True to any tropical spot, Chennai has a wide coastline with magical beaches. It has the Marina Beach, which is the second largest in the whole world and the largest in Asia! There are smaller beaches in Thiruvanmiyur, Kottivakkam, Neelangarai, and Besant Nagar. The beaches of Chennai are a must visit and the food in the beaches a must sample! One can eat spicy bajjis, cut raw mangoes and cucumbers, roasted or steamed groundnuts with spices added to them, apart from having juices and ice creams sold by the many vendors. The beaches are picnic spots and have multiple amusement options apart from the waves. Merry-go-rounds, balloon shooting, and pony rides are some recreations offered. On weekends, it is not uncommon to see concerts held on the beaches. One can also take a sneak peek into their future by engaging the services of astrologers who predict using either palm history (kai josiyum) or parrot (kili josiyum)! The fun, the frolic, and the food are all very pocket-friendly and come within the budget of even a shoe string traveller!
Culture is the bedrock of Chennai. All traditional art and craft forms of India are nurtured and respected all through Chennai. The period in between October-January is earmarked as the Kutcherry Season. During this time many cultural fests and programs featuring Carnatic Musicians, Bharatnatyam Dancers, and Other Artists happen all over the city. The Music Academy, Narada Gaana Sabha, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Hall etc are just some names of famous stages/auditoriums where cultural events take place. During this time, musicians, followers, and patrons from all over the world throng Chennai and take part in the cultural extravaganza! Kalakshetra is an age old school of Bahartnatyam, which not only prides itself for churning out excellent dancers but also for its pristine precincts within the urban landscape! A must visit! Not just traditional art forms, but also contemporary music like rock music, theatre and anything artistic is lapped up by the discerning Chennai audience, and always encouraged and appreciated. Chennai always has some concerts or theatre performances all around the year, and none of the programs are short of takers!
Apart from the beaches, heritage and history are also interwoven seamlessly into the lives of Chennai-ites and visitors! Places of worship like Kapaleeshwar temple in Mylapore, Parthasarathy temple in Triplicane, the famous Sivan temple in Tiruvottiyur, Marundeeswhar temple in Thiruvanmiyur, The Santhome Church besides the Marina Beach, The Velankanni Church at Besant Nagar, Thousand Lights Mosque on Mount Road are all heritage monuments erected ages ago. Each has a rich and colourful historical tale to tell, and the people would willingly share the stories! Fort St.George, Egmore Musuem, Guindy Snake Park, The Cholamandalam Artistsâ€™s village, etc are other tourist must-visits!
Chennai is very close to Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry, and usually visitors to the city always make it a point to visit either of these two places. For nature and action lovers, a trek up St.Thomas Mount hill or the hillocks of Pallavaram will provide a surreal experience. A walk down the Theosophical Society is both serene and enlightening!
South Indian food including piping hot idlis and dosas, masala vadais, biriyanis, and filter coffee (kapi if you wish!) are available at every lane in the city! Given that Chennai is a melting pot of cultures, it is also a congruence of cuisines across the country and the globe! You will never feel out of place or miss your home cuisine!!!
Chennai is also known as the Detroit of India because of the presence of a large number of International and National automobile giants; BMW, Renault Nissan, Mahindra, and Honda to name a few.
Chennai is renowned for being the fore-runner in education housing many historically celebrated educational institutions in her realms. Some of these premier educational institutions include Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Guindy College of Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology, Presidency College, and the University of Madras. Healthcare facilities available in Chennai have been sought after by many all over the globe. The presence of world class hospitals with state of art infrastructure and illustrious surgeons has contributed to this popularity. The IT industry was first embraced by Chennai and given the thrust for its subsequent boom. Many IT and ITES corporate companies have their head quarters or regional offices in Chennai. This includes Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, Amazon, Paypal, and Mphasis.