Welcome to Chennai


Among Chennai’s greatest assets are its people, infectiously enthusiastic about their hometown; they won’t hit you with a lot of hustle and hassle. Recent years have thrown in a new layer of cosmopolitan glamour: luxe hotels, sparkling boutiques, quirky cafes, smart contemporary restaurants and a sprinkling of swanky bars and clubs.

With its sweltering southern heat, roaring traffic and lack of outstanding sights, Chennai has often been seen as the dowdier sibling among India’s four biggest cities. But even if you’re just caught here between connections, it’s well worth poking around the museums, exploring the temples, savouring deliciously authentic South Indian delicacies or taking a sunset saunter along Marina Beach.


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Chennai activities

$23 Tours & Sightseeing

Peacock Trail Walking Tour in Mylapore

There are many stories hidden behind the mundane rituals of daily life. As you walk through Mylapore, you will discover that every sight you behold has a story to tell. Read the symbolism behind some everyday activities on the streets and you will find that spirituality here doesn’t just start and end within holy places.We will meet outside of Rasi Silks in Mylapore at 8:30am for morning departure or 4:00pm for afternoon departure. The Peacock Trail is a relaxing, enjoyable walk through Mylapore that comes with a bundle of stories – stories of local life, of Gods and demons, of ancient customs and symbolism, and of Mylapore and Madras. You might find them amusing or baffling and the stories should also help you make sense of the sights you are visiting.Why is it called the Peacock Trail? Well, of course there is a story, too. Visit the Kapaleeshwara Temple, the Santhome Church, and walk through the by-lanes of Mylapore with a storyteller during this 3-hour tour. The tour is mostly on foot with a short stretch in an auto-rickshaw (local tuk-tuk) that are arranged and included in the tour and it will end with south Indian refreshments.

$73.75 Cultural & Theme Tours

Mahabalipuram, Dakshinachitra Private Tour from Chennai

After pickup from your hotel in the morning, your private guide will take you by air-conditioned vehicle to the village of Dakshinachitra, located about 18 miles (29 km) outside of Chennai. Spend approximately 45 minutes in Dakshinachitra, meaning ‘A Picture of the South,’ which preserves the traditional Dravidian way of life. See traditional Indian homes, explore the open-air museum, and visit the artisan workshops to learn about the Dravidian crafts of several regions in South India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh – a great activity for kids. Here, you may see traditional theater performances as well as local craftsmen making pottery and baskets, weaving silk and building puppets. Then, drive approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km) to Mahabalipuram, or what is now called Mamallapuram. This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city is full of rock-cut monuments built between the 7th and 9th centuries. These structures, most of which were built to honor Hindu gods, are some of the oldest existing examples of Dravidian architecture. With your guide, visit several cave temples and sculpted reliefs including Five Rathas, Arjuna Dhabas, Krishna Mandap, Krishna Butterball and Shore Temple. Your guide will point out the Buddhist elements of these impressive structures and explain the historical significance of the sites you pass. In between sightseeing, enjoy an authentic Indian lunch at a nearby restaurant in Mahabalipuram. After your full-day tour, you’ll be driven back to your Chennai hotel in the evening.

$54.66 Cultural & Theme Tours

Private Tour: Pondicherry Day Trip from Chennai

After pickup from your Chennai hotel in the morning, you’ll drive approximately 2.5 hours by private, air-conditioned vehicle to the Pondicherry region.When you arrive, your professional guide will take on a tour of this spiritual community, home to Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual site founded by Sri Aurobindo and his collaborator, known locally as ‘The Mother.’ Walk to the nearby Pondicherry Museum, located in Bharathi Park. Along the way, your guide will point out various structures that display effects of French colonial influence. Inside, discover the museum’s outstanding collection of artifacts, sculptures and archaeological findings from the ancient Arikamedu settlement, a Tamil fishing village that traded with the Romans. In between sightseeing, your guide will recommend a great restaurant in Pondicherry where can enjoy some French-Indian fusion cuisine (own expense).Then, you’ll drive approximately 4 miles (6.5 km) to Auroville, a small town and spiritual community also founded by Mirra Alfassa. Here, you’ll visit Matrimandir, meaning ‘Temple of the Mother’ in Sanskrit. Marvel at the plated gold of its 98-foot high (30-meter) dome with a lotus-shaped foundation urn. Wander inside to see the stark-white interior and large crystal in the center. Learn from your guide how this temple is an important spiritual place for practitioners of Integral yoga. After your tour, you’ll be driven back to your Chennai hotel or the Chennai airport for your departure flight.

$63.75 Tours & Sightseeing

Private Tour: Chennai Sightseeing Including Fort St George and Government Museum

After pickup from your hotel in the morning by air-conditioned vehicle, your private guide will take you on journey through Chennai, a bustling cultural hub that’s the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On your tour of the city’s architectural landmarks, discover the mix of traditional Dravidian styles with European colonial influences while enjoying your guide's illuminating commentary, as well as fun facts and trivia. Visit Fort St George, the first English fortress in India, founded in 1644. It now serves as the headquarters for Tamil Nadu’s legislative assembly. Inside, tour St Mary's Church, Wellesley House and the Fort Museum, whose exhibits showcase relics from British rule in India including weapons, coins, medals and uniforms. Head to the Indo-Saracenic-style Government Museum (also called the Madras Museum), the second-oldest museum in India housing the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside of Europe. With your guide, browse diverse exhibits of archaeological findings, coins, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings, as well as rare works from artists like Raja Ravi Varma.Continue to San Thome Cathedral, built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers and rebuilt by the British in 1893. Admire its Neo-Gothic style of architecture as you learn about its historical significance from your guide.In between sightseeing, you’ll head to a local restaurant to indulge in an authentic Indian meal served on a banana leaf. Then, experience India’s religious heritage at Kapaleeshwar Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shiva and built in the 7th century. See its imposing gopuram (ornate monumental tower) and learn how this is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.You’ll also visit the Indo-Saracenic-style Madras High Court, with beautiful painted ceilings and stained-glass doors, as well as the Ripon Building, combining three types of architecture: Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian.Before returning to your hotel, drive along Marina Beach and visit a flower market, where you’ll take a leisurely stroll and see a variety of bright, colorful flowers and fruit.

$47.50 Cultural & Theme Tours

Chennai Private Tour: Kapaleeshwar Temple, Government Museum

You’ll be picked up from your Chennai hotel in the morning and taken on a sightseeing tour by private vehicle. Visit Fort St George, the oldest English fortress in India, founded in 1644. Learn how it now serves as the headquarters for the legislative assembly of the state of Tamil Nadu. Inside, tour St Mary's Church, Wellesley House and the Fort Museum, where you’ll see relics from British rule in India including weapons, coins, medals and uniforms.Then, head to the Indo-Saracenic-style Government Museum (also called the Madras Museum), which is the second-oldest museum in India and houses the largest collection of Roman antiquities outside of Europe!With your guide, browse an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures, both traditional and modern, and explore diverse exhibits featuring archaeological findings, coins, sculptures, palm-leaf manuscripts and Amravati paintings, as well as rare works from famous Indian artists like Raja Ravi Varma.Afterward, drive to Kapaleeshwar Temple, built in the 7th century and dedicated to the goddess Shiva. Learn about its Dravidian architecture, which is evident in its gopuram (ornate monumental tower). Before returning to your hotel, drive along Marina Beach for fantastic views of Chennai’s beautiful landscape.

$23.25 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day Tour of Mahabalipuram

You will be picked up at your hotel in Chennai at 9:00 am and then drive down the scenic East Coast Road en-route visit the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Center for Herpetology is one of the largest reptile zoos in the world.Then you will visit the Mahabalipuram where you will spend time exploring ancient rock cut temples and exquisite sculptures, including the Arjuna Penace (a giant relief carving that is one of India's greatest ancient artworks), Five Rathas (a set of monolithic rock temples in Dravidian style architecture), Tiger Cave (the carvings of tiger heads on the mouth of a cave which forms a part of the complex), Sea Shore Temple (a structural temple built with blocks of granite in the 8th century AD on over looks Bay of Bengal) ,and the Krishna’s Butterball (a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline which has approximately 6 meters high and 5 meters wide  with weighs around 250 tons). If you wish you can also visit the Mahabalipuram local market. Then finally a visit to the famous DakshinaChitra is a cross cultural living history museum of art, architecture, lifestyles, crafts and performing arts of South India. When the tour ends return to Chennai and dropped off at your hotel.