & Glow, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road; Nungambakkam High Road
  • Madras Medical Mission, 24 Hr. Pharmacy, Mogappiar, Chennai-37 [107]
  • The Psychotherapy Clinic,26/1, Arcot Street,T.nagar, Chennai 600 017 [108]
  • MY MOTHER PHARMACY,E.B.COLONY,CHENNAI-88
  • Parasu Dental Pharmacy 11, 3rd cross st kasthurbha nagar adyar chennai - 20 ph 4211 5000
  • Kanthi Pharmacy, No 12,L.B.Road, Adyar, Chennai-20 ph: 24915410

Contact

Landlines

BSNL [109] and Airtel [110] 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 Phones

Cell phone rates are one of the cheapest in the world. There are Ten GSM service providers:

  • BSNL[111] GSM Triband with 3G services
  • AirTel[112] GSM Triband with 3G services
  • Vodafone[113] GSM Triband with 3G services
  • AirCel [114]GSM Triband
  • Reliance GSM launced in 2009
  • Tata DOCOMO GSM launched in 2009
  • Idea GSM launched in 2009
  • Uninor GSM launched in 2009
  • MTS CDMA launched in 2009 [www.mtsindia.in]
  • Virgin GSM [115]
  • Videocon GSM launching 2010

You can buy a sim card with a photo and a copy of your passport. For making long distance calls Aircel is cheaper with Indian rupee 49 card calls to US and Canada will be Indian rupee 1.50/Min. this will work only in home network. For other destinations Please check with operator.

CDMA service providers are Reliance[116],TATA Indicom[117], Virgin Mobile and MTS.

Starter packs and top-up cards can be picked up from numerous outlets. Seemles roming across the country is provided by all providers.

Internet

There 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.
  • Sify iway, [118] Several of them in the city
  • MTS MBLAZE High Speed Broadband Internet Through USB Modems . Call 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.

Cope

ATMs

  • 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 [119]
  • 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(http://www.obcindia.co.in/ATMmaster/view_atmmaster.asp)

Money changers

Many 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 located 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

  • Celeste Beauty Salon, Spencer Plaza,(Mobile -9941130508) F-26 , Phase 1, First floor . Chennai 600002
  • Ayush, Anna Nagar (Ph - 26223102/26223446/26203862), Kilpauk (Ph - 52179635/26472298), Mylapore (Ph - 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, Ph- 52179197
  • Green Trends, 1576, 13th Main Road, Anna Nagar (ph - 26161534); Ashok Nagar (Ph - 52193636); Adyar (Ph - 24451759); Purusawakkam (Ph - 52174414); Taylors Road, Kilpauk (Ph - 26453331); T. Nagar (Ph - 28143886); Velachery (Ph - 22445590); Virugambakkam (Ph - 55511973) - Exotic natural treatments like Strawberry facial, Avocado Butter Massage Facial, Red Banana Facial, Baby-Corn under eye treatment! etc etc
  • Jazzy, North Boag Road, T. Nagar
  • Lakme, Adayar (Ph - 24469730), Alwarpet (Ph - 24662481), Anna Nagar (Ph - 26268841), Ashok Nagar (Ph - 23750207), Kilpauk (Ph - 52179634), Nungambakkam (Ph - 28333050), T. Nagar (Ph - 28155577)
  • Salon Nayana, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar, Ph - 28256064
  • Style Mantra- Makeover Concepts, Nungambakkam (Ph - 28280066), R.K. Salai (Ph- 28110707)
  • Dollys beauty parlour, Elcanso Plaza, Egmore, ph: 9840118882

Gyms

  • Mind N Body 360degree Fitness Studio - Ramapuram & Mugalivakkam. #9600030058, 8754409900, 044-42014949
  • Body Sports Gym-Govindan Road, Saidapet. #9841151091
  • Blue 'Boutique Gym'-329, TTK Road, Alwarpet.#24996045,24996064.
  • Talwalkars, Near Khader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam
  • Talwalkars, 23rd Cross Street,Indira Nagar, Adyar
  • O2 Gym [120], Kader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam, Velachery
  • Soldiers Gym, Triplicane High Road, Triplicane (and on Anna Salai)
  • Gold's Gym 17, Kasturi Rangan Road Alwarpet, Chennai- 600018 ,Phone:044 42088201


Post & telegraphs

The telegraph office on Anna Salai (Mount Rd), near higginbothoms accepts letters and parcels up to 8PM with a small late fee. Snail Mail in India is by a Post Card (25Ps), Inland Letter Rs 5, or envelope Rs 5. The 'Speed Post' facility allows you to send mail more conveniently than a courier service.

'Telephone Booths' or public telephones in India are available on almost every street 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 Rs 2 as service charges)You'll also get a receipt if you insist on one.

Libraries & Cultural Centres

  • British Council - Anna Salai, Phone - 52050600 Ext 350/351. [121]
  • Connemara Library - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Phone 28193751. [122]
  • Max Mueller Bhavan (German) - Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd., Nungambakkam. [123]

American Information Resource Center Library (located within the American Consulate - see list of consulates)

High Commissions

  • Ca-flag.png Canada, 18 (Old 24), 3F, YAFA Tower, Khader Nawaz Khan Rd, Nungambakkam, +91 44 2833-0888, [124].
  • Ci-flag.png Chile, Oakland House, 7 Adayar Club Gate Rd, +91 44 2434-0610, [125].
  • De-flag.png Germany, 9 Boat Club Rd, +91 44 2430-1600, [127]. M-F 08:00-11:30.
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, Νο 37 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam, +91 44-8203663 (, fax: +91 44-8200038).
  • Ja-flag.png Japan, No.12/1 Cenetoph Rd Ist St, Teynampet, +91 44-24323860, [128].
  • My-flag.png Malaysia, New no.7,Old no.3,Cenotaph Road,1st street,teynampet, Chennai-600018 (Near SIET College), +9144-28226895. 09:00am to 05:00pm.
  • Ru-flag.png Russia, Santhome High Rd, Santhome (Next to St. Bedes School).
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, 20 Anderson Rd, Nungambakkam, +91 44 4219-2151 (, fax: +91 44 42192322). M-F 08:30-13:00 and 13:30-16:00.
  • Us-flag.png United States, 220 Anna Salai (Near Gemini Flyover), [129]. secret.

Get out

Even as recently as about ten years ago, the ECR, which was then known as the New Mahabalipuram Road, had nothing much to offer by way of entertainment, except for VGP Golden Beach and Romulus Whittaker's crocodile bank. Further down, the road led you to Mahabalipuram, and that was that.

The scenario that meets a traveller today is entirely different. The East Coast Road could very well be termed the entertainment highway of Chennai. The road is brand 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.

Amusement Parks, Water Sports Centres, Beaches: Prarthana Drive In Theatre: Approximately 10 Kms out of Adyar, this complex offers both a drive in theatre and a drive in restaurant VGP

Golden Beach: The first amusement park in Chennai, just about 11 Kms away from Adyar. Still a landmark of Chennai, this park offers over 40 odd rides for the fun seeker. The only park with an access to the beach

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 3.5ft.

Kart Attack: A centre dedicated to fulfilling the speed maniac's desire for thrill in a safe and secure environment. The first go karting centre of Chennai, this has placed Chennai on the go karting map of India, and has been instrumental in creating a few go karting champions also.

Radio Control Car Racing at ECR RC Track: Chennai has the only active RC Car race track in India. On a weekend, you can find several RC car racers at the ECR RC Track located near Hot Kitchen Resatuarant on the ECR Road. It is very close to Kart Attack track. Visit IRCRA on Facebook for more details.

Mayajaal: 100,000 sq.ft of air-conditioned space. A multitude of activities and entertainment avenues, including movie theatres, bowling alleys, video games parlours, multicuisine food courts, and much more. This is Mayajaal, a multidimensional entertainment centre, on par with any entertainment zone found abroad. Open from 11AM to 11PM you can easily spend the entire day here. It offers that much and more.

MGM Dizzee World: Spread over 27 acres, this theme park offers joy rides, food stalls and other games. It features one of the first roller coaster rides of Chennai, and many of the rides offered could make your hair stand on edge. On the softer side, you have the dashing car drives, and the swimming pool with its water slides. MGM Dizzee World is in Muttukadu next to MGM Beach Resort.

Little Folks & Dolphin City: Specifically aimed at providing entertainment for the children, this park has a longer history than MGM. Dolphin city was closed [130] after all of it's dolphins and sea lions had died. It is no longer operational now.

Muttukadu Boat House: Located at 23 Kms from Adayar, this backwater area is maintained by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation, and offers rowing and speedboat riding.

Eco Conservation, Cultural and Religious Centres: Marundeswarar Temple is the first temple that one comes across on the route. A Shiva temple having a rich sthala purana or location history.

Sai Baba Temple: Approximately 8.5 kms from Adyar, the temple is peaceful, clean and breezy.

Jagannathan Temple: An exact replica of the Puri Jagannath Temple. Those who have not been to Puri can take a look at this temple.

Cholamandalam Artists Village: Set up by a group of artists to serve as a recluse for artists of all genres. This village offers the ambience needed for creativity to flow and is inhabited only by artists. The village offers guesthouse facilities exclusively for artists from elsewhere so that they could also benefit from the environment provided by the place. A must visit for those who appreciate the finer things of life.

Tiruvidanthai Nithya Kalyana Perumal Koil: As the name denotes, a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara found on East Coast Road.

Crocodile Bank: 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 Indian rupee 14 (75mins/30km). Then at this same intersection, get on 588/C/X bus to Mamallapurum (7Km/7mins) for Indian rupee 14/18AC. The entry fee is Indian rupee 35locals/60foreigners w/ a Indian rupee 20 still camera/ Indian rupee 40 video camera fee. Some people know it as a farm/park rather than a bank if you are asking for directions. [131]

Dakshinachitra: A venture of Deborah Thiagarajan and her associates from the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra is an amazing place to visit, as various kinds of traditional houses have been transported to Chennai from interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and rebuilt here piece by piece.

Mahabalipuram: The internationally recognized heritage monument of our country, personifying the art and culture of the Pallava kings. One of the most famous temples here is the Shore Temple and is next to the beach. If coming from Chennai ensure you reach this temple between 6AM to 6PM, as it is shut down after 6PM. Also, keep in mind that it takes roughly an hour to reach Mahabalipuram from Chennai.

Hotels and Restaurants in ECR: The ECR road abounds with restaurants and eating spots, which offer a wide range of cuisines and tasteful ambience. And you can plan your dinner or lunch in one of these hotels. A few of the food outlets are listed below: -Basera -Blue Lagoon -Thanjavur Restaurant -Food Village -Coastal Kitchen -Hot Kitchen


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

Drive your way to fun and thrill. But be prepared to pay a small toll fee on the East Coast Road.


Krishna's Butter Ball- Mamallapuram
  • Pondicherry — Go on a spiritual trip or volunteer at Auroville - an experimental township with no religion or politics. The drive down the East Coast Road (ECR) is delightful, with lovely beaches all along the way, and on the way you can stop over at...
  • Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) There are several things to see on the way and in Mamallapuram 60 km south of Chennai.
  • Hill stations of Tamil Nadu, including Yercaud, Yelagiri, Ooty and Kodaikanal
  • Kanyakumari — Site of the famous Vivekananda memorial.


Temples

South 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 Kms from Chennai. The famous Lord Nataraja temple which has the golden roof for the moolavar which was offered by "Parantaka Chola I".
  • Tiruvallur — Approximately 45 Kms 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.
  • Tirupati — Approximately 150 Kms from Chennai, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Madurai— Home to the famous Meenakshi temple.
  • Tirunelveli— Home to the TamilNadu's largest Shiva temple , "Nellaiappar Temple".
  • Swamithoppe— Ayya Vaikundar Pathi, religious head quarters of Ayyavazhi.
  • Kanchipuram — Kamakshi temple, seat of one of the Shankaracharyas - the closest Hinduism comes to a spiritual head.
  • Thanjavur — Brihadeswara temple (Big Temple).
  • Tiruvannamalai — Arunachala Temple famous for full moon day girivalam and Deepam
  • Tiruchirapalli — It's situated 350 kms 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.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!





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