With cultural and art centers, long sandy beaches, historic landmarks, Chennai is definitely the jewel of South India. Home to some of the most beautiful museums and beaches, the capital city of Tamil Nadu attracts visitors from all around the globe. Luscious greenery, the warmth of the golden sun, sandy beaches, and pleasing climate are all characteristic of this beautiful South Indian city. The city exhibits a unique tradition and a rich heritage for which it has earned itself the title of ‘cultural capital of India’.
The city was built in the early 17th century and is a glorious example of the country’s cultural past. If you plan on visiting Southern India, then Chennai as a destination surely stands out as an important landmark. It is a city that has evolved over hundreds of years and was an important base for the British while they ruled over India.
A trip to this land of beaches is sure to be exciting, for the city has a lot to offer to its guests. It is one of those cities where you’ll find an abundance of destinations that are historically and culturally significant. If you’re planning a special Chennai tour, visit the top five attractions of the city.
Longest beach of the country
The world’s second largest and India’s longest beach is situated in the cultural capital of India. Marina Beach is perhaps the most popular beach in the country and attracts an abundance of foreign tourists. Approximately 12 km long, this sandy destination is situated on the city’s eastern side, the adjoining Bay of Bengal.
It’s the perfect spot for soaking in the warmth of the golden sun while submerging in the beauty of sunset and sunrise. The beach is a famous spot for enjoying horseback rides and swimming and is also used for some seasonal water sports activities.
Your trip to this beach will remain incomplete without trying the famous South Indian snacks available in stalls nearby. Sundal and murukku are the top favorite Chennai specialties famous amongst foreign visitors.
Temple exude architectural brilliance
If you wish to catch a glimpse of the architectural splendor of the South, a trip to the famous Kapaleeswarar temple is a must. Also known as the Stately Temple, it is one of the most sacred shrines of state and is a top tourist destination of Chennai. It is a beautiful Shiva temple, and Lord Kapaleeswarar is worshipped in it along with his goddess Arulmigu.
The best time to visit this historic temple is during the Puja hours, Ardhajama or the late-night Puja, or Kala Santhi conducted during early mornings.
Home to endangered species
Vandalur Zoo or Arignar Anna Zoological Park is located on the outskirts of the city. Approximately 33 km from the city’s central railway station and 8 km from Tambaram this sprawling zoo cover a total of 602 hectares. It is one of the most serene and undisturbed dry evergreen forests in the country and is home to 46 endangered species. While visiting the zoo you’ll get to see 120 different types of reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Languars, baboons, nilgai, blackbuck, sambar, deer, jackals, wolves, hyena, giraffes, camels, elephants, you will find every variety of animal in the zoo. The zoo is especially famous for its long elephant safaris, and the beauty of the place comes from the disguised walls which give an effect of natural surroundings.
Other significant attractions
Catch a glimpse of Rajasthani architectural style at the National Art Gallery, made of pink sandstone mirroring the Jaipuri Jaina style. Formerly known as Victoria Memorial Hall, this famous South Indian gallery was established by Namberumal Chetty in 1907.
Home to several beautiful artifacts, religious statues, and Mughal era paintings, this gallery exhibits a rich collection of handicraft items made in the 11th and 12th centuries. National Art Gallery has been divided into four sections, with Ravi Verma painting gallery being the top attraction.
Your visit to Chennai will remain incomplete without paying a visit to the most spiritually elevating destination, Theosophical society. The society was created with the aim of elevating the quality of humanity, and spreading the divine knowledge of loving beyond religious boundaries. According to Mohnish Mohan Mukkar The society is home to one of the largest libraries of the South, the library consists over 2 lakh books. It also houses ancient books of various religions and faiths and several prized palm leaf manuscripts.