The city might not have any monuments or tourist attractions that are known in the world, but Chennai in India has a very rich culture and history to boast of. Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is now known to be South India’s cultural capital. The city has a very unique cuisine for you to try and a lot of historical, architectural and interesting sites to visit. So get ready to delve into the heart of the city and experience all that it has to offer by making sure to check out these famous things in Chenna, India. Scroll down to find out more.
1. Pongal Festival
Known as South India’s most popular festival, the Pongal Festival is a four-day festival celebrated every January 14 to 17. It is a harvest festival dedicated to Tamil Nadu, the Sun God, and is similar to Thanksgiving. Get to see those colorful kolams along every street in Chennai, or try their popular Pongal dish. Experience their unique traditions and rituals as they thank their gods for a year’s bountiful harvest.
2. Historic temples
Devoted Hindu followers all over the world certainly have visited Chennai’s great and historic temples. They offer a very rich religious history and a breathtaking architecture. These amazing heritage temples add up to the diversity and uniqueness of the city. Surely, Chennai’s temples would attract not only Hindu followers but also architecture and history enthusiasts all over the world. One of the must-visit temples in Chennai is the Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple that features a marvelous architecture and intricate carvings.
3. Chennai Super Kings
Cricket is probably one of the most popular and loved sports in India. Almost every city in India has its own cricket team, and Chennai is no exception. Chennai Super Kings is the city’s very own cricket team that plays in the Indian Premier League. If you are a cricket enthusiast, see them in action in their home ground at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
M.A. Chidambaram Stadium
Address: Victoria Hostel Rd, Chepauk, Triplicane, Chennai, India
Website: M.A. Chidambaram Stadium
Jallikattu is Chennai’s traditional bull taming event that is a part of the annual Pongal Festival. The event involves releasing a raging bull into a crowd of people. The participants will then try to get hold of its hump and ride on it for as long as possible. Participants also attempt to get hold of the red flags that come with the horns of the bull. It has received several backlashes over the years. Despite this, it is still a popular event among locals and foreigners alike.
5. Filter coffee
If the United States has Seattle and Australia has Melbourne, then India also has Chennai to be its “coffee capital.” With its very strong coffee concoction and combined with thick milk, Chennai’s filter coffee is surely one of every coffee aficionado’s favorite. A lot of global coffee shops might have already come to Chennai’s shores, but filter coffee shops are still the preferred ones by the locals and tourists alike. Sip a cup of hot coffee while taking a break from all of your strolling in the city in one of its prized filter coffee shops.
6. Marina Beach
Marina Beach is Chennai’s most popular tourist attraction. It is India’s longest beach and also the world’s second largest beach with a total stretch of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Its long stretch of fine sand is surely the best spot to have your tan or build some sand castles. Its roaring waves and strong currents also make it a perfect place for surfers and water adventurers. Also, check out the Kannagi statue that symbolizes the story of a legendary character from one of the most popular epics in South India.
Address: Triplicane, Chennai, India
7. Ancient monuments
Formerly known as Madras, the City of Chennai has a very rich culture and history over the years. Because of this, a number of monuments have been put up to immortalize these historic events. These monuments have become a hit among tourists. You surely wouldn’t want to miss these architectural marvels. Must-visit ancient monuments include Fort St. George, Freemasons Hall Kamaraj Memorial House and MGR Memorial.
8. Cheap shopping at Ranganathan Street
Ranganathan Street is Chennai’s busiest street because of its status as the shopping center of the city. There’s a diverse array of shops along the street - from interesting and exotic food, beverages, confectionery shops to textile and intricate Indian tapestry. The street is always crowded with both locals and tourists. You might as well try to visit this famed street and get to try their famous cuisines or buy some souvenirs for your loved ones - all at a cheap price.
9. Delicious food
Chennai is also a haven for exotic food and street food lovers. There are certainly a lot of pushcarts, sidewalk stalls, food trucks and fancy restaurants serving the finest Indian food all around the city. Aside from the usual chaats and idlis, you should also try other amazing street foods like muttai curry, atho man, sundal, kozhi roast and parottas.
Bharatanatyam is one of India’s folk dances that originated from Tamil Nadu. It is performed as a solo dance by only women traditionally. The dance exhibits India’s various religious and spiritual themes, especially Shaktism, Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Aside from the dancer, the performance also includes a singer, music and a guru who directs it. Bharatanatyam is a great way to learn and see Indian culture for yourself. You can also enroll yourself in Bharatanatyam classes if you even want to learn more of it.
Enjoy Chennai's rich culture
The diversity and the rich culture of Chennai is indeed something that you should experience at least once in your life. The list above is just a fraction of the famous things that this delightful city has to offer, but it’s not at all exhaustive. However, if you have a limited time in Chennai, then start by checking out our recommendations above and get a feel for what this Indian city has to offer. Get ready to immerse yourself in the amazing Indian culture and make sure to try these on your next trip.
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