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3 days in Chennai (Madras)

Print this guide Created by Supriya Sehgal
3 days in Chennai (Madras)
Here are some of the things that will give you a quick overview of Chennai.
Good for: Families, Groups, Seniors, Individuals
Seasons: Fall, Winter
4 ratings 4 ratings
Day 1
Storytrails
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Storytrails

Now this is what every city needs — a thorough orientation of the history of the key places, all rolled into one engaging story. Story Trails does a great job of meandering through busy markets, narrow streets and a network of lanes, immersing you in the charming nuances and anecdotes about places in Chennai. There are about nine trails to explore, the favorite being the Bazaar Trail... More

Now this is what every city needs — a thorough orientation of the history of the key places, all rolled into one engaging story. Story Trails does a great job of meandering through busy markets, narrow streets and a network of lanes, immersing you in the charming nuances and anecdotes about places in Chennai. There are about nine trails to explore, the favorite being the Bazaar Trail for its energy and delightful chaos. Just the thing to do for a fun, non-intimidating first tryst with the city. Opt for the morning walks because it gets pretty hot during the day. Highly recommended for experiencing the local flavor of Chennai. Less

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Mylapore
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Mylapore

If you are looking to soak in the culture of Chennai, the Mylapore Tank and Mandavali area should be at the top of your list. One of the oldest residential parts of Chennai, the tank is a part of the seventh century Kapaleeshwarar Temple. This is also the place where the famous Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar, was born. If you are spending a few days in Chennai, you will understand the... More

If you are looking to soak in the culture of Chennai, the Mylapore Tank and Mandavali area should be at the top of your list. One of the oldest residential parts of Chennai, the tank is a part of the seventh century Kapaleeshwarar Temple. This is also the place where the famous Tamil poet, Thiruvalluvar, was born. If you are spending a few days in Chennai, you will understand the importance of this state figure from the number of references made in signs, names of shops and statues. The quintessential travel phrase, "overwhelming sights, sounds, smells," fits perfectly in this area. The narrow streets around the temple are buzzing with activities. Flower sellers, archaic shops selling temple offering ingredients and such line the roads leading to the temple. A photographer’s dream, this place is best explored in the morning, the chosen time to pay homage at the temple. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
San Thome Church
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San Thome Church

Probably the most magnificent and prominent reminder of Chennai's colonial lineage, the San Thome Church bears a colossal amount of history since A.D. 52, the year when St. Thomas traveled to India, though the Roman Catholic basilica was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. It was then rebuilt by the British in 1893. The imposing structure reaches a height of 155 feet and... More

Probably the most magnificent and prominent reminder of Chennai's colonial lineage, the San Thome Church bears a colossal amount of history since A.D. 52, the year when St. Thomas traveled to India, though the Roman Catholic basilica was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese. It was then rebuilt by the British in 1893. The imposing structure reaches a height of 155 feet and emanates peace and architectural splendor with its tall spires over the tomb of the saint. The sea makes a wonderful backdrop to the pristine white structure. The San Thome Church is considered one of the pilgrimages for people around the world. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: <1 hour
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Sri Parthasarathy Temple
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Sri Parthasarathy Temple

Close to Marina Beach, yet another architectural wonder from the 8th century can be part of the itinerary. An intricate pyramid-shaped rajagopuram (dome) stands prominently and is the main feature of the temple. As anecdotes go, the British were unable to pronounce the original name, Thiriallikeni, and rechristened it Triplicane.

Fee: No      Duration of visit: <1 hour
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Day 2
Egmore Museum
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Egmore Museum

Visit the Egmore Museum more for the architecture than the museum itself. Popularly known as the Museum Theatre, it’s one of the better venues for the city's theater performances. Check local listings in newspapers to catch a show. Though the museum houses archaeological, zoological, botanical and geological artifacts, and art and more, it can be given a miss.

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
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The Anna Centenary Library
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The Anna Centenary Library

Adding another feather to its intellectual cap, Chennai is now home to South Asia’s largest library. So if you are a book lover and need a break from the city’s commotion, this is the place for you. The Anna Centenary Library is an eight-story structure that has recently added to the city’s growing modern landscape in the Kotturpuram area. A Braille section, children’s corner, replica... More

Adding another feather to its intellectual cap, Chennai is now home to South Asia’s largest library. So if you are a book lover and need a break from the city’s commotion, this is the place for you. The Anna Centenary Library is an eight-story structure that has recently added to the city’s growing modern landscape in the Kotturpuram area. A Braille section, children’s corner, replica of the "Tree of Knowledge," an auditorium and an amphitheater make quite an impression on visitors. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
M.Rm.Rm. Cultural Foundation
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M.Rm.Rm. Cultural Foundation

The MRM Foundation is a nonprofit organization that documents and supports revival of rural crafts, textiles and architecture. Visit Manjul, its store with traditional palm leaf baskets, handmade tiles made in the village of Athangudi, the Kandanghi sari both in cotton and silk, the Chettinad lime-egg plaster and plastic baskets. If you have the time, visit Kanadakathan (405 kilometers... More

The MRM Foundation is a nonprofit organization that documents and supports revival of rural crafts, textiles and architecture. Visit Manjul, its store with traditional palm leaf baskets, handmade tiles made in the village of Athangudi, the Kandanghi sari both in cotton and silk, the Chettinad lime-egg plaster and plastic baskets. If you have the time, visit Kanadakathan (405 kilometers from Chennai) to get a first-hand experience. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: <1 hour
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Day 3
DakshinaChitra
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DakshinaChitra

A unique concept of bringing South India’s cultural traditions all under one roof, Dakshin Chitra is a little out of the city (25 kilometers) but certainly worth your while. Dakshin Chitra actually means "picture of the south" and that’s exactly what you should expect to see. Educational and fun at the same time, this is a center for a complete orientation to Southern India’s four... More

A unique concept of bringing South India’s cultural traditions all under one roof, Dakshin Chitra is a little out of the city (25 kilometers) but certainly worth your while. Dakshin Chitra actually means "picture of the south" and that’s exactly what you should expect to see. Educational and fun at the same time, this is a center for a complete orientation to Southern India’s four states. You can experience the living traditions, performing arts, music, crafts and architecture on the 10-acre spread. The earthy feel of the structure and its surroundings transport visitors into the cultural milieu. Dakshin Chitra is great for both children and adults as you can try your hand at glass blowing, pottery and traditional games. Less

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Kalakshetra Dance School
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Kalakshetra Dance School

This institution was established to resurrect the traditional dance forms of the country from adulteration by modern techniques, Kalakshetra has been around since 1936. Many subtle nuances existed in the making of this institution — a symbol of uprising against the British, commitment to theosophy and creation of a strong identity for Indian classical dance forms. The suburban... More

This institution was established to resurrect the traditional dance forms of the country from adulteration by modern techniques, Kalakshetra has been around since 1936. Many subtle nuances existed in the making of this institution — a symbol of uprising against the British, commitment to theosophy and creation of a strong identity for Indian classical dance forms. The suburban institution offers events that are open to public. It also provides dance classes and a platform for research and studies about traditional Indian dances. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
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Chennai Turtle Walk
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Chennai Turtle Walk

Join independent conservation and wildlife enthusiast groups such as the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network for midnight walks from Neelangarai to Besant Nagar beach to aid the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle by relocating eggs for safe release to the sea.

Fee: No      Duration of visit: More than 3 hours
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Fort St. George
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Fort St. George

A testament to the earliest English rule in the country, this was the first fortress in India built in 1644. The fort houses St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Anglican church in the country, a museum and Wellesley House, named after Richard Wellesley, governor general of India. Until recently the fort complex served as housing for the government; now certain areas are open to public.

Fee: No      Duration of visit: <1 hour
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.