“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.” – Bill Bryson
Chennai, the land of heritage and culture, counted as one of the metros of India has a lot to unfold to its visitors. The city situated on the East Coast of India every day welcomes many visitors ranging from the local public to the national and international tourists. Here is a subtle attempt to help wanderers explore the beauty of the place. So the list of 20 most amazing places to visit in Chennai follows:
1. Anna Centenary Library
Built on 8 acres, ACL is one of the largest libraries in Asia. It is a 9-floor library house which was built at a cost of Rs 1,720 million. This gigantic library has 6 lakhs printed Books and 60 thousand non books materials such as e-books and CDs in various discipline. The average number of people visiting the library is more than 25,000 on monthly basis.
2. Arignar Anna Zoological Park or Vandalur Zoo
Vandalur zoo is famed as one of the biggest zoo in south-east Asia, it is a modern zoo which sprawls around 1260 acres. It was founded in 1855 and located 32 km away on the outskirts of Chennai. Attractions and facilities like Prehistoric animal park, Nocturnal animals house, Butterfly house, Insectariums complex, Zoo school, Children’s park, Gardens, Lawns, Interpretation center, Rest area etc. makes it an amazing place to visit.
3. Birla Planetarium
Built in 1988, Birla planetarium is a place that one should not miss. It provides a virtual tour of the night sky. It holds cosmic shows on a specially perforated aluminum dome. If you want to have a feeling of the eternal, then this is the right place to visit.
4. Broken Bridge
Believed locally as a haunted site, Broken Bridge is a delightful place to visit early morning and see the sunrise. Built in 1960’s to help fishermen connect, the bridge collapsed partially in 1977 due to strong current of the river. It is also believed to be a hub of illegal activities after the sun sets. It’s mystery makes it a must-visit place.
At a distance of 21 km towards the south of Chennai, there lies a mesmerizing heritage center which inbounds in itself the rich tradition and culture of the 4 south Indian state namely Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. It provides a recreational soul to the artists and students. For art lovers, this place can be considered as Heaven.
6. Edward Elliot Beach
Named after Edward Elliot, Governor of Madras, Elliot’s beach also known as ‘Besant Nagar Beach’, forms the end-point of Marina beach shore. A paradise for beach enthusiasts, it is a personification of calmness and beauty provides unforgettable experiences to all its visitors. It is among the favorite hangout place for young locals who look for some secluded time.
7. Express Avenue
Built on 10-acre site inside the historic Indian Express Estate, Express Avenue mall is the perfect blend of shopping, business and leisure. The mall consists of various stand-alone stores, retail giants like Pantaloons and big bazaar, 25 food counters of different cuisines, 8-screen multiplex and a state of the art gaming arcade.
8. Government State Museum, Egmore
The museum is the second oldest museum after Indian Museum in Kolkata. Started in 1851, the museum has 6 separate buildings exhibiting various antiquities in 46 galleries. Different items on display are on subjects like art, archeology, anthropology and some more. The museum has an exclusive collection of around 2000 Indian bronzes and Amaravathi marbles.
9. Guindy National Park
An extension of the Raj Bhavan, Guindy National Park represents the rich flora and fauna of Chennai amidst its busy city culture. Spread around 5 sq. km, the conservation of both ex-situ and in-situ is an added flavor. It boasts of the presence of certain exotic species like blackbucks and spotted deers.
10. Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Located in Mylapore, Chennai this famous temple was built in 7th century CE. A perfect Dravidian architecture of the temple makes it a compulsory visit. Moreover, the form of Goddess Parvathi is called Karpagambal- “Goddess of wish-yielding Tree”.
11. M. A. Chidambaram Cricket Stadium, Chepauk
Named after former President of BCCI, M. A. Chidambaram, the stadium is famous as the oldest continuously used cricket stadium in the country. The stadium was established in 1916. The first international match was hosted in Feb, 1934. It is the home ground of the Tamil Nadu cricket team and the most successful Indian Premier League team Chennai Super Kings.
12. Madras Light House
Being one of the 13 lighthouses identified as heritage centers, Madras Light House stands tall carrying the pride of Madras on the eastern coast. The viewing gallery on the 9th floor of the lighthouse (only floor opened for public) is a must visit. It portrays the maritime history of the pre-independence era.
Hailed by our ancestors for being the busy seaport Mahabalipuram was the launch pad for Indian traders who sailed to South East Asian countries. The group of monuments has been classified by UNESCO as the World Heritage Site. The rock carved beauties include ‘Rathas’, ‘Mandapas’, Giant open-air reliefs and Shore temple with numerous sculptures of Shiva. This heritage site is located around 60 km south of Chennai.
14. Marina beach
Characterized by clean blue sea, golden sand and countless number of local mobile stalls Marina beach holds a record of being the longest beach in Asia and second longest beach in the world. It runs as long as 12 kms on the east coast touching the mighty Bay of Bengal. There are numerous points of attraction for children and adults, which gives a rich view of our culture and sooth our taste buds.
Adding to the list of largest and biggest, Mayajaal, located on the East Coast Road is the second largest multiplex in Asia. The USPs are 30,000 sq. ft. shopping mall, 16-screen multiplex, sports complex which hosted ICL matches and a 40 room resort. It is a one stop entertainment spot of people of all age groups.
16. Parthasarathy Temple
Built in 8th century, this is one of the ancient temples in India. The temple is glorified by Divya Prabhandha, 4000 divine Tamil verses which creates positive vibes in the temple. Anyone who visits this temple for sure gets a feel of the eternal cosmos and feels the touch of the almighty.
17. Phoenix Market City
Considered as the biggest shopping mall in Chennai, Phoenix has a profile of worldwide brands. Right from shopping to entertainment it makes the weekend an enjoyably and engaging one. A movie watch in Luxe Cinemas is a must.
18. Queens Land
Situated in Poonamallee, Chennai, this theme park covers over 70 acres. It has a strong profile of 51 rides in total. After a busy city travel, this theme park gives some room for family enjoyment at the end of the day. It is preferred over other theme parks which is attributed to its diverse profile of rides and games.
19. Vadapalani Murugan temple
Founded by Annaswami Nayakar, a devotee of Muruga, the temple was built around 125 years ago and is dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is one of the most visited temples mostly due to patronage of cinema stars. Sannidhis in the vast courtyard of Gods and Goddesses like Varasiddhi Vinayaka, Chokkanathar, Meenakshi Amman, Kali, Bhairava, Shanmuga with Valli and Devasena add to the beauty of the ambiance.
20. VGP Golden Beach
Located on the coast of Bay of Bengal, VGP Golden Beach is one of the major attractions in Chennai which brings the touch and feel of the junction between land and water of the earth. The calm and clean ambiance of this beach makes one to forget all the chaos of life. The best time to visit the beach is during the evening so that we can witness a beautiful sunset.
Apart from these tourist places, Chennai is also known for its people who carry forward the classically rich and traditional Tamil culture. The aroma of Jasmine garlands embraces the city throughout the day with a pride view of the Bay of Bengal in the east makes a visitor to fall in love with this beautiful city.