Chennai, the cultural capital of Southern India is a destination that has everything, starting from the rich culture to the thousand-year-old history. It is a great place to learn more about India and it will be heaven to all those history buffs out there. There are many temples, churches, museums and other significant monuments to visit. It can also be fun when you add a trip to beaches, zoos and local markets of the city. So, what are you waiting for? Book your flights through Cathay Pacific and explore the 10 attractions listed below once you get there!
- Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chennai, and it is one of the most visited temples in India. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kapaleeswarar and you can see people worshipping the ‘lingam’. The Dravidian architecture that dates back to the 7th century adorns the temple and you can see a beautifully done gopuram at a height of 40 meters in the temple complex. Apart from that, you can see cultural performances and pujas in the temple, especially in the evening.
- San Thome Church
San Thome Church is one of the most popular Roman Catholic Basilica in the city of Chennai and also, in the world. It is one of the three basilicas in the world that has been constructed over a tomb of one of the apostles of Jesus. The San Thome Church gets its name because the tomb belongs to apostle Saint Thomas. It was built in 1523 by the Portuguese and later in the 19th century, it was rebuilt by the British, in Neo-Gothic architectural style while giving the status of a cathedral.
- Vandalur Zoo
The Vandalur Zoo is the largest zoological park in India and therefore if you are travelling to Chennai with kids you should not skip this. It was established as the first public zoo in 1855 and you can see animals in their natural habitats. Today, it provides a home to more than 1200 animal species including 46 species that are endangered. You can see animals like lions, tigers, sambar deers, wolves, zebras, chimpanzees, sloth bears, turtles, elephants, macaws, pelicans, pythons, crocodiles and other animals in the Vandalur Zoo. Make sure to visit early to avoid the long queues.
- The Government Museum
The Government Museum, which is also known as the Madras Museum is the oldest and second-largest museum in India. Believe it or not, it is also the tenth oldest museum in the world. So, you history buffs visiting the museum can alone go crazy for that fact. The Government Museum was established in 1851 to display the history and the culture of India. Today, you can see many exhibits from all over the world too. It is home to the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside Europe. and you can also see other impressive displays like puppets, bronze statues of Hindu gods, animal statues, weaponry and a children’s museum.
- Marina Beach
No trip to Chennai is complete if you miss visiting the Marina Beach. This is because Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the world, going for 12 kilometres from Beasant Nagar to Fort St. George in the north. There are many things to be enjoyed in Marina Beach if you visit in the evening hours. You can stroll along the beach at the time of sunset while looking to buy something from the local vendors on the beachside. They sell almost everything and it is a great opportunity to buy handmade souvenirs. If you are with kids, you can let them play ball on the beach, fly kites or ride a pony. Pony rides are available for a little extra cost.
- Fort St. George
Fort St. George is another iconic landmark in Chennai, and it is proof that the British controlled the city of Chennai and developed it into a city. It was the British capital in South India back in the 16th century. It has got its name from Britain’s patron saint, St. George and it has been used as the seat of Tamil Nadu since the independence from British. The fort is quite impressive because of its white coloured building and the blue colour pillars. You can also visit the Fort’s Museum which includes many portraits of the Madras Governor.
- St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is the first Anglican church located in Chennai and it is located the Fort St George. It is also known as the oldest building with British architecture and therefore, it is both historically and a religiously significant church in the city. The constructions of the church began in 1678 and were completed in 1680 to also be the only bomb-proof building in Chennai at the time.
- Guindy National Park
One of the must-visit attractions in Chennai if you are visiting with kids is Guindy National Park. It is one of the smallest national parks in India but provides a home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna. The green space is very soothing for a pleasant stroll in the evening hours and you can add to the excitement by watching animals like jackals, sloth bears, spotter deer, hyenas, star tortoises, crocodiles, lizards and much more. It is also home to 130 species of birds, so it is a great place for bird watching excursions.
- T Nagar Shopping District
T Nagar Shopping District is the place you should go to in Chennai if you want to take back souvenirs to your loved ones back home. That being said, this shopping destination is a favourite of locals too, and you will find it to be a little more crowded than the normal markets. A suggestion would be to avoid visiting T Nagar Shopping District in the New Year, Thai Pongal Day or during any other Hindu festival. You can buy locally made items here starting from high-quality silk saris, handbags, shoes and much more!
- The Broken Bridge
The Broken Bridge, as the name suggests, is a bridge that is broken and you cannot go anywhere if you are here. But it is a popular place among couples as the area is very picturesque and peaceful. You can also watch an incredible sunrise or a sunset here. This bridge was built in 1967 to connect to villages to assist fishermen in fishing but unfortunately, it had collapsed due to water currents of the river in 1977.