The marshmallow-pink Vivekananda House is interesting not only for its displays on the famous ‘wandering monk’, Swami Vivekananda, but also for its semicircular form, built in 1842 to store ice imported from the USA. Vivekananda stayed here briefly in 1897, preaching his ascetic Hindu philosophy to adoring crowds. Displays include a photo exhibition on the swami's life, a 3D reproduction of Vivekananda's celebrated 1893 Chicago World's Parliament of Religions speech, and the room where he stayed, now used for meditation.
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Nearby Chennai (Madras) attractions
1. Marina Beach
Take an early morning or evening stroll (you don’t want to roast here at any other time) along the 3km-long main stretch of Marina Beach and you’ll pass…
2. Parthasarathy Temple
Built under the 8th-century Pallavas and unusually dedicated to Krishna (a form of Vishnu) as the charioteer Parthasarathy, this is one of Chennai's…
3. Madras Lighthouse
At the southern end of Marina Beach, the fourth-incarnation Madras Lighthouse is India's only one with a lift; it's ridiculously popular, but the…
4. Tomb of St Thomas the Apostle
Behind San Thome Cathedral is the entrance to the weirdly chintzy tomb of St Thomas the Apostle.
5. San Thome Cathedral
This soaring Roman Catholic cathedral, a stone's throw from the beach, was founded by the Portuguese in 1523, then rebuilt by the British in neo-Gothic…
6. Wallajah Big Mosque
Built entirely of granite in 1795 by the Nawab of the Carnatic, and generally known simply as the Big Mosque.
7. Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Mylapore is one of Chennai's most characterful and traditional neighbourhoods; it predated colonial Madras by several centuries. Its Kapaleeshwarar Temple…
8. Luz Church
Styled with blue-and-white baroque elegance, pretty little palm-fringed Luz Church is Chennai's oldest European building, dating to 1516 – which also…