Chennai, or the ’Gateway to South India’ as it is also called, is a city with a rich colonial past famous for its cultural events, music, literature, dance and cuisine as well as for being the home of India’s second-largest film industry, known as Kollywood. While Chennai mainly is a commercial city with automobile, technology and healthcare industries and, therefore, has fewer famous tourist attractions than many other Indian cities, it still has plenty of delightful offers for visitors.
For those with an interest in history, a visit to Fort St. George – built in the 1640s by the British – is a must. Apart from the British heritage, the site also showcases the rich history of southern India throughout the centuries in the museum located on the fort’s grounds. Chennai is also home to some 75 temples, churches and mosques well worth a visit, particularly the beautiful and richly-ornamented Kapaleeswarar Temple. The city’s beach, the Marina, is one of the longest stretches of sandy beaches in the world and something visitors cannot miss. Those reluctant to swim in the sea can instead visit one of the city’s many waterparks, or just indulge in the foods and snacks and souvenirs sold in the stalls on the beach.
The city also hosts both colorful street markets as well as luxurious shopping malls with wood and stone carvings, mats, textiles and silk being some of the most sought-after items on offer. After a hard day of shopping, tourists can relax, or start the evening’s party, at one of Chennai’s many swish restaurants and bars.