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Chennai , formerly known as Madras, is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India. With a population of 8.6 million (2011 census), Chennai's urbanized area is the most populous in South India and the fourth most populous in India. It is situated on the east coast of peninsular India. Though Chennai traces its history to Fort St George and adjoining village of Madrasapatnam founded by the British East India Company in 1640, some residential districts of the city are older. The name Madras was changed to Chennai in 1997 by a special act of the Tamil Nadu legislature. Chennai is well-connected by road, rail and air and is a staging point for tours to the 7th century Pallava temple of Mahabalipuram, an UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hindu temples of Kanchipuram, Sriperumbudur and Tirupati, the bird sanctuary of Vedanthangal and the Pondicherry ashram. Chennai has an extremely hot and humid climate which may not be conducive to foreign tourists. During monsoons (July to November), Chennai experiences heavy rains. (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Chennai

Restaurants, watering holes and discothèques have been opening with increasing frequency and while the absolute numbers aren't much, they're more experimental than most Indian metros. While in Chennai one can drop into one of the following places.


Beach Watch Note Although Chennai beaches are both beautiful and inviting, they are not swimming beaches, due to strong under currents present along the shoreline. Swimming should not be attempted there. There are no lifeguards and rescue equipment is not provided at any of these beaches. However there are "beach police" who ride on horses and keep an eye on the people and look out for any trouble. People should avoid wearing swimwear or similar attire on these beach as such clothing is not appropriate there.

Chennai has several well known beaches:

  • Marina Beach, is 12 km long and offers excellent opportunities for walks and has a very wide sandy foreshore. Its width is up to 300 m (985 ft). The Marina of Madras is the second longest beach in the world. it is an elegant promenade with flower beds along its lanes. Along the shore, there are many buildings built during the British colonial rule. The South Beach Road runs past the Madras University, the Senate House, the Chepauk Palace (Nawabs of Carnatica once held their court here). It is the most popular gathering place for locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It can also get very crowded at those times. The beach is relatively less crowded in the early mornings and more pleasant. Walk along the Marina in the evening to cool off and eat crispy sundal and murukku. Watching sunset and sunrise from the beach is an experience by itself. It's not a swimming beach, though you will see people fully clothed taking partial dips. Other lesser known places in the Marina: Anna Square: Dr. C.N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was a very respectable personality among the people of Tamil Nadu. The mortal remains of Dr. C.N. Annadurai were buried at Anna Square, which is situated at the northern end of the Marina Beach. People from different parts of the state come here to pay their tribute to the great leader. It is located in the center of a park and the entrance is attractive. The beautiful arch is in the shape of twin converging elephant tusks. The tomb of Dr. C.N. Annadurai is flanked by imposing memorial pillar and eternal flame. People of Tamil Nadu affectionately called him 'Anna' meaning the elder brother. Though listed here Anna Square is not a must see place. There is nothing much to see, unless you have lots of time to spare.
  • Edward Elliot's beach, is spread along the coast down south from Marina. It is also the night beach for Chennai youth. This beach is comparatively quieter and it is located near Besant Nagar. At the end of this beach are the Velankanni church and the Ashtalakshmi temple. Good roads, pavements, walking track illuminated sands, makes a visit to this beach a real pleasure.
  • Breezy Beach is located in the quiet neighborhood of Valmiki Nagar (Thiruvanmiyur) in Chennai. It is smaller and less popular than the Elliot's beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliot's beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful. Evenings are very pleasant and with gentle breezy here, Lots of tourists are attracted towards this beach. Since the residential area around this beach is occupied predominantly by young professionals working in the IT/ITES industries (that thrive in the area), this beach has turned into a hot-spot for them. It is less polluted and environment friendly. Those who look for a calm, cool and breezy place to relax, this beach is the best place in Chennai.
  • Covelong as it was known earlier is a small fishing village located 40 km (25 mi) from Chennai on the way to Mahabalipuram. Now it is a luxury beach resort. There was a fort built by the Nawab of Carnatic, Saadat Ali. Now a luxury beach resort. It was here that the French General Labourdonnais landed his troops in 1746. Later it was taken by Robert Clive in 1752 and destroyed. The Beach is separated from the mainland by the canal running from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. Taj Group of Hotels runs the Fisherman's Cove Resort with rooms in the main buildings and cottages and the sandy beach here. A small public beach can also be accessed through a narrow drivable road. This beach is still mostly used by the fishermen, but gets crowded on weekend.

Historical Places


  • Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas, Santhome High Rd. In the whole world, there are only three churches built over the tomb of an Apostle of Jesus Christ- the Basilica of Saint Peter built over the tomb of St.Peter in Rome, Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela built over the tomb of St.James in Spain and Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas built over the tomb of St.Thomas. Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas is in Chennai, India. The present National Shrine of St.Thomas is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who came to India in the year 52 AD. After preaching on the West coast, he came to Chennai (formerly Madras), and suffered martyrdom on a hill at the outskirts of the city, today known as "St. Thomas Mount." His body was buried on the spot over which the present Basilica stands. The shrine was restored in 2004. A valuable work of art kept in the Basilica is an ancient painting of Our Blessed Mother, in front of which the other great apostle of India, St. Francis Xavier, used to pray. There are two new structures today: The Tomb Chapel below the Basilica and Museum cum theatre. The new underground chapel with a separate access outside the church structure, allows pilgrims to pray at the tomb and tourists to visit it, without disturbing the sacred functions in the church. The museum exhibits artifacts connected with St. Thomas and the Basilica, and the theatre is used for screening a short video on the life of the Apostle. 5:AM-9PM daily. +91 44 24985455, +91 44 24980758. Email: Website:
  • St. Mary's Church, situated in the fort, is one of the oldest surviving churches built by the British in India. This is the first English church in India and the oldest Anglican church in the East.Designed by William Dixon, the then Master Gunner of the Fort, it was constructed under the supervision of the Governor Streynsham Master. Given the precarious nature of the English presence in India at the time (not to mention later attacks by the French and the locals), the church has a defensive stance- thick walls, castellated parapets and a well within the grounds - to withstand any bombardment or siege). The church was consecrated on 28 October 1680. The tower was completed in 1701; the steeple added in 1710 and the tower was connected to the main body of the church in 1759. Robert Clive - more famous as Clive of India- married Margaret Maskelyne here in 1753. The first but equally famous wedding was that of Governor Elihu Yale (who was to become the benefactor of Yale College) to Catherine Himmers in November 1680. The interior of the church contains many fascinating plaques and monuments to early British India evoking past glories and lives full of achievement. It also contains the old colours of the Madras Fusiliers, the first European regiment of the East India Company. The glass windows, wall frescos, teak plaques still shine with their all time glory. 10AM-5PM daily except closed on Friday.
  • St. Thomas Mount St Thomas Mount, St Thomas Mount, Chennai South. St.Thomas, referred to as Didymus, in the Gospel of St.John is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. He is one of the prime witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. St. Thomas Mount is associated with St. Thomas, the apostle of Christ, who is believed to have been martyred here. The mount is commonly called in Tamil "Parangi Malai" or "Bhringi Malai'.History says 2000 years ago, a saint 'Parangi' lived here ('parangi' in Tamil language is used to refer to a white person). According to local myth, St. Thomas was one of the first Christians to reach India and to preach Christianity. He is believed to have reached South India in AD 52, and spent the last years of his life in a cave on this hill. Tradition states that Thomas was assassinated by an arrow in AD 72, by persons hostile to him. Thus, the hillock acquired the name St. Thomas Mount. Over time Anglo-Indians predominated in this area. A small relic-filled Church built in 1523 by the Portuguese stands at the summit of the 300 feet high St. Thomas Mount. The place was visited by Pope John Paul II during his visit to India on 5 February 1986. At the northern foot of the mount, is a gateway of four impressive arches surmounted by a cross bearing the inscribed date 1547. A flight of 160 steps leads up to the summit of the mount. There are fourteen stations of the cross erected on the way to the summit.


  • Big Mosque also known as Wallajah Mosque, is situated at Walajah Road in Triplicane, Chennai is a historical landmark constructed by Wallajah family in memory of Nawab Muhammad Ali Walajah, in 1795. It is an imposing structure of symmetry and form of architectural magnificence with an imposing facade. The Mosque stands in extensive grounds, which are being used as a forum for religious and cultural activities. The magnificent grey granite structure is built without steel and wood. This architectural marvel is one of the important mosques in Chennai. The Nawab’s descendants are still living in a mansion known as Amir Mahal. One distinctive feature of this mosque is that the chronogram engraved in stone and fixed on the inside of the western wall of the mosque is by a non-Muslim, Rajah Makkan Lal “Khirad”, a Persian and Arabic scholar of repute, who was the private secretary to the Nawab. It may be mentioned in this regard that, as far as is known, no other mosque in the world has a chronogram composed by a non-Muslim. The Mosque has two minarets at the front. Medieval architecture is clearly visible in the construction of this great mosque. The Eid Prayer timing remains the same, 10AM, since 1749 A.D. This historic mosque is under the management of H.H. Adjoining the Wallajah Mosque is the tomb of the great Islamic saint Maulana Abdul Ali Bahrul Uloom, a divine scholar of the days of the Nawab Wallajah. In this enclosure also are the tombs of the late Nawabs of the Carnatic, the Princess of Arcot and other eminent Muslim scholars and theologians. Wallajah Mosque can be reached either from Ellis Rd (backside) or the Triplicane High Rd.


  • Kapaleeswarar Temple (Kapaleeshwara). Mylapore. One of Chennai's oldest and best-known temples, said to date to the 8th century, although the present structure dates to the 1600s. Notable above all for its soaring, incredibly detailed 37m gopuram (entrance gate). There is a large water tank behind the temple, used for the Thaipusam festival (Jan-Feb), and plenty of flower shops all around. Within easy striking distance of the city centre.
  • The Parthasarathy Temple. At Tiruvallikkeni (Triplicane) as the Britishers called it, is considered be the oldest temple in the Chennai and origins date back to the 8th century AD, the reference of which has been made in the Vaishnavite works of the Alwar saints. The existence of the Tiruvallikkeni village in referred in the Pallava records and before. The temple derived its name from the pond in front of the temple. It was originally built by the Pallavas. The temple was renovated by later dynasties, the Chola and the Vijayanagar kingdom. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The name Parthasarathy has been derived from two Sanskrit words Partha and Sarathy. The former word refers to Arjuna and the later means Charioteer. Its architecture is a combination of several temple building styles. There are inscriptions of the Pallavas, Cholas and the Vijayanagar kingdom on the temple structure. The temple besides being dedicated to Parthasarathy is also revered for Venkatakrishnaswami and to Ranganathar. The temple, when it was built, housed five avataras of the deity Vishnu. The structure, as it stands today, houses the shrines of popular deities like Venkatakrishnan with Rukmani, Balaraman, Satyaki, Anirudha, Pradyumna, Rama, Lakshmana, Barata, Sita, Shatrugna, Varadaraja and Hanuman.
  • Sri Ramakrishna_Math- Universal Temple, 31 Ramakrishna Math Rd,  +91 044 2462110, e-mail: 5AM-11:45AM and 3PM-9PM. Mylapore. Swami Vivekananda on his return from the west was requested by the devotees in Madras (now Chennai) to start a Math here. To fulfill their desire Swamiji sent his brother-disciple Swami Ramakrishnananda to Madras in March 1897. After reaching Madras, the first thing Swami Ramakrishnananda did was to set up a small shrine for Sri Ramakrishna at a rented house. He lived there and led a life of renunciation, service and austerities. Slowly he built up the institution as the present Sri Ramakrishna Math and thus Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, came into existence. This is the oldest centre of the Ramakrishna Order in the South. Srimat Swami Bhuteshanandaji Maharaj, the 12th President of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, laid the foundation-stone for this Universal Temple on 1 December 1994 in a grand function. It took five years for the project to take shape as the present grand Universal Temple. On 7 Feb 2000 the temple was dedicated by Srimat Swami Ranganathanandaji Maharaj, the 13th President of the Ramakrishna Order. Sri Ramakrishna Math completed hundred years of its service in 1997. The Math is regarded for its spiritual traditions, modern outlook, acceptance of all religions, service as the way of life. With its lushy green surroundings, the Universal Temple is the ideal spot for contemplation and meditation.


  • Valluvar Kottam, Valluvar Kottam High Rd, Nungambakkam, Chennai. Valluvar Kottam marks the memorial of one of the renowned poet and saint of the region, Tiruvalluvar. The memorial is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. There is a 101-feet high temple chariot structure with a life-size image of the poet in it. This chariot is a replica of the temple car of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. The monument stands as a massive auditorium and was open to public in the year 1976. . Over 3,000 blocks of stone were used to create this memorial to Tamil culture. Valluvar Kottam has quite an extensive space. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people. It is a revered place in the city as it is considered to bear the impressions of the Tamil culture. The auditorium is surrounded by granite pillars that have the inscriptions taken from the famous work of the poet. The epic Tiruvalluvar, written by the poet consists of 1330 verses, all of which are inscribed on the granite pillar. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. It stands as a modern memorial to the great poet who represents the glorious culture of the Tamils.


Fort St. George, is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal. It was (formerly known as White Town) was established as the East India Company's fortified foothold in Madras and it was from this small trading post (or 'factory' as it was then known) that British influence spread throughout India. The establishment of Fort St. George marked the birth of the new city that is Madras, in the year 1640. The fort was named after St George who is believed to have preached in the region. The British East India Company, after buying the land from the Nayak of Vandavasi in 1639, led the establishment of what was called the Madrasemen, the permanent settlement of the company. One year later they built the fort as a commanding post in the region. With the increased trade activities of East India Company the region soon developed into a popular trade and commerce centre. The British enjoyed the supremacy in the region till 1746, when the French attacked the fort and captured it. After three years, in 1749 the British regained the ruling power by signing a treaty with the French. In the meantime they fortified the base in order to sustain the invasion of Hyder Ali and the French. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. It is a military architecture marvel, which was started as a trading post and later evolved to be the origin of modern Indian Army. St. George Fort holds great historical importance and is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India. It has a number of other monuments within its boundaries. Inside the Fort is the Fort Museum is decorated with cannons of Tipu Sultan. There are a lot of interesting artifacts showcased in the museum like coins, artifacts and so on. Apart from the museum, the southern division of the Archaeological Survey of India is located here. The place is famous for its exotic collection of books in the library. Today, Fort St George is famous for housing the legislative assembly and is known as the secretariat building. The fort in its present form looks more like a mansion, rather any fort. Various Government offices function inside this building, including the structure which used to be the residence of Robert Clive called the Clive House. St. Mary's Church, situated in the fort, is one of the oldest surviving churches built by the British in India. The tallest flag pole in the country can be seen here, its height is 150 feet. The Pole is now made of metal was originally made entirely of teak wood. 10AM-5PM daily except closed on F. Fort Museum: For children below 15 years free. For Indians: ₹5/- For foreigners: $ 20.

Museums and Art Galleries

  • Government Museum. Pantheon Rd, Egmore. Established in 1857, the Government Museum of Chennai is one of the popular tourist destinations in the city. It is a multi-purpose State Government Museum located in Egmore, which is in the heart of the city, spreading over an area of 16.25 acres of land. Six independent buildings in this Museum campus has 46 galleries. There is an Archaeology Section, Zoology Section, Botany Section, Geology Section, Numismatics Section, Bronze Gallery, Children’s museum, Art gallery and various other interesting sections and galleries. It is considered to be one of the oldest museums of India, since its inception dates back to the Colonial rule. There is history behind the origin of this Museum. In 1846 AD, the Madras Literary Society debated the proposal of establishing a museum in the then Madras. The proposal was approved by the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London. Chennai Government Museum was handed down with a sprawling complex and the presently maintained by the State Government. There are six independent buildings in the Museum campus, which compose of 46 galleries. The Museum was formally inaugurated on December 5, 1896 by the Sir Arthur Eli bank Havelock, the then Governor. He named it after the former Governor, Lord Connenmara. The museum was designed by H. Irvin, the consulting architect of the Government of Madras. The Government Museum has a splendid hall, marvelous reading room and striking Teak wood shelf and stands divided into a number of sections. Note that parts of the museum are often closed. Phone: +91 44 28193238, 9:30AM-5PM except holidays. A free guide service is available at 11AM and 3PM.
  • National Art Gallery The building of National Arts Gallery was built in the year 1907. This magnificent red sandstone building was designed by Henry Irwin and built by T. Namberumal Chetty. The building represents a typical Indo-Saracenic structure and was initially famous as Victoria Memorial Hall. Built with sandstone and adorned with motifs, the building bears impressions of Mughal architecture. The structure as well as the gallery collections are key factors responsible for the much credited tourist place. The gallery exhibits medieval handicrafts, sculptures, metal ware and paintings belonging to various schools of art, all from the past. The gallery displays paintings belonging to different schools and eras. The gallery's collections are displayed in four different sections that are: Tanjore Painting Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery, Indian Traditional Art Gallery and Ravi Varma Painting Gallery. The Tanjore paintings on glass are wonderful. The miniature paintings from Rajput and Mughal eras are fascinating too. The handicrafts that are displayed in National Arts Gallery belong to the 11th and 12th century, Indian handicrafts, period. The top floor, closed in May 2011, offers additional galleries. 9:30AM-5PM daily except F and national holidays. +91 44 28193238.
  • Birla Planetarium, Gandhi Mandapam Road (close to Guindy National Park and Anna University),  044-24410025, 24416751, 24915250, 24918787. Built in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars. The Science and Technology Centre is open on all days except on national holidays. Program Timing 10:45AM–1:45PM and 3:45PM. English Noon, Tamil 2:30PM. Package cost ₹45, ₹20 for children
  • Vivekananda House (Vivekanandar Illam), Triplicane (Located on Marina beach road),  91-44-28446188, e-mail: 10.00 AM to 12.15 PM and from 3.00 PM to 7.15 PM except Wednesdays. A colonial house where Swami Vivekananda stayed after his return from Chicago. It was also the location of the Ramakrishna Math for a decade before the Math was moved to its present location in Mylapore. The house now features a museum, painting gallery, photo gallery, book shop and video show on the life and teaching of Vivekananda. It is maintained by the Ramakrishna Math. Meditation and spirituality classes are arranged regularly at a nominal cost. Entry ₹10, classes charged extra.


  • Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum. Check the website for directions as the auto-rickshaw drivers have never heard of it.


  • Arignar Anna Zoological Park (The Vandalur Zoo),  +91 044 22751089, fax: +91 044 22750741, e-mail: 9AM-6PM daily except Tu. This zoological park is situated in the outskirts of the Chennai metropolitan (nearly 40KM from the city center). Chennai has the distinction of having the first zoo in India, which was started in 1855. This park is said to be one of the biggest in South East Asia. The wildlife population is exhibited in a large open moated island enclosure with a simulated natural environment. More than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles are housed in this park. Lion safari vehicles, elephant rides, battery operated vehicles are some of the facilities available. The peak time is during Pongal and weekend holidays. Rs 30, Free below 5 years, 5 to 12 Rs 10, still camera Rs 25, video camera Rs 150.
  • Guindy National Park (Children's Park), Sardar Vallabhai Patel Rd, Adyar, Guindy. M-F 9AM-5:30PM except Tu. The current park area stands close to 280 hectares. Guindy Park happens to be almost certainly the smallest national park in the country and the only park within the city suburbs of India. The park is inhabited by more than 20 species of trees, about 14 varieties of shrubs and more than 14 species of woodland mammals. The place also houses many species of rare birds and amphibians. The dry deciduous forests of Guindy are lined with tree species like Amona Squamosa, Atlanta Monophylla, Feronia Limonia and Azadirachta India. The popular park animals include species like Indian Antelope (Black Buck), Elephant, Spotted Deer, Indian Civet, Jungle Cat, Hedgehog, Pangolin and Jackal. Some rare bird species found in the park include Black Winged Kite, Honey Buzzard, and Pariah Kite. The park is also home to many reptile and amphibian species. Rs 15, Free below 10 years, 11 to above Rs 5, School Children age 5-12 from government and aided schools Rs 2, children from private schools age 5-12 Rs 10, still camera Rs 10, video camera Rs 75.
  • Guindy Snake Park (next to Guindy National Park). M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM except Tu. Founded by one of the prominent wildlife conservationist Romulus Whitaker. The park houses a number of snake species, lizards, crocodiles and turtles. The park breeds more than 30 species of Indian snakes. Some of the most sought after species include King Cobra, Indian Rock Python, Reticulated Python, Adders and Vipers. In addition to the snakes the park also breeds species of lizards, crocodiles and turtles. The museum in the park premises contains preserved specimens of many reptiles and amphibians. They have a snake display show 4 times daily, and live snakes of different species are shown to the audience with a voice over in 3 languages (English, Tamil and Hindi). ₹15, ₹5 for children below 12.

Marina Beach

St. Andrew\'s Kirk

Parthasarathy Temple

Mount Road

Armenian Church

Madras High Court

Guindy Race Course

Apollo Hospital

Express Avenue

Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium

M.A. Chidambaram Stadium

Chennai Snake Park

Kapalishvara Temple

Ashtalakshmi Kovil

Government Museum

Anna University

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

Elliot\'s Beach

St. Mary\'s Church

Spencer\'s Plaza Shopping Mall

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About Chennai


Long the site of earlier coastal settlements, Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Nayak. The document of the land grant is dated 22 August 1639, and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on 22 August each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (23 April) and hence was named after the patron saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai. Two suburbs, Santhome and St. Thomas Mount, are named in his memory.

In 1996, the Tamilnadu government renamed Madras to Chennai providing the reason that 'Chennai' was the city's traditional name while Madras was one derived during colonial rule.

Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, a name given to the area when the British negotiated settling there. The origin of the name is uncertain. Tradition suggests that a fishing village near to the location of the British settlement was called Madraspatnam. Others think early Portuguese may have called the area Madre de Sois after an early settler, or Madre de Deus after an early church (of St. Mary).

Chennai is derived from Chennapatnam, a name with almost equally uncertain origins. Tradition has it that Chennapatnam was the name of a fishing village near to the location of Madraspatnam. However it is not clear if the village was there beforehand or grew up around the British Madraspatnam settlement. There are some suggestions that the name was given to the developing Indian settlement honor a local Indian administrator.

As the settlements grew, the exact location of both Chennapatnam and Madraspatnam became confused as the two settlements merged into a single town.

Under the British, the then city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of Southern India that were not governed by any of the other princely states. After independence, it became the capital of Madras state, and when the states were reorganized on a linguistic basis, it became the capital of Tamilnadu.

Chennai boasts of many well known people including Elihu Yale, whose liberal gift funded the construction of Yale University in 1718; Indira Nooyi CEO of Pepsi International; A.R. Rahman, the musical genius of "Slumdog Millionaire", Manirathnam the ace film Director, Vijay Armirthraj, Ramesh Krishnan and his father Ramanathan krishnan who were holding the Indian flag high in Tennis and chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand among many others.


Climate of Chennai is Tropical.

Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (35-42°C / 95-108°F) April–June (Highest temperature ever recorded is 45°C / 113°F on 30 May 2003) and monsoon (Oct-Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the south-west monsoon (Jun-Sep), but gets its bountiful rains from the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125–150 cm (49–59 in) of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from October to December. During some seasons, Chennai gets ample amount of rainfall if there are depressions in Bay of Bengal.

December to February are the mildest months temperature - (19-28°C / 66-82°F).

Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid. Be sure to take along light (not flimsy) clothing.


  • During summers it becomes too hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (7-9 PM) on the Marina beach and Elliots Beach (Besant Nagar). It's a nice idea to pack dinner and have a picnic on the beach as most locals do. If you happen to drive a car you can also consider taking along a few foldable chairs. Beyond 10 PM, no one is permitted to be on the beach. There are policemen on the beach to ensure people follow this rule, and on some occasions they tend to shoo people out by 9 PM. However, if you are an early riser, you might consider visiting the beaches early morning around 6 to 8 A.M. The sunrise is wonderful and there is a slight breeze as well. However, be warned that there are dogs lying all over the place and you have a high chance of getting hit by a cricket ball if you aren't looking.
  • Stroll along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for knick-knacks. Be warned that it is an intensely crowded place, where you have to elbow your way through.
  • Take a bus or an auto to Mylapore Tank and take a walk around Mylapore especially in and around the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The crowds, sounds, fragrances of temple incense and flowers and the tiny shops are to be definitely experienced though keep away on Fridays. It gets too hectic even for experienced Mylaporeans.
  • Chennai is also home to one of the best preserved Art Deco architectural areas in India, Parry's Corner. Its also Chennai's oldest Central Business District though it has long since given way to Nungambakkam and T Nagar. If you're particularly interested in architecture or photography, this is a must visit place. Don't forget the nooks and crannies.
  • The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.
  • Semmozhi Poonga is a botanical garden situated opposite to the American consulate in cathedral road, it has wide variety of Bonsai plants and has a very nominal entry fee.
  • Kumaran Kundram (The Deity of Lord Murugan in Kumaran Kundram is considered to be equivalent to the one in Swamimalai) (Very near MIT Fly over). small hillock at Kumaran Kundram near by Madras Institute of Technology
  • Lutheran Adaikalnathar Church(TELC), Tana Street. Protestant Church which is more than 100 years old
  • St. Matthias Church, Vepery. One of the oldest churches in Chennai which was built by the British. Its also has a higher secondary school in the campus which has both boys and girls studying in the school.
  • kundrathur sivan temple (vada thirunageshvaram), kundrathur (kndrathur bus depot). sekkizhar built this temple, a 1000 year old

Music and Dance

Chennai is famous for its concerts and performances that take place in various auditoriums and temples throughout the year, which are announced in the Hindu and other local newspapers. During the Tamil month of Maargazhi (December - January) there is a series of classical Carnatic music concerts and classical dance performances in various parts of the city, but the best are organized in various Sabhas (loosely translates to "concert house"). You will see mostly older celebrities, although occasionally there will be some world-class young virtuosos. Free entry passes are usually given out for debutante performances (called Arangetram in Tamil) and for performances held on weekdays (before 4pm when the crowd starts filling up).

  • The Music Academy. No. 168, T.T.K. Road,Chennai - 600 014. Phone: +91-44-2811 2231 / +91-44-2811 5162, Email:
  • Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall. Madras Seva Sadan, No 7, Harrington Road, Chetpet. Call for details: +91 44 43561198 and +91 42146632, Email:
  • VDS Arts Academy. MOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6:30 PM., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artists. Admission: free.
  • Brahma Gana Sabha. Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road, +91 92821 06425, +91 98412 96684
  • Indian Institute of Music and Arts, R.K Swamy Auditorium, Sir Sivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore.
  • Kartik Fine Arts. Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road. +91 44 2499 7788, +91 44 2495 2695 (30th Year Art Festival),
  • 'Sri Krishna Gana Sabha [11], "Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar, 20. Maharajapuram Santhanam Road, T.Nagar, +91 44 2814 0806 (The 49th Art and Dance Festival & Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha And the 24th Natya Kala Conference), ₹50 to ₹500 (daily rates)
  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha. Vani Mahal, 103, GN Chetty Road, +91 44 2815 2166 (The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha)
  • Kalalayaa Art Academy, 2nd Floor, 100 ft Bye Pass Road, Velachery (Opposite Bharat Petroleum Petrol Bunk, Above Nuts & Spices),  +91 98408 77546.
  • GK Parigi, e-mail: In Cine Abinayam star night programme.
  • Nungambakkam Cultural Academy Trust

Chennai is a major centre of Bharata Natyam with over 1000 dance performances a year. More dance forms are now encouraged and taught like Kuchipudi (Traditional dance form from Andhra Pradesh), Mohini Attam, etc. Some other dances like Odissi Manipuri can be found, but are rarer.


When in Chennai, do not miss a chance to watch a movie. There are several new Tamil movie releases every Friday or to coincide with holidays. Apart from Tamil, movies in other Indian languages like Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam also get wide releases in Chennai. Many of the Hollywood franchise movies enjoy a huge fan following and are screened at some theaters (dubbed) in Tamil. Make sure to book your tickets in advance especially for the weekend, because most of the cinemas will be sold out. Chennai also provides best cinematic experience at lowest cost Rs. 120/- and lesser, which is very less compared to other metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Check out any local newspaper or websites to get to know the movies running in and around Chennai. Visit [12] to get the details of movies currently running in Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are

  • Udhayam Theatre, Ashok Pillar.
  • Devi Cineplex, [13]. In the heart of Chennai on Anna Salai. The Cineplex is a huge complex and a great architectural beauty.
  • Sathyam Cine Complex [14], Thiru-vi-ka Rd, phone 044-42244224. One of the best theaters. Provides quality food and the main screen is one of the biggest in India. Celebrities and cine stars frequent this complex.
  • S2 Thiagaraya Cinemas
  • Escape Cinemas [15], Express Avenue, Royapettah, ☎ +91 44 4224 4224. 8 premier quality screens with 3D, Dolby Atmos and RDX technology. Each of the 8 screens has a different decor which adds to the style quotient of the place.
  • Inox [16], Chennai Citi Centre, R.K.Salai
  • Mayajaal Cine Complex [17], ECR. 14 Screen Multiplex. Located far away from the bustle of the city. Except in rare cases, reservation is not a must and seats can be booked at the counter.
  • Abhirami Cine Complex, Purasawalkam. Located in the Abirami Mega mall.
  • Shanti Cine Complex, Anna Salai
  • Ega theatres [18], P.H Rd, Kilpauk. Features Hindi movies.
  • Sangam cine complex in kilpauk. For tickets check [19].
  • Rohini Cinema Complex, Koyambedu.
  • Ganga Theatre complex, Kolathur.
  • Rakki Theatre, Ambattur.
  • PVR, AMPA SkyWalk Mall, Nelson Manickam Rd.
  • AGS Royal, Villivakkam.
  • AGS Cinemas OMR, Navalur.
  • Kamala Cinemas, Vadapalani [20]. Located opposite the Green Park hotel.
  • Vetri Theatre, Chromepet.


Chennai has been one of the prominent sporting location in India, with wide variety of sports played almost everywhere right from every street corners to big stadium matches.

M. A. Chidambaram Stadium (Famously known as Chepauk Stadium)

Cricket by itself is a festival in India,every TV in the Mall is tuned to cricket during the match season and the whole city would be tuned in to the sport some way or another. Chennai is an international venue for cricket and is also a home ground for the Chennai super Kings cricket team. While in Chennai it might be interesting to catch a game and enjoy the electric spirit of Indian cricket. Close to Chepauk there are several sporting goods stores where you can buy good quality cricket equipment at low prices.

Chennai Open. A prominent ATP250 tennis tournament that happens around January every year, the event has attracted lot of high ranked players such as Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moyá, Stanislas Wawrinka and Leader Paes. The SDAT Tennis Stadium in Nungambakkam (a short walk from Valluvar Kottam) is the venue for the event since 1997. The event is well organized with details including ticket sales published online.


Chennai has numerous restaurants, offering an assortment of cuisine. The beach restaurants are well maintained and serve great food during the evenings. The eat outs in Chennai range from budget, midrange and to up-market. There are swanky star quality restaurants, plain open traditional vegetarian or non vegetarian restaurants- where you share a table with strangers, street stalls, tea kadais, fast food centers, western fast food centers, food courts, coffee shops, bakeries to exclusive specialty establishments. Vegetarian restaurants serve tiffin and vegetarian meals. There are also a number of restaurants that serve a variety of Tamil, Andhra and Kerala vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Many of these restaurants have nowadays diversified and offer other Indian and Indianized Chinese dishes as well. Usually the check includes a service charge, written next to 'S.C.' If no service charge is added, it is customary to leave a moderate tip.


All these budget eateries serve only vegetarian food and are very cheap.

  • Eat N Drink, 570-N, Anna Salai, Teynampet (next to Courtyard Marriott). South Indian fast food, from masala dosas to uttapam and pongal. Fast, cheap, tasty and hygienic. Rs 20-40.
  • Geetha Café, Pondy Bazaar. South Indian tiffin.
  • Hot Chips, T.Nagar and Anna Nagar for budget priced South Indian tiffin, including North Indian chat (snack) items.
  • Kebab Junction, Royapettah, NV, opp. Express Ave, (near Melody theatre).
  • Karpagambal Mess, Mylapore, (opposite the Kapaleeswarar temple). Cheap and authentic South Indian Food.
  • Komalas, Kodambakkam High Rd. South Indian fast food.
  • Mansuk's, T.Nagar. Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
  • Palimar, Parsn Complex, Mount Rd, Anna Salai. South Indian cuisine.
  • Rathna Cafe, Triplicane. also Thiruvanmiyur, (opposite the RTO). For fluffy hot idlis, hot vadai, delicious pongal dripping in ghee and accompanied by sambhar. Quality maintained for more than 100 years. More expensive than Murugan Idli shop.
  • Sangeetha, at intersection of Valluvar Kottam High Rd and Nungambakkam High Rd in Nungambakkam Chain of vegetarian restaurants. A mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices. It is a chain restaurant.
  • Hotel Saravana Bhavan. Probably Chennai's best known restaurant chain, with 25 branches in Chennai itself (incl. one next to Kapaleeswarar Temple). Pure vegetarian Indian food with high standards of hygiene.
  • Cholayil Sanjeevanam, New No. 97, Old No.45, Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam,  +91 44 4549 0324. A popular vegetarian "health" restaurant that cooks its foods using ayurvedic principles. The food is truly delicious, and the concept is that they are cooked with low amounts of oil, using healthy ingredients. The chain also features ayurvedic and yogic classes.
  • Sri Krishna Sweets, Mount Rd, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai, also at MG Rd, Shastri Nagar. Indian sweets & salad bar. North Indian "chat" (snack) items.
  • The Spice Box +91 44 4304 2365. Thiruvanmyur. Lunch deliveries and gourmet outdoor catering. Wholesome, innovative lunch-dinner in 6 options is great to try out.
  • Vasantha Bhavan, (near Vadapalani Bus stand). Chain of vegetarian restaurants.



  • Shanghai Annaachi +91 93 2357063. 9B, 1st Floor, Kakani Tower, New No. 34, Old No. 15, Khader Nawaz Khan Road,
  • Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, (Non-Vegetarian) 315, Valluvarkottam High Rd, Nungambakkam, ☎+91 44 2222777. Good quality Chinese-Indian cuisine. Reservations available.
  • The Cascade +91 44 2834 3030. Quality Inn Sabari, 1. floor, 29 Thirumalai Pillai Rd, T.Nagar,


  • Texas Fiesta, (Non-Vegetarian) # 17/2, Shaffee Mohammed Rd, (off Khader Nawaz Khan Rd), ☎+91 44 43087882. It is owned and operated by a Tex Mex aficionado who fell in love with this great cuisine while in the USA. Favorite dishes include chicken wings, cream of leeks and potato soup, chicken fajita and grilled tenderloin steak apart from burritos, quesadillas and tortillas. Meal for two would cost about ₹500. Table reservations available.


  • Amethyst, (Vegetarian),Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, ☎+91 44 2820 3582, resv ☎+91 44 28353581. Garden and patio cafe and restaurant with a mix of western (pastas, burgers) and Indian fare. Cuisines served by Amethyst are Coffee and International. It is a nice, cozy, romantic place to chill out on weekends. Their cuisine is nice and so is their interiors. Its a colonial house turned into a restaurant. Table reservations available.
  • Curry House: (non-Vegetarian), 2, Block AB, 11th Ave, Anna Nagar, ☎+91 44 42611167, +91 44 42611168. Chettinad, and Kerala delicacies. Good tandoori fare of the non-veg variety popular among the Punjabi's and found all over Delhi. Open: 12:00-15:00 and 19:00-23:00. Meals for two around Rs 350. Table reservations.

North Indian

  • Dhaba Express (non-vegetarian), 9 Cenotaph Rd,  +91 44 2432 8213. Teynampet, and Nungambakkam High Rd. Cuisines served by Dhaba Express are North Indian. They serve Chicken Tikka Masala, Mutton Rogan Josh, Tandoori Aloo (starter), Naans and Roomali Rotis. Valet Parking. Open: 11:30-15:30, 18:30=01:30. Meals for two Rs 500. Table reservations.
  • ECR Dhaba, (non-vegetarian), 9/76, Kunnukadu, East Coast Rd, Near Muttukadu Boat House, ☎+91 44 44 27472943, +91 98 407 04050. Punjabi food. Table reservations. Open: 11:00-23:45.

Rooftop Dining

  • The Chimney (non-vegetarian),  +91 44 2472 5950. Liberty Park Hotel 9, 1st Main Road, U.I. Colony, Kodambakkam. Predominantly North-Indian kebabs & Chinese cuisines served. A very pleasant place on the cooler evenings when there's always a gentle breeze. Table reservations


  • Coastline (non-vegetarian),  +91 44 28251128. 118, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore. South Indian seafood. Freshly done interiors, slow service but delicious food. Crab rasam, prawn or fish biryani. Vide variety of sea food offerings. Must try place. Price range: Meals for two Rs 600. Table reservations

South Indian:

  • Aiwo (Vegetarian),  +91 44 66514241. 7 Rosy Towers, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Fusion and health foods. A 14-course meal served on a conveyer belt that moves around the room. Various dishes served are supposed to be cooked in olive oil. Healthy tasty food for the health conscious. Rs 199 per meal inclusive of taxes.Table reservations
  • Amaravathi (non-vegetarian), 1 Cathedral Road. Gopalpuram, ☎ +91 44 28116416, +91 44 28110305. South Indian sea food cuisines and is known for its spicy Andhra food. Their famous Andhra meals, chicken and mutton biryani. Vazahapoo and keerai vadi are a must try. Chilly chicken, chili paneer, momos, soups, burgers, rolls, etc. Punjabi dishes like kadhai chicken, butter chicken, daal makhni, roti, butter naan, paneer butter masala, allu matar etc. Special fish prawns and Amaravathi chicken are the main dishs of the restaurant. Price: Avrg. for 2 persons Rs 500. Seating: 135 covers. Valet parking and take away. Open: 7 days a week. 11:00-23:00. Table reservations
  • Amma, :(non-vegetarian), No 1 Dr. Giri Rd, (near Bharathi Raja Hospital), T Nagar, ☎ +91 44 28340242, +91 44 242122176,., Known for authentic Chettinadu cuisine. Price range: Meals for 2 around {RS350. Open: 11:30-15:30 and 7PM to 10.30PM. Table Reservations .(non-vegetarian),
  • Anjappar,:(non-vegetarian), J.P. Tower, 7/2, Nungambakkam High Rd. Speciality: Anjappar Popular Meals: White Rice, Chettinad Chicken, Mutton Gravy, Fish Gravy, Sambar, Rasam, Kootu, Porial, Keerai, Curd, Buttermilk, Appalam. Also famous for Spl.Mutton Dum Biriyani,Nattu Koli Biriyani and Chettinaad Fish Masala. Price range: Meals for two ₹500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28217200, 2825666, 42144573. They have other outlets in Chennai: Anna Nagar:: (+91 44 26264111) Chennai Airport-Food Court- Anna International Airport, : (+91 44 22561793, 2256194) Near Central Station:(+91 44 25382666, 25383334) Egmore: (+91 44 42134111, 42179222) Purasaiwalkam: (+91 44 42089188, 26400200) T'Nagar, ☎ +91 44 224328444, +91 44 224328555) Mylapore:, ☎ +91 44 224982883, +91 44 224981226) R.K.Salai, ☎ +91 44 228114555, 28114666)
  • Annalakshmi: (vegetarian) 18/3, Rukmani Lakshmipathy Rd (Marshall Rd), Sigapi Achi Building I Floor, Adjacent to Raja Muthaiah & Rani Meyyammai Hall, Egmore. ☎ +91 44 228525109, +91 44 242141210. This is a must try expensive South Indian food restaurant. Elegant ambience, friendly service and good food. Filling portions served. Best selling dishes- Elumichai Sevai, Badam-saffron milkshake. Elite crowd. Pricy at ₹1000 for 2 meals. Open: Tuesday to Sunday (Monday weekly holiday) Lunch: 12:00-14:30 PM. Dinner:19.3021:45. Table reservations
  • Anupama Southern Spice, (Non-Vegetarian) 25, 1st Floor, G.N. Chetty Road, Thyagaraya Nagar, Chennai 600017. Specialty Andhra Cuisine. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 31000733
  • Hotel Coronet,:(non-vegetarian) 128, Lattice Bdge Rd, Adyar,☎ +91 44 224413446, +91 44 24411915.. This is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. Very reasonably priced, Coronet is known for its great Mughalai food. Their specialties are the mutton korma with parotha, Ceylon egg parotha, and kheema masala. They also serve Kerala Malabar dishes. Modest ambience. Open: 9 AM to Past midnight.
  • Madurai Appu,:(non-vegetarian)40, Sarojini Street, T'Nagar,☎ +91 44 224490077, ☎ +91 44 224491515).. Authentic Chettinad cuisine: Known for its Chettinad chicken masala, Chicken and mutton biryani.Meals for two ₹500. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 2432 8484. They have other outlets in Chennai: Valasaravakkam:: (+91 044 24861166/24860022) Mugappair: ☎ +91 44 226567676, +91 44 226567393) Triplicane: (☎ +91 44 228580786, +91 44 228591515, ☎ +91 44 228592929) East Coast Road (ECR- Vettuvankani):


  • Barbeque Nation (BBQ Nation), Sri Devi Park hotel, T.Nagar and Hotel Bhimaas, Vadapalani. [23]. Buffet costs ₹800 per person, advance reservation is strongly recommended.
  • Gallopin Gooseberries, Burgers, Sandwiches and Entres. Has two outlets:

1. 4/359,Gatsby Village, Mgr Road, +91 44 24493924

2. 11, Shop 2, 2nd Floor, Greams Road, Landmark: Near Thousand Lights Police Station Phone: +91 44 28291077, 28292190

  • Gyan Vaishnav, Mount Road, Near Anand Theatre. North Indian
  • Kadalivanam. Mogappair., 100% natural, fully vegetarian restaurant
  • Karaikudi, VeeraRaghava Road, T. Nagar, +91 44 2815 1021. (also at Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar, Mylapore, Thiruvanmiyur) Chettinadu cuisine.
  • Eden's, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. Wonderful Continental cuisine, fully vegetarian.
  • Once Upon A Pirate..., A Pirate Theme Restaurant, Besant Nagar Beach Road, Opp Velankanni Church. +91 44 45511980. Indian Tandoor Chinese Cuisines.
  • Murugans Idli Shop, 2 locations: GN Chetty Road T. Nagar and Besant Nagar. Murugan Idli Shop is a chain restaurant, and the GN Chetty Road shop in particular is a well-kept secret among locals as a purveyor of high-quality food; on weekends, there is a long line for entry. The price for one meal is around 20-40 rupees, or around $1. South Indian.
  • Mughal's Zaika, Rajaratnam St, Chetpet, Behind Ega Theatre. This is the best place in Chennai for any Kebabs esp their Juicy Irani Kebabs! They also serve the best & authentic Mughlai Biryani.Great value for money. One drawback (or advantage) is its non-a/c, its an Open air restaurant. The price for one meal is around ₹80 rupees, or around $2. Mughlai/Persian/Afghani/Irani.
  • Noodle House, A chain restaurant, whoese locations include: 1. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) and 2.the Intersection of Sterling Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam. Chinese.
  • Pizzaurant, Velachery Road, Little Mount, Saidapet. Cuisine - Pizza & Pasta.(Without MSG) Home delivery for nearby areas, Very Indian.
  • Poonamallee, Breeze Hotel, 850, Poonamallee High Road. +91 44 2641 3334, +91 44 2643 0596. Multicusine
  • Ponnusamy, Commander-in-Chief Road (opp Ethiraj College), Egmore. Chettinadu cuisine
  • Rangis, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese.
  • Swati and Swayam, at Saravana Bhavan, Peters Road. South Indian.
  • Sparky's, located in Egmore, is an "American diner" operated by an American expatriate settled in Chennai. Mexican, Italian and American food. Prices range from 70-150 rps for a meal.[24] Sparky's has been closed since the end of 2012, ever since their head Chef passed on. They are yet to commit on when they will be re-opening the joint.



  • Peshwari, Sheraton Chola Hotel, Cathedral Road, Chennai 600 086. The award winning Peshawari is the Indian specialty restaurant with the rugged flavours of the North-West Frontier and the art of tandoori cooking. The food is cooked in clay ovens or tandoor in the traditional style which is viewed through the open kitchen. (5 Star Hotel) Rated Expensive. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28110101


  • Mainland China, Hotel Tulip Aruna, 144/145, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai.( 4 Star Hotel) The restaurant chain serves authentic cuisine from the major provinces of China. Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 28238345, 044 39155261, 044 39155256
  • Shanghai Club, Hotel Chola Sheraton, 13,Cathedral Road, Chennai 600086. Well known for its most authentic Chinese Cuisine. Live three piece band. (5 Star Hotel) Rated Expensive. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28110101
  • Shansi Chinese & Tandoori Restaurant, AnnaNagar - Indian and Chinese - 26213109

Coffee Shop

  • Cafe Mercara In Chola Sharaton Hotel, 13,Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai- 600086. Coffee Boutique which serves an amazing array of coffees and tea from around the world- Burgers, pizzas, salads and snacks. (5 Star Hotel) Rated Expensive. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24322640 +91 44 28110101
  • Cilantro, Coffee Shop / Restaurant of Le Royal Méridien,1 GST Road, St.Thomas Mount, Chennai-600016. The restaurant serves continental, Indian, South Indian, Italian, Arabic Shawarma’s, Chinese, Thai and a teppenyaki grill of Japanese Cuisine. Open: 24 hrs. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545


  • The Residency, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet,Chennai. Lavish buffet and an international a la carte menu. In a gracious setting reminiscent of the Edwardian era. Live music. Open: 12.30 PM to 2.45 PM, 7.30 PM to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: 91 44 2499 4101

Grill and Indian Cuisine

  • Pergola, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar - The highest open to sky restaurant in the city- Featuring Grills/Indian cuisines- Hours of operation 19:00 Hrs- Midnight- Seating capacity 120 covers- Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28161000, 43911000.


  • Bella Ciao- Lounge Beach Garden, #4, Shri Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, Chennai- 600041, Italian-owned and run, authentic Italian food. The famous wood fired oven pizza, home made pastas, steaks and salads. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24511130
  • Little Italy, Italian Restaurant, Eldorado No 112, Nungambakam High Road, Chennai-600034. Italian classic cuisine with a perfect wine. Chef's favourites: Pizza Mellino, Pasta del Fattore and In Wines- Brunello di Montalcino. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 42601234, 42601230
  • Prego, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet Italian dining, replaced Patio


  • Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, The ambeince is Japanese- low seating and all that. Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi. Very expensive—figure on over ₹1000 for a meal here. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24453424, 24456493
  • Teppan, 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai. Hibachi style, the cook prepares your meal with a show right in front of you. Very entertaining especially for younger diners. Excellent sushi and sashimi. ₹2000 for a meal for two. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 32216635


  • Arirang Korean Restaurant- Dr Thirumurthy Nagar 91 Main Road Nungambakkam, Nungambakkam, Chennai-600034. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28233739

Lebanese and Middle Eastern Delicacies

  • Cedars, Wallace Garden Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600085. Dim lit ambience is beautiful with exquisite furnishing in Mediterranean style. They serve the most authentic Lebanese, Middle Eastern delicacies and some interesting Mediterranean cuisines. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 42182397


  • Don Pepes, 73, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai. Mexican. Located above Hot Breads as an extension, They are best known for their Fajitas (sizzlers) and Enchiladas (a tortilla wrap with some Mexican rice). Rated Expensive. Open: 12:00 to 2:45 PM, 7:00 to 11:45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28221461


  • Entree Restaurant, Located in Emall hotel, Express Avenue Mall, Gate No 1, Pattullous Road, Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002.,  +91 044 28463333, +91 044 28463358. 100 % Vegetarian multicuisine restaurant in chennai. Serve a delectable fare from all around the world - Thai soup, maxican main course, Indian spices tadka, French Pastry for deserts.
  • Citrus, Savera Hotels Ltd., 146, Dr. Radhakrishnan Road, Mylapore, Chennai- 600004. Multicuisine- featuring Mediterranean barbeque and Norwegian smoked salmon. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28114700
  • Cream Centre, 55, 2nd Main Road, Raja Annamalaipuram, Chennai- 600028.(Near Kaliappa Hospital)Cream Centre offers a wide range of vegetarian food choices- North Indian and Mexican, to American, Italian and even Lebanese.Nachos, Channa Bhatura, American Corn Cheese Ball, Sizzlers & Sizzling Brownie. A specialty here is the Mera Thali, where you have a choice of dishes from which you can make your own thali. Open: 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM (11:00 AM to 11:00PM on Weekends). Table Reservations Tele: +91 044 42815777, +91 044 42815776.
  • Seasons, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G.N. Chetty Road, T Nagar, Chennai- Extensive Buffets featuring cuisines from all over the world- Oriental to Italian, Continental to Indian, and Global A la Carte - Open: 24 Hrs. Seating capacity 65 covers- Breakfast buffet 07:00 - 10:30 Hrs - Lunch buffet 12:30 - 15:00 Hrs - Dinner buffet 19:30 - 23:00 Hrs- Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28161000, 43911000

North Indian

  • Copper Chimney, 74, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram, Chennai. (Opposite the Chola Sheraton). Mainly North Indian and Iranian inspired dish. Specialities: Bagani Bahar, Paneer Musselum. Rated expensive. Open: 12:00 to 3:00 PM, 7:00 to 12:00 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 28115770, 28114941
  • The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson G R T Hotel, G.S.T. Road, St Thomas Mount, Chennai, 600016. Specialities: Galoutti Kabab, Tangri and Murgh Malai Kababs, Fish and Mutton Kababs. They serve alcohol and have velat parking. Pricing: Rated expensive. Open: 12:00PM to 2:45PM, 7:00PM to 11:45PM, Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22310101
  • Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, Le Royal Méridien,1 GST Road, St.Thomas Mount, Chennai-600016. India Restaurant serving Royal Indian Cuisine. Live Ghazal performances. A Private dining room is available for up to 12 persons and an intimate bar for pre-dinner drinksRated very Expensive. Open: For Lunch from 12.00 Noon to 3.00 PM & For Dinner from 7.00 to 11.45PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545
  • Tandoor, Quality Inn Aruna Hotel, 4th Floor, 144 & 145, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600034. Specialties: North Indian, Punjabi, Tandoori and Mongolian Amenities: Outdoor Seating and Valet Parking. Serve alcohol. Table reservations Tele: +91 44 28262626, +91 44 28283636.

Seafood Restaurant

  • Kayal, Seafood Restaurant of Le Royal Meridien, 1, G.S.T. Road, St. Thomas Mount, Chennai 600016. Specialities: Coriander Prawn, Seafood Platter, Kadia Lobster, Prawn Biryani. Nice complimentary garlic bread with butter. Rated very Expensive. Open: 7:00 to 11:30 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 22314343, +91 44 43534545

South Indian

  • Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, 132, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, Chennai. South Indian Cuisines- Dakshin offers the 'rare' pleasures of ethnic coastal and regional cuisines. The choicest cuisine of the four Southern states served in a regal setting. Live Carnatic Music. Expensive but excellent food- Starters include traditional,kuli paniyaram. Try the Idi appam or Appam with mutton stew. Desert: Kulfi. Open: 12.30 to 2.45 PM, 7.30 to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24994101.
  • Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 55002827.

Thailand Delicacies

  • Benjarong, 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018, The authentic flavor of Thailand. Seating capacity 68 covers. Open: 12.15 PM to 2.45 PM and 7.15 PM to 11.45 PM. Table Reservations Tele: +91 44 24322640


Chennai is a difficult place to drink. Government rule states that only establishments with a minimum of 21 rooms can obtain a bar/ liquor license. Hence there are no standalone bars or pubs here. All the bars hat are around are part of some hotel or the other and in general overpriced. Government run liquor stores called TASMAC are all over the place but in general not at all a pleasant experience. They usually have rude staff, are filthy and usually never have the brand of your choice. Also they always tend to mark up each bottle by Rs 5 to 10 over the listed price. Go for it if you want a one time war like experience in order to obtain some booze!

Nightclubs close at 23.00, even on Fridays and Saturdays, according to government rule.


  • The Pub, Liberty Park Hotel, 1st Main Road, UI Colony, Kodambakkam, Ph - 24725950 - Very nice decor and good service for the price. It gets crowded on important cricket match days as the local sports fans gather for a drink here.
  • Paradise Bar, Aruna Hotel, 20 South Usman Road, T Nagar, Chennai - 600017, Ph - 24346565/0834


  • Bike and Barrel, Residency Towers, T.Nagar.nice ambience there are 2 levels lower level for couples and upper level for stags. Nice sitting arrangement but can get crowded . Expect to spend around 1000 for 2 people for drinks and food.
  • Champagne & Cider, Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Mount Road).
  • Crystal, Hotel Ranjit, Nungambakkam High road, Nungambakkam.
  • Grammy, Hotel Sabhari, Thirumala Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Ph -
  • Platinum, (Formerly HFO), Hotel Quality inn Aruna, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
  • Hudson, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - 42222777
  • Society, Hotel Ambassador Pallava, Montieth road, Egmore, Ph - 28554476
  • Diesel, G.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar
  • Cambridge, Hotel Dee Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
  • Million Dollars, Hotel Ambica Empire, 100 Feet road, Vadapalani
  • Star Rock, Kodambakkam High Road (Next to Palmgrove hotel), Nungambakkam
  • Zero° bar, Quality Inn Sabari, ground floor, 29 Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017


  • OPM - Nightclub, The Accord Metropolitan, 35,G.N.Chetty Road, T'Nagar, Chennai- Open: 18:00 Hrs Onwards. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but available for private events. Information and Reservations: Tele: +91 44 28161000 / 43911000
  • Zodiac- Lounge Bar, The Accord Metropolitan, 35,G.N.Chetty Road, T'Nagar, Chennai- Popular labels, ingenious cocktails, rare blends of liquor & a wide selection of hot and cold canapés. Open: Monday to Friday:16:00-23:00 Hrs, Saturday & Sunday:11.00-23.00 Hrs- Seating capacity 76- Information and Reservations: Tele: +91 44 28161000 / 43911000
  • Geoffrey's- The Pub, Radha Regent (formerly- Radha Park Inn), 171, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, Inner Ring Road, Arumbakkam, Chennai– 600106. Décor is a mix of British and American- very contemporary and trendy look- pool tables, swinging DJs and live shows. An area of 2700 sq ft with 97 covers which makes the largest in its kind in the city. Open: 4 pm to 11 pm on all days. Information and Reservations: Tele: +91 44 66778899
  • The Westminister. Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.
  • Zara, Cathedral Road.
  • Dublin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Ph - 24994101
  • Durrants Bar, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, Ph - 28110101
  • DIstil Bar, Taj Connemara, Binny Road
  • Leather Bar, The Park, Nungambakkam High Rd. The largest liquor stable in Chennai - includes hard to source Moet & Chandon, Glenfiddich and a variety of other scotch. Loud Music.
  • The Rain Bar, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
  • The Havana, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
  • 10 Downing Street Kences Inn Hotel, North Boag Road, T Nagar

Local specialities - soft drinks

  • Tender Coconut Definitely try a tender coconut on a hot summer's day. Available on roadside stalls at ₹20 a coconut.
  • NeerMoar Spicy butter milk, with local seasoning. Available at most South Indian restaurants.
  • Fruit Bizz (Adyar signal), left corner building from ananda bhavan road to guindy. This is one of the best juice shops very famous in adyar region. Shop open from morning 10 am till 1am. ₹30-50.


Shopping Malls

  • Phoenix Market city. At Velachery with approximately 2.40 million square foot (including 0.45 million square foot of parking) of developable area. In addition to the usual Market City components, Market City Chennai is expected to include an IT park.
  • Express Avenue. Royapettah High Rd. It is the second largest shopping mall in South India and features unique stores like Hamley's, Global Desi and Peekaboo, designer wear like Guess and Diesel and high-street chains like Body Shop, Tie Rack, Esprit and Lush. It has a few fine-dining restaurants and also one of the largest food courts in India. Escape Cinemas, a 40000 sqft, 8 screen multiplex is located on the 3rd floor. Local youth usually abbreviate the name to EA, from the huge sign on the building entrance.
  • Spencer Plaza. 769, Anna Salai. Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times. The original was destroyed in a fire, and the current building dates back to 1983. The new Phase III section even has a mock Indo-Saracenic atrium in the style of the original. One of the earliest shopping malls in India, it has slightly lost its charm with the arrival of swanky new malls, but it is still an excellent place to buy handicrafts, ethnic wear, Indian jewellery and books (it houses the largest Landmark bookstore in Chennai). There is a reasonably good food court on the 2nd level of Phase I and Phase III.
  • Chennai Citi Center. 10, Radhakrishnan Salai. Opened in March of 2006, it houses mostly men's western-wear brands like Adidas, Louis Philippe, Parx and Zodiac. Has a good food court, an Indian restaurant, INOX cinema and a supermarket.
  • Shoppers' Stop. 2, Harrington Rd, Chetpet. This is one of the largest department stores in Chennai, and you can buy everything from clothes to shoes to books here.
  • Ispahani Center, Nungambakkam Road.. An early shopping centre - has a cafe, bar & shops.
  • Prince Plaza, Pantheon Road, Egmore. It has been featured in many movies.
  • Ampa Mall. A new shopping mall in Chennai with both western and Indian brands featuring in the shops. Most popular for its PVR Cinemas multiplex, Star Bazaar grocery store and one of the few McDonald's in the city. It also has a food court and a boutique hotel.
  • Stores on Doors +91 44 65158534. Online shopping service. Good quality grocery and farm-fresh vegetables and fruits with free same day delivery.


Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.

  • Alwar's Roadside bookshop opposite Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
  • Bookfield, (opposite the LIC building on Anna Salai, Mount Road).
  • Vendors near the Central Station
  • Vendors on Mount Rd outside Devi Theatre and the GPO (General Post Office)
  • Higginbothams, Anna Salai.
  • Kennedys Book House, Anna Salai.

For more current publications

  • Landmark. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Rd) - Books, Toys, CD's, 4 locations:
    • Spencer Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - 37,000 sq. ft.
    • Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road - 12,000 sq. ft. - The original store.
    • Chennai Citi Centre, Radhakrishnan Salai.
    • Ampa Mall, Injambakkam- newest location.
  • Odyssey, Behind Gandhi Nagar Bus Stand, Adyar and Express Avenue,Royapettah
  • Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Rd. General books from a friendly shop keeper.
  • Chennai Book Fair (annual) 10th Jan to 22nd Jan 2014, YMCA Grounds, Anna Salai, Nandanam. Location and dates may vary annually.

If you happen to be in Chennai in January, Chennai Book Fair is an event not to miss. Plan to visit on a weekday as they attract lesser crowds and you can browse through the collections peacefully. If you pick a weekend or holiday, try to visit in the morning instead of the evening. Look through all the shops but it is usually better to skip the marquee stalls and visit the smaller ones which have books stacked all around. You will be rewarded with some great finds as these shops have lesser known but excellent titles from all around the world. Carry cash as many of the smaller shops do not accept credit/debit cards and cash also helps to bargain down the price of the books to some extent. On average, paperback novels in bargain shops cost ₹100 to ₹200. A budget of ₹3000 (around $50) should be enough to purchase a good collection of books.


  • Brass Tacks +91 44 4208 1767. 77/13, Corporation Shopping Complex, C.P. Ramaswamy Rd, Alwarpet. Contemporary clothing from natural fibres for women.
  • FabIndia, 3 Woods Rd. The Ilford House location at is probably the best in terms of choices and selections. This is the place to go for all your natural-dyed, hand loomed and hand made textiles. The prices have been going up the last few years, but FabIndia is the only source for this sort of textile in Chennai at any retail outlet.
  • Just Casuals +91 44 28273882. Nungambakkam, 1, Sterling Rd. A good place to head if you're in the mood for the Banana Republic/Abercrombie/Old Navy/Gap type stuff. They seem to get all the export rejects or overstocks. You'll find that all the brand tags are cut out due to some agreement with the manufacturer. The quality and prices are good, but unfortunately there's no bargaining possible.
  • Handloom Exhibitions. Year-round there is always a handloom exhibition profiling the work of one state or the other. These temporary installations (you'll have to check the local papers to find out where they set up) generally have a good selection of interesting fabrics and textile products. And there is always the option to bargain, which makes it a better bet than oft-overpriced retail stores. The Royapettah YMCA (across from Royapettah Hospital) has a regular handloom exhibition.
  • Shanti Colony, Annanagar is a hub for "seconds" clothing as in the above description for "Just Casuals".
  • Raymond shop, 162 Anna Salai (Opposite to Spencers). There are several outlets of Raymond shop around Chennai. Custom tailored shirts, suits and other wardrobe accessories for men.


  • Poombukar, 108 Anna Salai, Plandmark. (opposite the LIC building in Annasalai and next to Higgingbothams book store). They sell handicrafts.
  • Amethyst +91 44 2820 3582. Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Rd, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram. They sell handicrafts.
  • Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11 2nd St,  +91 44 2847 6063. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore. Art, jewellery, photo prints.
  • Crafts and Weaves +91 44 2466 0232. #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore. Handicrafts.
  • Giri Stores, Adjacent to Kabaleeswarar Temple, (opposite the Radha Silk Emporium, Mylapore Tank). Hindu spiritual items like Rudraksha garlands, books, CDs & tapes for chanting, incense sticks, camphor and lamps.
  • Hidesign. Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Rd & Phase 3, Spencers Plaza. Leather goods.
  • Vimonisha Art Gallery, 12 Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd. Handicrafts.
  • Jidoka Store, 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High Rd, ☎ +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317. Handicrafts.
  • Poppat Jamals, Mount Rd Anna Salai, (opp. Spencers Plaza). Crockery.
  • Manasthala, 12 Cenotaph Rd,  +91 44 2433 2842. Terracotta ceramics.
  • Victoria Technical Institue, 180, (old No.765) Anna Salai (Close to Spencer Plaza),  91-44-2852 3141. 10am to 7.30pm. They have a huge display of handicraft items, paintings, wood carvings and metal work statues. rupees 20 to any amount.

Art galleries

  • Prakrit Art Gallery +91 44 42188989. Dhandayuthapani Nagar, 2nd St, Kotturpuram.
  • Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, 70 1st Main Rd,  +91 44 4359 223. CIT Nagar.
  • Raasi Art Gallery, 1 Anna Ave,  +91 44 2441 0389. Bakthavatsala Nagar, Adayar.
  • Apparao Galleries +91 44 2827 226. 7th St, Wallace Garden.
  • Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, 41 CP Ramaswamy Rd. Alwarpet, ☎ +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159.
  • Chennai Studio, 222 Peters Rd,  +91 44 98405 43420. Royapettah.


  • Revathy Stores +91 44 24934328. No. 7/8, RK Mutt Rd, (Luz Bazaar Building), . Small store with a wide variety of Kalyani and Indian hand-loomed sarees.
  • Aavaranaa +91 44 24988292. 15, Ashoka Street, Alwarpet.
  • Vardhrams and Son's Silks, Harington Rd, Chetpat.
  • Radha Silk Emporium (Rasi). Silk sarees, ethnic wear, arts & crafts in multiple locations.
  • Shilpi, 29 C.P. Ramaswamy Rd, Alwarpet.
  • Co-Optex, No.350, Pantheon Road, Egmore, Chennai - 600008. (Close by Govt Museum and Connemara library),  044/28193175. State government operated store. Good place to buy authentic silk sarees and dhotis. They also sell other items like salwar sets, curtains, bedsheets, pillow covers etc.


  • Joyalukkas, 39 North Usman Road. T'Nagar. India's largest exclusive jewellery mall, housing the worlds largest jewellery showroom of international retailer Joyalukkas amongst other world renowned retailers.
  • Jaipur Gems, 50 Cathedral Road. Exclusive designer StarFire Diamond jewellery, authentic Jadau jewellery.
  • Vummidi Bangaru Jewellery, Nungambakkam, Features diamonds and gold. There is also a location T'Nagar.
  • Aishwarya Jewellery, Mylapore Tank. Gold and silverware.
  • Bapalal Jewellers, Kakani Towers, Cathedral Road. Diamond merchants.
  • Jugalkishore Jewellers, CP Ramaswaamy Road, Alwarpet. Traditional and antique jewellery.
  • Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60 East Kalamandapam Road. Royapuram. Gold for reasonable prices.
  • Narayana Pearls Good collection. Kasi Arcade, T.Nagar.
  • B.B Jewellery, 6/127 Arcot Road. Porur. Specializing in gold.
  • Kanishk, Usman Road, T'Nagar. Great value for money & wide range.
  • Rasvihar, 17a, Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam. For exclusive contemporary jewellery. [21]
  • N. Gopaldas - Jewellers since 1929, New No. 59, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore. For exclusive diamond jewellery. [22]
  • Tanishq, 100 Ft Bypass Road, Near Velachery Lake, Velachery (close to Phoenix Market City mall). From the house of Titan. Gold, Diamond and Platinum jewelery. Trendy collections, transparent pricing and clear billing. Tanishq also operates other outlets in Adyar, Anna Nagar and T.Nagar


  • Sapthaswara Musicals. Features Western and Indian musical instruments.
  • Shruthi Musicals, 10 Harleys Rd,  +91 44 2660 3630. Kilpauk.
  • Sruthilayais, 93 Royapettah High Rd. Mylapore, ☎ +91 44 2499 4045,+91 44 2498 2625. Musical instruments.
  • Lakshman shruthi, Vadapalani Signal, Vadapalani. Musical instruments, CDs.

In addition to these there are several exhibitions at Das Community Hall (Cathedral Rd), Shankara Hall (TTK Rd) where artisans display their work. Check the local newspapers for details and timings.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Chennai on Wikivoyage.