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Chennai (formerly called Madras); the 'Cultural Capital of India' is the fourth largest metropolis in the Country. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is popularly know as the gateway to the South as it is the seat of culture and learning in South India.

The recorded history of Chennai can be dated back to 1st century AD, when it was regarded as an important military and economic hub. The British came to Chennai in 1639. In the 17th century, Madraspattinam and Chennaipattinam were merged by the British and it was renamed as Madraspattinam.

Chennai, today, is one of the major tourist destinations in South India. Chennai is famous for its temples and churches which are considered as fine examples of architecture and craftsmanship. The highlight of Chennai tourism is its beaches.

The city also enjoys a vibrant culture, which is an amalgamation of the old and new. Of the many festivals celebrated, Tamil New Year is one of the biggest.

Nearest Railway Station / Airport: Chennai Central (MAS) and Chennai Egmore (MS) / Chennai Airport MAA.

Best Season: Throughout the Year.

Places to Visit in Chennai:-

THE MARINA BEACH:- The Pride of Chennai is second longest beach in the world and has a wide sandy foreshore.One can see statues of heroes from Tamil Culture to Samadhi of great leaders like Anna and MGR here.
Highlight:- Watching sunset and sunrise from this beach is a fascinating experience.
Note: An aquarium is also located on the Marina Beach.
In and Around:- Santhome Church, MGR Memorial and Anna Memorial
Season:- Throughout the Year

CHENNAI LIGHTHOUSE:  Popularly known as Chennai's Eiffel Tower (or) commonly known as the Marina beach Lighthouse is now re-opened for public after almost two decades.

Highlight:- One can enjoy a bird eye's view of the Bay of Bengal from the 10th floor of the Lighthouse which is all set to become a beauty spot! It is the fourth lighthouse in the city and the first major one on the east coast to be thrown open to public.

Note: Light house is 46-metres high

In and Around:- Marina Beach, Santhome Church, MGR Memorial and Anna Memorial

Season: Throughout the year (10 am - 1 pm) and (3 pm to 5 pm) on all days except Mondays

THE ELLIOT'S BEACH: Elliot's beach is a beach of calmness and beauty, which cannot be forgotten by any visitor. Elliot's Beach is spread along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beach for Chennai youth.

Highlight:- A real pleasure, seldom noisy, illuminated soft sands, comfortable roads, one can never forget the offers of Elliot's beach.

Note:- Added to all these, once can enjoy the local taste and spice with local made eatables in the beach.

In and Around:- Ashtalakshmi Temple and Velankanni Church

Season: Throughout the year

GOVT. MUSEUM / NATIONAL ART GALLERY:- The Pantheon complex built in 1789 houses Govt Museum, the National Art Gallery and the Connemara Public Library. The Govt bought this in 1830 and later several new buildings were added to it.

Govt. Museum:- The Government Museum was established in 1857 and has the country's best collection of South Indian bronzes, both ancient and modern

National Art Gallery:- The National Art Gallery exhibits several beautiful paintings of 16th and 18th century from Rajasthan, Mughal period and 17th century Deccani art.

In and Around:- Valluvar Kottam and Connemara Library

Season:- Throughout the year (9.30 am to 5 pm) Closed on Fridays and National Holidays

PARTHASARATHY TEMPLE:- An ancient temple built in the 8th century by Pallava Kings in the Dravidian style of architecture. Later it was reformed by Vijayanagara Kings. The principal deity is Lord Krishna.

Highlight:- The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is in a standing posture facing east, along with Rukmini, Balaraman, Satyaki, Anirudha and Pradyumna. One of the 108 Divya Desams.

In and Around:- Ice House and Santhome Beach.

Temple Timings:- 0600 hrs to 1230 hrs / 1600 hrs to 2100 hrs.

Note:- Bhrammotsavam (Chittirai), Vaikuntha Ekadasi (Margazhi) and the float festival (February - March) are the important festivals held here.

KAPALEESWARAR TEMPLE:- This Temple dedicated to Shiva is built in 8th Century by Pallavas and rebuilt by the Vijayanagara rulers in 16th century. The 37 m tall and grand gopuram is made in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture.

Highlight:- This temple has some beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints or the Nayanmars.
In and Around:-  Elliots Beach and Thousand Lights Mosque. 

Temple Timings:- 05.30 hrs to 12 Noon / 1630 hrs to 2100 hrs

Note:- The Arubathumoovar festival dedicated to the 63 Nayanmars held in March-April every year is a special attraction.

SANTHOME CATHEDRAL BASILICA:- It is a historical ancient pilgrim centre built during the period of the 14th to the 15th century A D by the Portuguese. The cathedral got its name from St Thomas, the disciple of Jesus Christ.

Highlight:-  A museum is located in the grounds nearby. Main attraction of the museum is a 16th century map of South Asia.
In and Around:-  Marina Beach and Ice House.
Note:- People with Christian faith visits this place and attend the Mass.

Season:- Throughout the Year. (5am to 9pm)

VALLUVAR KOTTAM:- Valluvar Kottam is an auditorium, with a capacity to hold 4,000 people, built in remembrance of the poet-saint Tiruvalluvar, located in Chennai. Verses of the poet Tiruvalluvar are emblazoned on the pillars around the auditorium

Highlight:- A major draw here is the 101-ft high temple chariot structure. The shape and structure of the building is similar to a temple chariot.

In and Around:- National Art Gallery and Government Museum.

Note:- Thoughtful lines from the epic Thirukkural have been written in bas-relief in the front lobby corridors of the chariot.

Season:- Throughout the year (08.30 am to 5.30 am - ALL Days)

GUINDY NATIONAL PARK:- It is one of the few Wildlife Sanctuaries in India situated within city limits. Set up in 1976, the park spread over an area of 27.6 sq km. More than 350 species of trees and plants are found here.

Highlight:- The thick forests, grasslands and streams that present a perfect locale for more than 100 bird species.
In and Around:- Guindy Snake Park and Children’s Park.
Note:- The Park also houses a large variety of insects including 60 species of butterflies.

Season:- Throughout the year (9 am to 5 pm), Tuesday Holiday

SNAKE PARK:- It is  home to as well as a breeding centre for diverse species of snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles. It was Romulus Whitaker who founded the Snake Park in 1972 to conserve the endangered species of snakes.

Highlight:-  It has more than 30 species of Indian snakes like King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Reticulated Python, Adders, Vipers, etc.
In and Around:- Guindy National Park and Children’s Park.
Note:- Guindy Snake Park, which was recognised as a Medium Zoo in the year 1995, is maintained by the Madras Snake Park Trust.

Season:- Throughtout the year (9 am to 5 pm), Tuesday Holiday

VANDALUR ZOO (ANNA ZOOLOGICAL PARK):- It is one of the finest zoos in India. Established in 1855 and shifted to the current location of Vandalur reserved forests in the year 1979. This park is officially opened to public in 1985; the park covers 510 hectares of land.

Highlight:- The Park shelters more than 170 species of animals. It is home for Tigers, Jaguars, Lions, Panther, Elephants, Sambar, Giraffes and many more.
Within Park:- Nocturnal Animal House, Safari Park, Natural Museum and Aquarium.
Note:- The Park has a library with good collection of wildlife related books and information. Elephant safari is also available in the park.

Season:- Throughout the Year. (9am to 8pm – Tue Closed)

T. NAGAR SHOPPING (THYEGARAYA NAGAR):- It is India's biggest shopping district Theagaraya Nagar in Chennai to get a retail makeover. For long, this 6 km-long stretch has been the heart of shopping not only for Tamil Nadu, but also the whole of South India.

Highlight:- Revenues for Retailers from T.Nagar are estimated double as New Delhi's Connaught Place, Linking Road in Mumbai and Bangalore's Brigade Road

Note:- T.Nagar is the palace for Middle-Class families

Season:- Throughout the year

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