Once the hub of small fishing villages and tradesmen, today Chennai stands tall as an emerging cosmopolitan city of India. With verdant greens, blue beaches and rich ethnicity, Chennai sums up as an intriguing tapestry of orthodox and contemporary culture. Chennai is packed with a slew of legendary temples, eco-friendly resorts, widespread beaches, trails of boulders and throngs of shops that promise to leave you in awe of this beautiful city. Popularly known as the ‘Gateway of South’, Chennai is exemplified for its artistic extravagance and architectural opulence, relayed through its clothing, dance and sculptures. A holiday at this captivating land is likely to mesmerize you with its bountiful beauty and scenic delights. Chennai, with its countless edifices and cultural inclination, welcomes you to explore its splendor and tradition with open arms. Go ahead and explore the article to know more about major tourist attractions of Chennai.
Chennai Tourist Attractions
Vivekananda Museum, also known as Illam, is one of the major tourist attractions of Chennai. Located in Kamarajr Salai near Marina beach, Vivekananda museum has a surplus of unique and beautiful elements, which upholds the rich glory of past. Initially the building of museum served as a storehouse of ice that was brought from North India. However, in the year 1897, Swami Vivekananda took shelter in this building while on his way back to Kolkata. Thus, in commemoration of his stay, State Government of Tamil Nadu named the Museum after Swami Vivekananda. Today, this significant attraction of Chennai acts as a historical depot of numerous musical instruments, manuscripts, photographs and autobiography of Vivekananda. You can visit the museum on any day from 10 am to 12 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm, except on Wednesdays.
Marina Beach, one of the longest beaches in the world, is truly a mesmerizing spot for the beach lovers. This 13 km long beach, which runs from Fort St. George to Mahabalipuram, is one of the major tourist attractions in Chennai. This sandy beach is adorned with number of statues of Indian freedom leaders and renowned celebrities like Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar, Kamaraj etc. In addition to this, Marina Beach has an artificial water fountain and beautiful parks dedicated to MGR, the famous actor and politician of Tamil Nadu. Thus, with all its panoramic view and number of food stalls, Marina beach is truly a visitor’s delight.
Elliot Beach, one of the most beautiful and serene beaches of Chennai, is probably one of the most flocked tourist hot spot in the city. Located off the Annie Besant Nagar, Eliot beach is truly a paradise for the beach lovers. The beach, which is actually an extension of famous Marina Beach, is quite popular for its calm and clean environment. Along with the beach, you can also enjoy the exquisiteness of famous Velanganni Church and Astalakshmi Temple, which are located in its vicinity.
Fort St. George
Fort St. George, located on the banks of Bay of Bengal, was the first establishment of British power in India. Built in 1639 AD, this fort stands as a witness to the invasions of Mughals, Marathas and Hyder Ali and acts as one of the important monument in the history of India. St. George Fort is the home to a number of glorious structures and St. Mary’s church is indeed one of the major attractions of this place. With its striking glass windows, beautiful wall paintings and shining teak, this old church still holds its yesteryear elegance with great panache. Apart from the church, the fort museum is also quite popular for its wide collection coins, paintings, medals, letters etc.
Government Museum and National Art Gallery
Government Museum and National Art Gallery situated in Pantheon Road between Egmore and Anna Salai is one of the oldest and colorful museums in India. Spread over 16.25 acres of land, the museum building comprises of 46 galleries that exhibits particulars from various fields like anthropology, archeology, numismatics geology, botany, zoology, traditional art and sculptures. In addition to these sections, there is a spate museum for children that display dolls and other interesting stuffs. The museum is open for your service from Saturday to Thursday from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
Kapaleeshwarar temple located in Mylapore is the finest example of seventh century Pallavan architecture. This temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is famous for its beautiful sculptures and Dravidian architecture with sophisticated and delicately designed Gopuram and walls. On your trip to Chennai, don’t forget to visit this historical temple and explore the architectural splendor of the city.
Santhome Cathedral Basilica
This famous Roman Catholic basilica, styled in Gothic style of architecture, was built by Portuguese between 14th and 15th century. The cathedral got its name from St. Thomas, the bishop of Catholic faith and a great devotee of Jesus. Built as a tribute to St. Thomas, Santhome Cathedral Basilica is sited upon his burial in southern part of Marina beach. Today this cathedral acts as a pilgrimage centre for Catholic Christians.
Valluvar Kottam, situated at Kodambakkam High road, is a modern landmark built in the memory of Tamil poet, philosopher and saint Thiruvalluvar. This chariot-shaped temple houses a 33 meters tall statue of Thiruvalluvar and stands as a contemporary cenotaph of the great envoy of Tamil literature and culture. The base of the chariot is inscribed with 133 chapters of his famous work “Thirukkural”. What’s more, the temple is believed to house the largest auditorium in Asia that can house 4000 people at a time. With its unique construction and life-size image of the sait, this temple is a must-see attraction for the tourists.
Sri Parthasarathy Temple
Sri Parthasarathy Temple at Triplicane near famous Marina beach was built by Pallavas in the 8th century. The famous Hindu Vaishnavite temple is dedicated to Sri Venkata Krishnaswamy or Geeta Charya, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Apart from these deities, the temple also houses a small shrine dedicated to Vedavalli Ammai, Vishnu’s consort. Famed as one of the important “divyadesams” of Lord Vishnu, this old shrine attracts tons of devotees during the Tamil month of Margazhi.
MGR Film City
MGR Film City, located in the outskirts of Chennai, is a famous innovative film studio set up by Tamil Nadu Government in fond memory of popular matinee idol and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran. A true-blue fantasy world of exuberant sets and high-tech equipments, this 70 acres sprawling campus with its artificial fountains, palaces, landscaped gardens, market areas, police station, courtrooms and more, is indeed the ultimate haven for star-struck fans. With a Roman amphitheatre and other technological support to its name, the film city is a wonderland for the fans desperate to get a glimpse of their favorite big-screen stars.