|Annai Velankani Church||In Besant Nagar, Near Elliot's beach|
|Christ the King Church||Loyola college campus|
|St. Mary’s Church||At fort St.George|
|San Thom Cathedral Basilica||Towards the south of Marina beach|
|Sri Parthesarthy Temple||Triplicane, near marina beach|
|Kapaliswarar Temple||On the seashore at Mylapore|
|Ashtalakshmi Temple||12Km from Chennai towards Eliot's beach|
|Ayyappan temple||Raja Annamalaipuram|
|Wallajah Mosque||Janbazar area of Triplicane,along Wallajah road|
|Thousand Light Mosque||Anna Selai|
|Elliot Beach||Besant nagar, South of Marina beach|
|Marina Beach||Eastern side of Chennai, Along the bay of Bengal|
|Breezy Beach||Valmiki nagar, Chennai|
|Fort St. George||Rajaji Salai,Eastern side of the city along bay of Bengal|
|Fort Museum||In the premises of the fort of St. George|
|Valluvar Kottam||At the intersection of the Kodanbakam High road and the village road|
|Vivekananda House (Ice House)||Marina beach road|
|Connemara Library||Pantheon road, Egmore|
|National Art Gallery (Victoria Memorial Hall)||Egmore|
|Guindy National Park||Mambalam next to Raj Bhavan|
|Snake Park||Near the National Park|
|Anna Zoological Park||Kancheepuram|
|Kalakshetra||Near the Theosophical Society|
Religious places in Chennai
Annai Velankani Church
The Annai Velankani Church is located at the Elliot’s Beach. It is dedicated to Mother Mary. The Mother of Jesus Christ fondly referred to as Annai Velankani by the Tamil. The architectural pattern of the Church will strongly remind one of the Basilica of Our Lady of Health, Velankani. It shares the same Indo-Gothic base of structural pattern. Hundreds of devotees throng this famous shrine from all over the world.
Christ the King Church
Situated in the Loyola College Campus, the Christ the King Church was commissioned to be built by a French Clergyman and designed by an Indian architect. Hence, it marks a strange amalgamation of Gothic and Indian styles of architecture. Some of such typical Gothic features include stained glass windows; an awe-inspiring edifice has beautiful pointed arches, ribbed vaults, rose windows, three-aisled nave and flying buttresses. Surprisingly, S. A Gnanpragasam Pillai, the architect of the Church and the Loyola Campus did not have any formal training in Civil Engineering or architecture.
St. Mary’s Church
This Church is the last surviving specimen of the oldest British architecture in India. The Church was consecrated in 1680 and houses several outstanding examples of workmanship of considerable historic as well as of aesthetic value. The St. Mary’s Church is also probably the oldest Anglican Church in Asia.
San Thom Cathedral Basilica
This constitutes one of the famous landmarks of Chennai and is one of the three basilicas in the world to be built over the tombs of Christ’s Apostles. This Basilica marks the burial spot of St. Thomas, an apostle of Christ, who was buried in this chapel. The present structure of the Church was built by the first Bishop of Mylapore, Dom Henriques Reed de Silva in 1898. The cityscape of Chennai is adorned with the twin spires that rise up to 55meters.
Sri Parthesarthy Temple
Parthasarthy is a name given to Lord Krishna, who as the Sarathi(charioteer) of Arjuna (partha). This ancient temple at Triplicane, near the Marina Beach is one of the 108 sacred shrines of Lord Vishnu. The present structure is said to be about 1500 years old, which makes it the oldest temple structure in the city
The Kapaliswarar Temple is an 8th century shrine dedicated to Arulmigu Kapaliswarar, an incarnation of lord Shiva. This is the biggest temple in Chennai and was consecrated by the Pallavas. Further additions and renovations were made during the reign of the Chola dynasty, the Pandyas and the Vijayanagara Kings. The temple displays a beautiful shrine depicting a typical Dravidian style of architecture, with beautiful Gopurams, mandapams and tank. The seven-storied gopuram (tower) over the main entrance rises to a height of 37 meters.
Goddess Mahalakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity. This temple dedicated to the deity is a 12km drive from the main city of Chennai to the peripheral areas of the Eliot’s Beach. It houses Ashta, or eight different incarnations of the Goddess.
Situated on the shores of bay of Bengal, this is a highly revered temple amongst the Hindus. The temple complex consists of a series of five tiers with some prolific and beautiful stone carvings. The images of its principal deities, Mahavishnu and his consort Mahalakshmi are located on the second tier. The first tiers have the images of Aadhilaksmi, Dhaanyalakshmi and Dhairyalakshmi
Dusshera, Diwali and Pongal are the occasions when this serene temple comes alive with the chants of the devotees. The beautiful blue of the sea and the golden sands enliven the atmosphere, making the religious experience much more enriched and defined.
The Ayyappan Temple, located in Raja Annamalaipuram is one of the major pilgrim centers of Tamil Nadu. Built along the lines of the Kerala style of architecture, the temple would strongly remind one of the original Ayyappan temple at Sabarimala. The temple priests are Keralites who conduct puja in the traditional Keralite fashion. Mandala Puja is the main festival when devotees throng to the temple to offer prayers. The temple comes alive with music performances, religious discourses and cultural events during festivals and other important days. The temple has sub-shrines dedicated to Sri Maha Ganapathi, Sri Nagaraja, Sri Maligaipurathu Amman (Manja Matha), and other "Parivara Devatas".
This mosque was built by Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nawab of Carnatic in 1795. It is flanked by two minarets and a golden dome, making it magnificent to look at. Nearby the Mosque are the tombs of the former Nawabs of Carnatic.
Thousand Light Mosque
This is a Shia Muslim Mosque built by the members of the Wallajah Dynasty, near the Anna flyover in the 19th century. The shrine gets its name from the thousand lamps that used to be lit at twilight in the old Mosque. The mosque encloses a beautiful library, a burial ground and convenient guesthouses. This is a very important religious place for Muslims. Lots of tourists visit this Mosque to offer prayers as well as to see the amazing minarets and illumination
The Elliot Beach is located in Besant Nagar, Adyar. A compared to the hustle and bustle of its elder cousin, the Marina beach, it is far quieter, cleaner and reposeful. Adding to the natural beauty of the beach are the Velankanni Church and Ashtalaxmi Temple. Though the quotient of entertainment in this beach is much less, the Elliot Beach, popularly known as ‘Bessie’ by the locals is an ideal place for long walks and soaking up the sun bathed sand. The beach is a popular hangout for youngsters by evening and night. Vendors and food stalls do good business through the day. Tantalize your palate with some of the yummy mouth-watering South Indian snacks and dishes which are available here at the fast food joints and small stores
Stretching over 13km from the Fort of St. George to Mahabalipuram, the famous Marina Beach is said to be the longest beach in Asia. If you have a pre-conceived image of a sea in mind, Marina Beach will surely make you re-define your conception.
White surf, golden sand and blue skies provides the perfect backdrop that the Marina Beach required. With beautiful statues, historic buildings and monumental edifices adorning the front of the beach, the Marina Beach is a hotspot for all age groups. The aquarium and swimming pool further contribute to the majesty and thrill of the beach.
The Marina Beach is also a haven for those who relish street food. The vendors and small stalls along the shore sell their wares all through the day from shells and baubles to kites and knick knacks. While the morning observes people venturing into the waves, the dawn and dusk fills the shoreline with joggers and other fitness enthusiasts. Marina beach therefore is a must-see for all the tourists to Chennai.
Located in the Valmiki nagar area of Chennai, the Breezy Beach offers the tourists an opportunity to explore the quieter side of nature. Being much less commercialized than the Elliot of the Marina Beach, the Breezy beach is mostly preferred by those who are in the look out of a laidback vacation. Evenings are very pleasant and breezy here; Lots of tourists are attracted towards this beach. This beach is less polluted and environment friendly.
Historical places in Chennai
Fort St. George
Situated on the eastern side of the city on the banks of the Bay of Bengal, this fort is aspired by all the politicians as it houses the Legislative Assembly and the Secretariat. This beautiful edifice is one of the last and perhaps the most magnificent remnants of the British East India Company. Built under the direct supervision of Andrew Cogon in 1640, this Fort also houses St. Mary’s church, the oldest Anglican Church in India, and a fort Museum. This Fort apart from being an important landmark in the city is also considered to be the birthplace of the Indian Army. The tombstones in the courtyard of the Fort also strongly remind one of the age-old British empire that had ruled in the city for over 300 years.
Established in 1948, this Museum is built inside the precincts of the Fort of St. George. It is under the management of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and showcases a number of important arms, uniforms, medals, porcelains, coins, manuscripts, paintings, prints and textiles of East India Company, Indo French and Odeyars of Mysore of the British, Indo-French East India Company as well as the Muslim Raj. A mammoth statue of Lord Cornwallis further adds to the grandeur and a musty air of antiquity inside the Fort.
Thiruvalluvar was one of the most renowned Tamil poet and sage. Valluvar Kottam is a spectacular monument built in the memory of this famous philosopher and poet. It was built in 1976 and is a replica of the temple chariot in Thiruvarur. There are three levels to this monument- the lower level has a mandapam, or an auditorium with a seating capacity of 4000, the mid level consists of a balcony and the third flaunts a 1.5meters high Kalamkari painted dome that crowns the massive 2700 ton sculpted granite chariot.
Vivekananda House (Ice House)
The Vivekananda House is a must see for the admirers of the sage. It is said that Swamiji had stayed in this house for 6 weeks in the year 1900. The house preserves the bedroom where he stayed and wrote, the bed in which he slept in, the kitchen where he cooked his frugal meal and the garden where he played with the children. These physical testimonies of the life and existence of the sage makes him come alive in the eyes of his disciples.
The Connemara Public Library is one of the legendary libraries of the country. It is one of the four ‘deposit libraries’ in India which entitles them to a copy of every publication in India. It was established in 1896 and had been named after Lord Connemara, the then Governor of Madras Presidency. The main highlights of the Library are an ever-increasing collection of half a million books, periodical halls, reference and video rooms, an entire floor for books of various Indian languages and a Braille Library. This library has been a UN depository center since 1956. This, Ocean of Knowledge, is a price worthy place for historians and literature enthusiasts.
National Art Gallery (Victoria Memorial Hall)
The National Art Gallery is located in the Pantheon complex in Egmore. It is a pink sandstone building that was built in the Jaipuri-Jaina style. The gallery contains various traditions of Indian painting including the Rajput and Mughal schools. It has 11th and 12th century Indian handicrafts, 17th century Deccan paintings, 16th to 18th century Mughal and Rajasthani paintings and 10th and 13th century bronzes.
Guindy National Park
Located near Raj Bhawan, in the Guindy Taluk of Mambalam, the Guindy National Park is the smallest one in the country and it stretches over an area of 270 acres. Though it shelters a large number of fauna like spotted deer, civet cat, jackal etc, this National Park is particularly home to black buck, an endangered species that is fast disappearing from the surface of the earth. The park also shelters varieties of birds such as black winged kite, honey buzzard and pariah kite.
Located near the National park, this Snake Park is the pioneer of its kind in the country. Snake demonstrations are also held every hour in a pit near the entrance.
Anna Zoological Park
Situated on the outskirts of Chennai, the Anna Zoological Park is one of the biggest in South-East Asia. It has been created out of the Reserve forests of Vandalur to the west of Chennai. The zoo occupies the slope of a hill and provides shelter to more than 170 species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Lion safaris, elephant rides and battery-operated vehicles take you around the park.
Kalakshetra, or the ‘Temple of Art’ is one of the most important schools of classical Indian music and dance. It is situated near the Theosophical Society and was started in 1936, by the Bharatnattyam maestro, Rukmini Devi Arundale. Weaving and hand-woven textiles are also the specialized subjects of study at this center.