Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu is known as one of the cultural and commercial hub of South India. Chennai holds the remainders of the olden era through its art and architecture. Being on the Coromandel Coast, it has many beaches that are a major tourist spots.
Exploring your way to the places in and around Chennai will lead you to many historical sites, beaches, spiritual sites, natural reserves etc. which are worth visiting. There many commercial centers which give a modern touch to the city.
Have a look at some of the places to visit in and around Chennai.
Elliot's Beach in Besant Nagar is named after British Governor of Madras, Edward Elliot. This is one of the popular and cleanest beaches in Chennai. One of the prominent landmarks, Karl Schmidt Memorial is situated near to the beach. A hit among students, Elliot's beach is a most visited destination in Chennai.
Photo Courtesy: KARTY JazZ
DakshinaChitra means a 'picture of south', it is a museum dedicated to South Indian heritage and culture. The museum was founded and managed by Madras Craft Foundation. The artefacts displayed in the museum portrays the traditions, art forms, lifestyle and architecture of South India.
There is also a heritage village where the replicas of South Indian architecture are built based on their states. Visit DakshinaChitra to know more about South Indian history and culture.
Photo Courtesy: Rrjanbiah
Vandalur Zoo (Arignar Anna Zoological Park) situated in Vandalur is the largest zoological garden in India. Consisting of 2,553 species of flora and 1,265 species of fauna, this park is spread across an area of 602 hectares. Zoo also has a rescue and rehabilitation centre within the area.
Started by Edward Green Balfour in 1855, this zoo was the first public zoo in India. In 1976, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department selected an area in the Vandalur Reserve Forest and shifted the zoo from its previous location at People's Park.
This zoo with a large collection of plant and animal species is worth a visit.
Photo Courtesy: Rasnaboy
Kalakshetra is cultural academy dedicated to Bharatanatyam and Ghandarvaveda music. Founded by Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1936, Kalakshetra is a famous academy which has national and international recognition.
Known for its unique style of art, Kalakshetra has created many popular artists over the years. Dance recitals conducted here are a bliss to watch.
Photo Courtesy: US Consulate Chennai
THE MADRAS CROCODILE BANK TRUST
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust is a reptile zoo and herpetology research station situated 42 km away from the city. This zoo is the first crocodile breeding centre in Asia, established in the aim of saving endangered species of crocodile. The CrocBank is also a place for water birds and Olive Ridley sea turtles.
Located near Mahabalipuram, this is the biggest crocodile sanctuary in India.
Photo Courtesy: Adam Jones Adam63
Spencer Plaza is situated in Anna Salai is the oldest shopping mall in India. Originally built during the British period, this was one the biggest mall in South Asia at that time. Reconstructed in 1985, Spencer Plaza is one of the modern landmarks of the city.
Photo Courtesy: L.vivian.richard
St. MARY'S CHURCH
St. Mary's Church situated in Fort St George, is the oldest Anglican church in India. This church is also called as 'Westminster Abbey of the East'. Get a feel of this old architecture and a touch of spirituality through your visit.
Photo Courtesy: PlaneMad
SAN THOME BASILICA
San Thome Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church, first built by Portuguese in 16th Century. Later, during the British era it was reconstructed and given a status as Cathedral. One should see this ancient architecture built in Neo-Gothic style.
Photo Courtesy: PlaneMad
Vivekanandar Illam or Vivekananda House is a place where Swami Vivekananda stayed for nine days when he visited Chennai.
Previously named as 'Ice House' or 'Castle Kernan', this building was an ice storage house initially and later it was remodelled into a residence of Biligiri Iyengar who named it as 'Castle Kernan'.
In 1963, on the Birth Centenary of Swami Vivekananda, Tamil Nadu government renamed it as Vivekanandar Illam.
Photo Courtesy: SriniG
Valluvar Kottam is a famous monument dedicated to the classical Tamil poet and saint Thiruvalluvar. The architecture of Valluvar Kottam is like a temple chariot and a life-size statue of Thiruvalluvar is put up inside this chariot. An auditorium is also built which can accommodate around 4,000 people.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Ravi & Kingpin13