An almost oxymoronic nature in every aspect of the city, Chennai has everything from old to new architecture, young to old population, orthodox to modern generation, lungis to blazers and obviously, idli-sambar (a curry of mixed vegetables) joints to multi-cuisine restaurants. India’s sixth largest city, Chennai is a metropolis which is growing exponentially. With no bounds to its liveliness, the city is known as the gateway to South India. The deeply rooted culture and the long maintained heritage of the city are astounding to experience. It’s very rare to see such extremes thriving in the same place at the same time; yet Chennai manages to shelter so many temples standing from ages together and at the same time the modern architecture can be observed in the prime locations, which leave you spell bounded. A place full of energy and enthusiasm, Chennai has also become one of the major abodes of the young generation pursuing medical sciences. The city is also developing as the IT hub of Tamil Nadu. With the technology on a high rise on one side, the city of Chennai does not fall behind when it comes to scenic beauty. The marvelous architecture of the temples here is worth a visit. Obviously the beaches cannot go without a mention with the picturesque sunsets and silky sand.
You can pray here
Alive with a cosmopolitan society since ages, this city has places of worship for all religions. The Kapaleeshwar temple in Mylapore is famous for its Dravidian architecture. Renowned as the place where Lord Ram prayed before he fought the war with Ravana, the prime deity in this temple is Lord Shiva. Alongwith the lingam of Lord Shiva, you also find a shrine of the Karpagambal (Goddess of the Wish-Yielding tree) alongside. Another holy place for Hindu worship is the Vadapalani temple which is of prime importance and has Lord Muruga as the deity residing in it. St. Thomas Mount, where St. Thomas was believed to be martyred is known for the beauty surrounding it. Situated on a hillock, the shrine is dedicated to Mother Mary and is encompassed in lush greenery. Apart from this, the St. George Cathedral is important for the Protestant Christians. The Wallajah Masjid is one of the largest mosques and is located in Triplicane.
Beauty and the Beach
It will be a sin if the beaches in Chennai are not mentioned. Marina being the most famous, the other beaches here are Besant nagar and Covelong beaches. Marina beach is the second longest urban natural beach in the world and the longest in India. Running from the St. George Fort in the north to Besant nagar in the south, it is 13km in length. Popular for its jolly atmosphere and rich ecosystems, the beach has always been crowded. Because of the fleets of visitors and ill management, the quality of the beach has deteriorated over the years, despite of this fact; it sees thousands of people daily; may it be jogging, chilling or a romantic evening walk. It also houses the memorials of M.G.R. (M. G. Ramchandran, late actor turned politician) and Anna Durai (founder of DMK). Besant nagar beach, named after the theosophist Annie Besant is famous for the serenity and peace it provides to its visitors.
The city is famous for the various items that you can shop at quiet a good rate, provided you are in the right place. May it be clothes, electronics, jewelry, antiques or books; you find everything here and are sure to get the ‘shop till you drop’ experience. One of the oldest malls, Spencer’s Plaza is a humungous place which houses almost all possible brands in all possible sections. It acts like a place where you find everything that forms a part of your monthly shopping as well as the ones that you want on special occasions. A heaven for all the shopaholics, this place is a must visit. For electronics and books, Richie Street and Moore market are famous in Chennai. And if you are in search of some antiques to decorate your living rooms then Mahabalipuram is the place to visit. Of course, Kanchipuram (Kanjeevaram) is a compulsion when you want pure silk to be flaunted on your occasions. Pondy Bazaar in T. nagar has huge, multi-storey malls which are especially symbolic to Chennai, where you can shop for jewelry, silk and clothes.
Pamper your taste-buds
Even if it’s a well-established fact, that South India is famous for its idli-wada-sambar and dosa, people tend to miss out on a lot of things. Chennai can provide you with a vernacular exposure to what South India can serve you in its platter. With the coffee from Hotchips really popular, you see flocks of youngsters chilling out in the evenings at Hotchips. The chutneys that you taste out here are surely going to linger on your tongue for a while. With meals, both veg and non-veg, Chennai tickles your taste buds and shows its typical extremity by providing you with lip-smacking rich Chettinad (vegetables or chicken made in finely ground spices and condiments) to the deliciously sweet payasam (a sweet preparation of rice cooked in milk). You also find the onion samosas in every nook and corner of Chennai, which are equally tasty.
Although a place full of things that seem to be opposite in nature, the people here somehow bind it all together and maintain the grace of this place. With a smile on the face and hands folded, Chennai always says ‘Vanakkam’ to its tourists and makes your brief outing a warm and joyful one.