Chennai, also 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 41st largest metropolitan area in the world.
The Horse and rider, Anna Salai.
- Besant nagar — One of the poshest suburbs of Chennai, famous for the Theosophical society.
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 city was founded in 1639 when the company was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local Indian administrators. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles 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, in an uncharacteristic act of me-tooism, the Tamil nadu government emulated Bombay's example by renaming Madras to Chennai. This name change is somewhat inexplicable. While the foreign origins of "Bombay" or the "corrupted" pronunciation of Calcutta are not in doubt, it is by no means clear that "Madras" is of foreign origin.
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. However, Madras was associated with the British while Chennai has Indian associations.
Under the British, the city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of South 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 narrowly escaped becoming the capital of Andhra Pradesh and became the capital of Tamil Nadu. Since then, it has had an uneventful history, except that in the 60s, it was the centre of the "Anti-Hindi" agitation against the Central government's attempts to impose Hindi on the state.
Culture and attitudes
While a city like Bombay frequently compares itself to New York and lately, aspires to be Shanghai, it would be difficult to imagine Chennai comparing itself with, or wanting to be anything else. A visitor might justifiably think that inside this metropolis is the heart of a small town struggling to get out, but he would be wrong. It is not parochialism that characterizes Chennai; it is self-assurance. Its citizens are keenly aware of being successors to the Dravidian civilization and they take great pains to distinguish it from, and put it on par with, North Indian (Aryan) civilization.
The city has a thriving Tamil film industry, rivalling Bollywood in scale and surpassing it in opulence - and once again, while most other regional language film industries are heavily influenced by the Bombay industry, the Tamil one not only marches to its own beat, but also occasionally manages to make Bollywood dance to it. While Chennai is not the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu - that honour belongs to either or to Thanjavur for the classical music and dance or to Madurai for the language, classical dance and music flow in the city's blood - for more, see the "Do" section.
Inward looking it may be, it is certainly not backward looking. Chennai is one of the undercelebrated successes of software development in India. It has also, in the past few years, become a car-manufacturing hub, drawing inevitable comparisons with Detroit (though more from outsiders than from citizens).
The Hindu , is the city's most popular English-language newspaper. Other english dialies include The New Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle, but a true citizen of Chennai would be contemptuous of all other newspapers, considering The Hindu an oasis of good writing and honest reporting amid the wasteland of Indian journalism. Besides these Chennai has editions of Hindu Business Line, Financial Express, Business Standard and the Economic Times all of which are financial dailies.
It is said that Chennai has two seasons - a hot and humid season, and summer, when it gets hotter and even more humid. It does not enjoy the South-west monsoon, but gets its rains from the North east monsoon around September and October.
Chennai has an international airport and is the transport hub of South India. All international flights arrive at the Anna Terminal while the domestic flights arrive at the Kamraj terminal. The airport is served by 17 International and five Indian carriers (Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Sahara and Air Deccan). Most large European airlines such as Lufthansa(Frankfurt),Air France(Paris) and British Airways(London-Heathrow) and many Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysian and Thai Airways serve Chennai. Delta Airlines runs a daily service to New York via Paris.
Chennai is well connected to Bangkok, Colombo,Dubai, Fujairah, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Muscat, Ra's al Khaimah, Sharjah and Singapore by Indian Airlines. For flight timings visit the Indian Airlines website.
Oman and Gulf Air have daily flights from Muscat and Bahrain. Srilankan Airlines connects Chennai to Colombo with multiple daily flights. Singapore airlines flies daily between Chennai and Singapore.
Indian (formerly known as "Indian Airlines"), Jet Airways , Air Sahara, Air Deccan, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, SpiceJet and Paramount Airways connect Chennai with daily flights to most other Indian cities. Important numbers are:
- Indian Airlines General Enquiry 140
- Indian Airlines Arrivals and Departures (Recorded) 142
- Indian Airlines Reservations 141/+91 44 22561971
- Jet Airways +91 44 2841 4141
- Air Sahara +91 44 5211 0202/ +91 44 2498 0688
- Air Deccan +91 9840377008
Use the pre-paid taxi to get to the city. The fares are different for the domestic and international terminals though both the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the Government Taxis (Black with Yellow tops) or the private cabs (more comfortable and more expensive). It's better to keep small change in hand as the counter staff very often don't seem to have change! 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). Once out of the terminal you'll have a tough time warding off all the touts and taxi drivers soliciting passengers. Make your way through this crowd and across the drive to the taxi stand. Now its up to you to locate your taxi. You can ask the other drivers (clothed in khaki shirts and trousers) to help you locate the vehicle which usually is parked out of view right at the back of the line of cars. Drivers will offer to tow your luggage cart or help you put them in the dickey (trunk) but do it yourself to avoid missing luggage.
Chennai is also reachable by train from other Indian cities. Chennai Central station is the hub for all long-distance trains. There is another station called the Egmore station that is used for trains going to other parts of Tamil Nadu. There are daily trains from/to Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi and most other Indian cities. For train timings and on-line reservations (within India) visit the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation's website. For Railway enquiries call 131 or 132
If you happen to arrive at the Central Station, you'll have to hand over your journey tickets to the Ticket Collector waiting at the exit. You'll have a tough time warding off all the touts and taxi drivers soliciting passengers the moment your are out of the concourse. Make your way through this crowd and reach the 'pre-paid' autorickshaw / Taxi stand.
Chennai has one of Asia's largest bus stations, CMBT. Seven different state owned corporations ply 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 terminuses 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. So feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.
- CMBT Enquiry : +91 44 2479 5547.
Chennai is very well connected and to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Calcutta, Bangalore, Trichy, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry. With the progress of the Golden Quadrilateral project, driving down from Bangalore is actually an option, but driving in India is still dangerous if you are a foreigner unused to the idea that rules are to be ignored.
Getting around in Chennai is cheaper than most Indian cities, except if you get into the autorickshaw(Three-wheeler).
Chennai has a suburban train  network. There are four routes - Chennai Central - Arakkonam, Chennai Beach - Tambaram and Chengalpet, Chennai Beach - Thiruvanmyur, Chennai Central - Gummidipoondi . There are plans to link the last line to the Tambaram line.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation  buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap.
Auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai are notorious for overcharging, rigged meters, and general harrassment of passangers. Use Auto-Rickshaw's only for short distances(If you know exactly how far you are going). Otherwise go for the call taxis which are better regulated.
If you do 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 with to the agreed price, though the the driver may attempted to ask for more, even threatening to leave you in a bad part of town.
- Try to hail individual rickshaws in traffic and avoid those parked in groups as they may try to gang-up on you.
As a general rule, expect to pay about 8 Rs for every kilometer you travel. Some auto-rickshaws will also try to tell you that you have to pay for the return trip. You don't have to pay for any return trips.
Examples of common fares:
- Railway station to Old Woodlands Hotel- 40 Rs
- Railway station to New Woodlands Hotel- 70 Rs
- Railway station to Arumbakkam - 50 Rs
- Railway station to Mylapore - 60 Rs
Taxis are only available by phone, not on the street. They are mostly reliable and have digital fare meters.
- Bharati Call Taxi, +91 44 2814 2233
- Chennai Call Taxi, +91 44 2538 4455
- Fast Track, +91 44 2473 2020
Tourist Cabs - Are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram etc. Costs about 4.50 Rs per KM and 30 Rs per hour as hire charges. The minimum hire is for 5 hrs or 50 kms. i.e. (30*5) + running kms * 4.50 Rs. So if you travel say 50 kms then (50*4.5). So you would end up paying 150 + 225 = 375 Rs. Also generally there is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport
- Tiruvalluvar Travels, +91 44 2474 5807
- Sharmila Tours and travels, +91 44 2827 4177
Driving in Chennai is even more of a nightmare than the average Indian city because the two-wheelers and autos have no fear of death and no knowledge of rules. It is a common sight to see an auto go in the wrong direction even on highways. That said, the roads are better maintained than the average Indian road. The main highway is Anna Salai also known as Mount road.
- Hertz, Counter at the Petrol Bunk (Gas Filling station) next to Spencers Plaza
Almost all the people speak Tamil, and picking up some knowledge of the language is useful to get by in Chennai. Most people in Chennai can speak english.
Try to avoid speaking in Hindi. In Tamil Nadu most of the people do not understand Hindi. South Indians have it easier as the languages are similar. There are also speakers of Telugu.
English education is widespread in Chennai.
- Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore 
- Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It popular a place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach, safe and good place for picnicking.
- Ennore Port,and Ennore foundaries
- Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of Nadu Tamil. There is a museum presenting of the objects of the time of the domination of the CAIO, and a banquetting suite going back to 1802 where the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises also the oldest church Anglican of India, the church of St Mary.
- 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 Childern'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 distruction 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.
- Perambur Locomotives
- St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is said St. Thomas died.
- 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.
Temples and churches
- Aarupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony)
- Ananda Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
- Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
- Araalakeshi Temple, Besant Nagar (near RBI)
- Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony) The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different then other South Indian temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
- CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar
- CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over
- CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah
- Ishtha Siddhi Vinayakar Temple, Adayar
- Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore
- Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys
- Kapaleshwara Temple, Mylapore
- Kaarneeswarar Temple, Saidapet
- Luz Anjaneyaar Temple, Mylapore
- Madhya Kailash Temple, Taramani
- 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.)
- Marudeshwar temple, Thiruvanmiyur(it is big temple with a very big tank and the main God here is SIVA and he is in Lingam form in this temple.And the main speciality of the temple is that the LINGAM is not man made. It is natural LINGAM. It is said that God will cure all disease and thus come the name "Marudeshwara" )
- Mundakaneeyaman Temple, Mylapore
- Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane
- Paul Dinakaran House of Prayer, Adayar
- 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 Basiclia, where the Archdioscese of Mylapore is present
- Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore Tank
- Shiva Vishnu Temple, T.Nagar
- Sringeri Saradha Peetam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar
- St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Stringer's St, Broadway, Chennai-600108
- St. Peters & St. Paul Orthodox Chapel, Koyambedu, Near Anna Nagar, Chennai-600107
- Sundara Vinayakar Temple, Adayar
- Swami Ayyapaa Temple, K.K.Nagar
- Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar
- Thirupathi Gangai Amman Temple, Vannandurai
- Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani
- Varasidi vinayakar Temple, Besant Nagar (near bus terminus)
- Vinaayakar Temple Luz Corner, Mylapore
- Visvaroopa Baktha Anjaneyaar Temple, Ramnagar, Nanganallur (The idol is 32ft. in height)
- During summers it becomes hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (8-10pm) on the Marina beach and Besant Nagar Beach. 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.
- Stroll along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for stuff and knick-knacks.
Music and Dance
During the Tamil month of Mazgazhi (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 "concerts"). You will see mostly older celebrities, although occasionally there will be some world-class young virtuosos.
- Brahma Gana Sabha, Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road, Chennai - 600004, Phone - +91 92821 06425, +91 98412 96684
- Indian Institute of Music and Arts, R.K Swamy Auditorium, Shivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore, Chennai - 600004,
- Kartik Fine Arts, Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road, Chennai - 600018. +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, Chennai - 600017. Phone - +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, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600017. +91 44 2815 2166 (The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha)
- VDS Arts Academy, MOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600034. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6.30 p.m., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artistes. Admission: free.
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.
Chennai has literally dozens of different insitutes 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
- Kalakshethra, Kalakshetra Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041. +91 44 2491 1836, +91 44 2491 4359(fax +91 44 2491 4359) 
- Bharatia Vidya Bhavan
- Chinmaya Mission, #2, 13th avenue Harrington Road Chetpet, Chennai 600 031. +91 44 2826 5641, +91 44 2827 4046
- ISKCON (International Society For Krishna Consciousness), Hare Krishna Land Injambakkam, Chennai - 600041 Phones - +91 44 2501 9303, +91 44 2501 9147
- Kishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, 31, 4th Cross Street, R.K. Nagar, Chennai 600 028. +91 44 2493 7998, +91 44 2493 3092, +91 44 2462 0202, +91 44 2462 0005 (fax: +91 44 2461 334) 
- Krishnamurthi Foundation, 124, 126 (Old #64/65) Greenways Road, Chennai 600 028. +91 44 2493 7803, +91 44 2493 7596 
- Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020. +91 44 2491 2815 (fax: +91 44 2490 2706, +91 44 2490 1399, [email protected]) 
- Spencer Plaza  769, Anna Salai. Billed as the largest shopping mall in India, Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times.
- Chennai Citi Centre  10, Radhakrishnan Salai - Chennai's newest retail mecca, opened March 2006
- Shoppers' Stop 2, Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai. The K.Raheja groups Shoppers' Stop is a departmental store.
Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.
- Alwar's Roadside bookshop opp Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
- Bookfield, Opp. 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 - Books
- Kennedys Book House, Anna Salai - Books
For more current publications
- Landmark , 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 Adyar Bus Stand, Adyar - Books, Music, Toys, Gift Articles
- Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Road - General books from a friendly shop keeper
- Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram Ph - +91 442820 3582 - Handicrafts
- Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11, 2nd Street, Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore, 600004 Ph:+91 44 2847 6063.- Art, Design Jewellery, photo prints.
- Crafts and Weaves, #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2466 0232 - Handicrafts
- Dakshinachitra, Muthukkadu - 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.  - 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 Ph - +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 Ph - +91 44 2433 2842 - Terracotta Ware
- Music World, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Music CD's, cassettes
- Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, #70, 1st Main Road, CIT Nagar ph - +91 44 4359 223
- Raasi Art Gallery, #1, anna Avenue, Bakthavatsala nagar, Adayar Ph - +91 44 2441 0389
- Apparao Galleries, 7th Street, Wallace Garden Ph - +91 44 2827 226
- Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, #41, CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet. Ph - +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159
- Nalli Silks, Panagal Park - Kanchipuram Silk Sarees
- Kumaran Silks, 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), #1, Sannadhi Street, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2494 1906; #827, Dhun Building, Mount Road, Ph - +91 44 2852 0251; #23, 1st Main Road, Nanganallur, Ph - +91 44 2232 4176 - Silk Sarees, (also in anna Nagar, opp Ayappa temple) Ethnic Wear, Arts & Crafts
- Jaipur Gems,,Exclusie Designer StarFire Diamond jewellery,authentic Jadau jewellery,Bridal Gold jewellery,& Hand crafted Platinum Jewellery. Only at 50,Cathedral Road,Chennai-600 086.
- Vummidi Bangaru Jewellery, , Nungambakkam for Diamonds, Gold. Also in T.Nagar.
- Keerthilal Kaalidas-diamond Merchants Gold and Silver, CP Ramaswamy Road Alwaarpet Chennai-18
- NAC -Nathella Anjaneyallu Jewellery, Mylapore Tank
- Keerthilal Kaalidas-diamond Merchants Gold and Silver, CP Ramaswamy Road Alwaarpet Chennai-18
- Bapalal Jewellers, Diamond Merchants,Kakani Towers Cathedral Road
- Jugalkishore Jewellers, CP Ramaswaamy Road Alwarpet for stone immitation and costume jewellery for parties.
- GRT Thangamaligai,, south usman T-NAGAR CHENNAI
- Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60, East Kalamandapam Road. Royapuram , Chennai- 13. Reliable Gold. Reasonable Prices.
- Sapthaswara musicals, luz , mylapore, all musical instruments western indian classical music books hindustani instruments
- Shruthi Musicals, #10, Harleys Road, Kilpauk Ph - 26603630
- Sruthilayais, #93, Royapettah High Road, Mylapore Ph - 24994045 / 24982625 - Musical Instruments
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.
Chennai has restaurants offering various types of cuisine. Usually the bill amount includes a Service charge easily identified by 'S.C', this is the amount that goes to the waiters as tips! Though not all restaurants resort to this sort of billing. Leave a tip, only if it is not already included in the bill. Its better to tip moderately.
Beach coast restaurants are well maintained and serve great during evenings. Elliots beach near Adayar is place to stroll and find few celebrities.
Chennai has a fair share of stores selling organic food.
- Future Food,+91 44 2440 4937. Soya, dals and coffee powder.
- Ahumkaara , +91 44 2661 1818. Five seed mix, buckwheat, fresh aloe vera and whet grass.
- Enfield Agrobase +91 44 2442 0605. Mangoes, dried bananas, cashew and coconut.
- Naturagros, +91 44 5585 0122. Aloe vera tooth paste and soap, organic fruit juice concentrate, vegetables, greens.
- Naturally Auroville +91 44 3833 0517. Kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting tea and sugar using the yeast kombucha), Spaghetti, ragi, spirulina and bread.
- Sunday Shandy, +91 44 2499 1203. Weekly fair of organic vegetables, milk and other farm produce, direct from the farm. Every Sunday 9AM to 12PM.
- The Eco Nut, +91 44 2491 9592. Sesame butter and homemade jams.
- Organic milk, +91 44 2499 1203 Murali, New 177, Old 77 Luz Church Road.
- Nature's Organic,Lakshmipuram
- Saravana Bhavan  is a chain of vegetarian restaurants where you can get consistently good quality South Indian tiffin  items. They are highly concentrated in Chennai, but located all over Tamil Nadu and also have overseas franchises in the US, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, UK and Canada.
- Aaavin, Near LIC, Anna Salai, Cuisine - Dairy bar offering flavoured milk and sweets etc.
- Ganges, Kodambakkam High Road. Cuisine - South Indian.
- Komalas, Kodambakkam High Road. Cuisine - South Indian Fast Food.
- Palimar, Parsn Complex, Anna Salai (Mount Road). Cuisine - South Indian.
- Vasantha Bhavan Like Saravana Bhavan, they also have chain of vegetarian restaurants. The one near Vadapalani Bus stand titled Vasantha Bhavan 'Namma Veedu' is quite famous.
- Ponnuswamy, Raahat Plaza, Vadapalani. Cuisine - South Indian.
- Murugan Idli Shop, G.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar. Cuisine - South Indian. They serve the best idlies, dosas in the city
- Aiwo, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Cuisine - Fusion.
- Amaravathy, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore. Andhra Special and also Tandoori, Chinese
- Amma, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Cuisine - Chettinadu (Region of South India).
- Anjappar, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2628 9344. Chettinadu cuisine.
- Anupama, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Andhra cuisine.
- Coastline, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore. +91 44 2825 1128. Seafood.
- Dhaba Express, Cenotaph Road, Tenampet. +91 44 2432 8213. North Indian.
- Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5222 2777. Chinese
- ECR Dhaba, On ECR Road, Next to Muttukadu Boat House, Muttukadu. +91 98407 04050. Indian, Tandoor, Chinese
- Gyan Vaishnav, Mount Road, Near Anand Theatre. North Indian
- Kadalivanam, Mogappair. , 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.
- Murugans Idli Shop, GN Chetty Road T. Nagar, Besant Nagar. South Indian.
- Noodle House, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road). 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.
- Sri Krishna Sweets, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road)(also at MG Road, Shastri nagar) Indian Sweets & Salad Bar
- Swati and Swayam, at Saravana Bhavan, Peters Road. South Indian.
- Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi
- Arirang, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Korean.
- Bella Ciao The Italian Restaurant, 4, Sree Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, Chennai - 600 041 - Phone:+91 44 24511130 ---- 140, Nungambakkam High Road, Chhotabhai Center Chennai - 600 034 - Phone:+91 44 28330085 ---- Italian: Roman owner, Excellent Food and Real WoodFire oven Pizzas, lovely setting.
- 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.
- 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
- Mainland China, Tulip Inn, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese
- Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343. Indian
- Peshwari, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, North Indian, Afghan.
- 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.
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. However bars and pubs in the city's major hotels are managed by the hotels.
- The Pub, Liberty Park Hotel, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - 24725950
- Cellar, Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Ph - 24982306
- 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 - 52222777
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Leather Bar, Park The, Nungambakkam High Road
- The largest liquor stable in Chennai - includes hard to source Moet & Chandon, Glenfiddich and a variety of other scotch. Loud Music.
- 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 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,  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.
- Elements Hostel, Address: 26A , Wallace Garden . 3rd Street, Phone : +91 44 5214 2552( India), Calling From UK :02070783946 or 08000968832 (toll free), Calling From US or Canada: 646 536 3472 or 888 694 9257 (toll free).  It is a new place which has come up right in the heart of the city. It has both dormitory style beds and suite's. . A very colourful, comfortable and clean place.
- Comfort Inn Marina Towers, 2A Ponniamman Koiil Street Egmore, Phone: +91 44 2858 5454, Fax: +91 44 2858 5454, 
- 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
- Liberty Park, 1st Main Road, Kodambabakkam, Ph - +91 44 2472 5950. 
- Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet
- New Woodlands, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
- New Victoria, Kenneth Lane, Egmore
- Peninsula, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
- President, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
- Ranjit, Nungambakkam High Road,
- Residency, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
- Residency Towers, Boag Road, T.Nagar
The closest hotels to the airport are The Trident, Le Royal Meridian and Radisson GRT Hotel all five star properties.
- Ambassador Pallava, 30, Montieth Road, Egmore, tel: +91 44 2855 4476, Fax: +91 44 2855 4492, [email protected], . Reasonable value and friendly staff.
- Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, tel: +91 44 2811 0101, Fax: +91 44 2811 0202, .
- ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, tel: +91 44 2499 4101, Fax:+91 44 2499 7101, .
- Le Royal Meridian, Business District, 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 4343, Fax: +91 44 2231 4344, .
- The Park, 601 Anna Salai (next to the Anna Flyover), tel: +91 44 5214 4000, Fax: +91 44 5214 4100, . 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, .
- Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, tel: +91 44 5500 2827, .
- Trident Hilton Chennai, 1/24, G.S.T. Road, tel: +91 44 2234 4747, Fax: +91 44 2234 4555, [email protected], .
BSNL  and Airtel  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.
Cell phone rates are one of the cheapest in the world. There are four GSM service providers BSNL, AirTel, Hutch and AirCel. There are two CDMA service providers Reliance and TATA Indicom. 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.
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
- Dishnet DSL, Above Murugans Super Market, Off GN Chetty Road, Tel - 28260190. 
- Open between 9am - 10:30pm
- 9am - 1pm -> 90 min - 30Rs, 45 min - 15Rs
- 1pm - 10:30pm -> 60 min - 30Rs, 30 min - 15Rs
- Sify iway,  Several of them in the city
While in Chennai it is advisable to drink only bottled water. There are several brands that you can choose from: Aquafina (Pepsi), Kinley (Coca Cola), Bisleri , Hello . It's advisable to boil tap water before drinking.
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.
- Apollo Hospitals, Greams Lane, Off Greams Road, Nungambakkam Tel - 28293333
- Aysha Hospital, 91A Millers Rd., Tel: 26426930.
- Balaji Hospital, Tel - 22345282
- Bone and Joint, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26212137/1026
- Child's Trust Hospital, Nungambakkam, Tel - 28277487
- CSI Rainy Hospital, Royapuram, Tel - 25951329
- Hindu Mission Hospital, 103, G.S.T. Road, Tambaram West, Tel: 22262244, .
- Isabel Hospitals, oliver road, mylapore,
- Madras Medical Mission, Moggapair, Chennai 37 -26565961 /91, .
- Malar Hospitals, Adyar
- RIGID Hospital
- Shankar Nethralaya (Eye Hospital),
- Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26268844
- Vijaya Hospital,Vadapalani
- Ramachandra Hospital,Porur
- General Hospital,Opposite to Central Station
- Stanley Medical Hospital
- 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
- Apollo Pharmacy, , GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
- Health & Glow, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road; Nungambakkam High Road
- Madras Medical Mission, 24 Hr. Pharmacy, Mogappiar, Chennai-37 
- ABN Amro,Haddows Road, Opp Residency Hotel, GN Chetty Road*'
- HSBC, Adyar
- American Express, Near Anand Theatre, Anna Salai (Mount Road)
- Citibank, Opp Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road);Opp Hotel Parthan, GN Chetty Road
- HDFC Bank, ITC Centre, Anna Salai (Mount Road); All over Chennai
- ICICI Bank, All Over Chennai
- UTI Bank, All over Chennai
- Standard Chartered Bank, Haddows Road
- State Bank of India, All over Chennai
- Corporation Bank, All over Chennai
- Canara Bank, Greams Road, Next to MRF Tyres
Many hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not have the best rates.
- 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
- Green Trends, 13th Main Road, Anna Nagar
- 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
- Dollys beauty parlour, Elcanso Plaza, Egmore, ph: 9840118882
- Blue 'Boutique Gym'-329, TTK Road, Alwarpet.#24996045,24996064.
- 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, Kader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam
- Clean Living, Opp Hotel Palmgrove, Kodambakkam High Road
- Clean Living, Near Ega Theatre, Poonamalle High Road
- Mr. Pronto's, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road
- C.K Devchand Opticians, North Usman Road, A.R.R Complex T.Nagar Chennai-17 Tel - 28140534
- Photo Optic, Perumbur Barraks Road, Near Doveton Clock Tower, Purushwalkkam, Chennai Tel - 26421479, 26428245
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. 
- British Council - Anna Salai, Phone - 52050600 Ext 350/351. 
- Connemara Library - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Phone 28193751. 
- Max Mueller Bhavan (German) - Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd., Nungambakkam. 
American Information Resource Center Library (located within the American Consulate - see list of consulates)
- American Consulate - 220, Anna Salai (Near Gemini Flyover). 
- British Deputy High Commission - 20 Anderson Road, Nungambakkam, tel:+91 44 42192151 (fax: +91 44 42192322, ) Open Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and 1330-1600.
- German Consulate - Commander-in-Chief Road (Ethiraj Salai), Egmore
- Malaysian Embassy - Off TTK Road, Alwarpet, Behind Park Sheraton
- 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.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands — Beaches, surfing and snorkelling
- Kerala — God's own Country. Paradise on earth
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.
- 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.
- Kanchipuram — Kamakshi temple, seat of one of the Shankaracharyas - the closest Hinduism comes to a spiritual head.
- Thanjavur — Brihadeswara temple (Big Temple).