One might run out of time as there are scores of some of the best places to visit in Chennai. This coastal city has embedded in itself every aspect of its rich culture, be it the cuisine, music and dance, textiles or architecture. A visit to Chennai is a visit through time as each place showcases its age old heritage.
The Valluvar Kottam, located in Chennai, is one such historical monument which is dedicated to the well-known intellectual poet, philosopher and saint, Thiruvalluvar, who penned his well-known Thirukkural more than 2,000 years ago. All the 133 chapters of the Thirukkural comprise of 1330 verses.The architectural pattern of the Valluvar Kottam is like a temple chariot (39 m high), inside which there is a huge stone effigy of the saint Thiruvalluvar. The architect under whose guidance the Valluvar Kottam was built is a South Indian architect, V. Ganapati Sthapati, who is also the architect of the statue of saint Thiruvalluvar, sited at Kanyakumari.
India’s largest beach happens to be Chennai’s Marina Beach which extends from Fort St. George to Besant Nagar. One of the best places to visit in Chennai for viewing a spectacular sun rise, this sandy delight is lined by palm trees on one side.An old light house stands on the southern end of Marina along with several other structures including an aquarium, a swimming pool and a park. With food stalls, rides on ponies, kite flying and beach games to entertain you, a visit to here must be included on your trip to this city.
Elliot’s beach now renamed as Besant Nagar Beach, Elliot’s is one of the places to see in Chennai and less crowded than the popular Marina Beach. On the southern side this seashore are the famed Ashta Lakshmi Temple and Velanganni Church, popular among the residents of Chennai.The Schmidt Memorial is yet another draw of Elliott Beach which was built in remembrance of a Dutch sailor, Karl Schmidt. Head here to experience a tranquil evening overseeing the waves as they roll into the shore
Famed for its ancient mountains, Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is one of the places to visit near Chennai. Placed around 60 km south from the city of Chennai, it was once a busy seaport during the dynasty of the Pallavas.The iconic Shore Temple, among the oldest temples of South India, is carved out of a large block of granite. A short distance from this place of worship is ‘Descent of the Ganges’ or‘Arjuna’sPenance’.Among the world’s biggest bas-reliefs, it depicts the story of the descent of the River Ganges from Heaven to Earth. ‘PanchaRathas’ or the five chariots are again carved out of a single rock and are dedicated to the Pandavas.
Santhome church is an important religious spot for the Christian community, the sparkling white structure of San Thome stands on the tomb of St Thomas. This structure, which is a reminder of the colonial past of the city, has stained glass windows and a statue of St Thomas in a sitting posture. A museum, a library and a shop selling prayer material are found within the church premises too.
Timings: 6 am to 8 pm
Entry Fee: None
Kapaleeshwarar temple apart from being a religious spot, what draws crowds to this temple is its unique architecture. The detailed Gopuram of this structure is 37 metres high and is a fine example of Dravidian style of construction. The temple, home to the deities Shiva and Karpagambal, even holds a festival in the months of March and April.
Timings: 5:30 am to 12 pm, 5-9 pm
Entry Fee: None