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Chennai formerly known as Madras is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. Flanked along the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is the keeper of South Indian artistic, culinary and religious traditions. It is also the 4th largest city of India. Since 1st century Chennai has been an important centre for trading due to its unique location. Chennai is the hub of rich cultural heritage which attracts travelers from far and wide. Dotted with serene beaches, sacred temples and ancient monument Chennai has emerged as one the most visited tourist destination in South India. The skyscraping temples and historical significant sites are some of the prime attraction of Chennai.
Marina Beach located along the Bay of Bengal is one of the famous tourist destinations in Chennai. With the 13km stretch of golden sand, Marina Beach of Chennai is one of the world’s longest urban beaches. Unlike the Juhu beach of Mumbai, Marina Beach is a sandy beach but swimming is prohibited due the turbulent water. Once reckoned for its pristine beauty now most of the part of Marina Beach is inaccessible due to over pollution, yet this beach never ceases to charm the visitors. Many organizations have started the project to restore the pristine beauty of Marina Beach and bring it back to its former glory.
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a 7th century temple built in the seashore side of Mylapore in Chennai. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapaleeshwarar Temple is constructed using Dravidian Architecturing Style. The eastern entrance of Kapaleeshwarar Temple displays an impressive pillar which is carved with numerous figurines of deities. Within the temple complex of Kapaleeshwarar visitors can find several sanctums, and courtyards along with the other religious artifacts like a bull, an elephant, and a chariot. During the auspicious day of Shivaratri the premises of Kapaleeshwarar Temple is flooded with horde of devotees.
Madras Crocodile Bank located at a distance of 40km from the main city centre of Chennai is a reptile zoo and herpetology research centre of Tamil Nadu. Madras Crocodile Bank of Chennai was establishment in 1976 to create awareness and preserve the declining population of crocodile. Here visitors can find three different species of crocodiles those are mugger, gharials and saltwater crocodile. With more than 5000 crocodiles and 25000 other reptiles, Madras Crocodile Bank of Chennai is worldwide reckoned for housing the largest collection of reptiles in India. Covered by coastal dune forest, visitors in Madras Crocodile Bank can also observe other reptiles like albino snakes, water monitor lizards and turtle in their semi natural habitat.
Madras Crocodile Bank Timings: 8:30am to 5:30pm (Closed on Mondays)
Entry fee of Madras Crocodile Bank for: Adults- Rs 40 | Children- Rs 20 (below 10yrs)
Founded in 1644 by the British East India Company, Fort St. George of Chennai is the first English Fortress in India. Fort St. George of Chennai was once the centre of trading post. This ancient monument is famous for housing a historic church and a museum. St Mary’s Church of Fort St. George is known for being the oldest Anglican church of India. Displaying a large collection of item like furniture, manuscript, and painting from British Era Fort Museum of Fort St. George attracts historians from far and wide. The white washed structure of Fort St. George is a place to unravel the lifestyle of colonial era in Chennai.
Fort St. George Timings: 9am to 5pm (Closed on Fridays)
Entry fee of Fort St. George for: Indian- Rs 5 | Foreign Nationals: Rs 100
Thousand Lights Mosque built in 1810 under the commandment of Nawab Umdat-ul-Umra is situated in Anna Salai of Chennai. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of Chennai for the Shiite Muslims. With multi-dome Thousand Lights Mosque of Chennai is one the largest mosques in India. It is said that 1000 lights needed to be lit together in order to illuminate the whole assembly hall of this mosque so it was named the Thousand Lights Mosque. The walls of this Multi-dome mosque are carved with the verses form Quran. Within the premises of Thousand Lights Mosque visitors will also find a library and a burial ground. The 18th century monument with its idyllic ambiance and intricate designs attracts many travelers and devotes.
Thousand Lights Mosque Timings: 05:30am to 8:00pm
How to reach Chennai: Chennai is well connected with rest of the world and major cities of India like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata with its International airport. Chennai Airport is located at a distance of 7km from the main city centre of Chennai. Visitors can also get on bus to reach Chennai from any of these major Indian cities. Or they can simply board a train for Chennai.
Best time to visit Chennai: Summers are extremely hot and humid in Chennai and monsoon is accompanied with heavy rainfall and strong winds. So winter season from November to March is the best time to visit Chennai. During this time the weather of Chennai is pleasant and cool which is ideal for experiencing the flawless blend of Colonial culture with South Indian tradition.