About Chennai

Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is the fourth largest city in the country, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in South India. A city that has a rich cultural history, Chennai perfectly balances its heritage with its thriving modern lifestyle. A metropolis with a heart, Chennai’s skyline is famous for its towering skyscrapers which form a scenic vista along the coast, but the heart of Chennai still remains in the multitude of old temples and churches dotting various parts of the city. Steeped in rich South-Indian culture, Chennai is a city that has a plethora of dimensions that one can explore, and regardless of where you go, the city has an old-world charm to it that refuses to be overshadowed. Chennai is home to the second largest beach in the world, the Marina Beach, which is one of the most happening spots in the city. At any hour of the day, Marina Beach is filled to the brim with people – both locals and tourists – basking in the soft warmth of the sun and the sand, with the crystal clears waters of the ocean lapping at their feet. The beach is lined with eateries and stalls where you can go for a quick snack, or for some souvenir shopping. Chennai has some of the oldest temples in the country, such as the Parthasarathy Temple, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple and the Ashtalakshmi Temple. All of these temples have very colourful facades with towering spires that are as intimidating as they are impressive. Seeing as Chennai had an important role to play in the colonial era, the city has its fair share of historical museums and monuments which are a testament to the days gone by. The most important of these is Fort. St. George, which is considered one of the first British establishments in the country. The monument is more than just a throwback to the colonial age; this fort also houses the state’s Legislative Assembly and Secretariat. Another tourist spot steeped in history is the Government Museum, which is also a British-era building and houses a very detailed record of the history of India. Other historical buildings include the National Art Gallery and the Connemara Public Library.

Place to must visit in Chennai


Places to Visit in Chennai

Travellers are preffering these places in Chennai

Experience Time: 2-3 hours

Distance: 4 kms

Marina Beach

Situated in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, Marina Beach is a natural urban beach along the Bay of Bengal. The beach is stretched out to a distance of 13 kilometres making it the longest natural urban beach in the country, second largest in the world and also the most crowded beach in India with almost 30,000 visitors a day. Marina beach has statues of heroes from the Tamil culture such as Anna and MGR, a salute to their never-ending efforts to make Tamil Nadu a fast growing city of India. In an attempt to make this beach the hotspot for tourism, an aquarium has also been constructed on the Marina Beach. With a white sandy shore that looks as though extending to infinity, the landscape of Marina Beach is a mesmerising and serene sight to behold. The beach has a primarily sandy terrain and is a breeding ground for olive ridley sea turtles as well. You could take a walk along the Marina beach with your near and dear ones or even all alone and enjoy the cool evening sea breeze along with a hot plate of crispy sundal and murukku. Watching the sun crawl upwards into the sky or even disappear into the ocean from the beach, is an awe-striking and enchanting experience.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 9 kms

Breezy Beach

Breezy Beach lays in the remote and serene neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar in Chennai. Being smaller and less polluted, its a perfect getaway for anyone looking for a peaceful evening. This beach is not as popular and known as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful. Evenings are very pleasant and breezy here, and in the recent years, lots of tourists have been attracted towards this beach for its beauty. Those looking for an amiable, refreshing and breezy place to chill out and have fun, the Breezy beach of Chennai is the place to be.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 8 kms

Marundeeswarar Temple

The magnificent Marundeeswarar Temple, in Tiruvanmiyur, near Chennai has the temple deity Shiva in the form of Marundeeswar or Aushadeeswarar, the God of Medicines. A fine specimen of Dravidian architecture, this temple is a must visit for anyone visiting Chennai or nearby cities. Glorified in the 7th-8th century by Nayanars (Saivite Saints), Tirugnana Sambandar, and Appar, the temple was expanded by the Chola Kingdom in the 11th century. Moreover, given the name, Marundeeswarar Temple has been a place of worship especially for people with diseases and those facing various problems with their health. The prasadam here is a mixture of sacred ash, water, and milk which is believed to cure any ailments. One must visit the temple to encounter the miraculous power it is said to have. Amongst the many legends associated with the temple, one of them explains why Lord Marundeeswarar is known as he is because he is said to have taught the great Sage Agastya about a magical medicine. The temple is also known for its one and a half ft. self-manifested Shivalinga. It also contains the statues of Lord Vinayaka and Lord Muruga. Furthermore, it hosts many festivals such as Shivrathri, Skanda Sashti, and Vinayaka Chaturti. Hence, the temple even has a festive aura all around the year. Owing to its historical significance, this temple is a serene and peaceful place to be when in or around Chennai.

Experience Time:

Distance: 8 kms

MGR Film City

Having been established in the year 1994, a considerably new structure, the MGR Film city is managed by the Government of Tamil Nadu in loving memory of MG Ramachandran who was not only a crowd-pleasing tamil actor but also a longtime CM of Tamil Nadu. Covering a massive 70 acres at Taramani in Chennai, the MGR Film City is a popular tourist hotspot and the place-to-be for several South Indian films directors. Besides being the best place to catch a glimpse of a popular Tamil actor and the film city also has a film school, indoor and outdoor shooting locations, replicas of village and urban areas, temple, church, mosque, post office, police station, prison, courtroom, and landscaped gardens in Italian, Japanese and Mughal styles. They recently opened the MGR Knowledge Park which has been adding to the attraction.

Experience Time: 1 day

Distance: 279 kms

Koli Hills

With an ominous name which means ‘Mountain of Death’, Koli Hills are a mountain range located in the Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu. It is relatively untouched by commercial tourism and therefore has retained most of its natural magnificence. The mountains are famous for not only their natural beauty but also have religious significance because of the Arappaleshwar Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The peak is accessible via road as well and the road leading up to it is winding with several twists and turns.

Experience Time: 2-3 hours

Distance: 16 kms

VGP Golden Beach

Considered as one of the cleanest and beautiful beaches in Chennai, VGP Golden beach is one of the most sought-after destinations in the area by family and friends. This beach is a part of the VGP Universal Kingdom, which is a famous amusement park and lies on the East Coast Road. This mesmerising beach is an appealing part of the Bay of Bengal, with its smooth and silver sand situated on Marina, the second longest beach in the world. The surging waves of the beach and the swaying wind are like music to ears adding to the charm and beauty of this place. The place is also regarded as safe for one to indulge in the act of bathing and swimming in the fresh water shower. Due to its pristine beauty and picturesque landscape this beach is highly preferred by the masses and is also used as a shooting location for movies frequently. It is a private beach with the uniqueness of an amusement park attached to it namely the VGP Universal Kingdom with a spectacular backdrop of pristine waters. One will witness several people on morning walks or spending time with their loved ones at this beach. The beach is perfect for surfing as well. Children especially love this beach. They can take a cooling dip in the sea, build sand castles or hunt for treasures on the shore. There is no dearth of the fun activities here. The theme park at the VGP Golden Beach also offers an enjoyable experience for the visitors. It is a complete family destination with thrilling adventure rides for both kids and adults. There are many water based rides here as well. The most popular attractions include the VGP 2000 millennium Tower, Paneer fort and the Statue Man. The park is ideally accessible from the airport, railway station as well as the bus stand. The various amenities available here are online booking of tickets, wheelchair facility, use of debit and credit cards for payments, three food outlets, costume renting, locker facilities, first aid and group discounts. The overall park has 3 sections- the Universal Kingdom, the Aqua Kingdom and the Snow Kingdom.

Experience Time: 3-4 hrs

Distance: 27 kms

Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Perhaps one of the most popular picnic spots in Vandalur, Kanchipuram District, the Arignar Zoological Park is an amazing place to discover the flora and fauna of the region. A favourite weekend spot with both children and adults alike, the Arignar Zoo is situated at a distance of 32 kilometres from Chennai city. It is the largest zoo of its kind in South East Asia and is sprawled over an area of 1260 acres. In addition to having an extensive collection of endemic and exotic animals, visitors can experience the wild first hand with a trip to safari parks where lions and deer can be easily spotted. Housing as many as 138 different species of organisms, this destination is every nature lover's paradise. Arinagar Anna Zoological Park is home to a variety of animals such as Himalayan brown bear, lion, tiger, elephant and Indian civit cat. The zoo also has a reptile house which houses various species of reptiles including the king cobra, python, viper any much more. In addition to this, they have a small built-in Jurassic park which just adds on to the excitement. Elephant joy rides, children's park and an education centre are amongst the other special features of the park.

Experience Time: 2 - 3 hours

Distance: 17 kms

ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple

ISKCON Temple Chennai is a temple devoted to Lord Krishna. It is located on the East Coast Road in southern Chennai. Built on 1.5 acres of land, ISKCON, Chennai is the biggest Radha Krishna temple in Tamil Nadu. It was officially inaugurated on 26 April 2012. The deities revered in the temple include Radha Krishna and lord's family, including Sri Sri Nitai Gauranga. ISKCON Temple is located in the Injambakkam region in Thyagaray Nagar of Chennai. It is one of the most popular establishments by the ISKCON society in India. It is a harmonic blend of tradition and modernity in an artistic style, as well as the best of latest scientific technology. Like all the other ISKCON temples in the world, the main deity here is Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya whose teachings and life stories are preached here. The deities worshipped in the temple include those of Rukmini and Krishna. The image of deity Satyabhama, one of the eight wives of Krishna, is also housed in the temple premises. Other deities worshipped in the temple include Jagannath, Baladeva, Subhadra, and Gaura-Nitai. ISKCON Chennai also fosters and protects the traditional art and craft of South India.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 1 kms

Valluvar Kottam

Situated in the beautiful city of Chennai, Valluvar Kottam is a temple chariot like-monument built to honour the renowned classical Tamil poet and saint, Thiruvalluvar. This intricately designed monument was built by Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi during the 1970s to honour the contributions of Thiruvalluvar. A popular Tamil poet and philosopher, he has been attributed with the creation of Thirukkurals which are hailed as one of the greatest works of Tamil literature. Valluvar Kottam is known for its great architecture, built with innovative layouts and well-thought execution. The sublime beauty of Valluvar Kottam is best experienced during the morning hours when the city is just waking up to the day, or you can make a visit to this destination during the evening hours when the sun is just setting over the horizon. The magnificent design of the Valluvar Kottam is a wonderful sight to behold, which makes it the perfect destination to click a few pictures. In addition to being an important tourist destination in the city, Valluvar Kottam also plays host to some of the most important exhibitions and events in the city. Handlooms and handicrafts are regularly hosted in the auditorium here which is an air-conditioned facility and is a good way to spend a few hours admiring the artistic beauty of both the what lays inside and outside. The monument is complimented perfectly by a temple car, which is fixed to the floor but is a delightful addition to the edifice. Another interesting fact about the Valluvar Kottam is that you can also see a few saplings here which were planted here by Mother Teresa herself, and are marked by a stone plate marking the year 1984.

Experience Time:

Distance: 18 kms

Akkarai Beach

The sandy coastline begins from Ennore in the north extending south into Uthandi, leaving one to choose from more than just Marina and Elliot's beach. With nicely constructed walkers' paths,convenient seats, adequate lighting, lush green areas and children's playgrounds proposed for select beaches initially, there is more to look forward to when you clock in some time for fitness.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 8 kms

Ashtalakshmi Temple

Ashtalakshmi Temple, a delightful and soft coloured temple complex, is located in Besant Nagar, in the South Indian state of Chennai. The temple complex is built a few meters away from the Besant beach on the coast of the gorgeous Bay of Bengal. Ashtalakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Knowledge resides here and blesses everyone who visits the temple to offer their prayers with a clean soul. Soak in the divine ambience of the temple on the scenic coast of Bay of Bengal and observe the colourful and intricate tiers on the shrines. The serenity is unquestionable and sure to calm jittery nerves of the pilgrims and devotees. Apart from locals, you can also witness tourists flocking in from different parts of the world to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the temple. The Ashtalakshmi Temple complex is built to worship eight avatars of Goddess Lakshmi namely Wealth, Success, Prosperity, Bravery, Courage, Knowledge, Food and Offspring. It was built when Sri Maha Periyaval or the Sage of Kanchi Mutt, Sri Chandrasekara Saraswati Swamigal had wished for it to be constructed. The followers willingly agreed and laid the foundation with utmost devotion. Goddess Lakshmi is known for granting Ashtama Siddhi and Astha Iswaryam which mean eightfold achievements and wealth respectively. The continuous sound of the ocean waves echo in the temple complex and instantly inculcate a feeling of peace and composure in the devotees bringing them one more step closer to the spiritual world. This place of worship is so magnificent that one has to visit to experience it. The grandiosity of the place can be estimated from the fact that nearly 7 million rupees were spent on the renovation of the temple and over 1.6 million rupees on conducting a religiously important Hindu ceremony named, Jeernotharana Ashtabandana Mahakumbhabhishekam.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 7 kms

Elliot's Beach

Elliot's Beach aka "Besant Nagar Beach" or "Bessie" is located in Besant Nagar, Chennai. It forms the end-point of the Marina Beach shore and is named after Edward Elliot (who was once the Chief Magistrate, Superintendent of Madras and Governor of Chennai during the British times). It has the Velankanni Church and the Ashtalakshmi Kovil in the vicinity. The mesmerising beach is one of the cleanest beaches in the city of Chennai. Located towards the south of Marina Beach, an incredibly calm and tranquil place, it does not offer much activity hence, is an ideal spot for long walks. Moreover, the site is perfect for the ones who want to soak their feet in the splashing sea water and lose themselves entirely in the arms of nature. Elliot's Beach is quite famous among the tourists as well as the natives of the state. In the colonial times, it was a place limited to white people. The beach is popular with local college students and families. There are many restaurants near the beach with mouth-watering cuisines. There is a police outpost at the beach, and the crowd is managed via all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to prevent drowning mishaps. Many people drowned at the beach in 2010, seeing which the government sanctioned two more ATVs the very next year. The beach is often visited by travellers for sunbathing, relaxing and visiting the famous ancient monuments nearby. It is usually less crowded than the famous Marina Beach and hence, preferred by the travellers. During the evening hours, one can spot various youngsters roaming around the beach as this beach offers the perfect retreat, away from the city life of metropolitan.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

Vivekananda House

Vivekananda House also popularly known as The Ice House, is a shrine and pilgrimage centre for the admirers and followers of Swami Vivekananda. It is in this house that Swami Vivekananda stayed for six weeks in 1900. Built way back in 1877 or much earlier, the two-story house is a chef d'oeuvre of Victorian architecture with its distinctive designs of sunburst and saddleback roofs. The bedroom where Vivekananda spent six weeks is now a safe haven for all those who want to meditate and attain inner peace. When here, you can see the table at which he dined, placed beautifully downstairs near the fireplace. Devotees can stroll through the kitchen where he cooked his simple food, the parlor where he spoke and the garden where he frequently played with the children. These materiallistic reminders of the life of Swami Vivekananda breath a new life into the eminent yet simple principles for which he stood all along his life.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 1 kms

Connemara Library

The year 1896 witnessed the inauguration of a new and remarkable landmark in the city of Chennai- the Connemara Library, which is a treasure trove of books, newspapers, periodicals and other related texts. The library is a place where you will unquestionably find every text that you can look for. In fact, the Connemara Public Library is one of the four national depository libraries of the country and hence, it receives copies of all books and other texts that published in India. Its history dates back to over hundred years, and till date, the library remains a repository of century-old publications. The fantastic collection at the Connemara Library includes books, journals, magazines and Braille manuscripts among other texts. Located at Egmore in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, it forms a small part of the Madras museum as well. A new building was added to the library in the year 1973. This new structure boasts of a vast collection of textbooks that a visitor might be looking for. The building has a video room, a periodical hall, a reference room and an entire floor that is solely dedicated to Indian books. The total collection of books in the library goes up to beyond six lakh copies! The Connemara Library has everything that a literature geek or book lover could wish for. It is thus in no way an overstatement to say that the library is a readers' heaven. That the library is well maintained adds to the grandeur of the place. The only drawback that one can think of concerning the Connemara Library is that because of the enormous collection of books; the library usually remains crowded.

Experience Time:

Distance: 6 kms

Prakasam Salai

Built in 1795,a milestone in the history of Chennai, located Opposite Parry's Corner, Prakasam Salai is an impressive stylish building in Indo-Saracenic style with eminence in red bricks. Prakasam Salai, earlier known as Popham's Broadway, a distance off George Town, has a cluster of old shrines that include Kandaswamy Koil, Tucker's Church, a Wesleyan Chapel and the Anderson's Church. This architectural marvel holds archeological importance aand has over the time grown into a hotspot of tourism.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral is a historical and ancient pilgrim centre, which was built during the 14th to the 15th century A D by the then reigning, Portuguese. The cathedral, near Chennai beach, got its name from St Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ. A museum is located in the grounds nearby. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style, favoured by British architects in the late 19th century. The main attraction of the museum is a 16th century map of South Asia. Santhome Cathedral is one of the prominent attractions in Chennai. People with Christian faith visits this place and attend the Mass.

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Chennai Sangamam

The Chennai Sangamam, a large open Tamil festival, also coincides with the Pongal season. It is organized in various open locations like beaches, parks etc and showcases traditional folk events, martial arts and classical dance, to name a few. In addition, the festival brings together the best that South Indian cuisine has to offer - from tasty panirayams to the traditional Pongal.

Experience Time: 2-3 hrs

Distance: 2 kms

Dakshinachitra Museum

Dakshinachitra Museum, located in Chennai, is one of the living-history museums in India. It stores in itself great works of architecture, crafts, performing arts, and lifestyles that belong to South India. The museum has its vision and mission to promote the cultures of South Indian states by making them more engaging and enjoyable for its viewers. It is a project of Madras Craft Foundation which is an NGO that was opened to the public on 14th December 1996. The heritage museum is home to 4,220 artefacts and 1,000,000 pictures. Visiting here will give you an in-depth knowledge of south Indian heritage. You are going to leave with the most magnificent treasures of learning. Developed in the form of a village, it showcases the traditional lifestyle of South Indians. It is a collection of 18 authentic houses, each having its own contextual exhibition. These homes are purchased, broken down, transported and lastly reconstructed by professional artisans or Stapathis who belong to the places from where the houses are bought. Moreover, Dakshina Chitra itself means the 'house of south'. So, if you are a person of history, and a person of culture who is deeply attached to its roots this place is for you. Visit Dakshinachitra Museum to explore and learn about the life and history of South India.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 1 kms

Thousand Lights Mosque

The Thousand Lights Mosque of Royapettah, Chennai is among the most esteemed mosques of the city as well as the state of Tamil Nadu. Built in the early 19th century by the Wallajah family of the Carnatic rulers, it is till date a popular gathering place for the daily prayers and festive occasions like Muharram. The site gets its name from the legend that to illuminate the entire prayer hall, right about a thousand oil lamps used to be lit back in the days. One can only imagine how beautiful that outline must have looked against the dark black sky. The mosque is built in the traditional Islamic pattern with domes and high minarets. It has a large prayer hall for men and a separate smaller one for women. The shrine or Dargah of the mosque is dedicated to Imam Hossein, the grandson of the first prophet Muhammad and a revered figure of the Shia Muslims around the world. The walls of the grand mosque are ornamented with lines taken from the Quran. The Thousand Lights Mosque is respected among all the Muslim sects, but it is of special significance for the Shia Muslims as it is the home to the chief of the Shia sect of Tamil Nadu. It also has a burial ground inside for the Shia Muslim families. Albeit the mosque is visited throughout the year by men and women offering prayers. It lights up with more noise and grandeur during the revered month of Muharram and even more so on the day of Annual Muharram Festival.

Experience Time: 2-3 hours

Distance: 35 kms

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is the brainchild of revered herpetologist and wildlife activist Romulus 'Rom' Whitaker - an initiative to keep the fading species of crocs in subcontinent safe. Initially, the Croc Bank was built to keep the crocodiles safe and help them breed and multiply until they were fit enough to be returned to their natural habitat, and thus replenish the nature's stock. However, due to lessening wilderness, this practice has been stopped. They are now given home in the Crocodile Bank itself and are open for the public six days of the week. The Madras Crocodile Bank is not to be confused with a zoo. Yes, you can certainly take a look at the reptiles in captivity. However, unlike a zoo, this has a much more in-depth operation through ex-situ and in-situ conservation. Right now, it is home to around 17 croc subspecies and some other reptiles like frogs, lizards, snakes, and turtles as well, some of which have been listed by IUCN as critically endangered. Visitors can witness all these slithering species at one place and also indulge in the various fun activities that the park has arranged for its guests like the night safari, guided tours, and feeding programmes. The Croc Bank is a great place to spend a day of learning, witnessing rare wilderness and having fun at the same time. If you are a wildlife enthusiast and activist and want to make a difference, you can volunteer for programmes, make donations or adopt an animal too from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 8 kms

Madras War Cemetery

The Madras War Cemetery, right in the heart of the city of Chennai, is a recognition of the glory as well as horrors of the war our ancestors have fought to make this world a more peaceful place. In short, it houses the last remains of around 855 martyrs who laid down their precious lives at the battlefronts in the devastating Second World War and also a Memorial stone for 1000 more who died fighting in the Great War before that. In 1952, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Indian Government together established this cemetery to commemorate those who died to save our lives. Among the tombstones, there are three non-World War martyrs and a small memorial for a sea merchant as well. It must be remembered that the headstones are not only of soldiers who fought but of doctors, nurses and other support staffs as well. Top class maintenance by the authorities has kept the cemetery in great shape. Even though it has its roots in a sad and bloody past, the cemetery lawn feels like a serene and peaceful place for the dead to rest. It hosts the Armistice Day homage every year on November 11 with wreath offerings and Guard of Honours. Anybody interested in war-time history or wants to pay their respect to the martyrs should visit the Madras War Cemetery. It is not only a remembrance but a tangible proof of the cost of war.

Experience Time: Less than 1 hour

Distance: 5 kms

Fort St. George

The origin of the great white structure of Fort St. George is inextricable from the history of the city of Chennai itself. Popularly called the 'White Town', the sole purpose of establishing the massive fort compound was to establish a British stronghold in the Coromandel Coast and the rest of south India. With Fort St. George as a British headquarter, it was easier to develop the many small towns and villages in Tamil Nadu. The now bustling city of Chennai grew up around this fort during this time, under the British-conferred name Madras. The magnificent fort happens to be the first in many aspects in the entire era or British rule in India. The fort itself is the first British garrison settlement in India. It also houses the first British official residential complex, the Clive House which was the home of the Commander-in-chief and the orchestrator of British India, Lord Robert Clive. St Mary's Church inside the fortress is also the oldest Anglican Church, not only in India but among all the landmasses east of Suez. The grand fort is now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India and the station of Tamil Nadu Government. The administrative branches and legislative assembly are housed in here today. However, the church and a museum are open for the common public to visit and understand the significance of this fort in the history of India. The building which houses the museum used to be the location for the Madras Bank since 1795. However, after independence, it is serving as a large collection house of more than 3600 artefacts dating back to the entire period of the British rule - weapons, letters, coins, silverware, ceremonial dresses, medals, some personal items of the residents of the fort and many more.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 3 kms

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Chennai is among the most visited and respected places of worship In Tamil Nadu as well as India. The resident deity of the temple, Sai Baba of Shirdi, was an esteemed saint of the 18th century and the stories of his origin and teachings are mostly born out of folklore. However, Sai Baba later became the center of a cult called All India Sai Samaj, and the temple acts as the headquarters for the community. The Samaj was found in the 1940s by Narasimha Swamiji, and the same person founded the temple as well in 1952. The temple now has followers and devotees in hundreds of thousands. Every year, a large number of people pay their tributes to the mysterious saint - even celebrities and public figures are a part of his following. Sai Baba is recognised as one of those spiritual reformers who does not have ties to any particular god of any religion but is a figure of worship himself. So, there are no religious restrictions imposed upon those who visit the temple. In fact, this temple has fixed days and hours for reading Islamic text Quran and the book of Christianity, the Holy Bible - something that you will not find in any other spiritual establishment. Another unique feature of the Sai Baba Temple is that it still has a part of the flame that was lit by Sai Baba in Shirdi to mark his contribution to the society. Every Sunday, devotees pay tribute to Sai Baba and his work by worshipping the flame with Agni Puja. The temple offers a peaceful retreat for anyone, whether or not they are followers of the saint. The premises welcome people of any faith with open arms. Anyone who takes an interest in listening to holy texts or spiritual songs can spend some time here in the calm and serene environment.

Experience Time: 4-5 hours

Distance: 26 kms

MGM Dizzee World

MGM Dizzee World is one of the largest and oldest amusement parks in India. It boasts of having had given its visitors some unique experiences, many of which were first-timers. It brought Jurong's Bird Show from Singapore to India way back in 1999. It also had a hot air balloon ride in 1998, and even though it sounds unbelievable, there were arrangements for picking up and dropping visitors on a helicopter back in 2000 - probably the first time in the history of entertainment park business. All the rides in MGM Dizzee World are created and engineered keeping in mind the visitors' enjoyment. There are extreme level thrill rides, but nice and enjoyable ones are there too. The park has something for all age group. There are a plethora of children's rides scattered all around the park, as well as activities that other members of the family can enjoy. The amusement park offers an ideal venue for a tremendous day-out excursion with your family and kids. It also has an aqua park, fitted with various fun-filled rides and activities like artificial ocean waves, which you can enjoy with your friends and family.

Experience Time: Less than 1 hour

Distance: 9 kms

Royapuram Fishing Harbour

Under the administration of Chennai Port Trust, Royapuram Fishing Harbour is one of the most popular fishing grounds in Chennai. Located in a region which is famous for seafood, this harbour surely has its name among the busiest fishing hubs of Tamil Nadu. If you visit the Royapuram Fishing Harbour, you will almost always find the place crowded with different types of fishing vessels. From the full length, 45 feet boats to the smallest of catamarans, you will see them all. Run by mostly the local fishing community, the harbour holds a daily sale quantity of 200 tonnes. A unique feature of the Royapuram Fishing Harbour is the auction hall, where most of the day's catch is sold off for further retail selling. The hall gets a footfall of more than 30,000 every day. Not just local fishmongers, but wholesale traders from neighbouring states like Kerala and Karnataka also visit to stock top quality sea fish. Almost 30 percent of the catch is sold away to the other states; the remaining is sold off to the local sellers. If you are a fan of the Pisces, you definitely should visit this place. Here and there you will find heaps of shimmering, silvery saltwater fish as well as crustaceans, all caught fresh and soon to be sold off to the highest bidder in the auction hall. You cannot get a share from here, but you can certainly go around clicking as many pictures as you want of the fishermen doing their daily chores. For doing a bit of shopping on your own, visit the Kasimedu Fishing Harbour Market, adjacent to the harbour, with around 90 stalls selling all varieties - seer, Pomfret, prawn, lobsters, shark, sardine, crab, silver bellies, carangids, mackerel and even snails, oysters and mussels. If you are interested in shipbuilding, you can witness a glimpse of it at the pier area where fishing boats are built to cater to the fishermen of the harbour.

Experience Time: Less than 1 hour

Distance: 4 kms

Santhome Church

The significance of San Thome Church is unparalleled in the history of Christianity in India. The church, which was once constructed as a mausoleum in memory of Saint Thomas, has now grown to be a Basilica, as stated by the then Pope in 1956. San Thome Church is among the only three in the world that house the tombs of one of Christ's original disciples. The other two are St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. If you visit the St Thomas Church in Mylapore, you will be stepping into a historical tale that will take you back a couple of centuries. Beneath the towering white structure of the basilica minor lies the last remains of the saint, who once used to be one of the twelve apostles of Christ and came over to India in 52 AD to spread the religion. He is considered to be the patron saint of Christianity in India, as he converted a large population of locals in Kerala and Tamil Nadu with his wise words and preaching, and formed the community which now calls themselves Syrian Christians. The museum inside the church displays souvenirs of the great saint and his legend so that the visitors can be acquainted with the glorious past of San Thome Church.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 4 kms

Kapaleeswarar Temple

Kapaleeshwarar temple is a holy shrine of Shiva in Mylapore, Chennai. Originally built by the mighty Pallavas, Portuguese explorers destroyed the temple and rebuilt it in around the 16th century once again by the Vijayanagar kings. A visit to this temple will be an experience enriched with a glimpse into Tamil religious culture and the lovely architectural combination of the two styles - Dravidian and Vijaynagari, complete with towering Gopurams. There is also a sacred tank on the western side. As expected, the temple has quite a few legends about it, which are till date upheld by the authorities in the form of sculptures and inscriptions. In fact, to commemorate the myth of Goddess Parvati worshipping Shiva at this place as a fowl, there is a couple of peahen and peacock kept as a pet inside the temple premises. The regal temple also remembers the Tamil Shaivite saint poets Nayaars and has shrines for each one of them. All the 63 idols of the poets are paid due respect in the Brahmotsav festival that takes place every year somewhere between mid-March to mid-April.

Experience Time: 3-4 hours

Distance: 21 kms

Nettukuppam

Nettukuppam is the northernmost tip of Chennai and has a beach which is yet not tarnished by encroaching crowds. It is a solitary retreat for those who seek to enjoy the raging sea up close but in a peaceful environment. The saltwater creek of Ennore joins the sea here forming an estuary of sorts. The place is ideal to spend a peaceful time as it is still not on the radar of the maddening tourist crowd. Neither does the place have shouting hawkers, nor are there tourists crowding the beach. It does get some more footfall in the holiday seasons or festivals, but mostly it is just a few groups of people who are present here. If you are a lover of silence and tranquillity, you will find this the perfect place to hang out on a summer evening. There is a vantage point from where you can actually see the skyline of Chennai, and take into the vast historical and geographical differences the city experiences. This point is at the end of a long, concrete pier that extends into the sea. The local people call this the broken bridge and say that it was built to hold a dredger at the creek's mouth years ago. The few visitors you will find here come in attraction of this popular joint. You will enjoy their stay at Nettukuppam beach sitting on the pier, dangling your legs, enjoying the refreshing sea breeze and the spray of cool mist as the waves hit the pier and break into white foam beneath your feet. It is also an ideal place for photographers. Shutterbugs will find a lot of picturesque shots to capture, keeping the deep blue sea and the horizon in the background. The pier offers a good view of the thermal power station at Ennore, the creek and many other sites located along the sea. You can actually witness with your own eyes how the modern skyscrapers of Chennai gradually melt into smaller houses and then nothingness from here. If you are lucky enough, you can witness some of the local fishermen with their day's catch at the shore and buy some fresh off the net at reasonable rates.

Experience Time: 5-6 hours

Distance: 3 kms

Mylapore

Mylapore is one of the oldest and culturally enriched neighbourhoods, located in the southern part of Chennai. However, the area precedes the birth of Chennai or Madras, as the British named it, by at least some 1500 years. The city had already seen a lot of eventful history pass by even before the British stepped on this land. Mylapore is also very much traditionalist to its core and boasts of many temples, churches and historical monuments. At the same time, it is also stepping up to match the modern world with shopping malls, tree-lined beautified avenues and other attractions to meet the expectations of the urban tourists. Mylapore has a native name as well. It is called Thirumayilai by the locals, which is taken from a Tamil word meaning "the land of the peacock's scream". It is an undeniable ode to a large number of peacocks which once roamed the land of Mylapore before commercialisation took over. The presence of peacocks is evident from the architectural designs of the Kapaleeswarar Temple or the San Thome Church - two ancient sites of the neighbourhood. Mylapore has its mention in several accounts by writers, poets, explorers and folklores that have roots in the ancient time. From European colonising groups to explorers like Marco Polo to Tamil Saivite poets, there are praises of this old city and its splendour everywhere. A visit to the important sites in Mylapore as well as a look around the neighbourhood itself should be on every traveller's list who is visiting Chennai. In one word, Mylapore can be called the nerve centre of the city.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 4 kms

Vadapalani Murugan Temple

Vadapalani Murugan Temple is one of the most frequented places of worship for Hindus in Chennai. It has its roots fixed in numerous legends and myths, especially about its founder and first priest Annaswamy Naikar. He had a dream about this deed he must do for his good as well as the benefit of the society, and thus he started worshipping Lord Murugan at his home instead of trying to find him elsewhere. This small shrine was later transformed into the colossal premise with multiple deities that you can see today. The temple is known for helping devotees finding solutions to life's problems. People come here seeking answers to their marital, academic and professional problems. Many devotees claim that worshipping here has assisted them to get over the trouble and find peace in life. It is also believed that worshipping Lord Murugan here is as pious as praying to him at the original Palani temple. If someone is unable to visit the original abode, they can pay their respects here, and Murugan will bless them all the same. Vadapalani Murugan Temple has a rich history and an ornate architecture and is also enriched with people's faiths from all-over the country. If you visit the temple on any of the days of the special festivals, you will get to see the popularity Murugan has in this place.

Experience Time: 2-3 hours

Distance: 2 kms

Express Avenue

Express Avenue is a mall in Royapettah of Chennai, owned, developed and promoted by Express Infrastructure. Inaugurated in 2010, the mall stands on a total land area of around 10 acres. The premise includes commercial and hospitality sectors as well. E Hotel is the name of the 4-star boutique luxury-lodging, which caters to the guests all year long with its 44 room capacity but the mall is the main attraction of the place. Along with numerous retail outlets and around ten anchor shops like H&M, Pantaloons, Lifestyle and Big Bazar, on different floors of the mall, Express Avenue also has the largest gaming arcade of south India - Games The Shop and the city's largest cinema multiplex Escape. The gaming shop offers consoles like PS4, PS3, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and NDS, as well as software for the consoles. The cineplex is an eight-screen one, designed by California based artist Giovanni Castor. The mall also has kid's play zone called Funcity and a 5D theatre by Pix. If you are looking for good eating options, Express Avenue mall has that as well. The food court, or EA Garden, as it is called, serves at more than 25 food counters, including international chains like KFC and Pizza Hut. The other cuisines include south India, north Indian, American, Italian, street food and so on. There are lounge bars and pubs as well, like Entrée and Elixir, but they are a part of the hotel premise. You can visit them if you want to. There are parking facilities too, spread over three levels of basement and giving room to 2,000 cars and motorbikes.

Experience Time: 3-4 hours

Distance: 3 kms

T Nagar

T Nagar is one of the busiest neighbourhoods in Chennai, and also the most crowded one. It serves as a commercial and economic hub, as well as a residential area. T Nagar is essentially a complete commercial crux within Chennai in itself. It does not have many attractions, but you will come across a plethora of retail shops lined up on every main road and arterial streets. The neighbourhood mostly trades in traditional south Indian textiles and gold jewellery shops. Usman Road is famous for its stretch of jewellery shops, while the Pondy Bazaar area deals with a number famous apparel stores selling silk saris and other garments, as well as roadside shops. Other than that, there are a few parks and religious places, which you can pay a visit to if you feel like. There are some parks too for a peaceful afternoon stroll. The T Nagar area grew up in between the years 1923 and 1925. It was constructed by the Madras Presidency Government of the Raja of Panagal as a part of the Madras Town Planning Act, 1920. The main area was named after the then party leader Sir P. Theagarya Chetty, and the streets and localities after different dignitaries. After the Long Tank, which formed the western boundary of the city was drained out in 1923, the Mambalam Zamindari situated to its west relinquished. From its southern part, the neighbourhood was carved out.

Experience Time: 1-2 hours

Distance: 3 kms

Parthasarathy Temple

Parthasarathy Temple, located in Triplicane area of Chennai, is a structure more than 1000 years old, standing in the heart of the bustling city. Dedicated to different avatars of Lord Vishnu within the many shrines of the temple, it attracts thousands of Vaishanvite followers from all across the country. The temple gets its name from the charioteer version of Lord Krishna when he drove the vehicle of Arjuna in the war. Parthasarathy Temple is classified as one of the 108 Divya Desams or holy shrines dedicated to Vishnu, as mentioned in the canonical Tamil literature penned down by the Alvar saints of the 6th-9th century, known as Divya Prabandha. The temple houses five different forms of Vishnu - Narasimha, Rama, Gajendra Varadaraja, Ranganatha and Krishna. In Tamil, they have different names for these. There are numerous additional shrines as well, enclosed within the 8th-century Dravidian architecture. Chennai is a popular city for the followers of Vishnu to carry out a pilgrimage to because of the many temples devoted to that faith. Parthasarathy temple is one of the oldest among them, and also one of the most popular. The number of legends that are associated with the structure and its historical past is fascinating, and the stories are interesting as well.

Experience Time: 3-4 hours

Distance: 10 kms

Anjaneyar Temple Nanganallur

Viswaroopa Adhivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneyaswami Temple is located around 10 kilometres away from the heart of the city, in a locality called Nanganallur. Commonly called the Anjaneya Temple in short, it gets its name from its principal deity, Lord Hanuman. He is also called Anjaneya, because he is the son of Anjana, the young Vanara (monkey) woman, and after him, the temple is named. The cornerstone of the temple was laid around 1989 by a group of devout Anjaneya followers - Sri Maruti Bhakta Samajan. It was finally open for the public in 1995. The most important aspect of the temple is its 32 feet idol. Lord Hanuman has been shaped out of single granite stone and then given shape. The temple is not very rich in history, but it sure respects it. The presence of both Lord Rama and Lord Krishna in the temple is a nod to that. It is a must see place not only for those who are devotees of Anjaneya or Hanuman but anyone who wants to get a glimpse of a different sort of temple other than Vishnu and Shiva, which are common in Chennai.

Experience Time: 4-5 hrs

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Parasailing in Chennai

If you think the city of Chennai is all about glitzy temples and serene beaches, look deeper cause the uber city is home to one of the most adventurous sports of all times - Parasailing. Unlike several other water sports, this one is not for the faint hearted. Parasailing allows you to sail above the water with a safely harnessed parachute tied to your back. The forward moving motor speed boat fills the parachute with air allowing the participant to gloat over the turquoise blue ocean.

Experience Time: 4 - 5 hrs

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Scuba Diving in Chennai

Chennai could get quite hot in the summer and beating the heat would be the top priority in summers. Then why not dive into the Bay of Bengal somewhere off the coast of Chennai. Discovering a totally different world under the surface of the sea and cooling yourself at the same time is the best deal about Chennai. Chennai offers the enchanting opportunity to dive in the clear azure waters of the ocean and to experience the mesmerising life of the underwater creatures. The breath-taking activity of scuba diving is a mystical insight that gives you those much needed underwater thrills. To experience scuba diving, you will need to undergo proper training and get acquainted with scuba equipments like masks, oxygen tanks, snorkel, fins, regulators, weights, buoyancy control devices etc. Once done, you can plunge in the deep waters to swim past the many-hued corals, brilliant fish and other jazzy marine creatures.

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Camping in Chennai

Surrounded by a number of hills around it, Chennai neighbours to some amazing places that offer nearness to Nature. Every soul in any metro city craves for something new every now and then, and Chennai doesn’t lack in fulfilling this need for its people. There are a number of places to camp in Chennai for a twist out of the normal. One can never run out of places to get closer to something natural. Where: You could camp in Nagalapuram after a tiring trek, near Tada Falls listening to the music of free falling water, chilling on the beach of Pondicherry or choose from a list of places like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Coonoor, Meghamalai, etc.

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Surfing In Chennai

Getting in the water and riding the waves on a surfboard is not a thing that everyone can do. But some hours of practice can make that joy possible. There are a number of surfing schools that offer courses and help you tame the waves under your feet.

Experience Time: 4 - 5 Hours

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Paragliding In Chennai

It is commonly misunderstood about Chennai that it is only about glitzy temples, serene beaches and conservative people, but that's not completely true, look deeper. The people here have the provision of getting in the sky and sailing smoothly over the hills like Eagles. Paragliding requires the participant to strap on a parachute and plunge over the hills courageously. Another alternate version of Paragliding: Para-motoring is equally popular in Chennai and you can notice some brave souls strapping themselves to the parachutes and diving down from a height to glide in the sky undisturbed.

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Rock climbing In Chennai

The fitness aspect for the people of Chennai has been taken up by Rock Climbing and Bouldering, rather than regular gyms. Climbing is the coolest way of being fit as well as getting a regular dose of adrenaline. But Rock Climbing doesn’t mean you put yourself under the raging sun all the time! You can opt for Indoor Climbing too and get into the daily chores after the session.

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Paintball In Chennai

If you are into playing combat games but all the games lack the touch of reality and the feeling of getting hit, then Paintball is for you. Chennai has a bunch of such Arenas to help you get in action. Get outdoors, get some Paintball Guns in your hand and challenge your friends to some real action. Keep your skills on the check and your friends in sight; you never know when you might get hit.

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Boating in Chennai

Having the advantage of being a coastal city, Chennai also has a number of lakes and thus opening up the waters for water sports. Boating in Chennai was not so well flourished earlier, but recently the bay of Chennai has been witnessing a decent increase in the number of yachts and boats. Boating has a charm that can fit any occasion, let that be a romantic boathouse date or a casual hangout with friends on a yacht, an exciting racing event of rowboats or just a fun race of pedal boats between family and friends. Boating is for everyone. Location Most popular places for all types of boating activities are Muttukadu, Pichavaram and Covelong where you can enjoy in pedal boats, rowing boats and even boathouses. Royal Madras Yacht Club hosts some adventurous events, races and competitions. Cost: INR 200 per person (Approx)

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Jungle Safari In Chennai

The tropical climate of Chennai has blessed the land with ample amount of lush greenery and equally rich wildlife. Safari in Chennai’s wildlife parks award the visitors with some amazing experiences around our neighbours of nature. Interacting with the wild animals makes us realize the true nature of wilderness. There’s a lot to learn and understand from animals. Location Madras Crocodile Bank is the house for 17 of crocodile species and many other cold-blooded animals and provides a number of experiences like safari, night safari, feeding the jaws and also lets you be a zookeeper for a day Arignar Anna Zoological Park hosts a number of safaris and has some interesting sections to explore wildlife one genus a time Cost: INR 200 per person (Approx)

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Fishing In Chennai

Fishing was a way of survival until it got challenging and adventurous. Fishing has become a common way of bonding with friends and family. The sport seems easy but takes a lot of dedication and patience to lure and catch the biggest of all the fishes. As the Aquatic Adventure has gained popularity many Sport Fishing Facilities have opened up and are busy providing the experiences. Locations Some of the well-known facilities include Anglers Fishing Tackles, Poseidon Sport Fishing Inc, BlueWaters Sport Fishing, Baracuda Bay Sport Fishing, etc.

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Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers & Ashram

The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers is named after Swami Sivananda, one of the most influential spiritual teachers of the 20th century and founded by his disciple Swami Vishnudevananda. The Non-Profit organisation has centres in Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Madurai and Delhi and all over the world. The Organisation has dedicated programmes like the Sadhana Intensive, Kids Camp, Work/Study Programme, Prison Project and Teachers Training courses and also Yoga Vacations.

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