Chennai is a 369 year old city giving us an idea how rich its culture must be. Music and dance is a part of Chennai’s culture. The main events held in the city are related to music, dance, art and literature. Madras music season is held every year. Chennai book fair, Madras Week and the Hindu Lit for Life are some other remarkable events. Music, art and dance academies are located throughout the city. The city is also rich in cinemas displaying national and international movies. There are plenty of malls if you wish to go for shopping. Express Avenue, Spencer Plaza and Chennai Citi Center are some famous ones. Also, don’t forget to visit its historical places when you visit the city. Street stalls and fancy restaurants, both offer delicious food with a distinct taste.
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Chennai, the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a large coastal city and the biggest cultural and educational center of South India. The city is ideal to explore traditional Indian culture and preserves monuments of historical importance that unveil its rich past. The Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, a 7th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the most famous Chennai attractions. The neighborhood of Mylapore also includes some other top attractions of the city like Sri Ramakrishna Math and San Thome Cathedral. In fact, it is a great neighborhood to stay at during a short trip to Chennai, where you can also take up a Mylapore walking tour to cover the best places. To gain an insightful peek into the city’s colonial past as a trading outpost, you must visit some Chennai museums. Fort St. George has a museum showcasing this history of being a major economic center during colonial times. It also houses the beautiful, and very famous, St. Mary’s Church which is a must-visit place. There are also other museums like the Government Museum, where you will find a display of extraordinary Indian art and archeological objects from the medieval times. However, the best places to visit in Chennai are not only its temples and museums, but you must also explore its vast beaches and vibrant marketplaces. The Marina beach is at the heart of the city where you can view a beautiful sunset. It has a lot of entertaining activities, and in fact, most of the beaches in Chennai have things like amusement rides and snack stalls that totally light up the environment.
If you are rather interested in some fun things to do in Chennai during your visit and have the most local experience of the place, you must head to George Town. With fascinating street stalls and marketplaces, a walk through the narrow lanes of George Town in Chennai offers a colorful delight and a pure Indian experience. Even the marketplace of T.Nagar is a very popular destination for some shopping at unbelievably discounted rates. While talking about authentic and local culture, one cannot overlook the importance of performing arts in the city. Plenty of music academies and dance classes in Chennai teach and preserve the Indian art forms. The Kalakshetra, for instance, is a cultural academy with a special focus on Bharatnatyam and Carnatic music. On some particular show days, you can also attend a free evening performance at their auditorium. Chennai festivals throughout the year promote this spirit of classical South Indian music and dance. During the Madras Music Season, famous classical musicians perform around T.Nagar neighborhoods and Ranganathan Street, creating a captivating atmosphere totally worth experiencing. The Natyanjali dance festival is another magnificent Chennai festival in which hundreds of classical dancers offer their dance to Lord Nataraja on the occasion of Maha Shivratri.
However, some of the best things to do in Chennai aren’t as mainstream as shopping and arts, but unique little things that add to a different kind of experience. For instance, if you want to have a spiritual touch, you must visit the Vivekananda House in Chennai and meditate there for a while. It also houses an exhibition on the life of the revered spiritual teacher Swami Vivekananda. You can simply head to a coastal spot like the Barracuda Bay and try your hands at some fishing. Being a coastal city, fishing in Chennai is popular among locals and you can perhaps learn some tricks of the trade from them. If you are in the city during the winter season, you can also embark on the popular Turtle Walk along the coastal area, a very enriching experience aimed at conservation of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles.
No city is complete without food, but the Tamil Nadu capital is incomplete without its street food. Be it Idly Sambhar and Masala Dosa with the sumptuous coconut chutney or the vegetable-rich Uttapam, street food of Chennai is irresistibly tempting even if you are not a fan. You can check out the Kapaleeshwarar Temple eat street or the Marina beach stalls to have a great street food experience. Not just South Indian delicacies, you will find North Indian street food in Chennai too ranging from Gujarati and Burmese to Delhi Chaat. Though do not think that that’s the end. Fine-dining options are plenty in the city and if you are looking for some, The Flying Elephant and the Copper Chimney are perhaps the best restaurants in Chennai when it comes to fine dining. These serve a variety of cuisines and are great places for dinner. However, the place that is over and above all this, and would really add a lifetime experience to your kitty is the Robot restaurant in Chennai. This is an outlet where robots serve as waiters and also interact with the customers in Tamil and English. No wonder why people from far and wide come to this South Indian city to relish some authentic Chennai food!
Chennai nightlife adds totally another flavor to a city so quiet in the noon. After all the hard work done during the day, there is a lot of fun happening at night. You can expect beer and drinks wherever you go, or if you love singing, there are many Karaoke nights around. Some bars in Chennai have special Bollywood style dance and retro nights. When it comes to music, this city leaves big metropolitans behind. You will find the likes of EDM, Techno and Progressive Rock. Bay 146 and Illusions are perhaps the best bars in Chennai to experience foot-tapping music and finger-licking food. Many rooftop restaurants and clubs offer entertainment options and games too where time would pass like sand. At some bars in Chennai like 10 Downing Street, there are dedicated Ladies nights where one can expect the best of Chennai nightlife from music and dance to great food and chic décor, with all ladies on house.
For the adventure freaks and trekkers, there are many places to trek near Chennai within convenient distance. The Nagalapuram trek is one of the most famous ones and located just outside the city, it can be a memorable day trip from Chennai to embark on. You can also head for Kodaikanal trekking to have a complete vacation experience as even the route to this hill station covers attractive destinations like the Dolphin Nose and the Bear Shola Falls, and makes up for one of the best weekend getaways from Chennai. With adventure sports and tourist activities, these places are full of life and enthusiasm. Though if you are not very sporty or someone who would like to go for a trek, there are many quiet and peaceful destinations around the city too where you can just be and forget all worries. The Pulicat Lake is one such amazing weekend getaway from Chennai, where you can indulge in bird watching to spot greater Flamingos and other rare bird species or visit the famous Pulicat Lake Wildlife Sanctuary.
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