Chennai

Travel to Chennai for a Perfect Blend of Contrasts

There isn't one Indian city not choc-a-block with people on streets, beaches or places. Chennai (formerly Madras) isn't any different. But what is unique about this city is a mix of Dravidian (family of 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people) cultural tenet and a glint of modernism. Chennai is a city in South India brimming with tremendous linguistic pride. So what's in store for a traveler to tour this city?

Chennai's rich architecture reflects in its structures which have been carved and stationed since the British Era. From gothic to Indo-Saracenic style architecture to Hindu or Islamic, the government buildings in Chennai are an architect's delight. The white pristine looking Ripon Building which houses the Chennai Corporation to Fort St. George, the National Museum or the Chennai Central Station makes for an interesting tour destination. You can get several travel packages in order to make it a single day city tour. Adding to that, the city has a plethora of Hindu temples, Jagannath Temple being the more popular one.

The best time to travel to Chennai is from October to February when the winters are a little bearable. Otherwise, the temperature is mostly muggy with 90 percent plus humidity all the time. The best way to travel to Chennai is via air, it being one of the farthest cities if you are traveling from the north.

If you are craving for a dip in the sea, there's Marina Beach which showcases the character of the city. Most of the populace visits the beach during weekends. In the night, the street lights spread across the coastline make for a beautiful top view. You can sit and sip the traditional filter coffee (famous coffee made with 80% coffee beans and 20 percent chicory) by sitting on the coastline as you watch the beautiful orange-burnt sun disappear into the night.

Another aspect of Chennai is its association with art and culture. Since the opening of the Madras Music Academy in 1927, Chennai celebrates a five-week long music season in December. Rich in classical Carnatic music, the songs are written for every performance and delivered in a peculiar singing style. Additionally, in early January, Chennai celebrates Pongal (celebration of the harvest). During this festival, mouth-watering and scrumptious dosas (Indian rice pan cakes) and idlis (steamed rice balls) are dished out along with a variety of delicious food which is served buffet-style to the tourists and citizens alike. It's a feast because Tamilians in Chennai are extremely good hosts, they don't stop serving even after you stop eating. Moreover, try Paniyaaram at Grand Sweets and snacks such as bhajji, bondas at roadside eateries. A travel planner's itinerary must include the travel-on-a-full-stomach approach.

Oh I almost forgot! Tamilians are the biggest movie buffs. Before you plan the travel down south, research just a little on their favorite superstars (Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan) and the rest of the tour is just another field day.