Tourist Spots

THEME PARKS

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Tambaram Offers among other amusements hi-tech ones like the space shuttle, wave pool, white water, flume ride, Kiddies Kingdom.

MGM “Dizzle World” Beach Resort

24 km towards Mahabalipuram,(Near Muttukadu). Has amusement park, unique water sports.

Prime Time

Annanagar, extravagant indoor amusement park, especially for children packed with bumper carries, playpens and all sorts of new games.

Dash ‘N Splash

30 Kms from Central Station. South India’s exclusive water park. Has wave spiral and free fall slides and flumes from the height of 12ft to 35ft.

VGP Golden Beach

30 Kms from Chennai. A popular beach resort and amusement park filled with children’s games, parks and seaside restaurant.

BEACHES

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Marina Beach

The city’s Marina Beach, bordered by gardens, lies just to the South of the War Memorial. It is claimed to be the second largest in the world, about 13 km.

Covelong

For a balmy holiday, the fishing village of Covelong has an excellent stretch of beach. This lies 55 km en route to Mamallapuram which is 60 km from Madras and is a breathtaking seaside haven ideal for a relaxing holiday.

Elliots Beach

Besantnagar. Located in a more quiet and sedate ambience, ideal for sunset strolls.

MUSEUMS

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Dev Centre for Musical Instruments

Mylapore. An exquisite collection of ancient and modern musical instruments, both original and prototype can be found here.

Fort Museum

Beach road. An exclusive museum which preserves relics of the British era including original correspondence of those times.

National Art Gallery and Museum

Built in 1906, the Chennai National Art Gallery was originally intended to be a memorial to Queen Victoria. An impressive central dome flanked a series of smaller domes supported by pillars on each side. After independence, it became an art Gallery in 1951. It has bronze exhibits dating from 10th to 13th centuries and paintings of Rajasthani and Mughals of the 17th century. Established in 1857, the museum can justify its claim to being one of India’s best. There are large sectors devoted to Archaeology, Anthropology, Geology, Numismatics, Zoology and Botany along with comprehensive collections of arms and armour.

PARKS AND ZOO

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary

85 Kms south of Madras is the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary, which is one of the major ones in India. Every year during the rainy season an average of 1,00,000 birds come here. Bird watching is best early morning or in the evening Watching tower is available.

Children’s Park

On Sardar Patel Road, find the entrance to the Children’s Park on the left when coming from Adyar. The main attractions of the Park are the elephant and pony rides.

Snake Park

Adjacent Childrens’ park is the city’s interesting snake park. The snake park houses a vast variety of reptiles, ranging from the dark deadly ‘King Cobra’ ‘Banded’ Krait’ to puff adders’, vipers, pythons and alligators.

Crocodile Park

At 42 km point from Chennai on the way to Mahabalipuram is the Crocodile Bank, run by Romulve Whittaker. This is a farm where several species of Indian and African Crocodiles and alligators are bred in’ captivity.

Anna Zoological Park

30 Kms south of Madras. Large numbers of different species of animals are kept in large open enclosures. The kids can have the jolly ride on the toy train.

TEMPLES

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Parthasarathy Temple

Located at Triplicane High Road is the large Sri Parthasarathy Temple. This Hindu Temple, devoted to Lord Krishna, was built in the 8th Century by Pallava King and has been ornately renovated since.

Ashtalakshmi Temple

It is a highly revered shrine situated in Besant Nagar, on the shores of Bay of Bengal. The architecture of the temple is unique, with the deities installed in four levels. It looks different than the other South Indian temples as it a modern construction, less than 25 years old.

Kapaleeswarar Temple

This Hindu temple is little more than 350 years old, is considered by Hindus to be one of the most sacred Hindu, sites in Southern Part of India.

Vaikunthaperumal Temple

This important temple was built by the Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavalmalla in the 7th Century. Lord Vishnu is depicted in sitting reclining and standing poses.

Kamakshi Amman Temple

This temple, built by the Chola Kings in the 14th century, is remarkable for its ornate gold-plated gopuram. Dedicated to the goddess Parvati, it is one of the three holy places of her worship in India.

Ekambareswarar Temple

This ancient temple of Kancheepuram is surrounded by a huge stone wall built in the early 16th Century during the days of the Vijaynagar Empire. Dedicated to Lord Siva, the temple has the enclosures and its 1000 pillared hass is the epitome of the final development of Dravidian temple architecture.

Kailasanathar Temple

Constructed from sandstone in the 8th century by King Rajasimha and compiled by his son, Mahendra, this temple is noted for its intricate and prolific sculptures. The main shrine is surrounded by 58 smaller shrines.

Varadarajaswamy Temple

Also known as the Devarajaswamy Temple, this massive structure is noted for its shine which tops a rock in the shape of an elephant. The temple has two high towers, one in the east and the other in the west. The 1000 pillared hall has interesting and highly detailed sculptures. Besides being the Golden City of Temples, the city produces silks that are renowned for their colours, finish and durability.

MEMORIALS

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Anna Square

At the northern end of the Marina, on Kamarajar Salai is Anna Square. This is the burial place of a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Dr C.N. Armadurai. It is located in the centre of a beautiful park, the entrance to which is a spectacular contemporary-style arch in the shape of twin converging elephant tusks.

MGR Memorial

Beach road. Located on the Marina Beach adjacent to Anna Square. Built on the site where M.G.Ramachandran, former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu was buried.

Rajiv Gandhi Memorial

Sriperumbudur. The place was Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. Also the birthplace of Sri Ramanuja, the Vaishnavite saint.

Victory War Memorial

Adjacent to the Fort St. George on the south is the War Memorial, which housed the coastal battery and was formerly called ‘Cupid’s Bow the Victory was Memorial honours those who have laid down their lives for their country since the First World War.

Rajaji, Gandhi and Kamaraj Memorials

Close to children’s park are the memorial buildings, the Rajaji Memorial, the Gandhi Mandapam Memorial and Kamaraj Memorials. The octogonal-shaped building commemorates India’s first Indian born Governor Genera, the astute Tamilnadu’s politician and stateman C.Rajagopaichari. Only a short distance further is the Gandhiji Memorial. Next to Gandhiji commemorates one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most ardent stalwarts K.Kamaraj, a man revered in Tamilnadu for his part in the fight for freedom.

Valluvar Kottam

The ValluvarKottam, dedicated to the memory of the Tamil Saint Philosopher and poet Thiruvalluvar, is the largest auditorium in Asia. It is located at the junction of Kodampakkam High Road and Valluvar Kottam Road.

OTHER PLACES

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The Theosophical Society

The International Headquarters of the Theosophical Society is in Adyar. It is more than 120 hectares of gardens, the World Headquarters of the Theosophical Society is a splendid old building surrounded by shrines to all the world’s great religious faiths.

Madras University

Just opposite to Anna Square is Madras University. Its ground and buildings are examples of the Indo-lslamic style of architecture which became popular with the British architects in the second half of the 19th Century. The ‘Senate House’ across the University is perhaps the best example of this style.

Fort St. George

Fort St. George, on Rajaji Salai, completed by the British in 1640. Fort St. George is presently used as the offices of the Tamilnadu Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. The Fort contains St. Mary’s Church, built around 1680. Its not only India’s first Protestant Church but also the oldest Anglican church.

MGR Film City

A recently built place, especially for the thriving film industry in Chennai. It has many film studios and a film school. There is a nominal entrance fee.

Kalakshetra

Thiruvanmiyur. A renewed school for learning arts and crafts, Kalakshetra was founded in 1936 by Rukmini Devi Arundale. Adhering to the Indian system of education through the Gurukulam, the students and their teachers live within the campus so as to have a truly rewarding experience.

Birla Planetarium

Kotturpuram Located in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre, the Birla Planetarium presents audiovisual programmes on astronomy. A must for students and lovers of astronomy.

BEYOND CITY

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Madurai

It is one of the oldest towns in South India. This is the abode of goddess Meenakshi, the consort of Lord Sundereswarar (Shiva). Legend has it, that when a Pandya king founded the town of Madurai some thousands of years ago, Lord Shiva was present. And the nectar falling off his hair gave the town its name of Madurai or city of nectar.

Tiruchirapalli

Precariously perched atop a massive outcrop of rock that rises abruptly out of the flat surrounding plain is the famous Rock Fort at Tiruchirapalli. Set in the middle of the town on the bank of the river Cauvery, is visible for miles around and it. A citadel of the Chola kings in the Sangam period (2 BC to 2 AD) the Rock Fort has had a long and chequered history.

Thanjavur

Just 58 km away lies Thanjavur, once the capital of the Chola empire which is referred to as the “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu”. Nearly a thousand years ago around the 11th century, Thanjavur was the capital of a powerful dynasty, the imperial Cholas whose empire extended beyond South India and Sri Lanka to the kingdoms of South-East Asia. The Chola kings used their wealth to encourage threats and built innumerable temples and shrines to ornament their land.

Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram, 60 km, south of Madras is a World Heritage centre famed for the impressive rock-cut temples and a beach that allures fun seekers by the thousands.

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram, 71 km, from Madras is an impressive temple town. It is famous worldwide for Kanchipuram hand-woven silk and cotton fabrics, woven in contrasting colours, traditional motifs and gold threads. Kanchipuram, once known as the city of a thousand temples, today has around 126 temples. It is the among the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus.

Palani

Palani, a pilgrim spot atop a hill dedicated to Lord Subramanium, is easily accessible from here.

Pondicherry

Lying 162 km south of Madras, this town has an imminent French influence. It is where the famous philosopher Sri Aurobindo once lived. For sightseeing, interesting places include churches, museum, beach, the Aurobindo Ashram, and Auroville. Close by lies Chidambaram, an ancient Chola temple with a gilded roof, tall gopurams and a thousand pillared hall. This is the most venerated shrine of Lord Shiva represented here as Nataraja, the cosmic dancer. Point Calimere wildlife sanctuary lies close by. The mangrove forests of Pichavaram, an ideal spot for boating, fishing and water sports are also nearby.

Rameswaram

Rameswaram lies 176 km from Madurai. This conch shaped island in the Gulf of Mannar is a holy spot for Hindus. The magnificent Ramanathaswamy temple is noted for its longest corridors in the country, extending over a length of 1220 m long with its marvellous carved pillars. Those who visit here bathe in the sacred waters of Agaitheertam, a stretch of calm sea near the temple.

Kanyakumari

Proceed to Kanyakumari, the land’s end of India to view the spectacular sunrise and sunset at the beach. The temple, Vivekananda Rock and Gandhi Mandap are among the places of interest.