Chennai is the capital city of
the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is the fourth most populous
metropolitan area and the fifth most populous city in India. Located on
the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai city had a population
of 4.34 million in the 2001 census within the area administered by the
Corporation of Chennai. a The urban agglomeration of metropolitan Chennai
has an estimated population over 8.2 million people.
The city was established in the 17th century by the British, who developed
it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had
become an important administrative centre, as the capital of the Madras
Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the car, technology,
hardware manufacturing, and healthcare industries. The city is India's
second largest exporter of software, information technology (IT) and
information-technology-enabled services (ITES). A major chunk of India's
car manufacturing industry is based in and around the city. Chennai Zone
contributes 39 per cent of the State's GDP. Chennai accounts for 60 per
cent of the country's automotive exports and is referred to as the Detroit
of South Asia.
Chennai hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season,
which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a vibrant
theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharatanatyam, a
classical dance form. The Tamil film industry, one of the largest film
industries in India, is based in the city; the soundtracks of the films
dominate its music scene.
Climate of Chennai is
Chennai has mainly two seasons - summer (35 deg C - 42 deg C) Apr,May &
June (Highest temperature ever recorded is 45 deg c on 30th May 2003) and
monsoon (Oct, Nov and Dec). It receives scanty rainfall from the
south-west monsoon(June to September) , but gets its bountiful rains from
the north-east monsoon from October through December, thus amounting to
about 125-150 cm of rainfall annually. Rainfalls occur usually from
October to December. During some seasons, Chennai gets ample amount of
rainfall if there are depressions in Bay of Bengal.
December to February are the mildest months temperature - (19 deg C - 28
Climate is humid pretty much throughout the year because the city is on
the coast. Summers are very hot and humid. Be sure take along light (not
How to go Chennai
Chennai International Airport is the third busiest in India . All
international flights arrive at Anna Terminal, while the domestic flights
arrive at Kamraj Terminal. The two terminals are on the same road and are
150 metres away from each other.
Europe and North America: Lufthansa (Frankfurt), Jet Airways
(Brussels) and British Airways (London-Heathrow), fly nonstop to Chennai
with connecting service from their European hubs to points in the United
States and Canada.
South-East Asia: Thai Airways offers nonstop service to Bangkok,
Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways connects you to Singapore along with
many Indian carriers like Indian Airlines and Air India Express. Malaysia
Airlines offer nonstop service to Kuala Lumpur. India's very own Jet
Airways flies non-stop to both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Middle East: Nonstop services are available from Chennai to Abu
Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Dammam, Doha,Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh and
Sharjah on Air Arabia, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, Oman Air,
Emirates, Etihad, Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian and Gulf Air.
Sri-Lanka: Chennai is a hub for flights to Colombo with SriLankan
Airlines, Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Air India Express, JetLite and
recently joining the race Kingfisher Airlines.
Domestic: All the major Indian domestic carriers (Jet Airways,
Kingfisher, Spice, Go Air, Indigo) connect Chennai with multiple flights
to points all over India and most use Chennai as a hub for flights to
smaller cities in South India. Paramount Airways is a low cost all
business class airline that offers flights from Chennai to points in South
India. Chennai is also a staging point for flights to Port Blair in the
Getting around the heart of Chennai city
often takes time, due to traffic and heavy congestion. So it is advisable
to plan your journey accordingly. Travelling within Chennai is not
expensive by Indian metropolitan standards, and are extremely cheap by
typical Western standards.
Chennai has a suburban train  network. There are four routes:
1. Chennai Central - Arakkonam
2. Chennai Central - Gummidipoondi-Sulurpet-Gudur
3. Chennai Beach - Tambaram and Chengalpet
4. Chennai Beach - Velachery (MRTS)
The suburban trains are generally reliable and fast. The frequency of
suburban trains is generally good and it is advisable to take a first
class ticket during peak hours. Trains offer a reliable alternative to
quickly reach your destination when compared to buses which might get
trapped in traffic jams. The fare in Chennai suburban trains is the lowest
in the country and you don't have to compromise comfort for the meagre
amount that you pay as in other Indian metros.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses ply throughout the city.
These are government-run and extremely cheap. Normally Bus Fare in MTC
range from Rs.3 - Rs.15. State corporation has also introduced New Type
Deluxe, A/C Buses for Chennai Passengers.
Deluxe AC bus run by MTC chennai which run between important routes like
Parrys - Tambaram, Parrys - CMBT, Chennai Central - CMBT, Chennai central
- Tambaram, etc.
Bus Route information for MTC Chennai is available online
State Express Transport Corporation buses go to different parts of the
state. Private carriers also run to other towns/cities in state. You can
buy these bus tickets online at redBus or realIndia or
Auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai do not use meters; they grossly
overcharge and often behave rudely and drive rashly. They are happy to
exploit foreigners and locals alike. The advantage of being a local is
that you know when you're being fleeced, and so you'll know when to walk
away and find another auto. The upside is that autos are ubiquitous and
possibly the easiest form of transportation to locate. Use Auto-rickshaws
only for short distances (if you know exactly how far you are going).
Before talking to an auto driver ask any local person what the actual fare
should be, because they will most likely ask for up to 3 times more.
Please note that most of the autorickshaw drivers in Chennai are local
goons so please be extremely careful and avoid hiring an auto for
commuting within the city until and unless it is an emergency.
Autorickshaw drivers will often resort to violent methods of extorting
money if you do not pay up to their demands and for the local police does
not come for any help because the auto stands are owned by police
constables. The local government of Chennai has miserably failed to
regulate the price mechanism of the autorickshaws.
If you want to travel by the auto, stick to these rules:
* Forget the meter; no one will go by it, and if they do, it's probably
rigged to show a higher fare.
* Negotiate a rate with the driver beforehand; if he doesn't agree, just
go to the next auto on the road; there will always be others unless it's
very late or very early or you are in a remote area: then be prepared to
pay up. Stick to the agreed price, though the driver may attempt to ask
for more. If he complains about the agreed-upon fare during the journey,
you can bet he will demand more on arrival at the destination.
* Consult local friends beforehand to find out reasonable market prices
for the distance you intend to go.
* Try to hail individual auto rickshaws in traffic which are heading in
the general direction of your destination and avoid those parked in
groups; they tend to charge more and they may try to gang-up on you.
As a general rule, expect to pay about Rs.10 for every kilometer you
Be careful about the following when you plan to undertake an autorickshaw
* You don't have to pay for any empty return trips that the autorickshaw
driver has to make once you have agreed upon a fare.
* You tell them to go to a landmark near where you want to go, and upon
reaching the landmark, ask them to go a little further along a particular
road to your destination. They might cite the extra distance traveled and
ask for more money. So it is better to negotiate the fare upfront.
* You don't have to pay for petrol during the ride.
* If you pay them for petrol, make sure you pay them the remaining fare
amount after subtracting petrol charges.
The call taxis are better regulated and can be ordered air-conditioned,
although unlike auto-rickshaws, advance reservations are needed and they
cannot usually be flagged on the street.
Share autos have emerged in the recent years as an alternative mode of
transport in Chennai. They are oversized three wheelers running on diesel
and charge slightly more than the bus. The only advantage is that it is
On a side note - if you are fascinated by the idea of going around in an
auto, think about all those foreigners, who are riding an auto from
Chennai to Mumbai. A Chennai based event management company, Chennai Event
Management Services, has been having these autorickshaw rallies from
Chennai to Mumbai, or Kanyakumari, etc., and has developed a great fan
following for the same. More info:  This year the rally starts on the
2nd of August 2009....
Taxis (locally called "call-taxis" since they must be pre-arranged) are
available by phone. They are mostly reliable, can be ordered
air-conditioned, and have digital fare meters, although time-based hire is
also possible with some companies. Most companies charge a minimum fare of
Rs. 150/-, which is for 5 km and for every subsequent km they charge Rs.
10/-. Alternatively, you can hire a car for a half/full day for around Rs.
800/1200. These figures are for basic non-AC Ambassadors, add about 50% if
you want a comfier aircon Tata Indica. If your trip is time-sensitive,
it's best to book your taxi a few hours in advance and call shortly before
your trip to confirm.
Tourist Cabs - Are the best choice in case you want to tour the city all
day or visit nearby places like Mahabalipuram, Tirupati, etc. Costs about
INR 10/-Rs per KM and 50 Rs per hour as hire charges. Also generally there
is special price if you need to go Chennai Central or Chennai Airport.
It is generally not advisable for foreign travellers to drive on their own
as they might be unaware of the traffic rules and congestion in the city.
The roads in Chennai are better maintained than the average Indian road.
The main highway is Anna Salai also known as Mount Road.
What to see
# The Birla Planetarium,at Kotturpuram,
between Adyar and Guindy, is the most modern planetarium in the country.
Adjoining the planetarium is a Periyar Science and Technology Museum which
will be of interest to students and other science scholars. Built in
memory of B.M. Birla, the well known industrialist and visionary, the
Planetarium is considered to be the most modern in the country. Programme
Timing: 10.45AM - 1.45PM and 3.45PM. English: 12.00 Noon and 2.30PM Tamil.
# MGR Memorial House,at T.Nagar, is the house of the Late Actor- Chief
Minister M.G.Ramachandran popularly known as MGR. : 10.00AM - 05:00PM .
# Connemara Library, Pantheon Road, Egmore
# Elliots Beach, is in the Besant Nagar suburb of Chennai. Sometimes
called Besant Nagar beach, after the area it is located in. It is a
popular place to cool off from the city heat. It is a very nice beach,
safe and good place for picnicking.
# Breezy Beach is in the quiet neighbourhood of Valmiki Nagar. It is
smaller and less popular than the Elliots beach. This beach is not as
commercialized as the Elliots beach, and is hence more quiet and peaceful.
# Ennore Port and Ennore foundries.
# Fort St. George, built in 1653 by the English Company of the Eastern
Indies (CAIO), houses the Secretariat and the legislative Parliament of
Tamil Nadu. There is a museum presenting objects of the time of the
domination of the CAIO, and a banqueting suite going back to 1802 where
the portraits of the governors of the fort are hung. The fort comprises
also the oldest Anglican church of India, the church of St Mary. This also
happens to be the worlds oldest church to the east of the Suez Canal.
# Government Museum, or National Art Gallery on Pantheon Road, comprises
an interesting archaeological collection and a room holding a significant
and superb collection of Chola bronzes. One building has modern works,
while the other has historical works.
# Guindy National Park, The smallest national park in India and one of the
few located in a metro. The park is an extension of the grounds
surrounding the official residence of the governors of Tamilnadu.
# Guindy Snake Park, next to the Guindy National Park. See the deadly King
Cobra,Common Krait,Common Cobra, pythons and vipers as well as other
reptiles. There is a Children's Park adjacent with collections of animals
# Marina Beach, is one of the world's longest beaches. It is the most
popular gathering place for locals, especially in the evenings and on
weekends. It can also get very crowded at those times. The beach is
relatively less crowded in the early mornings and more pleasant. At almost
any time, the sea breeze is a welcome relief. It has been beautified
recently and well maintained these days. But it's a great place to "people
watch", especially the local fishermen who take their catamarans out to
sea, and the families and groups of friends eating from chaat stalls and
sitting in small circles on the sand. It's not a swimming beach, though
you will see people fully clothed taking partial dips. The tsunami on
December 26, 2004, caused massive death and destruction along the beach.
It has been difficult to recover, but the community is working hard to
make the area attractive to tourists and vacationers once again. Marina
Beach is also considered as a gay point for some people.
# Integral Coach Factory The Railway Coach manufacturing unit of Indian
Railways, which has a Rail Museum.
# St.Thomas Basilica The popular myth is that one of the apostles of Jesus
Christ died in India and that his body was buried in Mylapore and that
this church is built over the tomb.
# St. Thomas Mount The hill where it is believed that he died. It is a
wonderful sight to see the flights take off and land - since the airport
is very near to this hill
# Valluvar Kottam, Nungambakkam. An auditorium built in memory of the poet
Thiruvalluvar. All of the verses of the poet's 'The Thirukkural' are
inscribed on the pillars around the auditorium.
# Vandalur zoo, Tambaram. A zoo which is largest of its kind in Asia. Just
a 17 km drive from the heart of Chennai. See the large number of species
found there,some endangered species.
# arupadaiveedu Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra
# Ananthaa Padmanabha Swaamy Temple, Adayar
# Annai Velankani Church, Besant Nagar
# Ashtalakshmi Temple, Besant Nagar (Kalakshetra Colony). The temple is
dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi. It looks different from other South Indian
temples as it is of modern construction, less then 20 years old.
# Ayya Vaikundar Nizhal Thangal, Manali Pudunagar.
# Big Mosque, Triplicane, Chennai
# CSI Church House Of Prayer, Adayar.
# CSI Church, Near Gemini fly over.
# CSI Wesley Church, Royapettah.
# Guruvayurappan Temple, Nanganallur.
# Adivyadhihara Sri Bhaktha Anjaneya Swami Temple (32 Feet Hanuman),
# ISKCON (Hare Rama Hare Krishna) Temple, Injambakkam.
# ISKCON Temple, Perumbur.
# Jain Temple, Kutchery Road, Mylapore.
# Kaalikaambaal Temple, Parrys.
# Kapaleeswarar Temple
Chennai Hotels by surrounding cities, local city
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Chennai)***
Chemplast Cricket Ground***
Madras High Court***
University of Madras***
Spencer's Plaza Shopping Mall ***
Mount Road ***
Fort St. George***
Apollo Hospital ***
Theosophical Society Headquarters***
M.A. Chidambaram Stadium***
Chennai Intl. Airport (MAA)***
Guindy Race Course***
Chennai Citi Center Mall ***
Government Museum (Chennai)***
Indian Institute of Technology Madras***
St. Andrew's Kirk***
SDAT Tennis Stadium***
Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium***
San Thome Cathedral***
City Centre Chennai (Madras)***
U S Consulate ***