Colonial-era relics, temples and a rich food and arts scene welcome visitors to Chennai. The city was established as a British trading post in 1639. Now Chennai is India’s fourth-largest city and the capital of the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Chennai’s people are welcoming. A variety of attractions presents the chance to experience the best of Tamil culture.

Chennai’s historic heart is George Town, a medley of narrow streets and bazaars lined with traditional silk and spice shops. Admire the architecture of the red-sandstone High Court and take a tour of the 18th-century Armenian Church, one of the oldest churches in India. Learn about Chennai’s history at the museum of Fort St. George, India’s first British-built fortress.

Take a rickshaw to the Government Museum, set in a complex of British-era buildings. Check out the ancient bronze sculptures and a curious skeleton and taxidermy display. Spot work by notable Indian artists, such as Raja Ravi Varma, at the National Art Gallery.

Wander through the vibrant streets of Triplicane, where you’ll find the impressive eighth-century Parthasarathy Temple. Enjoy a dawn or sunset stroll along Marina Beach. It’s a hive of activity, from cricket matches and kite flying to fortune tellers and street food vendors.

Don’t miss the Portuguese-influenced Mylapore neighborhood. Marvel at the white-washed San Thome Church, built on the tomb of the apostle St. Thomas. See a typical example of Dravidian architecture, characterized by pyramid-shaped buildings, at the Kapaleeswarar Temple.

Chennai thrives in showcasing its Tamil culture through music and dance, most notably during the Margazhi Festival in December and January. See a vast collection of everyday art at the Rukmini Devi Museum. Sample the city’s delectable Tamil cuisine. Try dishes such as spicy chettinad pepper chicken and local vegetarian specialties.

Chennai is the busy transportation hub of South India, and is well served by trains, buses and international flights. The city is notoriously hot and stuffy; after a few days of sightseeing activity many visitors travel to nearby beach resorts and hill stations.

Known for

Shopping, Cafes and Temples

Explore map

Where to stay in Chennai

T Nagar
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Trover photo by Lynn Yamin

T Nagar

Friendly People, Dining, Luxury

A welcoming neighborhood, T Nagar offers a variety of options for restaurants. Broaden your horizons with the local shopping.

Nungambakkam
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Trover photo by Shoba Krishnamurthy

Nungambakkam

Cafes, Monuments, Luxury

Nungambakkam is a welcoming neighborhood.

Guindy
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Guindy

Temples, Shopping, Luxury

Guindy is a welcoming, upscale neighborhood. Broaden your horizons with the local shopping.

Mylapore
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Mylapore

Dining, Monuments, Swimming

A welcoming neighborhood, Mylapore offers a variety of options for restaurants and bars. Many visitors come for its beautiful outdoor settings, especially the beaches.

Egmore
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Egmore

Shopping, Culture, Spas

Egmore is a neighborhood that welcomes all visitors. The neighborhood has many appealing features, among them its festivals and rich culture.

Anna Nagar
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Trover photo by Shoba Krishnamurthy

Anna Nagar

Anna Nagar is a welcoming neighborhood.

Top Hotels in Chennai

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Hyatt Regency Chennai
Hyatt Regency Chennai
5 out of 5
365 Anna Salai, Chennai
$79/night
Aug 2 - Aug 3
4.1/5Very Good! (230 reviews)

"Central location is a plus point . Property did not look attractive . Exterior need to look better."…"

Reviewed on Jul 16, 2019

Hyatt Regency Chennai
Image for Hotel Savera
Hotel Savera
4 out of 5
No.146, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Chennai
$44/night
Aug 9 - Aug 10
3.6/5Good! (582 reviews)

"We liked thestaff service.room service was very good overall a good service"…"

Reviewed on Jun 21, 2019

Hotel Savera
Image for Taj Club House
Taj Club House
5 out of 5
No 2 Club House Road, Chennai
$98/night
Jul 26 - Jul 27
4.4/5Wonderful! (292 reviews)

"Excellent food. Room is equipped with DVD player. Good TV channels selection. Comfortable bed and had a good night sleep. However, would suggest to have bidet combined in toilet for easy cleansing."…"

Reviewed on Jun 25, 2019

Taj Club House

Popular things to do in Chennai

Marina Beach
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Marina Beach

Relaxed walks, pretty sunrises, elaborate entertainment, traditional Indian street food and historical landmarks make this one of Chennai’s liveliest beaches.

Kapaleeswarar Temple
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Kapaleeswarar Temple

Marvel at the Dravidian architecture of this centuries-old temple, spot intricately carved figurines, watch devotees pray and experience a lively Hindu festival.

Fort St. George
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Fort St. George

Spot impressive architecture and admire displays of British Raj artifacts as you explore this 17th-century citadel, one of Chennai’s finest colonial monuments.

Top activities in Chennai

Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram Private Full-Day Tour with Lunch
Image for Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram Private Full-Day Tour with Lunch

Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram Private Full-Day Tour with Lunch

$69

Pick up at 0800hrs from hotel in Chennai city center by our driver. Discover the history of Hinduism in India as you see beautiful and ancient temples on a full-day tour with a private guide.

Chennai Half-Day Private City Tour
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Chennai Half-Day Private City Tour

$34

Embark on a private tour to discover the sights of Tamil Nadu's capital. Visit the former British stronghold of Fort St. George and see the world-famous collection at the Government Museum. Witness the vibrant Marina Beach and see the graceful San Thome Basilica, built by Portuguese settlers.

Mahabalipuram excursion tour from Chennai
Image for Mahabalipuram excursion tour from Chennai

Mahabalipuram excursion tour from Chennai

$110

Early morning you will be pickup from your hotel and proceed toward the Dakshinachitra village by vehicle which is almost 18 miles (29 km) away from Chennai. Expend approximately 45 minutes in Dakshinachitra noted as “A Picture of the South” which conserves the traditional Dravidian way of life.

Religion and Heritage: The City of Chennai
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Religion and Heritage: The City of Chennai

$75

This experience will showcase the religious diversity of Chennai. You will visit The Santhome Basilica - a Roman Catholic Cathedral built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, the 8th century Hindu temple of Sri Parthasarthy, and The Thousand Lights Mosque.

Private Chennai Sightseeing Day Tour with Guide & Transport
Image for Private Chennai Sightseeing Day Tour with Guide & Transport

Private Chennai Sightseeing Day Tour with Guide & Transport

$72

Following pickup from your hotel in Chennai, your first stop will be at Fort St. George: believed to be the first British establishment in India and a prominent example of military architecture style. You'll visit popular landmarks inside the fort, including St.

Private Excursion Tour of Auroville& Pondicherry Fro Chennai
Image for Private Excursion Tour of Auroville& Pondicherry Fro Chennai

Private Excursion Tour of Auroville& Pondicherry Fro Chennai

$150

In the morning after breakfast, our driver will pick you from the hotel and proceed to Pondicherry for a full-day excursion on the way you will visit the town of Auroville where you will explore the Matrimandir. Afterward continue drive to Pondicherry.

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