Visiting Places

Places / Institutions in Chennai

Chennai is a city that has a clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist infrastructural facilities which make it a convenient entry point or base to start your tour of Tamil Nadu and South India. Where religion is concerned, history has certainly left its mark on this city which is believed to have been the place of St. Thomas, in the outskirts of the city. There are a number of churches in Chennai that are connected with the life and times of this apostle. There are also several ancient temples around Chennai, and, within the city itself are two magnificent temples - a temple in Triplicane and another in Mylapore.  

General Informations

Area : 174 sq. kms , Population : 3,795,028 (1991 census) , Altitude : Sea level , Climate : Max. Min , Summer : 37ºC 21.10ºC  , Winter : 32ºC 19.81ºC  Rainfall : 1,272 mm. Season : TROPICAL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR Clothing : Tropical Languages spoken : Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu and English.
 

          Anna Memorial                                               Anna University                                       Corporation Building

          

Chennai Central                                                               Egmore                                                  Kapaleeswaran Temple

 

 

 

             Birla Planetorium                            Madras University                                       IIT Madras

 

 

 

Vivekananda House & Museum

The state government had leased this building to Sri Ramakrishna Mission. It is an imposing structure on the Marina beach along the South Beach Road. In 1897 Swami Vivekananda visited this city and stayed in this historic building in the year 1897 on his way to Calcutta, after his acclaimed speech at Chicago for the Parliament of Religions. The Government took over the building in 1930 and in 1963 it was named after Vivekananda. Photographs depicting the historical happenings associated with his life and his own written works are on display and sold here in the Museum.


Kapaleeswaran Temple

 

Not far from Triplicane, in Mylapore, there is yet another 8th Century Pallava Temple. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has some most beautiful sculptures, along with the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints (Nayanmars) which adorn the outer courtyard are rare specimens. Also is the courtyard under the old Punnai tree is a small shrine depicting Goddess Parvathi in the form of a Peacock, worshipping Lord Shiva. It is from this legend that Mylapore derived its name - ''Myil" meaning peacock and 'Oor' meaning town. Kapaleeswarar temple is an ancient temple around 350 years old devoted to Lord Shiva. Situated at Mylapore, this temple is the biggest in the city. The structure of the temple is purely in Dravidian style and is a great example of their wizardry in architecture. Inside on the walls, you will find inscriptions which date back to 13th century. The gopuram in the center has carvings illustrating tales from Hindu Mythology and with a towering height of 37 meters, it has an impeccable presence. The Teppam festival(float festival) is an annual event which attracts a large number of devotees. The Paradosham Festival which is held after every two weeks is also a crowd Gatherer.

 

 

St Thome Cathedral Basilica

San Thome at the southern end of Marina derives its name from St Thomas, the apostle of Christ who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during 52 AD. He was killed on St Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD. and was interned in San Thome beach where a church was later built. Several years later, another church was built further inland and his mortal remains were transferred from the old church to the new one. In 1606 the church was rebuilt as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica. The beautiful stained glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St Thomas and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques depicting scenes from the last days of Christ. In the cathedral is a 3ft. high statue of Virgin Mary which is believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543.

Valluvarkootam

The standing memorial to immortal Tamil Poet-Saint Thiruvalluvar is shaped like a temple chariot and is, in fact, the replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. A life-size statue of the saint has been installed in the chariot which is 33m. tall. The 133 chapters of his famous work Thirukkural have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvar Kottam is said to be the largest in Asia and can accommodate about 4000 people. 
 

Kovalam Beach

Covelong Beach is one of the finest beaches on the coast of Coromandel. It is located at a distance of 40 km from Chennai. The beach is situated amidst picturesque locales and serves as the perfect retreat, away from the hum drum of the city life. Covelong is a small hamlet which presents an ideal blend of sun, sand and sea. This has made the beach a sought after tourist destination in every season. It is flanked by beautiful palm trees and white sands.

Moreover, a lot of fishing activity also takes place on the Covelong Beach, which is a treat for the eyes in such a serene setting. As per the historical background of the place, it was once the port of the Nawabs of the Carnatic. It is said that Saadat Ali, Nawab of Carnatic, built the ancient port of Covelong. However, with fast pacing developmental activities, the Covelong Beach has become a top beach resort in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is specially a must visit site for all the adventure seekers, who love to stay on roll. The beach provides a plethora of water sport activities, like wind surfing, swimming, etc.  To enrich your travel experience further, it is dotted with other historical monuments like churches and mosques. The ancient Catholic Church is a must visit place on the beach.

Crocodile Park

Crocodile Bank is situated at a distance of 40 km from Chennai, near Mahabalipuram. It is more of a sanctuary for the reptiles, which came into existence in 1976. It was founded by Romulus Whitaker and other like minded people to conserve the three species of reptiles namely, the Mugger - Crocodylus Paluster, the Gharial - Gavialis Gangeticus, and the saltwater Crocodile - Crocodylus Porosus. The bank extends over an area of 3.2 hectares and provides refuge to the different species of reptiles.

Crocodile Bank started with a mere population of 30 crocodiles, which has now grown to 2400 reptiles, of varied species. One of the main attractions of the bank is the Crocodile Conservation Center. It is the largest breeding center of crocodiles in India and has bred thousands of crocodiles since its inception. Crocodile Bank consists of lush green flora, which makes it ideal for the habitation of reptiles, just like their natural habitat. Moreover, several African and Indian species of Crocodiles and alligators are kept in captivity here.

Fort St George

Fort St. George occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. It was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This bastion achieved name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The fort houses St. Mary's Church and fort museum. St. Mary's Church the oldest Anglican church in India built in 1680 and the tombstones in it's courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. This ancient prayer house solemnised the marriages of Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale, who later founded the Yale University in the USA

Snake Park

Situated in the Guindy National park, Snake park has become a major attraction among the visiting school children but it also is a hit among visitors of all ages. It has a huge variety of snakes, venomous and non-venomous, small and huge turtles and tortoises, various species of Crocodiles, Caimans and Gharials. It also has an interesting enclosure with four chameleons which are quite difficult to spot because more often than not, they stay hidden in the small bushes. The park also holds hourly lecture sessions to educate people about these wonders of wildlife. And specially for the daredevils, they will have the rare opportunity to handle snakes during these demonstrations.

Kanchipuram Temple

One of India's seven great mythologically famous Hindu cities, Kancheepuram has a plethora of temples, each one unique in its own way. Besides being the Golden City of temples, Kancheepuram has for over four centuries, been famous for its weavers who till today weave sarees using the best quality silk and pure gold thread. It has been the centre of culture and learning and Adhi Shankaracharya, one of the famous Gurus of India has established his ashram (Kamakoti Peetam) here.

 

Museum

 

 

Mahabalipuram Temple

Built in the 7th century, this ancient Pallava port is the site of several antique sculptural marvels. The only remaining shore temple is a spectacular two-spired shrine which is unique in that it houses shrines for Vishnu and Shiva.
The Pallavas had perfected the art of sculpting rocks to build temples without using brick, mortar or timber and the five monolith Raths (chariots) stand as the surviving masterpieces of Pallava sculpture. Arjuna's penance is the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m by 9m. This sculptural panel shows animals, Gods and Angels contemplating the descent of the Ganges from it's source in the Himalayas and also depicts popular fables from the Panchatantra. Besides these, the Mahishamardhini Cave, the Krishna Mandapam and Varsha Mandapam also have beautiful reliefs depicting Vishnu reclining on the coils of seven headed serpent, Krishna as incarnation of Vishnu lifting mount Goverdhana to protect his kinsman from the wrath of Indra respectively.
 
 

Muttukadu

The backwaters of Muttukadu have been developed by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation to serve as a scenic picnic spot and a centre for watersports. In February every year, a windsurfing regatta is organised in Muttukadu. Competitions in windsurfing and other watersports are also held. Training and demonstration programmes are held for youth.