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 7 Must Places to Visit in Chennai
May 6, 2024

7 Must Places to Visit in Chennai

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Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, seamlessly blends tradition and modernity in its vibrant metropolis. From ancient temples to busy markets, this city offers a diverse range of attractions for travelers. In this blog, we’ll highlight seven captivating destinations that should be on your itinerary when visiting Chennai.

7 Must Places to Visit in Chennai 

Chennai boasts a diverse array of attractions, from iconic Marina Beach to the ancient Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Fort St. George showcases colonial history, while Mahabalipuram reveals architectural marvels like the Shore Temple. Elliots Beach offers a serene escape, and the Government Museum displays priceless artifacts. Art enthusiasts can appreciate the vibrant Cholamandal Artists’ Village. Whether you’re drawn to history, culture, nature, or art, Chennai promises a captivating journey through its multifaceted offerings, leaving lasting memories for visitors.

Marina Beach

places to visit in Chennai

Marina Beach is one of the longest natural beaches in the world, stretching for an impressive 13 kilometers. This iconic beach is a popular hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can stroll along the promenade, enjoy the cool sea breeze, or indulge in delicious street food from the numerous vendors lining the beach.

To reach Marina Beach, you can take a bus, taxi, or the Chennai Metro, which has a station located near the beach.

  1. Longest Urban Beach: Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest urban beaches in the world, stretching for approximately 13 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal.
  2. Iconic Landmark: It is an iconic landmark of Chennai, known for its golden sands, shimmering waters, and vibrant atmosphere, attracting both locals and tourists alike.
  3. Historical Significance: Marina Beach holds historical significance as it was the site where several important events in the Indian independence movement took place, including protests and gatherings led by Mahatma Gandhi.
  4. Recreation and Leisure: The beach offers a variety of recreational activities, such as horse riding, beach volleyball, and kite flying. It’s also a popular spot for morning and evening walks, jogging, and picnics.
  5. Cultural Hub: Marina Beach is a cultural hub, bustling with street vendors selling local snacks, souvenirs, and handcrafted items. It’s a place where people from all walks of life come together to relax, socialize, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere by the sea.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

places to visit in Chennai

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This architectural marvel dates back to the 7th century and is known for its intricate carvings and towering gopurams (gateway towers). Visitors can witness the temple’s daily rituals and soak in the spiritual ambiance.

The temple is located in the heart of Chennai’s Mylapore neighborhood and is easily accessible by public transportation or taxi.

  1. Architectural Marvel: Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Chennai is renowned for its Dravidian architecture, characterized by intricate carvings, towering gopurams, and a stunningly sculpted mandapam.
  2. Devotion to Lord Shiva: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is a significant pilgrimage site where devotees gather to seek blessings and offer prayers to Kapaleeshwarar, the presiding deity.
  3. Legend and Mythology: According to legend, Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a peacock (“Kapalam” in Tamil) here, hence the name “Kapaleeshwarar”. The temple’s mythology is deeply intertwined with the history of Chennai.
  4. Thousand Pillar Mandapam: One of the main attractions of the temple is its Thousand Pillar Mandapam, adorned with intricate carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
  5. Festivals and Rituals: The temple is vibrant with festivities, especially during festivals like Panguni Peruvizha and Arubathimoovar Festival, where elaborate rituals, processions, and cultural performances take place, attracting devotees from far and wide.

Fort St. George

places to visit in Chennai

Fort St. George is a historic fortification built by the British East India Company in the 17th century. This iconic landmark houses several museums, including the Fort Museum, which showcases artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s history and culture.

The fort is located in the heart of Chennai’s central business district and can be reached by bus, taxi, or the Chennai Metro.

  1. Historical Significance: Fort St. George, built in 1644 by the British East India Company, is the first English fortress in India, marking the beginning of British presence in Chennai (formerly known as Madras).
  2. Architectural Marvel: The fort is a prime example of colonial architecture, featuring massive walls, sturdy bastions, and a distinctive white façade that stands as a symbol of British colonial power.
  3. Administrative Center: Originally built as a trading post, Fort St. George evolved into the administrative center of the British East India Company’s operations in South India, housing government offices, barracks, and warehouses.
  4. Fort Museum: Today, the fort houses the Fort Museum, which displays a rich collection of artifacts, including weapons, coins, documents, and paintings, showcasing the history of British rule in India.
  5. Iconic Landmark: Fort St. George is not only a historical monument but also a significant landmark in Chennai, attracting tourists and history enthusiasts from around the world to explore its rich heritage and architecture.

Government Museum

places to visit in Chennai

The Government Museum, also known as the Madras Museum, is one of the oldest museums in India. This vast museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, sculptures, and exhibits spanning various eras and civilizations, including the ancient Dravidian, Chola, and Pallava periods.

The museum is located in the Egmore neighborhood and is easily accessible by public transportation or taxi.

  1. Historical Treasures: The Government Museum houses a vast collection of historical artifacts, including sculptures, coins, paintings, and manuscripts, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  2. Archaeological Exhibits: Visitors can explore archaeological exhibits that offer insights into the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the area, with artifacts dating back centuries.
  3. Educational Experience: The museum provides an educational experience for visitors of all ages, with informative displays and interactive exhibits that highlight various aspects of history, art, and culture.
  4. Preservation of Heritage: As a custodian of the region’s heritage, the Government Museum plays a vital role in preserving and safeguarding valuable cultural assets for future generations.
  5. Cultural Events and Programs: In addition to its permanent collections, the museum hosts cultural events, workshops, and programs that promote awareness and appreciation of art, history, and heritage.

Elliots Beach

places to visit in Chennai

Elliots Beach, also known as Besant Nagar Beach, is a popular spot for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. This picturesque beach is known for its calm waters, making it an ideal location for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying various water activities like surfing and kayaking.

Elliots Beach is located in the Besant Nagar neighborhood and can be reached by bus, taxi, or the Chennai Metro.

  1. Scenic Beauty: Elliots Beach, also known as Besant Nagar Beach, is famous for its scenic beauty with golden sands, clear blue waters, and swaying palm trees.
  2. Serene Atmosphere: Unlike its bustling counterpart Marina Beach, Elliots Beach offers a more peaceful atmosphere, making it ideal for relaxation and quiet walks by the shore.
  3. Sunset Views: One of the highlights of Elliots Beach is its stunning sunset views. Visitors can witness the sun dipping below the horizon, painting the sky in vibrant hues of orange and pink.
  4. Lighthouse: The iconic lighthouse at the southern end of the beach adds charm to the landscape and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area from its top.
  5. Cultural Hub: Elliots Beach is not just a natural attraction but also a cultural hub. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, with nearby cafes, restaurants, and shops offering a variety of food and souvenirs.

Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram)

places to visit in Chennai

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 60 kilometers from Chennai. This ancient town is famous for its intricately carved rock-cut temples, monolithic stone sculptures, and stunning Shore Temple, which overlooks the Bay of Bengal.

You can reach Mahabalipuram by taking a bus or taxi from Chennai. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour to enjoy this historical gem.

  1. Historical Marvels: Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed monuments, including intricately carved temples and rock-cut sculptures dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries.
  2. Shore Temple: One of the most iconic landmarks of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple, a magnificent temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva, located right on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
  3. Five Rathas: The Five Rathas, also known as the Pancha Rathas, are a group of monolithic rock-cut temples sculpted in the shape of chariots, each representing different architectural styles.
  4. Arjuna’s Penance: Another significant attraction is Arjuna’s Penance, a massive rock relief carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, including the descent of the Ganges River.
  5. Beaches and Seascapes: Mahabalipuram offers picturesque beaches where visitors can relax, enjoy water sports, or witness stunning sunsets against the backdrop of ancient monuments, making it a perfect blend of history and natural beauty.

Cholamandal Artists’ Village

places to visit in Chennai

Cholamandal Artists’ Village is a unique community located on the outskirts of Chennai, where artists from various disciplines live and work together. Visitors can explore the village’s art galleries, attend workshops, and witness live demonstrations of traditional art forms.

The village is located in the Injambakkam neighborhood and can be reached by taxi or by joining a guided tour.

  1. Artist Community: Cholamandal Artists’ Village is a thriving community of artists located in Chennai, India. It was established in 1966 by a group of artists with the aim of creating a space where artists could live, work, and collaborate.
  2. Artistic Heritage: The village is renowned for its rich artistic heritage and has been instrumental in the development of modern art in India. It is home to some of the country’s most celebrated artists, whose works are displayed in galleries and studios throughout the village.
  3. Creative Environment: Cholamandal provides a supportive and creative environment for artists to explore their talents and experiment with different mediums and styles. The village is surrounded by lush greenery, providing inspiration and tranquility for artistic endeavors.
  4. Open Studios: Visitors to Cholamandal have the opportunity to explore the artists’ studios and observe them at work. This unique experience offers insight into the creative process and allows for direct interaction with the artists.
  5. Cultural Hub: Cholamandal Artists’ Village is not only a center for artistic expression but also a cultural hub where visitors can engage with art through exhibitions, workshops, and events. It serves as a platform for promoting art appreciation and fostering dialogue between artists and the public.

Chennai is a city that seamlessly blends the old and new, offering visitors a rich tapestry of attractions. From the lengthy expanse of Marina Beach to the intricate carvings of Kapaleeshwarar Temple, the city caters to diverse interests. Fort St. George stands as a testament to colonial history, while Mahabalipuram showcases ancient architectural wonders. Art enthusiasts can appreciate the vibrant Cholamandal Artists’ Village, and the Government Museum unveils priceless artifacts.

Chennai promises an unforgettable journey through its multifaceted offerings, leaving a lasting impression on all who visit. These seven places to visit in Chennai offer a glimpse into Chennai’s rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant urban landscape. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply soaking up the local atmosphere, Chennai has something to captivate every traveler.


1. What is the best time for places to visit in Chennai?

The months between November and February offer pleasant weather for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

2. How can I get around Chennai easily?

Public transportation like buses and trains are affordable. Taxis and app-based ride services are there for your travel in the city.

3. Are the temples in Chennai open daily?

Most major temples are open daily, but closing times may vary. Check schedules for specific timings.

4. What are some must-try local dishes in Chennai?

Try masala dosa, idli sambhar, filter coffee, and popular street food like sundial and pani puri.

5. Can I visit Mahabalipuram on a day trip?

Yes, Mahabalipuram is about 60 km from Chennai and can be explored as a day trip.

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