Chennai is the biggest metro city in southern India. It is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This city was born when the city of Madras was renamed Chennai in 1997. One of the oldest cities in India, it has a history that dates back to over 350 years. It is a perfect blend of the traditional and the modern. Thus, this is a city where traditions of olden days walk hand in hand with the latest technology.
Chennai is very famous for its culture, hospitality, and architecture. This ranges from the 2000 year old temples to buildings from the British Raj. There is a hillock named St. Thomas mount near Chennai airport. St. Thomas, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, attained martyrdom here where he was stoned to death. Nonetheless, this is a site that is thronged by people from all religions. A shrine has been built over the exact location where he breathed his last.
Chennai is also a city of beaches and boasts of the world’s second longest beach. The city’s food culture is vibrant with a wide variety of foods, including the uniquely south Indian filter coffee.
Chennai is on the fast track of development as well. Its expanding metro rail network offers great connectivity within the city. The automotive factories, software companies, the flourishing hospitality sector, etc mark it out as a city of the future.
Chennai International Airport is well connected to all major cities in the world through connecting flights. The city is also the nerve centre of the railways in south India. In particular, the romance of the railways can be experienced with a journey by train to a tourist destination of one’s choice.
Chennai’s weather is typical tropical and there are only two seasons. Summer extends from April to September. The monsoon season begins in October and the city sees heavy rainfall in October and November. The weather in the city is best from December to March. Temperatures in the city range from a low of 34-36 degrees Celsius in December to a high of 42-44 degrees Celsius in May. Nonetheless, evenings are balmy even during the height of summer because of the sea breeze. In spite of the temperature, the city is a lovely place to experience throughout the year.
Mahabalipuram, which is about 50 km from Chennai, is a UNESCO certified world heritage site. The drive to Mahabalipuram is down the scenic East Coast Road, which hugs the beach all the way. The Madras Crocodile Bank, which lies midway between Chennai and Mahabalipuram, is truly awe inspiring. It boasts of having rescued a few crocodilian species from the brink of extinction. Snake venom is also extracted in its premises for the purpose of manufacturing antivenin and for research. Seasoned “Irula” snake catchers extract venom from highly venomous snakes with an ease that takes your breath away. There are also many beach resorts along the way to suit every budget.
The traditional hospitality and warmth exuded by the people of Chennai also adds to the charm of the city. Visitors who visit the city once invariably end up returning to the city again and again. The hospitality they experience here just draws them in. Thus begins a lifelong love affair with the city. Chennai is also the gateway to southern India, which has a lot to offer to tourists. The pristine beaches in Pondicherry to the famed hill stations like Kodaikanal and Ooty are all worth a visit.