If you’re planning a trip to Eastern India, here are a few recommendations for places to visit in Chennai. As the capital of Tamil Nadu, it’s a bustling and growing city with a lot of history. It’s also right off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, so there are plenty of fun things to do in Chennai.
Chennai, formerly known as Madras, has a rich history and is a city with a lot of diversity because of that history. Portuguese and British influences can be seen in its architecture but visitors can also see temples that date back to the 8th century. Modern industries have lead Chennai to be known as the “Detroit of India” and its culinary scene has led Chennai to be recognized by National Geographic as having the second best food in the world. It’s no wonder Chennai is one of the most visited cities in India!
There are quite a lot of things to in Chennai, but we’ve narrowed down our top five recommendations.
Because we love the beach, Marina Beach is a must. It’s the second longest beach in the world, spanning 6 km (3.7 mi). While you’re there, make sure to stop and see the “Triumph of Labour” statue on the north end of the beach. It’s a famous landmark and shows four men working together to move a rock and represents the struggles of the working class in India.
Kapaleeshwarar Temple was originally built in the 7th century and is dedicated to the deity Shiva. The temple is colorful, with many shrines and halls to walk through. There are also daily rituals that can be observed six times a day. Since visiting Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, visiting structures like this is high on our list.
The first English fort in India, Fort St. George was built between 1644 and 1653 by the British East India Company. Inside, visitors can wander around The Fort Museum which houses memorabilia and artwork from period of British rule. Inside the fort, visitors will also find St. Mary’s Church. This was the first English church in Chennai and is considered India’s oldest surviving British church.
Considered the best museum in Chennai, the Government Museum has over 46 galleries housed in six different buildings. It’s most popular is the Bronze Gallery which consists of South Indian bronze pieces from the 7th-century. Inside the large complex are also the Children’s Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the Contemporary Art Gallery.
San Thome Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral originally built by the Portuguese in 1523 and then rebuilt by the British in 1896. The cathedral was built over the tomb of Saint Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, who was martyred nearby on St Thomas Mount in AD 72.
As you can see, Chennai is a culturally rich city with a lot of things to do. As more people discover all that it has to offer, we have no doubt that tourism will continue to grow, so we recommend planning a visit soon!
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