Chennai (formerly known as Madras) is an interesting destination for a tourist traveling to Southern India. Chennai is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the four metros in India and the largest city in southern India.
Since times immemorial Chennai has been the cradle of Dravidian civilization. During the British era too, the city was a sprawling presidency. Tradition and modernity blends into a wonderful co-existence here. Delicious fragrance of jasmine wafting out of the 'Gajra' worn by the Tamil woman around their hair, rustle of silk and the oversized cut outs punctuating the crowded city streets - there you would find today's Chennai. The city captivates everyone who comes her way. Several destinations of Tamil Nadu lie in close proximity to Chennai and the city is a convenient base to explore the southern India.
Best time to visit Chennai
As the weather in Chennai remains hot and humid for most of the year, the best time to visit Chennai will in the winter months from December to February. November to February, are the coolest months with average temperature of about 18 °C. It is the best time for sightseeing and enjoying the beach. March to May is hot and sweaty, with soaring temperature of more than 40 °C.
Tourists may prefer to visit beaches in the evenings. Monsoons from June to August and Post-Monsoons from September to November are temperate with mild to heavy winds and rains. December to March is perfect for all kinds of tourist activities. Just keep a watch on wind and cloud movements.
How to Reach Chennai
Chennai Travel Guide provides you information about how to reach Chennai conveniently by air, road, rail or ship.
Chennai is well connected to the world and most international airlines have flights to Chennai's Anna International Airport.
Domestic airlines operate daily flights to all major cities of the country from the Kamaraj domestic terminal near the international terminal. Both air terminals are located at Meenambakkom about 20 km from the city. Find Flights to Chennai...
Chennai is the headquarters of Southern Railway, a division of Indian Railway. Chennai is connected to many cities and towns by super-fast and express trains. The city has two main railway stations, Chennai Central which links north and west India and Egmore, which links South India.
Chennai has a recently introduced local electric train network, MRTS (Massive Rapid Transport System) to connect different points of the city.
Chennai is well connected to all the major cities of India by a network of highways and roads. Most government bus services for Tamil Nadu and other states now operate from the newly opened Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Koyembedu. It is claimed to be the largest bus station in Asia. Inter state buses operate at regular intervals from Chennai. Many private operators are also available for domestic and interstate transportation. Pre-paid taxis and airport coaches are available at airports and railway station.
Besides NH-2, NH-8, NH-79A, NH-4, NH-7, NH-46 and NH-60 are some of the national highways connecting Chennai to major Indian cities by road.
Distance to Chennai
- From kolkata - 1676 KM
- From pondicherry - 165 KM
- From hyderabad - 688 KM
- From delhi - 2095 KM
- From bangalore - 331 KM
- From tirupati - 152 KM
Places to Visit in Chennai||
Shopping in Chennai
Shopping in Chennai can be a fascinating experience for the tourist because it's one of the important trade centers of south India. Chennai is an excellent place to shop for a large selection of items such as traditional metal items, bronze icons, sculpture's and other crafts of the southern region.
Markets in Chennai
- Pondy Bazaar
- Anna Salai
- Ranganathan Street
- George Town
- Burma Bazaar
- The Victoria Technical Institute
- Citi Centre Mall
- Spencer Plaza
Based on a survey held by the government in the year 2011, Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu had witnessed a footfall of 1,332,555 domestic tourists and 79,720 international tourists across the famous landmarks of the city. Mahabalipuram had contributed the majority of tourists which numbered 1,022,579 domestic and 74,187 foreign tourists. In the years 2009 and 2011, the number of domestic tourists visiting was 1,275,278 and 1,288,842 and the foreign tourists numbered 74,288 and 74,981 respectively. There has been a constant increase in the number of people (both domestic and foreign) visiting this beautiful city year after year.
Chennai has one of the best local transports in the country owing to its large fleet of transport facilities. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport managed by the Metropolitan Transport Corporation that owns 3,257 buses and operates services on 622 bus routes. Around 4.3 million people use this service on a daily basis. Taxis can also be boarded by booking them in advance via a cab agent or travel agency. The fare depends on the distance travelled but it is wise to check whether the meter works properly before the journey. At venues like the bus terminal, railway station and airport, fixed rate taxis are available. Auto rickshaws are a little expensive but provide quick transport to nearby places. Mini private buses also provide another transport option. The suburban railways have an integrated network of lines crisscrossing the dimensions of the city through which they provide hassle free and quick commuting.
Chennai has a number of luxurious 5-star hotels in and around the city which include the Taj Connemara, Radisson GRT, Le Royal Meridien and many more. There are also innumerable budget hotels available to suit your needs and fit your purse. A variety of lodges also help visitors enjoy their stay in Chennai. Chennai houses around 467 heritage buildings that are 200 years or older hailing from the British colonial era. Some of these palatial establishments have been turned into magnificent hotels to provide luxury and comfort to the visitors. Home stay accommodations are also available for those interested in a pleasant stay in this glorious city.
Chennai is famous for its potpourri of non-vegetarian and vegetarian cuisine. For a typical Chennai inhabitant, the day starts with a cup of hot filter coffee. Breakfast is generally completed with idli or dosa accompanied by tomato or coconut chutney. Upma, poori, vada and idiyappam are other alternatives that often replace those dishes on the breakfast table. In the afternoon, rice is consumed with staple dishes like kootu, sambar, rasam and buttermilk. Fish, mutton and chicken are the mainstays in the non-vegetarian food category. In the evening, snacks like murukku, vada and pakoda are favored. The fast foods centers along the roadside offer a variety of dishes. For those who prefer hassle-free packed fast food, McDonalds and KFC are the places to go for the best quality food.
Chennai is one place where shopping never stops. It has everything from stone carvings of Mahabalipuram to traditional jewellery of bronze and from base crafts of Kumbakonam to handicrafts from Tirunelveli. Chennai also boasts of a number of posh malls like Citi center, Alsa Mall and Express Avenue which do not disappoint either. Bazaars like the Pondy Bazaar and Burma Bazaar are commercial hubs for buying footwear, toys, leather bags, cotton garments and lots of ethnic goods. Places near the Kapaleeswarar temple are known for articles related to classical dance. Posh shopping areas having luxurious amenities for tourists can be found in Egmore.
Cost of Travel
Chennai supports a good number of modes of transport. Travelling by bus to any of the destinations costs around Rs. 50-70 (for long distances) and Rs. 5-20 (for short distances). Cab and taxi fares cost around Rs. 9-15 per km depending on your choice of cab. The auto rickshaws cost Rs. 15 per km and on travelling further beyond 3 km, they charge Rs. 10 per km. Shared autos are also available that cost Rs. 5-10 per km. The most rare and slowest mode of transport, the cycle rickshaws can be availed for a rate lesser than Rs. 10 per km.
How many days are enough to see Chennai?
The city of Chennai in all its beauty takes from 3-5 days to explore and enjoy. With proper planning and prior booking, you can see all the famous sights spots within three days though some destinations like Marina Beach and the luxury resorts may require a longer stay. Booking through a local travel agency will help you cover more ground in lesser time as they are more familiar with the surroundings as well as the routes. Car rentals can also be utilized for your trip and are comparatively cheaper when booked for half a day or even a whole day rather than per km fares.
Last Updated on : January 13, 2014