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Explore Chennai

Top 10 tourist attractions in Chennai

Conservatism and filter coffee come to mind when one thinks of Chennai. But, this capital city of Tamil Nadu has so much more to offer. Chennai (erstwhile Madras), rich in cultural heritage and traditional art, is also a melting pot of modernism and technology. Situated along the southern coastline of India, lined with British colonial buildings and interspersed with some of the world's oldest temples, the city offers a perfect blend of elements to constitute a great vacation.


This city lures thousands of people, being home to the second-largest urban beach in the world, the Marina beach. When you visit Chennai, you may also discover a fusion of culinary delicacies that are bound to tantalise your tastebuds. We've curated a list of top 10 tourist attractions in Chennai that are both varied and historically significant. Customise your trip right here with Akasa Holidays!

1. Marina Beach

Marina Beach, the largest beach in India and the second-largest in the world, opens up into the vast Bay of Bengal. The beach stretches from Fort St. George to Besant Nagar and is interrupted by water-swept stones, palm groves and other trees. One can witness the magnificent view of the sky and the ocean meeting at both ends. It is a perfect spot to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy the breathtaking view of the early morning sun or the cool breeze of the evening as the sun sets opposite to the waters. 

Dig your feet into the soft sand, enjoy mini pleasures like balloon shooting or horse riding on the beach, and indulge in street shopping along the beachside to purchase trinkets and coral and shell mementoes. Another attraction here is the palmists and astrologers roaming around with parrots in tow for a reading of your future! Engage cautiously. Marina Beach remains one of the best places to visit in Chennai with friends and family. Book a flight now!

2. Fort St. George

Fort St. George is the first fortress in India, built by the British East India Company in 1640. The fort encompasses St. Mary Church and St. George's Museum, which showcases antics and treasures of the British times. The fort is a must-visit for every tourist, especially history buffs who adore historical facades!

3. Sri Parthasarathy Temple

Sri Parthasarathy Temple, the oldest temple in Chennai, was established by the Pallavas in the 8th century as a shrine to Lord Venkat Krishna. It is located in Thiruvallikeni or Triplicane. 

While Parthasarathy or Venkata Krishna is the reigning deity of the temple, there are shrines dedicated to Vedavalli Thayaar, Narasimha and Ranganatha within the temple. This temple’s elaborately carved pillars and vibrant gopurams will captivate you completely. The two artistically carved pyramid-shaped – raja gopuram or domes, one in the east and one in the west direction, are the prominent highlights of this temple.

4. Elliot’s Beach

The beach was named after Edward Elliot (Chief Magistrate during the British rule). It is located in the southern part of Marina Beach and is a tranquil beach with little activity, making it ideal for long walks. 


Furthermore, the location is ideal for those who like to immerse their feet in the gushing sea water and completely indulge in nature's embrace. Additionally, near the shore, there are numerous eateries serving delectable cuisines!

5. Royapuram Fishing Harbour

The Royapuram Fishing Harbour is one of Chennai's most renowned fishing spots. 

This harbour, located in a region known for its seafood, is one of Tamil Nadu's biggest fishing centres. Whenever you go to the Royapuram Fishing Harbour, you'll find it busy with various types of fishing boats. You can witness everything, from full-length 45-foot boats to the tiniest catamarans! The auction hall, which sells the majority of the day's catch for subsequent retail sale, is a unique element of the Royapuram Fishing Harbour.

6. Valluvar Kottam

Valluvar Kottam is a beautiful landmark in Chennai dedicated to Thiruvalluvar. 

Thiruvalluvar was a well-known poet and philosopher, and his writings constitute an important part of Chennai's literary heritage. This monument was unveiled in 1976 and has since become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chennai. This monument is shaped like a chariot, and the amphitheatre is one of India's largest. The monument consists of 133 chapters of his well-known book, carved along the walls. Valluvar Kottam is one of the most significant locations in Tamil Nadu and one of Chennai’s famous places.

7. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust

Romulus Whitaker, a renowned herpetologist and wildlife campaigner, founded the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust to protect crocodiles and other endangered reptiles on the Indian subcontinent. The Crocodile Bank was originally created to keep crocodiles safe and help them mate and reproduce until they were healthy enough to be released back into the wild, replenishing nature's stock. The crocodiles now have a permanent home in the Crocodile Bank, which is open to the public six days a week. 


Visitors may see all of these slithering species in one area and participate in the park's different entertaining activities, such as snake milking (extraction of venom), excursions, and crocodile feeding programmes.

8. Santhome Cathedral Basilica

Santhome Cathedral is a renowned and old pilgrimage site erected by the Portuguese during their reign in the 14th-15th century. It is one of the three churches in the world that holds the tomb of the Apostles of Jesus Christ - St Thomas (built over his mortal remains).  St. Thomas is hailed as the Father of Indian Christianity. 

In the nearby gardens, there is a museum built in the Neo-Gothic style, which was popular among British architects in the late 1800s. The museum's primary attraction is a 16th-century map of South Asia. Santhome Cathedral is a popular place to visit in Chennai.

9. Mylapore

Mylapore, or as locals call it - Thirumayilai - is derived from a Tamil phrase that means – the land of the peacock's scream.

The place is an undeniable ode to the vast number of peacocks that originally roamed in the Mylapore area before commercialisation took hold. Anciently named Vedapuri, Mylapore is mentioned in various chronicles by writers, poets, explorers, and folklores dating back to even 1 BCE (historians claim the city might as well be the oldest part of Chennai). 

Located in the southern part of Chennai, the most distinct feature of the district is the Kapaleeshwar Temple, surrounded by traditional Tamil Brahmin Agraharams - places that train in Vedic chants. 

Mylapore is home to numerous temples, churches, and historical monuments and, at the same time, is adapting to the modern world by adding retail malls, tree-lined beautified roads, and other attractions to fulfil the needs of urban tourists. <Customise your trip to Mylapore with Akasa Holidays>

10. Connemara Public Library

The Connemara Library, a rich source of books, journals, magazines, and other relevant literature, was inaugurated in 1896 as a new and outstanding landmark in the city of Chennai. And because the Connemara Public Library is one of India's four national depository libraries, it acquires volumes of all books and other texts published in the country. Its history stretches back over a century, and the library continues to house century-old volumes to this day!

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