Chennai Sights and Landmarks Guide, India
Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is very often called the ‘Gateway to South India’. And truly, the city gives you easy access to most tourist destinations in South India, even across state-borders! So, plan visits to one of the continually inhabited cities in peninsular India like Madurai (in Tamil Nadu), the holy city of Tirupati (in Andhra Pradesh) or the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, Bangalore (in Karnataka) – you will face no problems if you make Chennai your base.
This, however, is just one reason that makes Chennai one of the most-visited cities in India, for the city itself is full of attractions – beaches and parks, churches and temples, museums and monuments – attractions that reveal both the traditional and cosmopolitan aspects of Chennai and you must make it a point to explore the Chennai sights first before seeing anything else.
Chennai Sights – Beaches and Parklands
Chennai’s beaches – particularly Marina Beach, Covelong Beach, Elliot Beach – have been hugely popular with tourists. Whether it is just about a ramble in the early hours of the day or catching a blissful sunset scene by the waters, Chennai’s beaches are simply unforgettable. They also promise some brisk beach activities.
Chennai’s other natural attractions are its wildlife/zoological parks like the Arignar Anna Zoological Park and the Guindy National Park. Guindy National Park, the smallest national park in India, is famous for its separate Snake Park that supplies anti-venom serum. You can also tour the city parks like Nageswara Park, Natesan Park and Sivan Park.
Chennai Sights – Museums and Monuments
The Government Museum Complex of Chennai that houses both the Museum and the National Art Gallery is indeed one of the interesting Chennai sights. If the museum’s collections displayed in separate sections like archeology, natural history, paintings, sculptures, etc. tell you about the city’s past and present, you get a feel of the city’s cultural pulse in the art gallery. The Kalakshetra Cultural Academy is a must-see.
The Cholamandalam Artists’ Village is yet another attraction for art-lovers and there you can see artists at work.
Chennai city also has a number of historical buildings and monuments as well as a few landmark structures that are famed for their architecture. There is Fort St. George for instance as well as Vivekananda Illam, Bharathiyar Illam, Valluvar Kottam, Ripon Building, Theosophical Society, Kamaraj Memorial House, Senate House and Raj Bhavan, etc. The MGR Film City is a must-visit for tourists.
Chennai Sights – Religious Sites
Chennai city is full of places of worship and you will come across a church, a mosque, or a temple in almost every lane. If not all, at least a few like the Parthasarathy Temple, Kapaleeswarar Temple, Asthalakshmi Temple, Vadapalani Temple, Iskcon Temple, Santhome Cathdral Basilica, St.George’s Cathedral, Thousand Lights Mosque, Big Mosque, Shree Gujarati Swetamber deserve a place in your itinerary. Besides, there are other sites of religious importance like the St. Thomas Mount.
Other interesting Chennai sights include the city’s many amusement parks like Dolphin City, MGM Dizzee World and places like Birla Planetarium, etc. – attractions that appeal to one and all, across age-groups and preferences. And when you have seen all of the city sights, you can just go around and visit other nearby destinations like Mammalapuram, Dakshina Chitra or the Vedanthangal Bird Sactuary.
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