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Chennai

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Southern India : Tamil Nadu : Tamil Nadu North Coast : Chennai
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Chennai (Tamil:சென்னை) [1], formerly known as Madras, is the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, and is the country's fourth-largest city. It is on the Coromandel coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.45 million (2005), the 367 year old city is the 34th largest metropolitan area in the world. Its has the 2nd longest seashore in the world.

The Horse and rider, Anna Salai.

Understand

History

Madras was founded in 1639 when the British East India Company (represented by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan and aided by a local translator Beri Thimappa) was granted land to build a trading settlement by the local ruler (Nayak) of the suburb of Vandavasi, Damerla Venkatapathy Nayak. The document of the land grant is dated Aug 22nd 1639 and hence Madras celebrates its birthday on Aug 22nd each year as Madras day. Madras was one of the first outposts of British East India Company. Colonel William Lambton, superintendent of the great Trigonometrical Survey of India, started his journey of triangulating India from St. Thomas Mount. The British built Fort St. George (today the legislative and administrative seat of the state). Fort St George was completed on St George's day in 1640 (April 23rd) and hence was named after the Patron Saint. George Town then developed becoming the modern city of Madras, absorbing several nearby boroughs. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, is associated with Chennai. He is said to have come to India as an evangelist and died in what is now Chennai. Two suburbs, Santhome and St. Thomas Mount, are named in his memory.

In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government renamed Madras to Chennai providing the reason that 'Chennai' was the city's traditional name while Madras was one derived during colonial rule.

Madras is derived from Madraspatnam, a name given to the area when the British negotiated settling there. The origin of the name is uncertain. Tradition suggests that a fishing village near to the location of the British settlement was called Madraspatnam. Others think early Portuguese may have called the area Madre de Sois after an early settler, or Madre de Deus after an early church (of St. Mary).

Chennai is derived from Chennapatnam, a name with almost equally uncertain origins. Tradition has it that Chennapatnam was the name of a fishing village near to the location of Madraspatnam. However it is not clear if the village was there beforehand or grew up around the British Madraspatnam settlement. There are some suggestions that the name was given to the developing Indian settlement honor a local Indian administrator.

As the settlements grew, the exact location of both Chennapatnam and Madraspatnam became confused as the two settlements merged into a single town.

Under the British, the then city of Madras grew to be a major city, It was the capital of the Madras presidency, a province that covered the parts of Southern India that were not governed by any of the other princely states. After independence, it became the capital of Madras state, and when the states were reorganized on a linguistic basis, it became the capital of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai boasts of many well known people including Elihu Yale, who's liberal gift funded the construction of Yale University in 1718; Arvind Sanmugam of Canada- Chairman World Police Academy, Chairman and CEO of Chez Leeloo Canada, Chairman of Chez Leeloo India, Director of Chez Leeloo Philippines, President of Canadian Peacemakers Corporation and Director of Tan Theta Entertainment Indira Nooyi CEO of Pepsi International; A.R. Rahman, the musical genius of "Slumdog Millionaire" and chess wizard Vishwanathan Anand among many others.

Culture

Chennai, being the capital of Tamil Nadu, is home to a host of Tamil culture art forms including dance, literature, sculpture, music and cinema.

The season for Bharatnatyam and Carnatic Music draws visitors and aficionados from the world over. Being the capital of Tamil Nadu, the preferred language of communication amongst the local population is Tamil. However, English is widely spoken as the language of commerce and English speaking visitors should have no problem getting around. The city also has a fair number of people that speak Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.

Mamallapuram, an extension of the city is very well known for its sandy beaches, stone carvings, food and resorts. It also hosts the Cholamandalam artists village which is fairly well known in art circles both in India and abroad.

The city has a thriving Tamil film industry. It is also known as Kollywood. It is the second largest film industry in India. Some of the most prominent figures of Tamil Nadu like M.G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, M. Karunanidhi, J Jayalalithaa, Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Shankar, Mani Ratnam, Ilayaraja, AR Rahman are currently, or have at some stage of their career, been associated with Kollywood.

Amongst sports, Chennai is also a major centre for cricket, motorsports and tennis. Madras Motor Sports Club - Indian auto sports racing was founded in 1952.

Chennai, like all the other metropolises in India, experienced significant economic growth in the last 15 years. It has several options for mainstream entertainment with malls, multiplexes, restaurants and hotels at nearly every major commercial district. Pubs and lounges, however, are restricted to only hotels in Chennai due to legal restrictions on the sale of liquor.

Climate

Climate of Chennai is Tropical.

Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (35 deg C - 42 deg C) Apr,May & June (Highest temperature ever recorded is 45 deg c on 30th May 2003) and monsoon (Oct, Nov and Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the south-west monsoon(June to September) , but gets its bountiful rains from the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to about 125-150 cm of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from October to December. During some seasons, Chennai gets ample amount of rainfall if there are depressions in Bay of Bengal.

December to February are the mildest months temperature - (19 deg C - 28 deg C).

Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on the coast. Summers are very hot and humid. Be sure take along light (not flimsy) clothing.

Talk

Tamil is the official language in Chennai, and is very popular. Almost all people speak Tamil, and picking up some knowledge of the local language is useful to get by in Chennai as in every city in the world. However, knowledge of English is sufficient for the average visitor to the city. English education is widespread in Chennai, thanks to an excellent network of schools throughout the city. All educated people in Chennai can speak fluent English while almost everybody will understand simple English and can speak a few words. All important signboards are in English. All transactions with commercial establishments are typically in English. Unlike in other major cities in India, Hindi is not widely understood and is instead met with varying degrees of hostility from most locals.

Get in

By plane

Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA) is the third busiest in India . All international flights arrive at Anna Terminal, while the domestic flights arrive at Kamraj Terminal. The two terminals are on the same road and are 150 metres away from each other.

Europe and North America: Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Jet Airways (Brussels) and British Airways (London-Heathrow), fly nonstop to Chennai with connecting service from their European hubs to points in the United States and Canada.

South-East Asia: Thai Airways offers nonstop service to Bangkok, Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways connects you to Singapore along with many Indian carriers like Indian Airlines and Air India Express. Malaysia Airlines offer nonstop service to Kuala Lumpur. India's very own Jet Airways flies non-stop to both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Middle East: Nonstop services are available from Chennai to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Dammam, Doha,Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh and Sharjah on Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, Oman Air, Emirates, Etihad, Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian and Gulf Air.

Sri-Lanka: Chennai is a hub for flights to Colombo with SriLankan Airlines, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, JetLite and recently joining the race Kingfisher Airlines.

Domestic: All the major Indian domestic carriers (Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Spice, Go Air, Indigo) connect Chennai with multiple flights to points all over India and most use Chennai as a hub for flights to smaller cities in South India. Paramount Airways is a low cost all business class airline that offers flights from Chennai to points in South India. Chennai is also a staging point for flights to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands.

Important phone numbers Airport to City connection

Use the pre-paid taxi to get to the city, each terminal has several booths for several taxi companies when you exit the airport, outside before you meet the crowd. Aviation Express has the best rep, figure on around Rs. 450 to the city centre for a Toyota Innova or equivalent. The fares are different for the domestic and international terminals though the terminals are next to each other. You can either choose the standard Taxis (Black with Yellow tops) which are usually the ancient Ambassador cars or the private call-taxi (which can come in any model and in any color). It's better to keep small change in hand while paying at the counters. Note the taxi number written on your charge slip (one copy is for the passenger and the other is for the driver to collect the fare from the counter). Make your way to the taxi stand and get the taxi number allotted at the designated desk. The helpful drivers offer to take your luggage and guide you to the taxi that drives up quickly near the allotment desk.

Prepaid and yellow top taxis are not airconditioned, are of vintages right from 70s and 80s, rickety, prone to stop midway, drivers exhibit rough behaviour, sometimes could be dangerous, demand exorbitant fares, pre-paid may mean nothing and they may demand more when you get down. Keep away from these types.

You are best off taking the train into town which only costs a few rupees. Otherwise, use the pre-paid taxi booth. Aviation Express is massively overpriced.

You can also get to the city center by train. Just get outside of the airport, and keep walking to the main road. There is an underpass that you can use to get across the National highway 45. You will reach Tirisulam railway station from where you can take a train that transports you to the city.

It is advisable to take a first class ticket in the train if you happen to reach the airport during peak hours. The general compartments are crowded in peak hours as they transport regular commuters to work.

By train

Chennai has two main long-distance train stations, Chennai Central (code MAS) and Egmore (code MS), with daily trains from/to Bangalore, Bombay, Coimbatore, Delhi and virtually all other major Indian cities.

You can arrive at the prepaid taxi/auto stand and book a cab to transport you to your place of stay.

By bus

Chennai has one of Asia's largest bus stations, CMBT. Seven different state owned corporations drive buses to and from various destinations within South India. There are hourly buses for places like Tirupati, Pondicherry, Coimbatore. You will get the option of A/C or Non-A/C coaches for cities like Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad.

Several private players also operate buses between most southern destinations. During the weekends most buses are fully occupied and it's better to reserve a ticket in advance. All buses terminate near Koyambedu but there are different stands for state owned(CMBT [2]), and private buses (Omni bus terminus). Both these terminus are near each other, and it is better to tell your exact destination to the taxi/autorickshaw driver. Buses usually drop passengers at various points in the city before reaching the Terminus [3]. Feel free to ask the driver or fellow passengers the closest drop-off point to your destination.

  • CMBT Enquiry : Please Update the number. [Previous number was apollo pharmacy!]

By car

Chennai is very well connected and to other parts of India by road. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Kolkata, Bangalore, Tiruchy/Madurai, Tiruvallur, and Pondicherry. With the progress of the Golden Quadrilateral project, driving down from Bangalore is an option too.

There are many car rental companies available.

Get around

Getting around the heart of Chennai city often takes time, due to traffic and heavy congestion. So it is advisable to plan your journey accordingly. Travelling within Chennai is not expensive by Indian metropolitan standards, and are extremely cheap by typical Western standards.

By train

Map of Chennai's suburban rail network and major bus links

Chennai has a suburban train [4] network. There are four routes:

  • Chennai Central - Arakkonam
  • Chennai Central - Gummidipoondi-Sulurpet-Gudur
  • Chennai Beach - Tambaram and Chengalpet
  • Chennai Beach - Velachery (MRTS)
  • The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. The frequency of suburban trains is generally good and it is advisable to take a first class ticket during peak hours. Trains offer a reliable alternative to quickly reach your destination when compared to buses which might get trapped in traffic jams. The fare in Chennai suburban trains is the lowest in the country and you don't have to compromise comfort for the meagre amount that you pay as in other Indian metros.

    By bus

    Metropolitan Transport Corporation [5] buses ply throughout the city. These are government-run and extremely cheap. Normally Bus Fare in MTC range from Rs.3 - Rs.15. State corporation has also introduced New Type Deluxe, A/C Buses for Chennai Passengers.

    Deluxe AC bus run by MTC chennai which run between important routes like Parrys - Tambaram, Parrys - CMBT, Chennai Central - CMBT, Chennai central - Tambaram, etc.

    Bus Route information for MTC Chennai is available online [6]

    State Express Transport Corporation buses go to different parts of the state. Private carriers also run to other towns/cities in state. You can buy these bus tickets online at redBus [7] or realIndia [8] or RathiMeena [9].

    By auto-rickshaw

    Auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai do not use meters; they grossly overcharge and often behave rudely and drive rashly. They are happy to exploit foreigners and locals alike. The advantage of being a local is that you know when you're being fleeced, and so you'll know when to walk away and find another auto. The upside is that autos are ubiquitous and possibly the easiest form of transportation to locate. Use Auto-rickshaws only for short distances (if you know exactly how far you are going). Before talking to an auto driver ask any local person what the actual fare should be, because they will most likely ask for up to 3 times more. Please note that most of the autorickshaw drivers in Chennai are local goons so please be extremely careful and avoid hiring an auto for commuting within the city until and unless it is an emergency. Autorickshaw drivers will often resort to violent methods of extorting money if you do not pay up to their demands and for the local police does not come for any help because the auto stands are owned by police constables. The local government of Chennai has miserably failed to regulate the price mechanism of the autorickshaws.

    If you want to travel by the auto, stick to these rules:

    • Forget the meter; no one will go by it, and if they do, it's probably rigged to show a higher fare.
    • Negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand; if he doesn't agree, just go to the next auto on the road; there will always be others unless it's very late or very early or you are in a remote area: then be prepared to pay up. Stick to the agreed price, though the driver may attempt to ask for more. If he complains about the agreed-upon fare during the journey, you can bet he will demand more on arrival at the destination.
    • Consult local friends beforehand to find out reasonable market prices for the distance you intend to go.
    • Try to hail individual auto rickshaws in traffic which are heading in the general direction of your destination and avoid those parked in groups; they tend to charge more and they may try to gang-up on you.

    As a general rule, expect to pay about Rs.10 for every kilometer you travel.

    Be careful about the following when you plan to undertake an autorickshaw trip:

    • You don't have to pay for any empty return trips that the autorickshaw driver has to make once you have agreed upon a fare.
    • You tell them to go to a landmark near where you want to go, and upon reaching the landmark, ask them to go a little further along a particular road to your destination. They might cite the extra distance traveled and ask for more money. So it is better to negotiate the fare upfront.
    • You don't have to pay for petrol during the ride.
    • If you pay them for petrol, make sure you pay them the remaining fare amount after subtracting petrol charges.

    The call taxis are better regulated and can be ordered air-conditioned, although unlike auto-rickshaws, advance reservations are needed and they cannot usually be flagged on the street.

    Share autos have emerged in the recent years as an alternative mode of transport in Chennai. They are oversized three wheelers running on diesel and charge slightly more than the bus. The only advantage is that it is cost effective.

    On a side note - if you are fascinated by the idea of going around in an auto, think about all those foreigners, who are riding an auto from Chennai to Mumbai. A Chennai based event management company, Chennai Event Management Services, has been having these autorickshaw rallies from Chennai to Mumbai, or Kanyakumari, etc., and has developed a great fan following for the same. More info: [10] This year the rally starts on the 2nd of August 2009....

    By taxi

    Taxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are available by phone. They are mostly reliable, can be ordered air-conditioned, and have digital fare meters, although time-based hire is also possible with some companies. Most companies charge a minimum fare of Rs. 150/-, which is for 5 km and for every subsequent km they charge Rs. 10/-. Alternatively, you can hire a car for a half/full day for around Rs. 800/1200. These figures are for basic non-AC Ambassadors, add about 50% if you want a comfier aircon Tata Indica. If your trip is time-sensitive, it's best to book your taxi a few hours in advance and call shortly before your trip to confirm.

    Tourist Cabs - Are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram, Tirupati, etc. Costs about INR 10/-Rs per KM and 50 Rs per hour as hire charges. Also generally there is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport.

    By car

    It is generally not advisable for foreign travellers to drive on their own as they might be unaware of the traffic rules and congestion in the city. The roads in Chennai are better maintained than the average Indian road. The main highway is Anna Salai also known as Mount Road.

    If you choose to rent a car, it's highly advisable to hire a driver as well, whose fee comes to around Rs.150/- for an 8 hour shift. Companies include:

    See

    There's nothing much to see from a traditional tourists's point of view. Most of the colonial buildings are usually in use as administrative offices and the traditional Tamil boroughs of Mylapore and Triplicane, though interesting are densely populated and aren't very welcoming to gawking though one should brave it at least through Mylapore. Chennai is more of a commercial city with various industries, banks, offices, port, & a thriving movie industry. The most popular forms of entertainment are a visit to the cinemas at the weekend or some time at the sandy beaches. Restaurants, watering holes and discotheques have been opening with increasing frequency and while the absolute numbers aren't much, they're more experimental than most Indian metros with the exception of maybe Mumbai and Bangalore. While in Chennai one can drop into one of the following places.

    • The Birla Planetarium,at Kotturpuram, between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country. Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which will be of interest to students and other science scholars. Built in memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary, the Planetarium is considered to be the most modern in the country. Programme Timing: 10.45AM - 1.45PM and 3.45PM. English: 12.00 Noon and 2.30PM Tamil.
    • MGR Memorial House,at T.Nagar, is the house of the Late Actor- Chief Minister M.G.Ramachandran popularly known as MGR. : 10.00AM - 05:00PM .
    • Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore [11]
    • Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It is a popular place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach, safe and good place for picnicking.
    • Breezy Beach is in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar. It is smaller and less popular than the Elliots beach. This beach is not as commercialized as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful.
    • Ennore Port and Ennore foundries.
    • Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of Tamil Nadu. There is a museum presenting objects of the time of the domination of the CAIO, and a banqueting suite going back to 1802 where the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises also the oldest Anglican church of India, the church of St Mary. This also happens to be the worlds oldest church to the east of the Suez Canal.
    • Government Museum, or National Art Gallery on Pantheon Road, comprises an interesting archaeological collection and a room holding a significant and superb collection of Chola bronzes. One building has modern works, while the other has historical works.
    • Guindy National Park, The smallest national park in India and one of the few located in a metro. The park is an extension of the grounds surrounding the official residence of the governors of Tamilnadu.
    • Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King Cobra,Common Krait,Common Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals and birds.
    • Marina Beach, is one of the world's longest beaches. It is the most popular gathering place for locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It can also get very crowded at those times. The beach is relatively less crowded in the early mornings and more pleasant. At almost any time, the sea breeze is a welcome relief. Unfortunately, it is a very dirty beach, with plastic bags and trash strewn everywhere. But it's a great place to "people watch", especially the local fishermen who take their catamarans out to sea, and the families and groups of friends eating from chaat stalls and sitting in small circles on the sand. It's not a swimming beach, though you will see people fully clothed taking partial dips. The tsunami on December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach. It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again.
    • Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways, which has a Rail Museum.
    • St.Thomas Basilica The popular myth is that one of the apostles of Jesus Christ died in India and that his body was buried in Mylapore and that this church is built over the tomb.
    • St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is believed that he died. It is a wonderful sight to see the flights take off and land - since the airport is very near to this hill
    • Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam. An auditorium built in memory of the poet Thiruvalluvar. All of the verses of the poet's 'The Thirukkural' are inscribed on the pillars around the auditorium.
    • Vandalur zoo, Tambaram. A zoo which is largest of its kind in Asia. Just a 17 km drive from the heart of Chennai. See the large number of species found there,some endangered species.For details, visit www.aazoopark.gov.in

    Temples, Mosque and churches

    Detail of the gopuram of Kapaleeswarar Temple

    Entry to all structures listed here is free, although token fees may be levied for photography. As usual in south India, non-Hindus are not permitted in the inner sanctum, although they are welcome to tour the outer areas of the temples. Most temple are open in the morning from dawn to 12 noon, close for an afternoon siesta, reopen around 4 PM and stay open until 10 PM or so.

    • Aarupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony)
    • Ananthaa Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
    • Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
    • Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony). The temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different from other South Indian temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
    • Ayya Vaikundar Nizhal Thangal, Manali Pudunagar.
    • Big Mosque, Triplicane, Chennai
    • CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar.
    • CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over.
    • CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah.
    • Guruvayurappan Temple, Nanganallur.
    • Adivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Swami Temple (32 Feet Hanuman), Nanganallur.
    • ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple, Injambakkam.
    • ISKCON Temple, Perumbur.
    • Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
    • Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys.
    • Kapaleeswarar Temple (Kapaleeshwara), Mylapore, [12]. One of Chennai's oldest and best-known temples, said to date to the 8th century, although the present structure dates to the 1600s. Notable above all for its soaring, incredibly detailed 37m gopuram (entrance gate). There is a large water tank behind the temple, used for the Thaipusam festival (Jan-Feb), and plenty of flower shops all around. Within easy striking distance of the city centre.
    • Kaaraneeswarar Temple, Saidapet.
    • Luz Anjaneyaar Temple, Mylapore.
    • Madhya Kailash Temple, Adyar.
    • Mary's Church, Built in 1680 it is the oldest Anglican Church in India. Robert Clive and Governor Elihu Yale (who later formed Yale University in the USA, were married here.)
    • Marundeeshwar temple, Thiruvanmiyur.
    • Mundakaneeyaman Temple, Mylapore.
    • Nizhal Thangal, Oragadam.
    • Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane.
    • Periaapaalayath Amman Temple, Adayar.
    • Puttaparthi Sairam Temple Sundaram, Chamiers Road.
    • Qurasani Mosque, Adayar (near new bus terminus).
    • Ragavendhra Temple, Triplicane.
    • Ratnagirishwarar Temple, Besant Nagar (near RBI).
    • Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Mylapore, Santhome, where the Apostle St. Thomas is buried according to Christian tradition [13].
    • Shirdi Sai Temple, Mylapore Tank.
    • Shiva Vishnu Temple, T.Nagar.
    • Sringeri Saradha Peetam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
    • Sri Santhana Srinivasa Perumal Temple-Mogappair.
    • St. Antony's Church, Kamarajapuram, Anakaputhur, Ph. No: 044 - 22481447.
    • St. Francis Xavier Church, Pallavaram, Chennai - 43.
    • St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Stringer's St, Broadway.
    • St. Peters & St. Paul Orthodox Chapel, Koyambedu, Near Anna Nagar.
    • Tamil Baptist Church-91, Medawakkam Tank Road, Near Kellys Signal, Kilpauk.
    • Thirumalai Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nagar.
    • Thousand Lights Mosque, Anna Salai.
    • Vadapalani Murugan Temple, Vadapalani.
    • Vadivudai Amman Temple, Tiruvottiyur.
    • Varasidi vinayakar Temple, Besant Nagar (near bus terminus).
    • Visvaroopa Baktha Anjaneyaar Temple, Ramnagar, Nanganallur (The idol is 32 ft in height.)

    Do

    • During summers it becomes too hot and humid to venture out during the day. So go out for a stroll during the night (7-9 PM) on the Marina beach and Elliots Beach (Besant Nagar). It's a nice idea to pack dinner and have a picnic on the beach as most locals do. If you happen to drive a car you can also consider taking along a few foldable chairs. Beyond 10 PM, no one is permitted to be on the beach. There are policemen on the beach to ensure people follow this rule, and on some occasions they tend to shoo people out by 9 PM.
    • Stroll along the over crowded Pondy Bazaar and Ranganathan Street and try your skills in bargaining for knick-knacks. Be warned that it is an intensely crowded place, where you have to elbow your way through.
    • Take a bus or an auto to Mylapore Tank and take a walk around Mylapore especially in and around the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The crowds, sounds, fragrances of temple incense and flowers and the tiny shops are to be definitely experienced though keep away on Fridays. It gets too hectic even for experienced Mylaporeans.
    • Chennai is also home to one of the best preserved Art Deco architectural areas in India, Parry's Corner. Its also Chennai's oldest Central Business District though it has long since given way to Nungambakkam and T Nagar. If you're particularly interested in architecture or photography, this is a must visit place. Don't forget the nooks and crannies.
    • The Tamil Baptist Church in Kilpauk is worth a visit. It is a 107 year old monument.
    • Kumaran Kundram (The Deity of Lord Murugan in Kumaran Kundram is considered to be equivalent to the one in Swamimalai), (Very near MIT Fly over), [14]. small hillock at Kumaran Kundram near by Madras Institute of Technology

    Music and Dance

    Chennai is famous for its concerts and performances that take place in various auditoriums and temples throughout the year, which are announced in the Hindu and other local newspapers. During the Tamil month of Maargazhi (December - January) there is a series of classical Carnatic music concerts and classical dance performances in various parts of the city, but the best are organized in various Sabhas (loosely translates to "concert house"). You will see mostly older celebrities, although occasionally there will be some world-class young virtuosos.

    • Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall , Madras Seva Sadan, No 7, Harrington Road , Chetpet . Call for details: +91 44 43561198 and +91 42146632, Email: info@sirmuthamemorial.com
    • VDS Arts Academy, MOP Vaishnava College for Women, Nungambakkam. Music and Bharatanatyam dance concerts throughout the year at 6:30 PM., every Friday, Saturday and Sunday by young artists. Admission: free.
    • Brahma Gana Sabha, Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, M.Ct.M School, 179, Luz Church Road, +91 92821 06425, +91 98412 96684
    • Indian Institute of Music and Arts, R.K Swamy Auditorium, Sir Sivaswamy Kalalaya, 5, Sundareswarar Street, Mylapore.
    • Kartik Fine Arts, Narada Gana Sabha Hall, TTk Road. +91 44 2499 7788, +91 44 2495 2695 (30th Year Art Festival),
    • 'Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, "Dr. Nalli Gana Vihar, 20. Maharajapuram Santhanam Road, T.Nagar, +91 44 2814 0806 (The 49th Art and Dance Festival & Pongal Nagaswara Isai Vizha And the 24th Natya Kala Conference), Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 (daily rates)
    • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, Vani Mahal, 103, GN Chetty Road, +91 44 2815 2166 (The 25th Isai Iyal Nataka Vizha)
    • Kalalayaa Art Academy , Kalalayaa Art Academy , 2nd Floor, 100ft Bye Pass Road, Velachery.(Landmark: Opp to Bharat Petroleum Petrol Bunk, Above Nuts & Spices) +91 98408 77546, +91 44 4303 6546 [15]

    GK Parigi in Cine Abinayam star night programme.contact:parige@yahoo.co.in

    • Nungambakkam Cultural Academy Trust


    Chennai is a major centre of Bharata Natyam with over 1000 dance performances a year. More dance forms are now encouraged and taught like Kuchipudi(Traditional dance form from Andhra Pradesh), Mohini Attam, etc. Some other dances like Odissi Manipuri can be found, but are rarer.

    Cinema

    When in Chennai, do not miss a chance to watch a movie. There are several cinemas in the city. Check out any local newspaper or websites to get to know the movies running in and around Chennai. Visit [16] to get the details of movies currently running in Chennai. Some of the cinema halls are

    • Devi Cineplex , www.devicinemas.in. Located in the heart of Chennai on Anna Salai. The Cineplex is a huge complex and a great architectural beauty. (Book online at [17])
    • Sathyam Cine Complex, Gopalapuram (Book online at [18] ).
    • Inox, Chennai Citi Centre, R.K.Salai (Book online at [19] )
    • Mayajaal Cine Complex, ECR (Book online at [20] )
    • Abhirami Cine Complex, Purasawalkam
    • Shanti Cine Complex, Anna Salai
    • Ega theatres,p.h road, Kilpauk (Features Hindi movies).(Book online at http://www.egacinemas.com/New/Default.aspx )
    • Sangam cine complex in kilpauk.
    • Rakki Theatre in Ambattur.

    Learn

    Chennai has dozens of different institutes of higher learning from arts to engineering. The city also offers plenty of opportunities to learn Yoga, Bhartanatyam, Carnatic music and The Bhagavad Gita.

    • Aurobindo Ashram
    • Bharatia Vidya Bhavan
    • Chinmaya Mission, #2, 13th avenue Harrington Road Chetpet, +91 44 2826 5641, +91 44 2827 4046
    • ISKCON (International Society For Krishna Consciousness), Hare Krishna Land Injambakkam, +91 44 2501 9303, +91 44 2501 9147
    • Isha Yoga, Old no.18/5, New no. 35, Taylors Estate, 2nd street, Kodambakkam, +91 044 2484 2424, +91 044 94425 15557

    . Other centers at [21]

    • Kalakshethra, Kalakshetra Foundation, Tiruvanmiyur, +91 44 2491 1836, +91 44 2491 4359(fax +91 44 2491 4359) [22]
    • Kishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, 31, 4th Cross Street, R.K. Nagar, +91 44 2493 7998, +91 44 2493 3092, +91 44 2462 0202, +91 44 2462 0005 (fax: +91 44 2461 334) [23]
    • Krishnamurthi Foundation, 124, 126 (Old #64/65) Greenways Road, +91 44 2493 7803, +91 44 2493 7596 [24]
    • Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai 600 020. +91 44 2491 2815 (fax: +91 44 2490 2706, +91 44 2490 1399, intl.hq@ts-adyar.org) [25]
    • Raja Yoga, Commonly Known as Ishwariya Vishwa Vidhyalayam. Learn Yoga free of cost. Visit [26] for more details

    Buy

    Shopping Plazas

    • Abirami mega mall Purasaiwakkam High road, [27]. It has a snow world, kids world.
    • Chennai Citi Centre [28] 10, Radhakrishnan Salai. Chennai's newest retail mecca, opened March 2006 - Mostly has Western Style clothing and such. Spencer's is better for Indian style wares. Has food court, Cinema, and a supermarket.
    • Shoppers' Stop [29] 2, Harrington Road, Chetpet. The K.Raheja groups Shoppers' Stop is a departmental store.
    • Ispahani Center Nungambakkam road. It has a cafe, bar & shops.
    • Prince Plaza, Pantheon road, Egmore. It has been featured in many movies.
    • Spencer Plaza [30] 769, Anna Salai. Spencer is a Chennai landmark that dates back to colonial times. The original was destroyed in a fire, so the current building dates to 1983, but the newest "Phase III" section has a mock Indo-Saracenic atrium in the style of the original. One of the largest shopping malls in India, it has grown to cover three "Phases", and while the layout can be confusing, it's an excellent place to buy pretty much anything and everything you could possible want from India. Good food courts on the 2nd levels of Phase I and III.
    • 'Ampa Mall' [31]The biggest retail outlet in Chennai with big names like The body Shop,Levis,Bossini,Landmark(book and stationery store),United Colors Of Bennetton,Adidas,Reebok.It also has a food court with a lot of resteraunts and it also has Fast food giants like Mcdonalds,KFC and Pizza Hut.It also houses PVR Cinemas,a 7-screen Multiplex and a 20 room Boutique Hotel.

    Books

    Chennai has a wide selection of rare books and maps in the many second-hand book stalls.

    • Alwar's Roadside bookshop opposite Kamadhenu theatre in Mylapore.
    • Bookfield, Opposite the LIC building on Anna Salai (Mount Road)
    • Vendors near the Central Station
    • Vendors on Mount Road outside Devi Theatre and the GPO (General Post Office)
    • Higginbothams, Anna Salai.
    • Kennedys Book House, Anna Salai.

    For more current publications

    • Landmark [32], Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - Books, Toys, CD's etc. Three locations:
      • Spencer Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) - 37,000 sq. ft.
      • Apex Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road - 12,000 sq. ft. - The original store.
      • Chennai Citi Centre, Radhakrishnan Salai - Newest location, opened March 2006
    • Odyssey, Behind Gandhi Nagar Bus Stand, Adyar
    • Giggles, Connemara Hotel Binny Road - General books from a friendly shop keeper

    Books on or set in Chennai include:

    • Madras Discovered, Tales of Old and New Madras, Madras (1992) by S. Muthiah
    • Madras – its Past and its Present (1995) by S. Muthiah
    • Madras – its Yesterdays and Todays and Tomorrows by S. Muthiah
    • At Home in Madras (1989) by S. Muthiah
    • The Spirit of Chepauk (1998) by S. Muthiah
    • Kalyani’s Husband by S. Y. Krishnaswamy
    • The Story Of Fort St. George (1945) by Col. D.M. Reid
    • Chasing Rainbows in Chennai, [33] (2003) by Colin Todhunter

    Clothes

    • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram Ph - +91 442820 3582
    • Anokhi, “Chamiers”, Old #47 (new #85), Chamiers Road, R A Puram.
    • Brass Tacks [34], 77/13, Corporation Shopping Complex, C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, +91 44 4208 1767. Contemporary clothing from natural fibres for women.
    • FabIndia. [35]. The Ilford House location at 3 Woods Road is probably the best in terms of choices and selections. This is the place to go for all your natural-dyed, hand loomed and hand made textiles. The prices have been going up the last few years, but FabIndia is the only source for this sort of textile in Chennai at any retail outlet.
    • Just Casuals, Nungambakkam, 1, Sterling Road, +91 044 28273882. A good place to head if you're in the mood for the Banana Republic/Abercrombie/Old Navy/Gap type stuff. They seem to get all the export rejects or overstocks. You'll find that all the brand tags are cut out due to some agreement with the manufacturer. The quality and prices are good, but unfortunately there's no bargaining possible.
    • Handloom Exhibitions. Year-round there is always a handloom exhibition profiling the work of one state or the other. These temporary installations (you'll have to check the local papers to find out where they set up) generally have a good selection of interesting fabrics and textile products. And there is always the option to bargain, which makes it a better bet than oft-overpriced retail stores. The Royapettah YMCA (across from Royapettah Hospital) has a regular handloom exhibition.
    • Shanti Colony, Annanagar is a hub for "seconds" clothing as in the above description for "Just Casuals".

    Custom Tailoring.

    • Gatsby. over 100 years of tailoring tradition.

    Suits, Jackets, Tuxedos, Shirts, Trousers for Men and Women. 24 hour Turnaround available- largest range of European and Domestic worsted Woolens, Blends and Linnens in the City. contact- Nungambakkam(044)28331677, Neelangarai,ECR (044)24495010

    Crafts

    • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, +91 442820 3582. They sell handicrafts.
    • Ashvita - Arts and Artifacts, 11 2nd Street, Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore,+91 44 2847 6063. Art, jewelery, photo prints.
    • Crafts and Weaves, #1, 1st Main Road, CIT Colony, Mylapore Ph - +91 44 2466 0232. Handicrafts.
    • Dakshinachitra, Muthukkadu. Featuring handicrafts
    • Giri Stores, Adjacent to Kabaleeswarar Temple, Opposite to Radha Silk Emporium, Mylapore Tank. Hindu spiritual items like Rudraksha Garlands, books, CDs & Tapes for chanting, incense sticks, camphor, lamps, etc.
    • Hidesign, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam High Road & Phase 3, Spencers Plaza. [36]. Leather goods.
    • Victoria Technical Institute, Anna Salai. Handicrafts.
    • Vimonisha Art Gallery, 12, Khadar Nawaz Khan Road. Handicrafts.
    • 'Vinyasa Art Gallery Handicrafts .
    • Jidoka Store, 1st Lane, Nungambakkam High Road, +91 44 2822 3516, +91 44 2822 3317. Handicrafts.
    • Kalpadruma, Cathedral Road. Handicrafts.
    • Poppat Jamals, Opp. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai, Mount Road. Crockery.
    • Pot holes, Music College. Ceramics.
    • Manasthala, 12, Cenotaph Road, +91 44 2433 2842. Terracotta ceramics.
    • Music World, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road). Music CD's, cassettes.

    Art Galleries

    • Prakrit Art Gallery, Dhandayuthapani Nagar, 2nd Street, Kotturpuram, +91 44 42188989 Prakrit Art Gallery [37].
    • Lakshmi Ethiraj Art Gallery, 70 1st Main Road, CIT Nagar, +91 44 4359 223.
    • Raasi Art Gallery, 1 Anna Avenue, Bakthavatsala nagar, Adayar, +91 44 2441 0389.
    • Apparao Galleries, 7th Street, Wallace Garden, +91 44 2827 226.
    • Contemporary arts and crafts showroom, 41 CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet, +91 44 2499 7069, +91 44 2466 0159.
    • Chennai Studio, 222 Peters Road, Royapettah, +91 44 98405 43420, [38].

    Sarees

    • Revathy Stores,No. 7/8, RK Mutt Road, Luz Bazaar Building, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004‎ - 044 24934328‎ ( Its a small store but a wide variety of CHINNALAPATTI sarees are available here at a nominal cost)
    • Aavaranaa, 15, Ashoka Street, Alwarpet, +91 44 24988292.
    • Vardhrams and Son's Silks, Harington Road, Chetpat.
    • Nalli Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
    • Kumaran Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
    • Pothys, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
    • Chennai Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
    • Hayagrivas, GN Chetty Road, (near Panagal Park). Sarees.
    • RMKV Silks, Panagal Park. Kanchipuram silk sarees.
    • Radha Silk Emporium (Rasi), Silk sarees, ethnic wear, arts & crafts in multiple locations.
    1 Sannadhi Street, Mylapore. +91 44 2494 1906 827, Dhun Building, Mount Road, +91 44 2852 0251 23 1st Main Road, Nanganallur, +91 44 2232 4176
    • Shilpi, 29 C.P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet.

    Jewellery

    • Joyalukkas , 39 North Usman Road, T'Nagar. India's largest exclusive jewellery mall, housing the worlds largest jewellery showroom of international retailer Joyalukkas amongst other world renowned retailers.
    • L.K.S Gold House, Usman Road, T'Nagar.
    • Jaipur Gems, 50 Cathedral Road. Exclusive designer StarFire Diamond jewellery, authentic Jadau jewellery.
    • Vummidi Bangaru Jewellery, Nungambakkam, Features diamonds and gold. There is also a location T'Nagar.
    • Kirthilal Kaalidas-diamond Merchants Gold and Silver, CP Ramaswamy Road, Alwaarpet.
    • NAC -Nathella Anjaneyalu Jewellery, Mylapore Tank.
    • Aishwarya Jewellery, Mylapore Tank. Gold and silverware.
    • Bapalal Jewellers, Kakani Towers, Cathedral Road. Diamond merchants.
    • Jugalkishore Jewellers, CP Ramaswaamy Road, Alwarpet. Traditional and antique jewellery.
    • GRT Thangamaligai,, South Usman, T'Nagar.
    • Aarthi Thanga Maligai, 60 East Kalamandapam Road, Royapuram. Gold for reasonable prices.
    • B.B Jewellery, 6/127 Arcot Road, Porur. Specializing in gold.
    • KANISHK, Usman Road, T'Nagar. Great value for money & wide range.
    • Saravana Stores Thanga Naga Maaligai, Usman Road, T'Nagar.
    • GSK Thanga Naga Maaligai, Ariyalur, TamilNadu.
    • Ambiga Jewellers , E.B.Colony Adambakkam.
    • Rasvihar, 17a, Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034. For exclusive contemporary jewellery. [39]

    Florists

    • Floral Park, Gopalapuram, (Near Gongotree), +91 44 9840707510, [40].
    • Something Special, Casa Major Road, Egmore, +91 44 9840038696, [41].
    • Banswari, 17a,Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam, +91 44 43561828, [42]

    Music

    • Sapthaswara Musicals, Features Western and Indian musical instruments.
    • Shruthi Musicals, 10 Harleys Road, Kilpauk, +91 44 2660 3630.
    • Sruthilayais, 93 Royapettah High Road, Mylapore, +91 44 2499 4045 or +91 44 2498 2625. Musical instruments.
    • Lakshman shruthi, Vadapalani Signal, Vadapalani. Musical instruments, CD's.

    In addition to these there are several exhibitions that happen at Das Community Hall (Cathedral Road), Shankara Hall (TTK Road) where artisans display there wares. Check the local newspapers for details and timings.

    Eat

    Chennai has Tamil Nadu's best selection of restaurants, both local and international. See Southern India for an introduction to southern Indian cuisine.

    Restaurants near Music Academy and those on the Beach coast are well maintained and serve 'Indian Cuisine' with an ambience to match, while most others cater South Indian Cuisine at very reasonable prices. Usually the check includes a service charge, written next to 'S.C.' If no service charge is added, it is customary to leave a moderate tip.

    Budget

    Hot soup stand outside Santhome, Chennai

    All these budget eateries serve only vegetarian food and are very cheap.

    • Eat N Drink, 570-N, Anna Salai, Teynampet (next to Courtyard Marriott). South Indian fast food, from masala dosas to uttapam and pongal. Fast, cheap, tasty and hygienic. Rs.20-40.
    • Geetha Café , Pondy Bazaar. South Indian tiffin.
    • Hot Chips, T.Nagar and Anna Nagar for budget priced South Indian tiffin, including North Indian chat (snack) items.
    • Karpagambal Mess, Opposite the Kapaleeswarar temple, Mylapore. Do visit this place if you have a craving for cheap and authentic South Indian Food.
    • Komalas, Kodambakkam High Road. South Indian fast food.
    • Mansuk's, T.Nagar. Best for Bombay Chat, Lassi and an unlimited Gujarati Thali.
    • Murugan Idli Kadai. Very famous for their idlis and the many accompaniments which comes with the idlis. This chain had very humble beginnings but their fame is sky rocketing. There are other branches throughout the city.
    • Palimar, Parsn Complex, Anna Salai (Mount Road). South Indian cuisine.
    • Rathna Cafe, Triplicane. For fluffy hot idlis, piping hot vadai, delicious pongal dripping in ghee and accompanied by sambhar. Quality maintained for more than 100 years. Recently opened at Thiruvanmiyur, opposite the RTO. More expensive than Murugan Idli shop.
    • Sangeetha, chain of vegetarian restaurants. Sangeeta offers a mix of good-quality and tasty South Indian, North Indian, and "Indo-Chinese" cuisine at very reasonable prices. A chain restaurant, including one shop at the intersection of Valluvar Kottam High Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam.
    • Saravana Bhavan, [43]. Probably Chennai's best known restaurant chain, with 25 branches in Chennai itself (incl. one next to Kapaleeswarar Temple). Pure vegetarian Indian food with high standards of hygiene.
    • Sri Krishna Sweets, Spencers Plaza, Adayar, Anna Salai (Mount Road),(also at MG Road, Shastri nagar). Indian sweets & salad bar. Visit "Sri Krishna" for a unique assortment of North Indian "chat" (snack) items.
    • The Spice Box, Thiruvanmyur, +91 44 4304 2365. Lunch deliveries and gourmet outdoor catering. Their concept of a wholesome, well packed and innovative lunch / dinner in 6 options is great to try out.
    • Vasantha Bhavan chain of vegetarian restaurants, one near Vadapalani Bus stand titled Vasantha Bhavan.

    Mid-range

    • Aiwo, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, (next to Barista Cafe). Fusion and health foods. Aiwo features a 14-course meal served on a conveyer belt that moves around the room; various dishes are served, and the food is very good but rather expensive.
    • Amaravathy, 1 Cathedral Road, Gopalpuram, +91 44 2811 6216,. Andhra special and also Tandoori and Chinese food.
    • Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Padmavathi Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram, +91 44 2820 3582. Garden and patio cafe and restaurant with a mix of western (pastas, burgers) and Indian fare. The patio is a cool place to while away a hot afternoon.
    • Amma, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Chettinadu cuisine. (Region of South India.)
    • Anjappar, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2628 9344 (Anna Nagar). Chettinadu cuisine.
    • Anupama, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar. Andhra cuisine.
    • Coastline, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore. +91 44 2825 1128. Seafood.
    • Dhaba Express, Cenotaph Road, Tenampet and Nungambakkam High Road (opposite the ICICI Bank and near Little Italy restaurant). +91 44 2432 8213. North Indian.
    • Dynasty, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5222 2777. Good-quality Chinese-Indian cuisine
    • ECR Dhaba, On ECR Road, Next to Muttukadu Boat House, Muttukadu. +91 98407 04050. Indian, Tandoor, Chinese
    • Gallopin Gooseberries, Burgers, Sandwiches and Entres. Has two outlets:

    1. 4/359,Gatsby Village, Mgr Road, +91 44 24493924
    2. #11, Shop #2, 2nd Floor, Greams Road, Landmark: Near Thousand Lights Police Station Phone: +91 44 28291077, 28292190

    • Gyan Vaishnav, Mount Road, Near Anand Theatre. North Indian
    • Kadalivanam, Mogappair. [44], 100% natural, fully vegetarian restaurant
    • Karaikudi, VeeraRaghava Road, T. Nagar, +91 44 2815 1021. (also at Anna Nagar, Besant Nagar, Mylapore, Thiruvanmiyur) Chettinadu cuisine.
    • Eden's, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam. Wonderful Continental cuisine, fully vegetarian.
    • McDonalds, Ascendas IT Park, Taramani and Rountana,Annanagar and Ampa Mall, Nelson Manickam Road
    • Marry Brown, opposite to Vadapalani Bus Stand and Annanagar
    • Dominos Pizza, Near ashok pillar,Annanagar and many other places
    • Pizza Corner, Nugambakkam and other places
    • Murugans Idli Shop, 2 locations: GN Chetty Road T. Nagar and Besant Nagar. Murugan Idli Shop is a chain restaurant, and the GN Chetty Road shop in particular is a well-kept secret among locals as a purveyor of high-quality food; on weekends, there is a long line for entry. The price for one meal is around 20-40 rupees, or around $1. South Indian.
    • Noodle House, A chain restaurant, whoese locations include: 1. Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road) and 2.the Intersection of Sterling Road and Nungambakkam High Road in Nungambakkam. Chinese.
    • Pizzaurant, Velachery Road, Little Mount, Saidapet. Cuisine - Pizza & Pasta.(Without MSG) Home delivery for nearby areas, Very Indian.
    • Poonamallee, Breeze Hotel, 850, Poonamallee High Road. +91 44 2641 3334, +91 44 2643 0596. Multicusine
    • Ponnusamy, Commander-in-Chief Road (opp Ethiraj College), Egmore. Chettinadu cuisine
    • Rangis, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese.
    • Swati and Swayam, at Saravana Bhavan, Peters Road. South Indian.
    • Sparky's, located in Egmore, is an "American diner" operated by an American expatriate settled in Chennai. Mexican, Italian and American food. Prices range from 70-150 rps for a meal.[45]

    Splurge

    • Seasons, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar - Extensive Buffets and Global A la Carte - Open Round-the-Clock
    • Pergola, The Accord Metropolitan Hotel - High Altitude Dining - Chennai's highest restaurant featuring Grills / Indian cuisines
    • Akasaka, Suraj Towers, Ground Floor, 128 L.B. Road, Behind Jayanthi Theatre, Thiruvanmiyur. Japanese Chef, Own fishing boat, excellent sushi and sashimi. Expensive -- figure on over Rs.1000 for a meal here.
    • Arirang, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. Korean.
    • Bella Ciao, 4, Sree Krishna Enclave, Kottivakkam, tel. +91 44 24511130. Italian-owned and run, with real wood-fired oven pizzas.
    • Benjarong, 146 T.T.K. Rd, Alwarpet,044/2432-2640. Thai.
    • Cafe Mercara, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Multicuisine.
    • Cedars, #29, Gandhi Mandapam Road, Kotturpuram. +91 44 55855 111, +91 44 2447 5073, Mediterranean
    • Cilantro, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, 24hr coffe shop/restaurant
    • Citrus, Savera Hotel, Radhakrishna Salai, Mediterranean.
    • Copper Chimney, Cathedral Road. Mainly North Indian with the odd Iranian inspired dish on the menu. Opposite the Chola Sheraton.
    • Dakshin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Rose wood furniture, antique tanjore paintings, bronze idols, fresh water lilies and flower garlands create a festive mood. Live Carnatic Music. Excellent food - Starters include traditional fare like Kuli Paniyaram. Try the Idi Appam or Appam and Mutton Stew. Finish off with a Kulfi.
    • Don Pepes, Cathedral Road, Gopalapuram. Mexican. +91 44 2822 1461
    • Kayal, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343, Seafood
    • Little Italy, 12, Eldorado, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034, +91 44 42601234.
    • Mainland China, Tulip Inn, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. Chinese
    • Navaratna, Le Royal Meridien, #1, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 4343. Indian hotel coronet, LB road, Adayar, serves Kerala malabar non=veg dishes
    • Peshwari, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, North Indian, Afghan.
    • Shansi Chinese & Tandoori Restaurant, AnnaNagar - Indian and Chinese - 26213109
    • Shanghai Club, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road. +91 44 2811 0101, Chinese
    • Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. South Indian
    • Tandoor, Aruna Hotel, 145 Sterling Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 2826 2626, +91 44 2828 366, Gourmet dining.
    • The Great Kabab Factory, Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount. +91 44 2231 0101. Mughlai.
    • Prego, Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam. +91 44 5500 2827. Gourmet Italian dining, replaced Patio
    • The Residency, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.
    • Vijays, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101. Multicuisine Sports Cafe
    • The Westminister. Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road,

    Alwarpet. +91 44 2499 4101.

    • Emilio's Gelateria, 362/1 , Injambakkam, ECR , Chennai (On the way to Mahabalipuram , opp to VGP), 24496090, [46]. 1030AM to 11PM. Great Italian gelato! Absolute low fat and natural flavours. Wide spread of sandwiches, pasta, etc. Moderate +.
    • curry house, anna nagar, 42611167. good tandoori fare of the non-veg variety popular among the punjabis and found all over Delhi.
    • Cream Centre, RA Puram.

    Drink

    The liquor trade in Chennai and rest of Tamilnadu is now run by the government. Most liquor shops have been taken over by the government. To get branded liquor at these "Wine Shops" one might have to cough up some extra cash. However bars and pubs in the city's major hotels are managed by the hotels.But you have to pay extra for taxes, if you want to choose imported brands.

    Budget

    • The Pub, Liberty Park Hotel, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - 24725950
    • Aruna Bar, 20,South Usman Road, T Nagar, Chennai - 600017, Ph - 24346565/0834

    Mid-range

    • Bike and Barrel, Residency Towers, T.Nagar.nice ambience there are 2 levels lower level for couples and upper level for stags . Nice sitting arrangement but can get crowded . Expect to spend around 1000 for 2 people for drinks and food.
    • Champagne & Cider, Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Mount Road).
    • Crystal, Hotel Ranjit, Nungambakkam High road, Nungambakkam.
    • Grammy, Hotel Sabhari, Thirumala Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Ph -
    • Platinum, (Formerly HFO), Hotel Quality inn Aruna, Sterling Road, Nungambakkam
    • Hudson, Harrisons Hotel, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - 42222777
    Has two levels. Hudson Upper and H2O. Cramped seating providing very little privacy. The Liquor stable is limited to the local brands and a bottle or two of Scotch.
    • Society, Hotel Ambassador Pallava, Montieth road, Egmore, Ph - 28554476
    Pretty small. Crowd is predominantly hotel guests. Attire is business casual and drinks are a little pricey.
    • Diesel, G.N Chetty Road, T.Nagar
    • Cambridge, Hotel Dee Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
    • Million Dollars, Hotel Ambica Empire, 100 Feet road, Vadapalani
    • Star Rock, Kodambakkam High Road (Next to Palmgrove hotel), Nungambakkam
    • The Cascade, Quality Inn Sabari 29, Thirumalai Pillai Road, T.Nagar, Chennai - 600 017

    Splurge

    • OPM - Nightclub, The Accord Metropolitan, Chennai, Ph - 28161000
    • Zodiac - Soft Coversation Lounge, The Accord Metropolitan, Chennai, Ph - 28161000
    • Geoffreys, Radha Park Inn, Arumbakkam.
    • Zara, Cathedral Road.
    • Dublin, Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Ph - 24994101
    • Durrants Bar, Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, Ph - 28110101
    • DIstil Bar, Taj Connemara, Binny Road
    • Leather Bar, The Park, Nungambakkam High Road
    The largest liquor stable in Chennai - includes hard to source Moet & Chandon, Glenfiddich and a variety of other scotch. Loud Music.
    • The Rain Bar, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
    • The Havana, Hotel Raintree, St.Mary's Road, Alwarpet
    • 10 Downing StreetKences Inn Hotel, North Boag Road, T Nagar

    Local Specialities - Soft Drinks

    • Fruitshop on Greams Road, Chain of fresh fruit juice retailers, outlets in Greams Road,

    Kilpauk, Besant Nagar, Spencers Plaza, Gatsby Village (ECR), BPCL Bunk, Meenambakkam, BPCL Bunk, Nungambakkam, Shanti Colony (Anna nagar)

    • Tender Coconut Definitely try a tender coconut on a hot summer's day. Available on roadside stalls at Rs.15 a coconut.
    • NeerMoar Spicy butter milk, with local seasoning. Available at most South Indian restaurants.
    • Fruit Bizz (Adyar signal), left corner building from ananda bhavan road to guindy. This is one of the best juice shop very famous in adyar region. Shop open from morning 10 am till 1am. Rs.30-50.

    Sleep

    Budget

    • Paradise Guest HouseNo 17/1, Vallabha Agraham Street, Near Star Theatre Triplicane - good location near cheap shops and places to eat as well as Anna Salai - very interesting area of Chennai with Muslim population. Rooms - 350 for double and 500 for new double all with attached bathroom. Clean and friendly staff. 24 hour checkout. Stayed here in October 2009 and reccomended.
    • Kanchi, C-in-C Road, Egmore
    • Old Woodlands, in Royapettah. Phone: +91 44 2848 2150, +91 44 2848 2152. Little known, but an excellent place to stay. The hotel building is at least one hundred years old and stands in the middle of sprawling grounds. The main building was once the palace of Raja of Ramnad. The auto-rickshaws / taxis will not tell you about the place as the hotel does not pay a commission to middlemen. Pay no more than 40 rupees to get there from the railway station.
    • New Woodlands Hotel, [47] It is sometimes crowded and a tad busy. There is a nice quiet art gallery and cafe nearby, the ashvitha cafe. Recommended for those wanting to slow down, and soak in the pace of life in Chennai. Theaters and shopping arcades are close by.
    • Sri Krishna Residency, Ph: 044 24643617 South mada street , Mylapore.
    • Hotel Karpagam International, Ph: 24613701, South mada street, Mylapore.
    • Hotel Regent, 11 Kennet Lane. Phone: +91 44 2825 3347.
    • Hotel Impala Continental, 12 Gandhi Irwin Road. Phone: +91 44 2819 1423.
    • Hotel Chennai Gate, Gandhi Irwin Road. Phone: +91 44 2819 4377. Deluxe room is Rp1500 with A/C with internet socket available for Rp100 for 24hours.
    • Cristal Guest House, 34, CNK Road, Triplicane. Phone: +91 44 285 13011. Double room is Rp250 with Rs.10 Hot water bucket. Very clean and friendly place. Near good/inexpensive eateries. From the Central Train station, get out and take a pre-paid Auto Rickshaw for a total of Rs.50 (Rs.2 fee + Rs.48) to Triplicane. This place is walking distance from the beach and a bus stops to reach various sites.

    Mid-range

    • Abu Palace, Habitable, but not enjoyable (bathroom smells strongly of mold). Everything (including fridge and A/C) turn off when room keys are removed. Double room (for Rs. 2925) means two single beds.
    • Comfort Inn Marina Towers, 2A Ponniamman Koiil Street Egmore, Phone: +91 44 2858 5454, Fax: +91 44 2858 5454, [48]
    • Dakshin, Venkatnarayana Road, Near Nandanam Signal, T.Nagar
    • Dee-Cee Manor, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
    • GRT Grand Days
    • Grand Orient, Anna Salai (Near Anand Theatre)
    • Harrisons, 315, Valluvarkottam High Road, Nungambakkam, Ph - +91 44 5222 2777
    • Imperial Serviced Apartment, 11 Harrington Road, Chetpet, Chennai- 600031. Highly recommended and suitable for both long term as well as short term stays +91 98417 42520 [49].
    • Lemon Tree Hotel, Chennai, Sardal Patel Rd, Guindy, [50].

    Opposite the Raj Bhavan.

    • Liberty Park, 1st Main Road, Kodambakkam, Ph - +91 44 2472 5950. [51]
    • Mowbrays Inn, TTK Road, Alwarpet
    • New Woodlands, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
    • New Victoria, Kenneth Lane, Egmore
    • Oriental Inn, 044 28114941, 71 Cathedral road, Gopalapuram, [52]. 32 rooms in central Chennai. Rs.1500-2800 plus taxes.
    • Peninsula, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
    • President, Radhakrishna Salai, Mylapore
    • Raj Residency, 22 Kennet Lane, Egmore (2 min walk from the Egmore railway station), [53]. USD 17-147.
    • Ranjit, Nungambakkam High Road,
    • Residency, GN Chetty Road, T.Nagar
    • Residency Towers, Boag Road, T.Nagar
    • Westin Park, Montieth Road, Egmore
    • Aspni Inn, # 77 Jawaharlal Nehru Road, 100 Feet Road, Vadapalani, Chennai - 600 026, Tamilnadu, India, +91 44 2362 2284, [54]. Aspni Inn the Luxury & Business class hotel is situated nearby Chennai Metropolitan Bus Terminus and Vadapalani Lord Murugan Temple. Aspni Inn has 51 Luxurious Rooms. Rates start at Rs. 1000.

    Splurge

    The closest hotels to the airport are The Trident, Le Royal Meridian and Radisson GRT Hotel all five star properties.

    • The Accord Metropolitan, 35, G N Chetty Road, T Nagar, Tel: +91 44 2816 1000/4391 1000, Fax: +91 44 2816 1001, [55],[56]. Chennai's Premier Five Star Hotel.
    • Ambassador Pallava, 30, Montieth Road, Egmore, tel: +91 44 2855 4476, Fax: +91 44 2855 4492, pallava@ambassadorindia.com, [57]. Reasonable value and friendly staff.
    • Chola Sheraton, Cathedral Road, tel: +91 44 2811 0101, Fax: +91 44 2811 0202, [58].
    • Courtyard Chennai, 564, Anna Salai, +91-44-66764000, [59]. Known by locals simply as the Marriott, this is a gorgeous, recently renovated business hotel located on the western edge of the city core, near the airport. Two restaurants, gym, no pool. Rs.7100 and up.
    • ITC Hotel Park Sheraton & Towers, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, tel: +91 44 2499 4101, Fax:+91 44 2499 7101, [60].
    • Le Royal Meridian, Business District, 1 GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 4343, Fax: +91 44 2231 4344, [61].
    • The Park, 601 Anna Salai (next to the Anna Flyover), tel: +91 44 5214 4000, Fax: +91 44 5214 4100, [62]. Modern style with a film theme.
    • Radisson GRT Hotel, Radisson GRT Hotel, #531, GST Road, St. Thomas Mount (Near Kathipara Junction), tel: +91 44 2231 0101.
    • Taj Connamera, Binny Road, tel: +91 44 5500 0000, [63].
    • Taj Coromandel, 37, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, tel: +91 44 5500 2827, [64].
    • Trident Hilton Chennai, 1/24, G.S.T. Road, tel: +91 44 2234 4747, Fax: +91 44 2234 4555, chennai@trident-hilton.com, [65].

    Stay safe

    Chennai is generally one of the safer areas of India in terms of crime, although pickpocketing, muggings, and robberies sporadically occur. Keep your doors and windows shut and locked at night and do not carry or display large amounts of cash if possible.It is advisable for women, especially unaccompanied ones, to dress modestly and limit their interaction with unfamiliar local men. Foreigners are generally charged in excess by autorickshaws simply because they are ignorant of the prevailing fares. It is necessary to confirm whether the driver knows the exact destination and also fix the fare before boarding. 'Autos', as autorickshaws are known in Chennai, are notorious for fleecing customers, tourists & locals alike. Be alert to your surroundings and watch where you step, especially if you get caught in a large crowd where it is difficult to look at what is in front of you. Cross streets with extreme care as the traffic is generally heavy. On major roads, use the underground crossings (locally called "subways").Traffic signals are frequently ignored by drivers and pedestrians alike and it is not at all advisable for tourists to try driving in Chennai.

    Stay healthy

    While in Chennai it is advisable to drink only bottled water. Do not trust water from small local restaurants as it may be from the tap, and avoid cold or iced drinks that are not commercially sold (Bigger chains of eatieries and juice shops can be trusted to an extent). Eating fresh vegetables and fruits that have sat outside in the presence of insects can also be unhealthy, although bananas and coconuts are usually safe because they are opened only immediately before eating. Hot drinks in restaurants such as tea, coffee, and other local specialties are safe, as are packaged/bottled drinks such as Aquafina water, Pepsi, Frooti (a popular local mango drink) and others. If you have access to a stove, boiling tap water before drinking is also an option. Never eat from roadside shops as the food is prepared in the most unhygienic conditions.

    Chennai summers are humid and sultry; it's better to step out with an umbrella, bottled water and some oral rehydration salts (available from pharmacies, the brand name is Electral). These come in handy if you happen to get dehydrated.

    Chennai is the medical capital of india.

    Hospitals

    • All Smiles family and cosmetic dental centre, new no.121 Alwarpet street, Cenotaph road 1st street, Alwarpet (Teynampet), Chennai-18, Tel: +91-(0)9381027132, 42110161[66]
    • Apollo Hospitals, Greams Lane, Off Greams Road, Nungambakkam Tel - 28293333
    • Aysha Hospital, 91A Millers Rd., Tel: 26426930.
    • Balaji HospitalG.S.T Road,Guindy, Tel - 22345282
    • Bone and Joint, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26212137/1026
    • Child's Trust Hospital, Nungambakkam, Tel - 28277487
    • New Hope Medical Centre, Kilpauk, Tel - 25321532, [67]
    • CSI Rainy Hospital, Royapuram, Tel - 25951329
    • Hindu Mission Hospital, 103, G.S.T. Road, Tambaram West, Tel: 22262244, [68].
    • Isabel Hospitals, Oliver Road, Mylapore,
    • General Hospital, Opposite to Central Station
    • Egmore Eye Hospital- RIOGOH,[69] Egmore
    • Madras Medical Mission, Moggapair, Chennai 37 -26565961 /91, [70].
    • Malar Hospitals, Adyar
    • RIGID Hospital
    • Sankara Nethralaya, College Road[71] (Eye Hospital),
    • Sundaram Medical Foundation, Anna Nagar, Tel - 26268844
    • Vijaya Hospital,Vadapalani
    • Ramachandra Hospital, Porur Tel:91 44 2476 8403
    • Bilroth Hospitals, Arumbakkam
    • Hande Hospital, Arumbakkam
    • Stanley Medical Hospital
    • Dr.Kamakshi memorial Hospital , No1, Radial Road, pallikaranai, Chennai 600 100 [72]
    • Balaji Dental Hospital,Velachery
    • Kalyan Hospital, Adayar
    • Kalyani Hospital, Triplicane
    • Govt Hospital, Royapettah
    • KMC College & Hospital,
    • MIOT Hospital
    • Devaki Hospitals, Opposite to Rangachari cloth store mylapore
    • Madras ENT Research Foundation & Hospital, R.K.Salai, Mylapore Chennai
    • Padmapriya Hospital, Adayar
    • Shivasunder Hospital, Adayar
    • Directory assistance can be had at 044-26444444

    Pharmacies

    • Apollo Pharmacy, , All Over the City
    • Health & Glow, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road; Nungambakkam High Road
    • Madras Medical Mission, 24 Hr. Pharmacy, Mogappiar, Chennai-37 [73]
    • The Psychotherapy Clinic,26/1, Arcot Street,T.nagar, Chennai 600 017 [74]
    • MY MOTHER PHARMACY,E.B.COLONY,CHENNAI-88

    Contact

    Landlines

    BSNL [75] and Airtel [76] are the two main providers of terrestrial telephone lines in Chennai. You can make long distance calls from one of the many booths that display NSD/ISD i.e. National Subscriber Dialling (National Long Distance) and International Subscriber Dialling (International Long Distance). Rates are cheaper during the nights: sometimes one-half of what its costs during the day.

    Mobile Phones

    Cell phone rates are one of the cheapest in the world. There are seven GSM service providers:

    • BSNL[77] GSM Triband
    • AirTel[78] GSM Triband
    • Vodafone[79] GSM Triband
    • AirCel [80]GSM Triband
    • Reliance GSM launced in 2009
    • DoCoMo TATA GSM launched in 2009
    • Idea GSM launched in 2009

    CDMA service providers are Reliance[81],TATA Indicom[82], Virgin Mobile and MTS.
    Starter packs and top-up cards can be picked up from numerous outlets. Note that top-up cards generally only work within the home network: you can't use a Bangalore Airtel top-up card in Chennai, for example. Some providers offer roaming capabilities for that purpose which must be activated first.

    Internet

    There are several internet cafes from where you can access the internet for sending email or uploading your digital photos.

    • Reliance WebWorld, incorporating JavaGreen coffee shops, Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road); TTK Road, Alwarpet, Besant Nagar, L.B.Road, Adyar. The TTK Road branch has free wifi if you use the coffee shop.
    • Sify iway, [83] Several of them in the city

    Cope

    ATMs

    • ABN Amro, Haddows Road, Opp Residency Hotel on GN Chetty Road, Adyar - Sardar Patel Road, TTK Road, next to Citibank branch
    • HSBC, Adyar, Mylapore, Pondy Bazzar, Tidel Park, Kadar Nawaz Khan Road, Annanagar, Rajaji Salai, Kathipara Junction
    • American Express, Near Anand Theatre, Anna Salai (Mount Road)
    • Citibank, Opp Spencers Plaza, Anna Salai (Mount Road); Opp Hotel Parthan, GN Chetty Road, Opposite Citi Centre, Velachery Highway, near Vijaya Nagar Bus terminus, Nanganallur.
    • HDFC Bank, ITC Centre, Anna Salai (Mount Road),Anna Nagar(West); All over Chennai
    • ICICI Bank, All over Chennai
    • Axis Bank, All over Chennai
    • Standard Chartered Bank, Haddows Road
    • State Bank of India, All over Chennai. They have an ATM locator online [84]

    Money changers

    Many hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not have the best rates.

    It is best to change money at the city based money changers than the ones located at the airports. The ones at the airport offer much less for exchanging forex into Indian Rupees and sell forex for a much higher rate than the market rate.

    • American Express, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai
    • Thomas Cook, Spencers Plaza, Anna salai

    Beauty parlors & hair salons

    • Ayush, Anna Nagar (Ph - 26223102/26223446/26203862), Kilpauk (Ph - 52179635/26472298), Mylapore (Ph - 52067071/30907691) - Therapy includes Abhyangam, Abhyangam with Pichu, Abhyangam with local Pizhichil, Abhyangam with Thalam, Udvartanam, Abhyangam with Nasyam, Abhyangam with local Navarakizhi, Muka Lepam
    • Anushka,6,Thyagaraya Road,Pondy Bazaar, T.Nagar, Ph- 52179197
    • Black and White, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar
    • Blue diamond, Near guhan studio, Sardar patel Road Adayar Chennai - 600020
    • Bounce, Ishpahani centre, Gemini, Nungambakkam
    • Chinese Beauty Parlour, gokul arcade basement, adayar
    • Green Trends, 1576, 13th Main Road, Anna Nagar (ph - 26161534); Ashok Nagar (Ph - 52193636); Adyar (Ph - 24451759); Purusawakkam (Ph - 52174414); Taylors Road, Kilpauk (Ph - 26453331); T. Nagar (Ph - 28143886); Velachery (Ph - 22445590); Virugambakkam (Ph - 55511973) - Exotic natural treatments like Strawberry facial, Avocado Butter Massage Facial, Red Banana Facial, Baby-Corn under eye treatment! etc etc
    • Jazzy, North Boag Road, T. Nagar
    • Lakme, Adayar (Ph - 24469730), Alwarpet (Ph - 24662481), Anna Nagar (Ph - 26268841), Ashok Nagar (Ph - 23750207), Kilpauk (Ph - 52179634), Nungambakkam (Ph - 28333050), T. Nagar (Ph - 28155577)
    • Limelight, Off Greams Road
    • Mahesh, Parsn Complex, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam
    • Molly Ann, Gandhinagar, 4th Main Road, Adayar
    • Salon Nayana, GN Chetty Road, T. Nagar, Ph - 28256064
    • Style Mantra- Makeover Concepts, Nungambakkam (Ph - 28280066), R.K. Salai (Ph- 28110707)
    • Dollys beauty parlour, Elcanso Plaza, Egmore, ph: 9840118882
    • Singapore Beauty Parlour for mens, branches in Choolaimedu, Kodambakkam, Anna Nagar, Metha Nagar, Nesapakkam & MGR Nagar.

    Gyms

    • Body Sports Gym-Govindan Road, Saidapet. #9841151091
    • Blue 'Boutique Gym'-329, TTK Road, Alwarpet.#24996045,24996064.
    • FitnessOne'Ascendas(Tharamani), Alwarpet, Kilpauk.
    • Slim Line Gym, Kutchery Road, Mylapore, Branches Adayar
    • Maverick Gym, Indira Nagar, 1st Main Road, Adayar
    • Madams Corner, Sastri Nagar, 1st Main Road, Adayar
    • Talwalkars, Near Khader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam
    • Talwalkars, 23rd Cross Street,Indira Nagar, Adyar
    • O2 Gym [85], Kader Nawaz Road, Nungambakkam, Velachery
    • Soldiers Gym, Triplicane High Road, Triplicane (and on Anna Salai)
    • MSM GYMPadi,Mugappair Road,Chennai-101.
    • GYM PACKAnnanagar West ,(Near S.B.O.A School),Chennai-101
    • DheergayushBlueStar,2nd Avenue,AnnaNagar West,Chennai - 40
    • Body ConceptsTriplicane High Road,Triplicane, Chennai - 40
    • Ateliers Fitness Center37, Velachery Main Road, Vijayanagar, Chennai - 600 042.
    • Fireball Fitness Center Mogappair East,Chennai-37
    • Gold's Gym 17, Kasturi Rangan Road Alwarpet, Chennai- 600018 ,Phone:044 42088201

    Shoe repair

    • Mr. Pronto's, Spencers Plaza (Phase 3), Mount Road.

    Opticians (Spectacles/Sunglasses)

    • C.K Devchand Opticians, Mylapore (Near Devaki Hospital) Chennai Tel - 98846 86959
    • Photo Optic, Perumbur Barraks Road, Near Doveton Clock Tower, Purushwalkkam, Chennai Tel - 26421479, 26428245
    • Mehta Optiks, Perungudi (Opp Perungudi Bus Stand), Chennai

    Post & telegraphs

    The telegraph office on Anna Salai (Mount Road), near higginbothoms accepts letters and parcels up to 8PM with a small late fee. Snail Mail in India is by a Post Card (25Ps), Inland Letter (5Rs) or Envelope (5Rs). The 'Speed Post' facility allows you to send mail more conveniently than a courier service.

    'Telephone Booths' or public telephones in India are available on almost every street usually painted with the letters PCO (Public Call office,local calls), STD (Subscriber Trunk Dialling) and ISD (International Subscriber Dialling). All booths have electronic metering and you pay what's displayed on the meter. (Included in the metering is a nominal INR 2 as service charges)You'll also get a receipt if you insist on one.

    Libraries & Cultural Centres

    • Alliance Française - College Road, Nungambakkam, Phone - 2827 9803/1477. [86]
    • British Council - Anna Salai, Phone - 52050600 Ext 350/351. [87]
    • Connemara Library - Pantheon Road, Egmore, Phone 28193751. [88]
    • Max Mueller Bhavan (German) - Khadar Nawaz Khan Rd., Nungambakkam. [89]

    American Information Resource Center Library (located within the American Consulate - see list of consulates)

    Consulates

    • American Consulate - 220, Anna Salai (Near Gemini Flyover). [90]
    • British Deputy High Commission - 20 Anderson Road, Nungambakkam, tel:+91 44 42192151 (fax: +91 44 42192322, [91]) Open Mon-Fri 0830-1300 and 1330-1600.
    • Canadian Consulate - 18 (Old 24), 3rd floor, YAFA Tower, Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam Chennai 600 006 Tel : +91-44-28330888. Website : [92]
    • Chilean Consulate - Oakland House, 7, Adayar Club Gate Road, Chennai 600028 Tel : +91-44-24340610. Website : [93]
    • Consulate of Finland - 202 Anna Salai, Chennai, Tel: +91-(0)44-2852 4141 (Fax: +91-(0)44-2852 1253, [94]) Open Mon-Fri 1000-1200. [95]
    • German Consulate - 9, Boat Club Road, PO Box 3110, Chennai. Tel : +91-44-24301600. visa at germanconsulatechennai dot org - Open Monday to Friday 08:00 to 11:30 hrs. Website : [96]
    • Japanese Consulate - No.12/1, Cenetoph Road Ist Street,Teynampet, Chennai 600-018 Tel : +91-44-24323860. Website : [97]
    • Malaysian Embassy - Old Location: Off TTK Road, Alwarpet, Behind Park Sheraton moved to new office opp. Loyola College, Nungambakkam
    • Russian Consulate - Santhome High Road(Next to St. Bedes School), Santhome

    Get out

    Even as recently as about ten years ago, the ECR, which was then known as the New Mahabalipuram Road, had nothing much to offer by way of entertainment, except for VGP Golden Beach and Romulus Whittaker's crocodile bank. Further down, the road led you to Mahabalipuram, and that was that.

    The scenario that meets a traveller today is entirely different. The East Coast Road could very well be termed the entertainment highway of Chennai. The road is brand new, flanked by the sea on the left and dotted with amusement spots through the entire stretch. Driving down ECR is an experience. Really!

    You can pick and choose from Amusement Parks, Water Sports Centres, Beaches, Eco Conservation, Cultural and Religious Centres, Restaurants or Resorts to spend your day in. The road caters to practically every type of pastime that one could think about.

    Amusement Parks, Water Sports Centres, Beaches: Prarthana Drive In Theatre: Approximately 10 Kms out of Adyar, this complex offers both a drive in theatre and a drive in restaurant VGP

    Golden Beach: The first amusement park in Chennai, just about 11 Kms away from Adyar. Still a landmark of Chennai, this park offers over 40 odd rides for the fun seeker. The only park with an access to the beach

    Ahaa Water Park: A spot for frolicking in water, the Ahaa Water Park offers a variety of water sports and fun activities. It has a wave generator, which can generate waves of up to 3.5ft.

    Kart Attack: A centre dedicated to fulfilling the speed maniac's desire for thrill in a safe and secure environment. The first go karting centre of Chennai, this has placed Chennai on the go karting map of India, and has been instrumental in creating a few go karting champions also.

    Mayajaal: 100,000 sq.ft of air-conditioned space. A multitude of activities and entertainment avenues, including movie theatres, bowling alleys, video games parlours, multicuisine food courts, and much more. This is Mayajaal, a multidimensional entertainment centre, on par with any entertainment zone found abroad. Open from 11AM to 11PM you can easily spend the entire day here. It offers that much and more.

    MGM Dizzee World: Spread over 27 acres, this theme park offers joy rides, food stalls and other games. It features one of the first roller coaster rides of Chennai, and many of the rides offered could make your hair stand on edge. On the softer side, you have the dashing car drives, and the swimming pool with its water slides. MGM Dizzee World is in Muttukadu next to MGM Beach Resort.

    Little Folks & Dolphin City: Specifically aimed at providing entertainment for the children, this park has a longer history than MGM. Dolphin city was closed [98] after all of it's dolphins and sea lions had died. It is no longer operational now.

    Muttukadu Boat House: Located at 23 Kms from Adayar, this backwater area is maintained by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation, and offers rowing and speedboat riding.

    Eco Conservation, Cultural and Religious Centres: Marundeswarar Temple is the first temple that one comes across on the route. A Shiva temple having a rich sthala purana or location history.

    Sai Baba Temple: Approximately 8.5 kms from Adyar, the temple is peaceful, clean and breezy.

    Jagannathan Temple: An exact replica of the Puri Jagannath Temple. Those who have not been to Puri can take a look at this temple.

    Cholamandalam Artists Village: Set up by a group of artists to serve as a recluse for artists of all genres. This village offers the ambience needed for creativity to flow and is inhabited only by artists. The village offers guesthouse facilities exclusively for artists from elsewhere so that they could also benefit from the environment provided by the place. A must visit for those who appreciate the finer things of life.

    Tiruvidanthai Nithya Kalyana Perumal Koil: As the name denotes, a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara found on East Coast Road.

    Crocodile Bank: The brainchild of Romulus Whittaker, the acknowledged specialist on reptiles, this centre has gained fame as an endeavour for the preservation and propagation of endangered species of crocodiles. The centre also houses a large variety of snakes.[99]

    Dakshinachitra: A venture of Deborah Thiagarajan and her associates from the Madras Craft Foundation. Dakshinachitra is an amazing place to visit, as various kinds of traditional houses have been transported to Chennai from interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and rebuilt here piece by piece.

    Mahabalipuram: The internationally recognized heritage monument of our country, personifying the art and culture of the Pallava kings. One of the most famous temples here is the Shore Temple and is next to the beach. If coming from Chennai ensure you reach this temple between 6AM to 6PM, as it is shut down after 6PM. Also, keep in mind that it takes roughly an hour to reach Mahabalipuram from Chennai.

    Hotels and Restaurants in ECR: The ECR road abounds with restaurants and eating spots, which offer a wide range of cuisines and tasteful ambience. And you can plan your dinner or lunch in one of these hotels. A few of the food outlets are listed below: -Basera -Blue Lagoon -Thanjavur Restaurant -Food Village -Coastal Kitchen -Hot Kitchen


    Beach Resorts: Another convenience that is found in plenty on the East Coast Road is the presence of several comfortable, pleasing, beach resorts, which enable you to take a break, and enjoy a seaside environment. Take your pick from those mentioned below: -Buena Vista -Blue Lagoon -Green Country Resort -Fisherman's Cove -Casuarina Bay

    Drive your way to fun and thrill. But be prepared to pay a small toll fee on the East Coast Road.

    Krishna's Butter Ball
    • Pondicherry — Go on a spiritual trip or volunteer at Auroville - an experimental township with no religion or politics. The drive down the East Coast Road (ECR) is delightful, with lovely beaches all along the way, and on the way you can stop over at...
    • Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) There are several things to see on the way and in Mamallapuram 60 km south of Chennai.
    • Hill stations of Tamil Nadu, including Ooty and Kodaikanal
    • Kanyakumari — Site of the famous Vivekananda memorial.

    Temples

    South India is famous for its temples. Even if you aren't on a pilgrimage, these are worth a visit if you are interested in grand buildings and architecture. There are 33, 000 temples in and around Chennai. Some of them are

    • Parantaka Chola I".
    • Tiruvallur — Approximately 45 Kms from Chennai. It is famous for its Vaidhya Veera raghava Swami Temple and Sri Viswaroopa Panchamukha Anjaneya Swami Ashram which has a 40 ft tall Murti of Hanuman.
    • Tirupati — Approximately 150 Kms from Chennai, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
    • Madurai— Home to the famous Meenakshi temple.
    • Tirunelveli— Home to the TamilNadu's largest Shiva temple , "Nellaiappar Temple".
    • Swamithoppe— Ayya Vaikundar Pathi, religious head quarters of Ayyavazhi.
    • Kanchipuram — Kamakshi temple, seat of one of the Shankaracharyas - the closest Hinduism comes to a spiritual head.
    • Thanjavur — Brihadeswara temple (Big Temple).
    • Tiruvannamalai — Arunachala Temple famous for full moon day girivalam and Deepam
    • Tiruchirapalli — It's situated 350 kms south of chennai.By NH45 Trichy can be reached in 5-6 hrs and it has lot of attractions including the Srirangam temple (Sri Renganathar),Ucchi Pillayar (Rock Fort temple) and the river Cauvery.
    This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!