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Top 15 Tourist Places to Visit in Chennai

ShoreTemple

Chennai, which was earlier called Madras, is the capital city of the South India state, Tamil Nadu. This city has an interesting history due to the major historical events it has been through, and is one of the important educational, economical and cultural centers in southern India.

Chennai also houses temples and churches from ancient times that exhibit an extraordinary level of architecture. Kapaleeshwarar Temple and San Thome Church confirm the presence of architectural brilliance here. The old temples of Chennai are very popular among Hindus as these temples hold great religious significance.These are the tourist places you must visit if you are planning for a trip to Chennai.

1Marina Beach

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 beautiful sun rise, this sandy delight is lined by palm trees on one side.An old lighthouse stands on the southern end of Marina along with several other structures including an aquarium, a swimming pool and a park.

It is one of the most crowded beaches in the country and attracts about 30,000 visitors a day during weekdays and 50,000 visitors a day during the weekends and on holidays.During summer months, about 1,50,000 to 2,00,000 people visit the beach daily.With food stalls,horse riding, kite flying and beach games to entertain you, a visit to here must be included on your trip to this city.

2Government Museum

The Government Museum was established in 1857 and has the country's best collection of South Indian bronzes, both ancient and modern.Factually being the second oldest museum of India (after Kolkata’s Indian Museum), this museum is a treasure in itself! As a rich repository of finest masterpieces of art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics and much more, the Madras Museum assures to lure one and all.Among which beautiful bronze icons of Nataraja, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman.

The Amaravathi Gallery contains the rare second century marble sculptures, depicting important events in the life of Gautama Buddha. The bronzes from the 10th and 13th centuries and handicrafts from the 11th and 12th centuries can be seen in these Government Museum.

Entry Fee: Rs. 15 for Indians, Rs. 250 for Foreigners.
Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM, closed on Fridays & on National Holidays.
Camera: Rs. 200 for Indians & Rs. 500 for Foreigners.

3Elliot's Beach

Elliot’s beach also called as Besant Nagar beach or ‘Bessie’ is one of the places to see in Chennai and less crowded than the popular Marina Beach. The famous Ashtalakshmi Temple and Velankanni 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.The Beach has become a popular hangout for the young generation. Elliot's Beach is also a favorite haunt of foreigners where they can peacefully take their sun bath.

4Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram (also called Mamallapuram) is famous for its shore temples built in 7th century.Placed around 60 km south from the city of Chennai, it was once a busy seaport during the dynasty of the Pallavas.

One of the key fact about this place is that the seafront Shore Temple comprises 3 ornate granite shrines. Krishna’s Butter Ball is a massive boulder balanced on a small hill near the Ganesha Ratha stone temple.It is an ancient historic town and was a bustling seaport during Pallava kings in 7th Century AD.

5Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The Kapaleeswarar Temple which is located in Mylapore is dedicated to Lord Shiva was built in 8th Century by Pallavas. But the current structure is rebuilt by the Vijayanagara rulers in 16th century. The 37 meters tall and grand gopuram is made in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

This temple has some beautiful sculptures, among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints or the Nayanmars. The Arubathu moovar festival dedicated to the 63 Nayanmars held in March-April every year is a special attraction.

Timings: 5 AM to 11 AM and 4 PM to 9.30 PM.

6Sri Parthasarathy Temple

Sri Parthasarathy Temple dedicated to Lord Krishna is one of the oldest temples located in Peter's Road, Triplicane, near local Triplicane Railway Station. This temple is built by Pallavas in the 8th century. This is one of the top tourist places to visit in Chennai city.

The present structure of the temple is largely based on the renovations and additions carried out in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. A number of fine carvings adorn the temple. It is one of the 108 sacred centers of Sri Vaishnavites.

Timings: 6.30 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM

7Birla Planetarium

The Birla Planetarium is one of the most modern planetarium located at Kotturpuram near Guindy, less than 1 km from local Kotturpuram Railway Station in India. It houses a fully computerised projector that depicts the heavens on a hemispherical dome. The Planetarium presents audiovisual programmes on various themes in astronomy.Adjoining the planetarium is the Periyar Science and Technology Museum, which is of interest to students and other science enthusiasts.

Entry Fee: Rs. 45 for Adults & Rs. 25 for Children (which includes Science Centre, Planetarium, 3D Science Movie & Science Park)
Timing: 10 AM to 5 PM, Closed on National Holidays only.
English Programme Timings: 10.45 AM, 1.45 PM and 3.45 PM.
Tamil Programme Timings: 12.30 AM and 2.30 PM.

8Arignar Anna Zoological Park

Arignar Anna Zoological Park, established in 1855 and shifted to the current location of Vandalur reserved forests in the year 1979. This park is officially opened to public in 1985, the park covers 510 hectares of land.The park shelters more than 170 species of animals.

The dry forests surrounding the Vandalur region is the ideal breeding ground for these animals. It is home for Tigers, Jaguars,Sambar, Lions, Panther, Elephants, Giraffes and many more.

Timings: 9 AM to 8 PM. Tuesday Holiday. But all the animals are back in their cages after 5 PM.

9Dakshinachitra

DakshinaChitra is a small village has been recreated using replicas of traditional South Indian houses dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.The visitors get a peek into the lifestyle and customs of different communities of South India and also view artefacts made by the local artisans.

DakshinaChitra has a collection of 18 authentic historical houses with contextual exhibitions in each house. All the houses bought and reconstructed at DakshinaChitra had been given for demolition by their owners. The authentic homes in a regional vernacular style are purchased, taken down, transported and reconstructed by artisans ( Stapathis) of the regions from where the houses came.

Entry Fee:
Indian Adult INR 110 ( During Festivals and Weekends - INR 130)
Indian Child (5-12yrs) -INR30
Indian Student (13-18 yrs)- INR 50
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM on all days. Closed on Tuesdays
Photography:
Camera/Video Camera -25
SLR & professional camera - 150

10Cholamandal Artist's Village

It is a platform for the resident painters and sculptors to showcase their creations to the visiting guests. Located on the fringes of Chennai, in the village of Injambakkam, Cholamandal has two galleries, an open-air theatre, a book store and a craft shop.

For those interested in art and craft, this destination with a serene ambience will be an ideal outing.Artists live as a community and pooled together their skills and resources. Developed in an area of 8 acres, it has a permanent art gallery to hold exhibitions. Sculptures made of granite, wood, copper and bronze are created within the Artists Village.Items are kept for exhibition and sale with in Artists Village.

Entry Fee: INR 20 for adults and INR 5 for children.
Timings: 9 AM to 6:30 PM

11Connemara Public Library

The Connemara Public Library constructed in late 19th century, is a treasure house of centuries-old publications. With a collection of over 600,000 books, it is one of Asia’s largest libraries.

The new building, which was added to the Library in 1973, has a vast collection of books, a much sought after text-book section, a periodicals hall, a reference room, a video room, an entire floor for books from the Indian languages, a Braille Library and an IAS study centre.

Be it avid readers or scholars doing research work, one could easily get lost in this enchanting world of books as they immerse themselves in their favourite activity.

Entry Fee: None
Timings: 9 AM to 7.30 PM
Photography: Allowed

12Semmozhi Poonga

It is a platform for the resident painters and sculptors to showcase their creations to the visiting guests. Located on the fringes of Chennai, in the village of Injambakkam, Cholamandal has two galleries, an open-air theatre, a book store and a craft shop.The Semmozhi Poonga Park is a botanical garden,overseen by the horticultural department, it is an ideal place to visit in Chennai with family. Apart from the exotic and rare flora grown, there are also some medicinal herbs in the green houses of the park.Visitors can relax on the park grounds which also contain a water and rock garden, a butterfly garden, a fern garden, a sunken garden and many theme gardens.

Entry Fee: INR 15 for Adults, INR 10 for Children(Below 10 yrs)
Timings: 10 AM to 8 PM (except Tuesday)
Photography: Allowed

13Gardens Of Theosophical Society

A tranquil walk in the Huddleston Gardens of the Theosophical Society of India might be needed after grappling with the city din of Chennai. The Theosophical Society is spread over 260 acres but you can certainly cover the garden, which is home to migratory birds, fruit bats, snakes, jackals, wild cats, mongooses, hares and a variety of spiders. A 450-year-old banyan tree resides in the garden with aerial roots covering 60,000 square meters.

Entry Fee: None
Timings: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM(Monday to Saturday)
Photography: Allowed

14Crocodile Bank

The crocodile bank which have been Started in the effort to preserve and protect the reptile species,is the even houses for alligators, snakes, sea turtles and water birds. In all there are 2500 creatures within the premises of the Bank and one can spot crocs as well as gharials sunning themselves on the edge of the water body during the day.

Entry Fee: INR 35 for adults, INR10 for children below 10
Timings: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM (except Monday)
Photography: Allowed, INR 40 camera and INR 100 for video camera.

15Covelong Beach

Covelong/Kovalam is a famous beach and one of the popular tourist places to visit near Chennai.It was originally just a small fishing village, but now also expanded to become one of the most famous beach in South India. We can also find numerous quality beach resorts at Kovalam. The beaches at that location are absolutely exquisite, and are greatly enjoyed by all that visit there. It is also said that the well-known Olive Ridley Turtles travel to these beach every year to hatch their eggs.Swimming and windsurfing are popular activities at this beach.