Chennai, Tamil Nadu : Places to visit

Chennai is a nice amalgamation of historical places, sea beaches, religious places and fantastic nightlife ,that is why, vacations and holidays in Chennai are suited for everyone.With many monuments ,temples, churches, beaches, amusement parks and fairs and festivals , Chennai can be one of the dream places to spend your vacations with your friends and families.In this post I would talk about some of the most visited holiday destinations in Chennai.

Monuments in Chennai-

Chennai has a very long history dating back to 1st century but it developed as an urban place during british rule.Due to such a long history, Chennai has many historical monuments which every visitor visits when he/she comes to spend a vacation in Chennai.Some of the important monuments in Chennai are-

Fort St. George-

Fort St. George is regarded as the earliest fort built by British.Built in 1640 this fort was used by east India company for trading and later evolved as the birth place of modern Indian Army. There are many monuments situated inside the premises of Fort St. George.
St. Mary's church located inside its boundry is one of the oldest surviving churches made by British.
150 ft tall flagstaff is another imposing structure made in the premises of Fort St. George.The structure is completely build of teakwood.The original flagstaff is no more visible but its remain can still be seen in the premises.
Fort St. George Museum containing the relics of British Personnel who lived here and many artifacts of british colonial period.The museum was built in 1795.

Kamaraj Memorial hall-
Located in T.Nagar this memorial hall is built in memory of Shri Kamaraj, Former chief minister of Tamil Nadu.The two storeyed building contains many his personal photographs,luxuriant Felicitation Shawls, his simple attire, his suitcases, timepiece, pens and utensils. One of the prized possessions of this exhibition is the prison coat, worn by him while serving term in prison in the year 1942.

Freemanson Hall-
Located in the Agmore area of Chennai Freemanson hall was built by British East India Company.It is the living example of the cultural and traditional heritage of the people who inhabited the ancient city of Madras.The building was built with a purpose of creating a military lodge secure to foreign hands.The large sized pillars and italian tiles and marbles ,say loud about the Greek style of engineering.

Government Museum-
A chennai vacation without watching this museum is not complete.The origin of this museum dates back to british colonial period and is regarded as one of the oldest museums in India.The museum was designed by H.Irvin and was inaugurated by Sir Arthur Elibank Havelock, the then Governor.
The museum complex having six independent buildings and 46 galleries in them, has a splendid hall, marvelous reading room and striking Teak wood shelf and stands divided into a number of sections. These sections include those on Geology, Archeology, Zoology, Anthropology, Numismatics, Botany and Sculpture. Also, there are four galleries in the museum. They comprise of the Hindu Sculpture Gallery, Bronze Gallery, Amravathi Gallery and National Art Gallery.

Valluvar Kottam-
Dedicated to Poet Thiruvalluvar , The monument is built in a shape of temple chariot and contains an imposing and lively statue of the poet.It also contains an auditorium of 4000 capacity.The amazing thing about the auditorium is that it stands unsupported from even a single pillar.The verses of Thirukkural, written by the poet has been inscribed on the walls of the monument.

Senate House-

Located in the campus of University of Madras near Marina beach, Senate house is undeniably one of the most commanding monuments in Tamil Nadu.Its structure is a creative and harmonious blend of Indo-Saracenic style, with Byzantine architectural features. The central room of Senate Hall is huge in measurement and is supported with six mammoth stone pillars on each side. With time this magnificent structure has been withering away and losing its age old charm. Ignorance and the fury of the nature are responsible for its deteriorating condition.

MGR memorial-

Dedicated to former actor and politician of Tamil Nadu ,MGR Ramachandran, this memorial was built in 1990.It used to be the residence of the actor.According to MGR's will, the memorial is maintained by the revenue generated from the market he owned at Alandur. From the day of its inception, thousands of his fan and visitors have thronged the place to experience the splendor of the beloved actor-cum-politician and remember him with affection.

Beaches in Chennai

Chennai is located on the shore of Coromondal coast of Bay of Bengal, so , your vacation to chennai is not complete until you enjoy your time here on the beaches of Chennai.Some of the most visited beaches of Chennai are-

Marina Beach-
Marina beach is the most popular beach in Tamil Nadu and one of the longest beaches not only in India but all over world.This sandy beach is around 12 kms long and starts with Fort St. George in north and stretches upto Besant Nagar in South. Many statues of Indian leaders annd celebrities has been established alongside the road of Marina beach.A must see beach to make your vacations in Chennai worthwhile.

Elliot Beach-
Located towards the southern end of Marina Beach,Elliot beach is very popular among foreign tourists for taking a nice sunbath.One of the cleanest beach in Chennai, Elliot beach is largely secluded with very few tourists coming on this beach.So, the beach is quite an apt one for long walks.

Covelong Beach-
Located about 40 kms away from Chennai, Covelong beach is an idyllic beach for peace lovers, as there is no hustle bustle of city here.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.The beach iss famous for fishing activities and provides nice facilities for water sports.

Religious Places in Chennai

Temples in Chennai

Kapaleeswarar temple-
Located on Kutchery road , This 37 m long pyramidal temple is an excellent example of the Dravidian style of architecture.As you enter the temple you can view a sculpture, which has an interesting story behind it. It is believed that a saint known as Gnanasambandar sung and brought a dead girl back to life in this temple.
Inside the temple ,you will find Goddess Parvati in the form of peacock worshipping the idol of Lord Shiva.You can also see the bronze carvings of the 63-Shaivate saints, which are carried in procession during the Aruvathumoovar festival, which is held in March-April.

Parthsarathy Temple-
Located in the heart of Chennai on the Peter's road, Parthsarathy temple is a great delight to watch during your vacations in Chennai. Parthsarathy temple is dedicated to various incarnations of Lord Vishnu but the main deity in this temple is Lord Krishna.The word "Parthsarathy" is the another name for Lord Krishna.

Adeeswar temple-
Located in the Polal village 9kms from Chennai city, Adeeswar temple is a Jain Temple and is believed to be constructed in 1st century BC.The principal shrine in this temple is the Rishabhadev, and the first Tirthankar of Jainism. During the earlier years the Polal village was flocked with the followers of Jainism and it was developing immensely. Still now you can see the Vaishnavas at almost every corner of the village.

Vadapalani temple-
Vadapalani temple is located at Andavar Koil Street in Chennai.You can reach here by hiring a taxi or an auto-rickshaw.The main deity of this temple is Lord Muruga and its origin dates back to about125 years ago.

Kandaswamy temple-
This temple is located in Cheyyur and you can reach here by a bus or a taxi.Lord Kandaswamy or Shiva is the principal shrine of this temple. There are also the shrines of Lord Someswara, Goddess Meenakshi and Muthukumaraswamy, which is also called as Samharamurthy.

Churches in Chennai

San Thome Cathedral Basilica-
This famous landmark of Chennai derives its name from St. Thomas who is believed to have come to Chennai in 52 AD. He was killed in 78 AD on St. Thomas Mount just outside city and was entombed on St. Thomas beach where a church was built later.After several years ,the church was built further inside the city as a cathedral and in1896 it was made a basilica.The church contains the mortal remains of St. Thomas.The church is built in Gothic style and serves tourist with a spiritual vacation in Chennai.

St. Mary's Church-
St. Mary's church is located inside the premises of Fort St. George. St. Mary's church is believed to be one of the oldest churches in India built by British East India Company.Built in 1680, this church's courtyard contains oldest British tombstones in India.This ancient prayer house solemnized the marriages of Robert Clive and Governor Elinu-Yale, who later founded the Yale University in the States.

Mosque in Chennai

Thousand Lights Mosque-
Built in 1800 AD this mosque is located on Anna Salai Road and is a well known muslim worshipping place in Chennai.In early 19 th century the place used to be the assembly place of muslims. Later on an assembly hall was built after which the Mosque was built.There is an interesting story behind the name of the mosque. It is said that 1000 lamps needed to be lit in order to illuminate the assembly hall.It has an exhilarating structure, with multi domes and spearing minarets. The average height of the minarets is around 64 feet above the ground. Besides, the mosque is adorned with the quotes from the holy book of Muslims, the Quran.

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Chennai: General Information

Short History of Chennai

How to reach Chennai
* By Air
* By Train
* By Road

Where to Stay in Chennai

Eating out in Chennai
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