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Chennai

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Chennai

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Chennai (Tamil:சென்னை) [5], formerly known as Madras, is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, and is the country's fourth-largest city. It is located on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.45 million (2005), the 367 year old city is the 34th largest metropolitan area in the world. Its has the 2nd longest seashore in the world.

The Horse and rider, Anna Salai.

Understand

History

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 ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Nayak. The document of the land grant is dated Aug 22nd 1639 and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on Aug 22nd 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 (April 23rd) 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 Tamil Nadu 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. The origin of the name is uncertain. Tradition suggests that a fishing village near to the location of the British settlement was called Madraspatnam. Others think early Portuguese may have called the area Madre de Sois after an early settler, or Madre de Deus after an early church (of St. Mary).

Chennai is derived from Chennapatnam, a name with almost equally uncertain origins. Tradition has it that Chennapatnam was the name of a fishing village near to the location of Madraspatnam. However it is not clear if the village was there beforehand or grew up around the British Madraspatnam settlement. There are some suggestions that the name was given to the developing Indian settlement honor a local Indian administrator.

As the settlements grew, the exact location of both Chennapatnam and Madraspatnam became confused as the two settlements merged into a single town.

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 Madras state, and when the states were reorganized on a linguistic basis, it became the capital of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai proudly boasts many of its great children. Elihu Yale founder of Yale University, Arvind Sanmugam of Canada- Chairman World Police Academy, Chairman and CEO of Chez Leeloo Canada, Chairman of Chez Leeloo India, Director of Chez Leeloo Philippines, President of Canadian Peacemakers Corporation and Director of Tan Theta Entertainment and Indira Nooyi the CEO of Pepsi International, A.R. Rahman the creative music genius who won double Oscars for his music score for the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" making him a world celebrity and a sought after musician.

Culture

Chennai, being the capital of Tamil Nadu, is home to a host of Tamil culture art forms including dance, literature, sculpture, music and cinema.

The season for Bharatnatyam and Carnatic Music draws visitors and aficionados from the world over. Being the capital of Tamil Nadu, the preferred language of communication amongst the local population is Tamil. However, English is widely spoken as the language of commerce and English speaking visitors should have no problem getting around. The city also has a fair number of people that speak Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.

Mamallapuram, an extension of the city is known for its sandy beaches, stone carvings, food and resorts. It also hosts the Cholamandalam artists village which is fairly well known in art circles both in India and abroad.

The city has a thriving Tamil film industry. It is also known as Kollywood. It is the second largest film industry in India. Some of the most prominent figures of Tamil Nadu like M.G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, M. Karunanidhi, J Jayalalithaa, Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Shankar, Mani Ratnam, Ilayaraja, AR Rahman are currently, or have at some stage of their career, been associated with Kollywood.

Amongst sports, Chennai is also a major centre for cricket, motorsports and tennis.

Chennai, like all the other metropolises in India, experienced significant economic growth in the last 15 years. It has several options for mainstream entertainment with malls, multiplexes, restaurants and hotels at nearly every major commercial district. Pubs and lounges, however, are restricted to only hotels in Chennai due to legal restrictions on the sale of liquor.

Climate

Climate of Chennai is Tropical.

Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (33 deg C - 38 deg C) Mar, Apr and May and monsoon (Oct, Nov and Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the south-west monsoon, but gets its bountiful rains from the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125-150 cm of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from October to December. During some seasons, Chennai gets ample amount of rainfall if there are depressions in Bay of Bengal.

December to February are the mildest months temperature - (24 deg C - 28 deg C).

Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid.

Get in

By plane

Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA) is the third busiest in India . 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 metres away from each other.

Europe and the United States: Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Air France (Paris), Jet Airways (Brussels) and British Airways (London-Heathrow), fly nonstop to Chennai with connecting service from their European hubs to points in the United States. Jet Airways is the only airline flying to the States (New York-JFK) via Brussels.

South-East Asia: Thai Airways offers nonstop service to Bangkok, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways connects you to Singapore along with many Indian carriers like Indian Airlines and Air India Express. Malaysia Airlines offer nonstop service to Kuala Lumpur. India's very own Jet Airways flies non-stop to both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Middle East: Nonstop services are available from Chennai to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Dammam, Doha,Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh and Sharjah on Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, Oman Air, Emirates, Etihad, Kuwait 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 recently joining the race Kingfisher Airlines.

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.

Important phone numbers

  • Indian Airlines General Inquiry 140
  • Indian Airlines Arrivals and Departures (Recorded) 142
  • Indian Airlines Reservations 141/+91 44 22561971
  • Jet Airways +91 44 2841 4141
  • Jet Lite +91 44 5211 0202/ +91 44 3498 0688
  • Air Deccan +91 9840377008

Airport to City connection

Use 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. Aviation Express has the best rep, figure on around Rs. 450 to the city centre for a Toyota Innova or equivalent. 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). 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.

You can also get to the city center by train. Just get outside of the airport, and keep walking to the main road. There is an underpass that you can use to get across the National highway 45. You will reach Tirisulam railway station from where you can take a train that transports you to the city.

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 crowded in peak hours as they transport regular commuters to work.

By train

Chennai has two main long-distance train stations, Chennai Central (code MAS) and Egmore (code MS), with daily trains from/to Bangalore, Bombay, Coimbatore, Delhi and virtually all other major Indian cities.

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

By bus

Chennai has one of Asia's largest bus stations, CMBT. Seven different state owned corporations drive buses to and from various destinations within South India. There are hourly buses for places like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore. 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), 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/autorickshaw driver. Buses usually drop passengers at various points in the city before reaching the Terminus terminus. Feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.

  • CMBT Enquiry : +91 44 2479 5547.

By car

Chennai is very well connected and to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Kolkata, Bangalore, Tiruchy/Madurai, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry. With the progress of the Golden Quadrilateral project, driving down from Bangalore is an option too.

Get around

Getting around the heart of Chennai city often takes time, due to traffic and heavy congestion. So it is advisable to plan your journey accordingly. Travelling within Chennai is not expensive by Indian metropolitan standards, and are extremely cheap by typical Western standards.

By train

Map of Chennai's suburban rail network and major bus links

Chennai has a suburban train [6] 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 suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. 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.

By bus

Metropolitan Transport Corporation [7] buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. State corporation has also introduced New Type Deluxe, A/C Buses for Chennai Passengers.

Bus Route information for MTC Chennai

State Express Transport Corporation buses go to different parts of the state. Private carriers also run to other towns/cities in state. You can buy these bus tickets online at redBus [8] or realIndia [9] or RathiMeena [10].

By auto-rickshaw

Auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai have a history of overcharging, using rigged meters, and exploting foreign passengers, although they are ubiquitous and possibly the easiest form of transportation to locate. Use Auto-rickshaws only for short distances (if you know exactly how far you are going). Before talking to auto person ask any local person what the actual fare should be, because if you don't know, they might ask for up to 3 times more.

If you want to travel by the auto, stick to these rules:

  • Don't go by the meter (if they have one) - the meter is rigged to show a higher fare
  • Negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand. Try to stick to the agreed price, though 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 and avoid those parked in groups as they may try to gang-up on you.

As a general rule, expect to pay about Rs.10 for every kilometre you travel.

Be careful about the following when you plan to undertake an autorickshaw trip:

  • You don't have to pay for any empty return trips that the autorickshaw 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 traveled and ask for more money. So it is better to negotiate the fare upfront.
  • You don't have to pay for petrol during the ride.
  • If you pay them for petrol, make sure you pay them the remaining fare amount after substracting petrol charges.

The call taxis are better regulated and can be ordered air-conditioned, although unlike auto-rickshaws, advance reservations are needed and they cannot usually be flagged on the street.

Visit this link for an idea of pre-paid auto fares from Chennai Central to various parts of the City.

By taxi

Taxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are available by phone. They are mostly reliable, 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 Rs. 150/-, which is for 5 km and for every subsequent km they charge Rs. 10/-. Alternatively, you can hire a car for a half/full day for around Rs. 800/1200. These figures are for basic non-AC Ambassadors, add about 50% if you want a comfier aircon Tata Indica. 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.

  • Indian call Taxi +91 9884239756
  • S.R Call taxi +919444833331 ,044-6555 6511
  • sri venkateswarra call taxi +91971110190
  • Fast Track Call Taxi, +91-44-24732020, [11]. Chennai's largest taxi operator.
  • taxi-1 chennai, +91 44 2475 0505.
  • P A Travels +91 9841914140
  • Kasi's Call Taxi +91 9841652109
  • Bharati Call Taxi, +91 44 2814 2233.
  • Chennai Call Taxi, +91 44 2598 4455.
  • Rajesh Call Taxi, +91 98408 15058.
  • Sruthi Call Taxi, +91 44 4211 0044.
  • Zigzag Call Taxi, +91 44 2474 9966.

Tourist Cabs - Are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram, Tirupati, etc. Costs about INR 10/-Rs per KM and 50 Rs per hour as hire charges. Also generally there is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport.

  • S.R Travels - +91 9884239756
  • SATHYAM TRAVELS - +91 44 42046289 / 24837686
  • Kasi Travels +91 9841652109
  • Bala Tourist, +91 44 2822 4444
  • Tiruvalluvar Travels, +91 44 2474 5807
  • Sharmila Tours and travels, +91 44 2827 4177
  • Yoga travels, +91 9840198690
  • Chennai Travels, +91 978 906 3600
  • Tour Operator Chennai, +91 - 44 - 2851 2158
  • Sri om Travels - Chennai, +91 28345908 / 28341093 / 28342009

By car

It is generally not advisable for foreign travellers to drive on their own as they might be unawate 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.

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

  • Hertz, Counter at the Petrol Bunk (Gas Filling station) next to Spencers Plaza
  • Savaari Car Rental, [12]
  • Car Rental Chennai, +91 44 45563000, [13]. (Only driven cars-- you cannot drive it yourself.)
  • Manpower Services, +91 44 2825 2526

By share auto

This has emerged in the recent years as an alternative mode of transport in Chennai. They are oversized three wheelers running on diesel and charge slightly more than the bus. The only advantage is that it is cost effective.

Talk

Tamil is the official language in Chennai, and is very popular. Almost all people speak Tamil, and 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, thanks to an excellent network of schools throughout the city. All educated people in Chennai can speak fluent English while almost everybody 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. Hindi is not widely understood unlike in other major cities in India.

See

  • 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. Programme Timing: 10.45 am - 1.45 pm and 3.45 pm. English: 12.00 Noon and 2.30 pm Tamil.
  • Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore [14]
  • Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It is a popular place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach, safe and good place for picnicking.
  • Breezy Beach is located in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar. It is smaller and less popular than the Elliots beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful.
  • Ennore Port and Ennore foundries.
  • Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of Tamil Nadu. There is a museum presenting objects of the time of the domination of the CAIO, and a banqueting suite going back to 1802 where the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises also the oldest Anglican church of India, the church of St Mary. This also happens to be the worlds oldest church to the east of the Suez Canal.
  • Government Museum, or National Art Gallery on Pantheon Road, comprises an interesting archaeological collection and a room holding a significant and superb collection of Chola bronzes. One building has modern works, while the other has historical works.
  • Guindy National Park, The smallest national park in India and one of the few located in a metro. The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the governors of Tamilnadu.
  • Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals and birds.
  • Marina Beach, one of the worlds longest beaches is 13 km long. The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach. It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again.
  • Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum.
  • St.Thomas Basilica The popular myth is that one of the apostles of Jesus Christ died in India and that his body was buried in Mylapore and that this church is built over the tomb.
  • St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is believed that he died. It is a wonderful sight to see the flights take off and land - since the airport is very near to this hill
  • Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam. An auditorium built in memory of the poet Thiruvalluvar. All of the verses of the poet's 'The Thirukkural' are inscribed on the pillars around the auditorium.
  • Vandalur zoo, Tambaram. A zoo which is largest of its kind in Asia. Just a 17 km drive from the heart of Chennai. See the large number of species found there,some endangered species.For details, visit www.aazoopark.gov.in

Temples, Mosque and churches

Detail of the gopuram of Kapaleeswarar Temple

Entry to all structures listed here is free, although token fees may be levied for photography. As usual in south India, non-Hindus are not permitted in the inner sanctum, although they are welcome to tour the outer areas of the temples. Most temple are open in the morning from dawn to 12 noon, close for an afternoon siesta, reopen around 4 PM and stay open until 10 PM or so.

  • Aarupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony)
  • Ananthaa Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
  • Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
  • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony). The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different from other South Indian temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
  • Ayya Vaikundar Nizhal Thangal, Manali Pudunagar.
  • Big Mosque, Triplicane, Chennai
  • CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar.
  • CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over.
  • CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah.
  • Guruvayurappan Temple, Nanganallur.
  • Adivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Swami Temple (32 Feet Hanuman), Nanganallur.
  • ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple, Injambakkam.
  • ISKCON Temple, Perumbur.
  • Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
  • Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys.
  • Kapaleeswarar Temple (Kapaleeshwara), Mylapore, [15]. 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.
  • Kaaraneeswarar Temple, Saidapet.
  • Luz Anjaneyaar Temple, Mylapore.
  • Madhya Kailash Temple, Adyar.
  • Mary's Church, Built in 1680 it is the oldest Anglican Church in India. Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale (who later formed Yale University in the USA, were married here.)
  • Marundeeshwar temple, Thiruvanmiyur.
  • Mundakaneeyaman Temple, Mylapore.
  • Nizhal Thangal, Oragadam.
  • Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane.
  • Periaapaalayath Amman Temple, Adayar.
  • Puttaparthi Sairam Temple Sundaram, Chamiers Road.
  • Qurasani Mosque, Adayar (near new bus terminus).
  • Ragavendhra Temple, Triplicane.
  • Ratnagirishwarar Temple, Besant Nagar (near RBI).
  • Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Mylapore, Santhome, where the Apostle St. Thomas is buried according to Christian tradition [16].
  • Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore Tank.
  • Shiva Vishnu Temple, T.Nagar.
  • Sringeri Saradha Peetam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
  • Sri Santhana Srinivasa Perumal Temple-Mogappair.
  • St. Antony's Church, Kamarajapuram, Anakaputhur, Ph. No: 044 - 22481447.
  • St. Francis Xavier Church, Pallavaram, Chennai - 43.
  • St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Stringer's St, Broadway.
  • St. Peters & St. Paul Orthodox Chapel, Koyambedu, Near Anna Nagar.
  • Tamil Baptist Church-91, Medawakkam Tank Road, Near Kellys Signal, Kilpauk.
  • Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
  • Thousand Lights Mosque, Anna Salai.
  • Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani.
  • Vadivudai Amman Temple, Tiruvottiyur.
  • Varasidi vinayakar Temple, Besant Nagar (near bus terminus).
  • Visvaroopa Baktha Anjaneyaar Temple, Ramnagar, Nanganallur (The idol is 32 ft in height.)

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.
  • You can visit Vuyirol old age home, to cheer up a few people, if that is the kind of thing you enjoy. The old people would be happy for your company.
  • The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.

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.

  • Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall , Madras Seva Sadan, No 7, Harrington Road , Chetpet . Call for details: +91 44 43561198 and +91 42146632, Email: [email protected]
  • VDS Arts Academy, 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, 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, Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road. +91 44 2499 7788, +91 44 2495 2695 (30th Year Art Festival),
  • 'Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, "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), Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 (daily rates)
  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, 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 http://kalalayaa.com/

GK Parigi in Cine Abinayam star night programme.contact:[email protected]

  • 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. 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 http://www.chennaionline.com/film/movielist2.asp to get the details of movies currently running in Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are

  • Devi Cineplex , ANNA SALAI
  • Sathyam Cine Complex, Gopalapuram (Book online at http://thecinema.in ). This complex is simply the best in the city and has world class amenities by way of 6 screens, comfortable seats, food, in house entertainments like bowling, gaming etc. Do not miss this place when you are in Chennai.
  • Inox, Chennai City Centre, R.K.Salai (Book online at http://www.inoxmovies.com/inox/wcms/en/home/now-showing/index.html )
  • Mayajaal Cine Complex, ECR (Book online at http://www.mayajaal.com/site/defaultmovies.asp )
  • Abhirami Cine Complex, Purasawalkam
  • Shanti Cine Complex, Anna Salai
  • Ega theatres,p.h road, Kilpauk (Features Hindi movies).
  • Sangam cine complex in kilpauk.
  • Rakki Theatre in Ambattur.

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.

  • Aurobindo Ashram
  • Bharatia Vidya Bhavan
  • Chinmaya Mission, #2, 13th avenue Harrington Road 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
  • Isha Yoga, Old no.18/5, New no. 35, Taylors Estate, 2nd street, Kodambakkam, +91 044 2484 2424, +91 044 94425 15557

. Other centers at http://www.ishafoundation.org/home.asp

  • Kalakshethra, Kalakshetra Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur, +91 44 2491 1836, +91 44 2491 4359(fax +91 44 2491 4359) [17]
  • Kishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, 31, 4th Cross Street, R.K. Nagar, +91 44 2493 7998, +91 44 2493 3092, +91 44 2462 0202, +91 44 2462 0005 (fax: +91 44 2461 334) [18]
  • Krishnamurthi Foundation, 124, 126 (Old #64/65) Greenways Road, +91 44 2493 7803, +91 44 2493 7596 [19]
  • Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020. +91 44 2491 2815 (fax: +91 44 2490 2706, +91 44 2490 1399, [email protected]) [20]
  • Raja Yoga, Commonly Known as Ishwariya Vishwa Vidhyalayam. Learn Yoga free of cost. Visit http://www.bkwsu.com/index_html for more details

Buy

Shopping Plazas

  • Abirami mega mall Purasaiwakkam High road, [21]. It has a snow world, kids world.
  • Chennai Citi Centre [22] 10, Radhakrishnan Salai. Chennai's newest retail mecca, opened March 2006
  • Shoppers' Stop [23] 2, Harrington Road, Chetpet. The K.Raheja groups Shoppers' Stop is a departmental store.
  • Ispahani Center Nungambakkam road. It has a cafe, bar & shops.
  • Prince Plaza, Pantheon road, Egmore. It has been featured in many movies.
  • Spencer Plaza [24] 769, Anna Salai. Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times. The original was destroyed in a fire, so the current building dates to 1983, but the newest "Phase III" section has a mock Indo-Saracenic atrium in the style of the original. One of the largest shopping malls in India, it has grown to cover three "Phases", and while the layout can be confusing, it's an excellent place to buy pretty much anything and everything you could possible want from India. Good food courts on the 2nd levels of Phase I and III.

Books

Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.

  • Alwar's Roadside bookshop opposite Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
  • Bookfield, Opposite the LIC building on Anna Salai (Mount Road)
  • Vendors near the Central Station
  • 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 [25], Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Books, Toys, CD's etc. Three 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 - Newest location, opened March 2006
  • Odyssey, Behind Gandhi Nagar Bus Stand, Adyar
  • Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Road - General books from a friendly shop keeper

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, [26] (2003) by Colin Todhunter

Clothes

  • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram Ph - +91 442820 3582
  • Anokhi, “Chamiers”, Old #47 (new #85), Chamiers Road, R A Puram.
  • Brass Tacks [27], 77/13, Corporation Shopping Complex, C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, +91 44 4208 1767. Contemporary clothing from natural fibres for women.
  • FabIndia. [28]. 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.

Crafts

  • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, +91 442820 3582. They sell handicrafts.
  • Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11 2nd Street, Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore,+91 44 2847 6063. Art, jewelery, photo prints.
  • Crafts and Weaves, #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2466 0232. Handicrafts.
  • Dakshinachitra, Muthukkadu. Featuring handicrafts
  • Giri Stores, Adjacent to Kabaleeswarar Temple, Opposite to Radha Silk Emporium, Mylapore Tank. Hindu spiritual items like Rudraksha Garlands, books, CDs & Tapes for chanting, incense sticks, camphor, lamps, etc.
  • Hidesign, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Road & Phase 3, Spencers Plaza. [29]. Leather goods.
  • Victoria Technical Institute, Anna Salai. Handicrafts.
  • Vimonisha Art Gallery, 12, Khadar Nawaz Khan Road. Handicrafts.
  • 'Vinyasa Art Gallery Handicrafts .
  • Jidoka Store, 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High Road, +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317. Handicrafts.
  • Kalpadruma, Cathedral Road. Handicrafts.
  • Poppat Jamals, Opp. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai, Mount Road. Crockery.
  • Pot holes, Music College. Ceramics.
  • Manasthala, 12, Cenotaph Road, +91 44 2433 2842. Terracotta ceramics.
  • Music World, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road). Music CD's, cassettes.

Art Galleries

  • Prakrit Art Gallery, Dhandayuthapani Nagar, 2nd Street, Kotturpuram, +91 44 42188989 Prakrit Art Gallery.
  • Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, 70 1st Main Road, CIT Nagar, +91 44 4359 223.
  • Raasi Art Gallery, 1 Anna Avenue, Bakthavatsala nagar, Adayar, +91 44 2441 0389.
  • Apparao Galleries, 7th Street, Wallace Garden, +91 44 2827 226.
  • Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, 41 CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159.
  • Chennai Studio, 222 Peters Road, Royapettah, +91 44 98405 43420, [30].

Sarees

  • Aavaranaa, 15, Ashoka Street, Alwarpet, +91 44 24988292.
  • Vardhrams and Son's Silks, Harington Road, Chetpat.
  • Nalli Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Kumaran Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Pothys, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Chennai Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Hayagrivas, GN Chetty Road, (near Panagal Park). Sarees.
  • RMKV Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
  • Radha Silk Emporium (Rasi), Silk sarees, ethnic wear, arts & crafts in multiple locations.
1 Sannadhi Street, Mylapore. +91 44 2494 1906
827, Dhun Building, Mount Road, +91 44 2852 0251
23 1st Main Road, Nanganallur, +91 44 2232 4176
  • Shilpi, 29 C.P. Ramaswamy Road, 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.
  • L.K.S Gold House, Usman Road, T'Nagar.
  • 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.
  • Keerthilal Kaalidas-diamond Merchants Gold and Silver, CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwaarpet.
  • NAC -Nathella Anjaneyalu Jewellery, Mylapore Tank.
  • 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.
  • GRT Thangamaligai,, South Usman, T'Nagar.
  • Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60 East Kalamandapam Road, Royapuram. Gold for reasonable prices.
  • B.B Jewellery, 6/127 Arcot Road, Porur. Specializing in gold.
  • KANISHK, Usman Road, T'Nagar. Great value for money & wide range.
  • Saravana Stores Thanga Naga Maaligai, Usman Road, T'Nagar.
  • GSK Thanga Naga Maaligai, Ariyalur, TamilNadu.
  • Ambiga Jewellers , E.B.Colony Adambakkam.
  • Rasvihar, 17a, Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034. For exclusive contemporary jewellery. [31]

Florists

  • Floral Park, Gopalapuram, (Near Gongotree), +91 44 9840707510, [32].
  • Something Special, Casa Major Road, Egmore, +91 44 9840038696, [33].
  • Banswari, 17a,Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam, +91 44 43561828, [34]

Music

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

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

Eat

Chennai has Tamil Nadu's best selection of restaurants, both local and international. See Southern India for an introduction to southern Indian cuisine.

Restaurants near Music Academy and those on the Beach coast are well maintained and serve 'Indian Cuisine' with an ambience to match, while most others cater South Indian Cuisine at very reasonable prices. 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 ponjal. 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.
  • Karpagambal Mess, Opposite the Kapaleeswarar temple, Mylapore. Do visit this place if you have a craving for cheap and authentic South Indian Food.
  • Komalas, Kodambakkam High Road. South Indian fast food.
  • Mansuk's, T.Nagar. Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
  • Murugan Idli Kadai. Very famous for their idlis and the many accompaniments which comes with the idlis. This chain had very humble beginnings but their fame is sky rocketing. There are other branches throughout the city.
  • Palimar, Parsn Complex, Anna Salai (Mount Road). South Indian cuisine.
  • Rathna Cafe, Triplicane. For fluffy hot idlis, piping hot vadai, delicious pongal dripping in ghee and accompanied by sambhar. Quality maintained for more than 100 years. Recently opened at Thiruvanmiyur, opposite the RTO. More expensive than Murugan Idli shop.
  • Sangeetha, chain of vegetarian restaurants. Sangeeta offers a mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices. A chain restaurant, including one shop at the intersection of Valluvar Kottam High Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam.
  • Saravana Bhavan, [35]. 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.
  • Sri Krishna Sweets, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai (Mount Road),(also at MG Road, Shastri nagar). Indian sweets & salad bar. Visit "Sri Krishna" for a unique assortment of North Indian "chat" (snack) items.
  • The Spice Box, Thiruvanmyur, +91 44 4304 2365. Lunch deliveries and gourmet outdoor catering. Their concept of a wholesome, well packed and innovative lunch / dinner in 6 options is great to try out.
  • Vasantha Bhavan chain of vegetarian restaurants, one near Vadapalani Bus stand titled Vasantha Bhavan.

Mid-range

  • Aiwo, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, (next to Barista Cafe). Fusion and health foods. Aiwo features a 14-course meal served on a conveyer belt that moves around the room; various dishes are served, and the food is very good but rather expensive.
  • Amaravathy, 1 Cathedral Road, Gopalpuram, +91 44 2811 6216,. Andhra special and also Tandoori and Chinese food.
  • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, +91 44 2820 3582. Garden and patio cafe and restaurant with a mix of western (pastas, burgers) and Indian fare. The patio is a cool place to while away a hot afternoon.
  • Amma, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Chettinadu cuisine. (Region of South India.)
  • Anjappar, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2628 9344 (Anna Nagar). Chettinadu cuisine.
  • Anupama, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Andhra cuisine.
  • Coastline, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore. +91 44 2825 1128. Seafood.
  • Dhaba Express, Cenotaph Road, Tenampet and Nungambakkam High Road (opposite the ICICI Bank and near Little Italy restaurant). +91 44 2432 8213. North Indian.
  • Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5222 2777. Good-quality Chinese-Indian cuisine
  • ECR Dhaba, On ECR Road, Next to Muttukadu Boat House, Muttukadu. +91 98407 04050. Indian, Tandoor, Chinese
  • 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. [36], 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.
  • McDonalds, Ascendas IT Park, Taramani Road,Taramani
  • Marry Brown, opposite to Vadapalani Bus Stand
  • Dominos Pizza, Near ashok pillar and many other places
  • Pizza Corner, Nugambakkam and other places
  • 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.
  • 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.[37]

Splurge

  • Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi. Expensive -- figure on over Rs.1000 for a meal here.
  • Arirang, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Korean.
  • Bella Ciao, 4, Sree Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, tel. +91 44 24511130. Italian-owned and run, with real wood-fired oven pizzas.
  • Benjarong, 146 T.T.K. Rd, Alwarpet,044/2432-2640. Thai.
  • Cafe Mercara, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Multicuisine.
  • Cedars, #29, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram. +91 44 55855 111, +91 44 2447 5073, Mediterranean
  • Cilantro, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, Chinese
  • Citrus, Savera Hotel, Radhakrishna Salai, Mediterranean.
  • Copper Chimney, Cathedral Road. Mainly North Indian with the odd Iranian inspired dish on the menu. Opposite the Chola Sheraton.
  • Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Rose wood furniture, antique tanjore paintings, bronze idols, fresh water lilies and flower garlands create a festive mood. Live Carnatic Music. Excellent food - Starters include traditional fare like Kuli Paniyaram. Try the Idi Appam or Appam and Mutton Stew. Finish off with a Kulfi.
  • Don Pepes, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram. Mexican. +91 44 2822 1461
  • Kayal, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, Seafood
  • Little Italy, 12, Eldorado, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034, +91 44 42601234.
  • Mainland China, Tulip Inn, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese
  • Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343. Indian hotel coronet, LB road, Adayar, serves Kerala malabar non=veg dishes
  • Peshwari, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, North Indian, Afghan.
  • Shansi Chinese & Tandoori Restaurant, AnnaNagar - Indian and Chinese - 26213109
  • Shanghai Club, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Chinese
  • Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. South Indian
  • Tandoor, Aruna Hotel, 145 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2826 2626, +91 44 2828 366, Gourmet dining.
  • The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 0101. Mughlai.
  • The Patio, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet dining
  • The Residency, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.
  • Vijays, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Multicuisine Sports Cafe
  • The Westminister. Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road,

Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.

  • Emilio's Gelateria, 362/1 , Injambakkam, ECR , Chennai (On the way to Mahabalipuram , opp to VGP), 24496090, [1]. 1030 am to 11 pm. Great Italian gelato! Absolute low fat and natural flavours. Wide spread of sandwiches, pasta, etc. Moderate +.
  • curry house, anna nagar, 42611167. good tandoori fare of the non-veg variety popular among the punjabis and found all over Delhi.
  • Cream Centre, RA Puram.

Drink

The liquor trade in Chennai and rest of Tamilnadu is now run by the government. Most liquor shops have been taken over by the government. To get branded liquor at these "Wine Shops" one might have to cough up some extra cash. However bars and pubs in the city's major hotels are managed by the hotels.But you have to pay extra for taxes, if you want to choose imported brands.



Budget

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

Mid-range

  • Bike and Barrel, Residency Towers, T.Nagar.
  • 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
  • The Cascade, Quality Inn Sabari 29, Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

Splurge

  • OPM - Nightclub, The Accord Metropolitan, Chennai, Ph - 28161000
  • Zodiac - Soft Coversation Lounge, The Accord Metropolitan, Chennai, Ph - 28161000
  • Geoffreys, Radha Park Inn, Arumbakkam.
  • 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

Local Specialities - Soft Drinks

  • Fruitshop on Greams Road, Chain of fresh fruit juice retailers, outlets in Greams Road,

Kilpauk, Besant Nagar, Spencers Plaza, Gatsby Village (ECR), BPCL Bunk, Meenambakkam, BPCL Bunk, Nungambakkam, Shanti Colony (Anna nagar)

  • Tender Coconut Definitely try a tender coconut on a hot summer's day. Available on roadside stalls at Rs.15 a coconut.
  • NeerMoar Spicy butter milk, with local seasoning. Available at most South Indian restaurants.

Sleep

Budget

  • Dasaprakash, Poonamalle High Road
  • Kanchi, C-in-C Road, Egmore
  • Old Woodlands, 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. The building has some connections to the old nawab of Arcot. Very old world! 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, [38] 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.
  • 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.

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 Rs. 2925) means two single beds.
  • Comfort Inn Marina Towers, 2A Ponniamman Koiil Street Egmore, Phone: +91 44 2858 5454, Fax: +91 44 2858 5454, [39]
  • 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
  • Lemon Tree Hotel, Chennai, Sardal Patel Rd, Guindy, [40].

Opposite the Raj Bhavan.

  • Liberty Park, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - +91 44 2472 5950. [41]
  • Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet
  • New Woodlands, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
  • New Victoria, Kenneth Lane, Egmore
  • Oriental Inn, 044 28114941, 71 Cathedral road, Gopalapuram, [42]. 32 rooms in central Chennai. Rs.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), [2]. 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, [3]. 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 Rs. 1000.

Splurge

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

  • The Accord Metropolitan, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, Tel: +91 44 2815 1000, Fax: +91 44 2815 1001, [43],[44]. Chennai's Premier Five Star Hotel.
  • Ambassador Pallava, 30, Montieth Road, Egmore, tel: +91 44 2855 4476, Fax: +91 44 2855 4492, [email protected], [45]. Reasonable value and friendly staff.
  • Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, tel: +91 44 2811 0101, Fax: +91 44 2811 0202, [46].
  • Courtyard Chennai, 564, Anna Salai, +91-44-66764000, [4]. 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. Rs.7100 and up.
  • ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, tel: +91 44 2499 4101, Fax:+91 44 2499 7101, [47].
  • Le Royal Meridian, Business District, 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 4343, Fax: +91 44 2231 4344, [48].
  • The Park, 601 Anna Salai (next to the Anna Flyover), tel: +91 44 5214 4000, Fax: +91 44 5214 4100, [49]. 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, [50].
  • Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, tel: +91 44 5500 2827, [51].
  • Trident Hilton Chennai, 1/24, G.S.T. Road, tel: +91 44 2234 4747, Fax: +91 44 2234 4555, [email protected], [52].

Contact

Landlines

BSNL [53] and Airtel [54] are the two 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). Rates are cheaper during the nights: sometimes one-half of what its costs during the day.

Mobile Phones

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

  • BSNL[55] GSM Triband
  • AirTel[56] GSM Triband
  • Vodafone[57] GSM Triband
  • AirCel [58]GSM Triband

CDMA service providers are Reliance[59] and TATA Indicom[60].
Starter packs and top-up cards can be picked up from numerous outlets. Note that top-up cards generally only work within the home network: you can't use a Bangalore Airtel top-up card in Chennai, for example. Some providers offer roaming capabilities for that purpose which must be activated first.

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, [61] Several of them in the city

Stay safe

Chennai is generally one of the safer areas 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 charged in excess by autorickshaws simply because they are ignorant of the prevailing fares. It is necessary to confirm whether the driver knows the exact destination and also fix the fare before boarding. 'Autos', as autorickshaws are known in Chennai, are notorious for fleecing customers, tourists & 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 with extreme care as the traffic is generally heavy. On major roads, use the underground crossings (locally called "subways").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 restaurants as it may be from the tap, and avoid cold or iced drinks that are not commercially sold. 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, Pepsi, 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 india.

Hospitals

  • All Smiles family and cosmetic dental centre, new no.121 Alwarpet street, Cenotaph road 1st street, Alwarpet (Teynampet), Chennai-18, Tel: +91-(0)9381027132, 42110161[62]
  • 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
  • Bone and Joint, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26212137/1026
  • Child's Trust Hospital, Nungambakkam, Tel - 28277487
  • New Hope Medical Centre, Kilpauk, Tel - 25321532, [63]
  • CSI Rainy Hospital, Royapuram, Tel - 25951329
  • Hindu Mission Hospital, 103, G.S.T. Road, Tambaram West, Tel: 22262244, [64].
  • Isabel Hospitals, Oliver Road, Mylapore,
  • General Hospital, Opposite to Central Station
  • Egmore Eye Hospital- RIOGOH,[65] Egmore
  • Madras Medical Mission, Moggapair, Chennai 37 -26565961 /91, [66].
  • Malar Hospitals, Adyar
  • RIGID Hospital
  • Sankara Nethralaya, College Road[67] (Eye Hospital),
  • Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26268844
  • Vijaya Hospital,Vadapalani
  • Ramachandra Hospital, Porur Tel:91 44 2476 8403
  • Stanley Medical Hospital
  • Dr.Kamakshi memorial Hospital , No1, Radial Road, pallikaranai, Chennai 600 100 [68]
  • Balaji Dental Hospital,Velachery
  • Kalyan Hospital, Adayar
  • Kalyani Hospital, Triplicane
  • Govt Hospital, Royapettah
  • KMC College & Hospital,
  • MIOT Hospital
  • Devaki Hospitals, Opposite to Rangachari cloth store mylapore
  • Madras ENT Research Foundation & Hospital, R.K.Salai, Mylapore Chennai
  • Padmapriya Hospital, Adayar
  • Shivasunder Hospital, Adayar
  • To want more information n want any telephone numbers just call 044-26444444(Just Dial){chennai call centre to get al information there}

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 [69]
  • The Psychotherapy Clinic,26/1, Arcot Street,T.nagar, Chennai 600 017 [70]
  • MY MOTHER PHARMACY,E.B.COLONY,CHENNAI-88

Cope

ATMs

  • ABN Amro, Haddows Road, Opp Residency Hotel on GN Chetty Road, Adyar - Sardar Patel Road, TTK Road, next to Citibank branch
  • 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.
  • 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. You can locate SBI ATM here.

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

  • 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
  • Black and White, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
  • Blue diamond, Near guhan studio, Sardar patel Road Adayar Chennai - 600020
  • Bounce, Ishpahani centre, Gemini, Nungambakkam
  • Chinese Beauty Parlour, gokul arcade basement, adayar
  • 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)
  • Limelight, Off Greams Road
  • Mahesh, Parsn Complex, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam
  • Molly Ann, Gandhinagar, 4th Main Road, Adayar
  • Salon Nayana, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar, Ph - 28256064
  • Style Mantra- Makeover Concepts, 5, WheatCrofts Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - 28280066
  • Dollys beauty parlour, Elcanso Plaza, Egmore, ph: 9840118882

Gyms

  • Body Sports Gym-Govindan Road, Saidapet. #9841151091
  • Blue 'Boutique Gym'-329, TTK Road, Alwarpet.#24996045,24996064.
  • FitnessOne'Ascendas(Tharamani), Alwarpet, Kilpauk.
  • Slim Line Gym, Kutchery Road, Mylapore, Branches Adayar
  • Maverick Gym, Indira Nagar, 1st Main Road, Adayar
  • Madams Corner, Sastri Nagar, 1st Main Road, Adayar
  • Talwalkars, Near Khader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam
  • Talwalkars, 23rd Cross Street,Indira Nagar, Adyar
  • O2 Gym, Kader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam, Velachery
  • Soldiers Gym, Triplicane High Road, Triplicane (and on Anna Salai)
  • MSM GYMPadi,Mugappair Road,Chennai-101.
  • GYM PACKAnnanagar West ,(Near S.B.O.A School),Chennai-101
  • DheergayushBlueStar,2nd Avenue,AnnaNagar West,Chennai - 40
  • Body ConceptsTriplicane High Road,Triplicane, Chennai - 40
  • Ateliers Fitness Center37, Velachery Main Road, Vijayanagar, Chennai - 600 042.

Shoe repair

  • Mr. Pronto's, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road.

Opticians (Spectacles/Sunglasses)

  • C.K Devchand Opticians, Mylapore (Near Devaki Hospital) Chennai Tel - 98846 86959
  • Photo Optic, Perumbur Barraks Road, Near Doveton Clock Tower, Purushwalkkam, Chennai Tel - 26421479, 26428245
  • Mehta Optiks, Perungudi (Opp Perungudi Bus Stand), Chennai

Post & telegraphs

The telegraph office on Anna Salai (Mount Road), 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 (5Rs) or Envelope (5Rs). 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 INR 2 as service charges)You'll also get a receipt if you insist on one.

Libraries & Cultural Centres

  • Alliance Française - College Road, Nungambakkam, Phone - 2827 9803/1477. [71]
  • British Council - Anna Salai, Phone - 52050600 Ext 350/351. [72]
  • Connemara Library - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Phone 28193751. [73]
  • Max Mueller Bhavan (German) - Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd., Nungambakkam. [74]

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


Consulates

  • American Consulate - 220, Anna Salai (Near Gemini Flyover). [75]
  • British Deputy High Commission - 20 Anderson Road, Nungambakkam, tel:+91 44 42192151 (fax: +91 44 42192322, [76]) Open Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and 1330-1600.
  • Canadian Consulate - 18 (Old 24), 3rd floor, YAFA Tower, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam Chennai 600 006 Tel : +91-44-28330888. Website : http://geo.international.gc.ca/asia/new-delhi/offices/chennai-en.aspx
  • Chilean Consulate - Oakland House, 7, Adayar Club Gate Road, Chennai 600028 Tel : +91-44-24340610. Website : http://www.echileindia.com/counslist.asp
  • Consulate of Finland - 202 Anna Salai, Chennai, Tel: +91-(0)44-2852 4141 (Fax: +91-(0)44-2852 1253, [77]) Open Mon-Fri 1000-1200. [78]
  • German Consulate - 9, Boat Club Road, PO Box 3110, Chennai. Tel : +91-44-24301600. visa at germanconsulatechennai dot org - Open Monday to Friday 08:00 to 11:30 hrs. Website : http://chennai.diplo.de
  • Japanese Consulate - No.12/1, Cenetoph Road Ist Street,Teynampet, Chennai 600-018 Tel : +91-44-24323860. Website : http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/over/asia.html
  • Malaysian Embassy - Old Location: Off TTK Road, Alwarpet, Behind Park Sheraton moved to new office opp. Loyola College, Nungambakkam
  • Russian Consulate - Santhome High Road(Next to St. Bedes School), Santhome

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 upto 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.

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 11 am to 11 pm 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 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 centre has gained fame as an endeavour for the preservation and propagation of endangered species of crocodiles. The centre also houses a large variety of snakes.[79]

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 6 am to 6 pm, as it is shut down after 6 pm. 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
  • Pondicherry — Go on a spiritual trip down to the Auroville ashram. 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 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 arround Chennai. Some of them are

  • 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

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