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Chennai: Places of tourist Interest

High Court

High Court, Chennai

This imposing Indo-Saracenic style building, built in 1892, has beautiful domes, a grand central cupola and many stained glass windows. The building houses the High Court, the Small Cause's Court and the City Civil Court.

Fort St. George

Built in 1654 and remodeled in 1749, Fort St. George is the first bastion of British power in India. The fort has a six-meter tall wall that withstood many sieges by Mughals in 1701, Marathas in 1741 and Hyder Ali during the late 18th century. The fort now houses the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.

St. Mary's Church built in1678-80 was the first English church in Chennai. There are reminders in the church of Robert Clive who married here in 1753.

Glimpses of old Chennai and memorabilia of British and French East India Companies, British and Muslim Administrations etc can be seen at Fort Museum, Wellesly House and Clive Corner.

Government Museum

Govt. Museum, Chennai

One of the finest museums in India, the Government Museum has sections devoted to geology, anthropology, botany, zoology, sculpture and numismatics. The relics from the 2nd century AD Buddhist site 'Amaravati' and the prehistoric South India are the most prized possessions of the museum. The museum has a vast collection of carvings of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths. Collection of South Indian musical instruments and jewelry is worth seeing. The bronze gallery that has a superb collection of ancient icons and modern bronzes that should not be missed at any cost.

St. Andrew's Church

St. Andrews Church, Chennai

Known as the queen of Scottish churches in the East, St. Andrew's Church was built by the British East India Company around 1821. With ornate white Doric columns, tiled marble floors and a high sky blue dome decorated with gold stars, indeed, this is the most beautiful church in Chennai.

Development Center for Musical Instruments

The center has a collection of ancient and modern Indian musical instruments. It is a must see for music lovers.

Valluvarkottam, Chennai

Valluvar Kottam

A befitting memorial for the poet-sage Thiruvalluvar, a replica of the famed temple chariot of 'Thiruvaroor', was built in 1976. The life size statue of the sage sits in the 33m chariot with 1330 couplets of Thirukkural inscribed on the panels.

Sri Parthasarathy Temple

Built by the Pallavas in the 8th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The Vijayanagar rulers renovated it in the 16th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, this temple was the scene of many battles and Golconda, Dutch and French occupied the temple at various times. This is one of the oldest surviving temples in Chennai.

Marina Beach

Anna Memorial, Chennai

The beach runs for 13km and it is the second longest beach in the world. The beach drive runs between magnificent stately buildings like the Chetpauk Palace, University of Madras, Icehouse etc. on one side and a very wide sandy beach on the other. The aquarium is situated at the beginning of the beach.

Anna & MGR Samadhis

The evergreen garden memorials of Late C. N. Annadurai and M. G. Ramachandran (former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu) are located at the beginning of Marina.

Elliot's Beach

A calmer and quieter beach, pleasant and ideal for lazy lounging and picnicking. The beach is situated near Adayar and the sea is safe for swimming.

Santhome Cathedral

Santhome Cathedral, Chennai

Built in 1504 and rebuilt in 1608 and 1893, the cathedral is said to house the remains of Apostle St. Thomas. The basilica has an enormous stained glass window and a beautiful one-meter statue of Virgin Mary that was brought from Portugal in 1543.

Luz Church

Dedicated to Our Lady of Light, this church is the oldest church in Chennai. An Inscription in the church attributes its construction to a Franciscan monk in 1516 AD.

Kapaleswar Temple

This ancient Siva Temple's fragmented inscriptions dates back to 1250 AD. But the present temple was rebuilt by Vijayanagar Kings in the 16th century. The magnificent 37m carved 'Gopuram' of gods, goddesses and saints depict important 'Puranic' legends. The temple is situated in Mylapore.

Little Mount

It was where St. Thomas chose a small cave to lead his Spartan life often praying on top of the hill and preach to the crowd. Today the cave has an Alter with the image of St. Thomas. Little Mount has an ancient Portuguese church built in 1551. By this church there is a perennial spring reputed to possess curative powers.

St. Thomas Mount

It is on this mount where the pursuers caught St. Thomas when he fled Little Mount. It is where they killed him. At the summit of the mount there is an old, relic filled church built around 1523 by the Portuguese. One of the relics is a stone cross that is said to be bleeding periodically. The last occasion it bled was in 1704.

Thousand Lights Mosque

A beautiful cream colored multi-domed mosque that was originally built in 1800 by Nawab Umdat-ul-Umrah for assemblage of Shias during Muharrum mourning.

Big Mosque

Wallaja Mosque, Chennai

Built in 1789, this architecturally splendid Wallajah Mosque is located on Queiad-e-Milleth high road. It is believed that the family of Nawab Wallajah was instrumental in building of the mosque.

Shantinath Jain Temple

This is a gleaming two storied white Jain Temple built in the modern line of temple art. There are many beautifully sculptured marble idols including that of Mahavira, the Jain teacher of 6th century BC.

Theosophical Society

In 1886 Adayar was chosen as the headquarters of the spiritual society originally founded in USA by Madame H. P. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott. There are shrines of all faiths in its grounds. It has a 90 years old library with valuable collections of oriental manuscripts both in palm-leave and parchment.

Children's Park, Guindy

Guindy National Park

Perhaps this is the world's only game reserve within the city limits. This national park's population includes spotted deer, black buck, civet cat, jackal, monkeys and reptiles. The park also has a snake park and an amusement park for the children. The snake-park has a collection that includes king cobras, pythons, vipers etc.

National Art Gallery

The Art Gallery has a fine collection of paintings, handicrafts and bronze. The collection is housed in a Mughal style building. Bronzes from 10th and 13th century, Rajasthan and Mughal paintings from 16th and 17th century and Indian handicrafts from 11th and 12th century are displayed here.

Other Places of Interest in Chennai are

  • The Corporation Campus: The campus has the Victoria Public Hall, the Corporation Stadium and My Lady's garden.
  • Horticultural Gardens (Cathedral road)
  • Kalaskeshtra: founded in 1936 by Rukmini Davi Arundale. It is one of the country's finest dance schools.
  • Birla Planetarium
  • MGR Film City
  • Annamalai Hall: A mini-museum of South Indian musical instruments.
  • Many Chola Temples, from 8th century onwards, like Adhispurishvarar Temple (Thiruvotriyur), Thiruvalliswarar Temple (Padi), Marundiswarar Temple (Thiruvanmiyur) etc.